Skip to comments.Ethanol: A Tragedy in 3 Acts
Posted on 04/27/2006 10:45:52 AM PDT by Brian Allen
click here to read article
The only way that ethanol makes sense is when it is made from cellulose. Using food crops for ethanol will drive up the cost of food. Using a plant that has been genetically selected for high cellulose content and rapid growth would be the way to go.
So far, the process of converting cellulose to ethanol needs more development. It will be soon.
That's what I figured. It's easy to store corn energy. Just fill a silo with corn or fill a tanker with ethanol. No batteries required.
Here's another question for you (if you don't mind):
Since plants store energy as carbohydrates, why isn't it a simple process to convert them into hydrocarbons? After all, they're both just carbon and hydrogen bonded together. Why do we have to turn the carbohydrates into alcohol, which has the disadvantages of low btu's and being water soluble? Why not just turn the starch into oil (or gas)?
"Ethanol is really only the solution to automobiles..."
It doesn't look like an economically viable solution for the long term. It takes too much energy and ground water to grow the crops and refine the ethanol. I would bet a considerable amount of money that in the year 2056 we will be driving two kinds of cars: 1) for short trips under 100 miles, we'll use battery-powered electric cars or battery/gasoline hybrids that run primarily on nuclear electric power, and 2) for long trips over 100 miles we'll use gasoline powered cars or gas/electric hybrids with much more efficient gasoline engines than we have today. (Only problem is I will probably not be around in the year 2056 to collect on this bet.)
This ethanol program looks like more of a political horse-trading deal designed to pump up the economy in the farm belt. If we REALLY want to lessen our dependence on ME oil for the long term, we have to build more nuclear power plants. Nuclear power produces enormous amounts of energy from small amounts of nuclear fuel at very low cost. Eventually we will have to build more nuclear power plants because we won't be able to produce enough natural gas to run all those gas power plants. Natural gas reserves get used up over time and eventually there will be no alternative to nuclear power. So let's stop all the political pandering to environmental groups and get on with nuclear power. I think the political background for nuclear power is starting to change: I saw last week that somebody in Greenpeace is now supporting nuclear electric power.
Ethanol is just rebranded Super Unleaded, 91 octane, and costs 10 cents more at the pump.
Could you provide a ballpark figure on what percentage of Corn in Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana (the 4 major Corn growing states) is grown under irrigation?
$0.50 per gallon Subsidy?
Actually, NO. No self seeding corn varieties have been developed yet. And crops must be rotated, it depletes the soil to grow corn after corn after corn after corn.
My guess is that LESS than 1% of the corn in the 4 major corn growing states is grown under irrigation.
Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana are primarily dry land farming states. There are a few exceptions along the Mississippi river where the soil is sandy and won't hold moisture.
So to suggest that growing corn will deplete the aquafers is simply NOT the case in the major corn growing states.
Can't help you much there, but here is one link:
Or Google "percentage irrigation midwest" or something similar.
Oh, no. Is today Pirate Talk Day? I forgot to iron my costume.
I learn something new every day on Free Republic. Thanks.
The reason we don't grow our own US sugar cane much anymore (or at all) is because it is very, very labor intensive to harvest. And I'm sure the enviros go whack about the burning off of the leaves and stalks.
OTOH, that is when it's being used for food. It would seem that if being used for its cellulose to make that type of ethanol or biofuel, then maybe none of that has to be done for conversion. Hawaii was once one of the largest growers in the world, wasn't it? They have the highest fossil fuel gasoline costs in the US, too. Maybe there's an opportunity there for them.
On the other hand, there's no substitute for petroleum in aviation fuel - but I don't know about ships - are they run on diesel?
Nahhhh...that's on September 19th.
(But you knew that already, didn't you Granny!)
Thanks. That's *very easy* for me to remember.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.