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Itís Corn vs. Soybeans in a Biofuels Debate
NY Times' Terrorist Tip Sheet ^ | July 13, 2006 | ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO

Posted on 07/13/2006 11:33:47 PM PDT by neverdem

CHICAGO, July 12 — Biodiesel produced from soybeans produces more usable energy and reduces greenhouse gases more than corn-based ethanol, making it more deserving of subsidies, according to a study being published this month in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, done by researchers at the University of Minnesota and at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., points to the environmental benefits of the biodiesel over ethanol made from corn, stating that ethanol provides 25 percent more energy a gallon than is required for its production, while soybean biodiesel generates 93 percent more energy.

The study’s authors also found that ethanol, in its production and consumption, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 12 percent, compared with fossil fuels. Biodiesel, they said, reduces such emissions 41 percent, compared with fossil fuels.

The study concludes that the future of replacing oil and gas lies with cellulosic ethanol produced from low-cost materials like switch grass or wheat straw, if it is grown on agriculturally marginal land or from waste plant material.

Indeed, the study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that neither ethanol nor biodiesel can replace much petroleum without having an impact on food supply. If all American corn and soybean production were dedicated to biofuels, that fuel would replace only 12 percent of gas demand and 6 percent of diesel demand, the study notes.

Researchers at universities and at the United States Agriculture Department have debated ethanol’s benefits as policy makers continue to struggle with how to respond to high gasoline prices and how to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Some lawmakers have urged an end to federal subsidies of 51 cents a gallon for ethanol refiners. The subsidies have helped create a boom in ethanol production and have made ethanol more profitable than ever.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Technical; US: District of Columbia; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: airpollution; biodiesel; biodieselfuel; ecology; ethanol; science
I wonder if they ignored the recovery of used cooking oil as biodiesel in this study?

Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels

Negative environmental consequences of fossil fuels and concerns about petroleum supplies have spurred the search for renewable transportation biofuels. To be a viable alternative, a biofuel should provide a net energy gain, have environmental benefits, be economically competitive, and be producible in large quantities without reducing food supplies. We use these criteria to evaluate, through life-cycle accounting, ethanol from corn grain and biodiesel from soybeans. Ethanol yields 25% more energy than the energy invested in its production, whereas biodiesel yields 93% more. Compared with ethanol, biodiesel releases just 1.0%, 8.3%, and 13% of the agricultural nitrogen, phosphorus, and pesticide pollutants, respectively, per net energy gain. Relative to the fossil fuels they displace, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced 12% by the production and combustion of ethanol and 41% by biodiesel. Biodiesel also releases less air pollutants per net energy gain than ethanol. These advantages of biodiesel over ethanol come from lower agricultural inputs and more efficient conversion of feedstocks to fuel. Neither biofuel can replace much petroleum without impacting food supplies. Even dedicating all U.S. corn and soybean production to biofuels would meet only 12% of gasoline demand and 6% of diesel demand. Until recent increases in petroleum prices, high production costs made biofuels unprofitable without subsidies. Biodiesel provides sufficient environmental advantages to merit subsidy. Transportation biofuels such as synfuel hydrocarbons or cellulosic ethanol, if produced from low-input biomass grown on agriculturally marginal land or from waste biomass, could provide much greater supplies and environmental benefits than food-based biofuels.

1 posted on 07/13/2006 11:33:49 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
These studies also assume that all farm equipment will always run off of petroleum based fuels. But many farmers like to buy their own product and run it in their farm equipment. Now if we can just get the ethanol plants to burn ethanol for heating their mash we'll have a much greener system. Although I'd rather see the mash heated with the excess heat produced at a nuclear plant.
2 posted on 07/14/2006 12:12:10 AM PDT by ME-262 (The Democrat party is slowly being reduced by abortion AIDS and imprisonment...and soon deportation!)
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To: neverdem

What's this "more deserving of subsidies" crap? If it's a viable product, people should be lining up around the block to invest.

WORLD ENDS: MINORITIES, SOYBEANS HARDEST HIT


3 posted on 07/14/2006 12:23:52 AM PDT by Question Liberal Authority (Has the New York Times ever thwarted a top secret AL-QAEDA operation?)
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To: neverdem; ME-262
Ethanol yields 25% more energy than the energy invested in its production,

I have read elsewhere that Ethanol requires 30% More energy to produce than it yields when burned.

This includes farm production (including fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides), distillation and transportation.

4 posted on 07/14/2006 12:43:27 AM PDT by Pontiac (All are worthy of freedom, none are incapable.)
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To: neverdem

My daughter is one of many individuals strongly allergic to anything that has any soy in it. It paralyzes her respiratory system as well as interferes with brain functioning. What on earth will the fumes do for people like her?


5 posted on 07/14/2006 12:43:44 AM PDT by Spirited
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To: neverdem

If it were only possible to harness the energy, it would be found that Navy beans produce the most usable energy of anything on planet earth.


6 posted on 07/14/2006 12:54:39 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Adult Stem Cell Research Breakthrough Produces Insulin for Diabetics

Human Hair Could be New Source of Special Adult Stem Cells for Research

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

7 posted on 07/14/2006 1:22:35 AM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

These decisions will not be made in the penthouses of NY skyscrapers. In fact, farmers alternate planting corn and soybeans because soybeans fix nitrogen in the soil that corn uses.


8 posted on 07/14/2006 4:02:51 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: Pontiac

Believe nothing without independent verification unless it is congruent with your prejudices.


9 posted on 07/14/2006 4:19:35 AM PDT by dhuffman@awod.com (The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.)
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To: dhuffman@awod.com
This is unmitigated good news: Save the corn for liquor; Sacrifice tofu for fuel.
10 posted on 07/14/2006 4:40:02 AM PDT by Tom D. (Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benj. Franklin)
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To: Pontiac
"I have read elsewhere that Ethanol requires 30% More energy to produce than it yields when burned."

Which is the point of the current study---to actually lay to rest that false notion. The most recent and most thorough studies show pretty much the same as this one--both ethanol and biodiesel are net energy producers.

11 posted on 07/14/2006 5:14:13 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: ME-262

"These studies also assume that all farm equipment will always run off of petroleum based fuels. But many farmers like to buy their own product and run it in their farm equipment. Now if we can just get the ethanol plants to burn ethanol for heating their mash we'll have a much greener system."

But you still miss the point that you are getting diddly/squat net ENERGY production from corn ethanol.


12 posted on 07/14/2006 5:20:15 AM PDT by FastCoyote
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To: neverdem
A lot of the bio diesel plants are going to us fat and cooking oils also, along with soybeans. The thing is we have a lot more soy oil laying around that is ready to be refined. It will take some time to get the infrastructure to collect all the side streams of grease.

Long term though, bio diesel is a better deal.
13 posted on 07/14/2006 5:23:42 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Pontiac
That is an old study by Piemetal in Cornell. The guy is also known for thinking that most of us should die so the remaining children could live better. If you used his methods to study oil, it comes out just as bad since you would have to figure out the cost of building the ships, planes, and tanks that we use to keep the lid on the Middle East.

Current technology has the energy balance coming out ahead, and with better enzymes more gains are being made. The two biggest energy hogs are the cooking process (which enzymes can help) and drying of the spent grain (which the EPA is trying like mad to increase the energy used).
14 posted on 07/14/2006 5:28:49 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Spirited
Nothing. The soy proteins won't be in the oil. The oil has to be esterized with a strong acid before it can be burned, which would also break down any remaining proteins. She will be fine.
15 posted on 07/14/2006 5:32:33 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: FastCoyote
No, you actually come out ahead. And the margin is increasing slowly.

Also, remember the fuel that feeds the plant boiler can't run my car. I can use bagas (dried plants), coal, natural gas, land fill gas, methane from a digester, etc to run a boiler. My truck can run on ethanol, but not on any of those.
16 posted on 07/14/2006 5:35:38 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum

My bet is the company that farms the largest amount of soybeans is also one of the larger contributors to the DNC.


17 posted on 07/14/2006 5:58:08 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Democrats - The reason we need term limits)
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To: redgolum

"No, you actually come out ahead."

Again, you miss the point. It is doodly/squat ahead. They are saying that even if you devote the entire corn harvest to ethanol production it will only marginally affect the amount of petroleum used. Even if your tractors use methanol, the net energy to be gained is trivial.

With soybeans you have a chance, but you still don't get a petroleum independent society.


18 posted on 07/14/2006 7:35:07 AM PDT by FastCoyote
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To: FastCoyote

They are working, at the University of New Hampshire, on various strains of algae as feedstocks for biodiesel production, which have a much higher oil efficiency than even soybeans, and can be grown quickly and easily in vats of sunny water.


19 posted on 07/14/2006 7:53:47 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: FastCoyote

100% correct. The US uses over 22 million barrels of oil a day. And the supply is now in decline. Even the tar sands at max production will only produce 2-2.5 million barrels a day. The hurt is coming.


20 posted on 07/14/2006 8:17:22 AM PDT by OregonRancher (illigitimus non carborundun)
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To: FastCoyote

100% correct. The US uses over 22 million barrels of oil a day. And the supply is now in decline. Even the tar sands at max production will only produce 2-2.5 million barrels a day. The hurt is coming.


21 posted on 07/14/2006 8:17:22 AM PDT by OregonRancher (illigitimus non carborundun)
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To: OregonRancher
..the hurt is coming?"

Listen to me & nobody gets hurt!

Start by reading Thomas Golds books & related material you'll find under his books on Amazon.

Petroleum, dude, it's right there in the name, "Rock Oil", rock on, the earth makes it, always has, always will.

It's how we deal with it that's the prob'.

After WW II, we should have developed the oil fields differently, but it's not too late to start now.

We'll be fine.

22 posted on 07/14/2006 9:15:18 AM PDT by norraad ("What light!">Blues Brothers)
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To: Pontiac

Those studies always seem to include all of the energy costs and assign 100% of those costs to the production of ethanol. Ethanol is not the only product made by the process tho'. There are a few other things produced (the spent grains are used as feedstock, etc) that these costs need to be divided among. When that is correctly done there is a net energy gain from ethanol production. It's not great, but it's there.


23 posted on 07/14/2006 9:17:30 AM PDT by green iguana
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To: FastCoyote
With soybeans you have a chance, but you still don't get a petroleum independent society.

You hit the screw on the head. The society that creates ethanol or biodiesel uses mostly conventional fuels to shelter and feed itself. The tools to keep society in running order require energy to make. But take away part of the economy and we would get fairly substantial drops in energy prices since the prices are determined on the margin.

24 posted on 07/14/2006 9:28:49 AM PDT by palmer (Money problems do not come from a lack of money, but from living an excessive, unrealistic lifestyle)
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To: neverdem; Dog Gone

A debate??? Sounds like a two pronged exercise in futility to me!!!


25 posted on 07/14/2006 10:40:13 AM PDT by SierraWasp (Memo To: Uncle Sam Re: Terrorists, Insurgents and Illegal Combatants...NoUniforms... No Prisoners!!!)
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To: SierraWasp

It's an exercise to see who gets the most government handouts.


26 posted on 07/14/2006 10:58:15 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
..Gov $$,

That's what bugs me, the $'y is all topsy turvy.

The $ slapback kickback keeps alot of good people & ideas out of the game.

27 posted on 07/14/2006 11:05:19 AM PDT by norraad ("What light!">Blues Brothers)
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To: ClaireSolt

"These decisions will not be made in the penthouses of NY skyscrapers. In fact, farmers alternate planting corn and soybeans because soybeans fix nitrogen in the soil that corn uses."

Sadly, the exact opposite is true. Farmers grow what a bank will loan on. The bank will loan on what the Feds guarantee. The penthouses control the market outlet. They control the lobbyists that push the legislature's wishes. Hence no labeling laws and farmers competing with third world producers. Do you think the farmer in Western Kansas or Nebraska has much choice on where to take his crop to market? Or what price he will get?
I have pushed for all that to change. Maybe soon it will. The emerging energy market may be the one way to break farmers free from their involuntary market position and finally allow them to compete in the free market on a level playing field.


28 posted on 07/14/2006 11:14:14 AM PDT by IrishCatholic (No local communist or socialist party chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing.)
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To: Dog Gone; calcowgirl
Look at the "Pump & Dump" flim flam crappola that Bill Jones and Arnold Schwartzenegger have teamed up on!!!

This was once again brought to my attention by calcowgirl, yesterday!!!

She brings a lot of telling things to FR!!!

29 posted on 07/14/2006 11:55:26 AM PDT by SierraWasp (Memo To: Uncle Sam Re: Terrorists, Insurgents and Illegal Combatants...NoUniforms... No Prisoners!!!)
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To: Dog Gone; calcowgirl

But hey! They're Republicans!! Jones couldn't beat Boxer, but he sure knows how to strike it RICH with insider knowledge and trading!!! How much insider trading did he report to the SEC, ccg? (yes, I know it's legal!)


30 posted on 07/14/2006 11:58:18 AM PDT by SierraWasp (Memo To: Uncle Sam Re: Terrorists, Insurgents and Illegal Combatants...NoUniforms... No Prisoners!!!)
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To: Dog Gone; calcowgirl

Kinda reminds me of Ross Perot and his insider knowledge that helped him make his billions off being the contract administrator/programmer for Medicare and LBJ's "War on Poverty!"


31 posted on 07/14/2006 12:00:48 PM PDT by SierraWasp (Memo To: Uncle Sam Re: Terrorists, Insurgents and Illegal Combatants...NoUniforms... No Prisoners!!!)
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To: IrishCatholic

You'll forgive my saying so, but we must farm on different planets. Farmers' planting decisions are based upon any number of factors which, all combined, most reasonably predict the most profitable crop. And, yes, even farmers in western Nebraska have marketing power; they have the power to raise corn to not to raise corn; to sell corn as a cash crop to to consume on the farm; ad infinitum.


32 posted on 07/14/2006 12:02:14 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: ME-262
These studies also assume that all farm equipment will always run off of petroleum based fuels.

Here's a wind powered tractor plowing a field of algae. Saltwater plants are the future for fuel, not freshwater land plants. The land, water, and sunshine are free. The ocean 200 miles offshore is also free of environmentalists and lawyers. The fuel can be produced closer to the coasts where most people live. Petroleum originally comes from saltwater algae.


33 posted on 07/14/2006 12:15:20 PM PDT by Reeses
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To: Mr. Lucky
Yes, we do farm on different planets.
How much do you get for a bushel of corn?
How much do you pay for a box of Kellogs corn flakes?
How many of your fellow farmers have off the farm employment as their primary income?
How many farmers are over 50 with their children choosing different careers where they can make more money?
34 posted on 07/14/2006 12:28:10 PM PDT by IrishCatholic (No local communist or socialist party chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing.)
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To: IrishCatholic
My grandfather plowed with horses. Just because I can't make a living plowing with horses doesn't mean that the horse market is controlled by some East Coast conspiracy.

.

35 posted on 07/14/2006 1:15:13 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: SierraWasp; Carry_Okie; NormsRevenge; ElkGroveDan; Amerigomag
How much insider trading did he report to the SEC, ccg?

I'm glad you brought this up. I took a closer look at Yahoo-Finance-PEIX. They have a MAJOR glitch--overstating the dollars by a factor of 10. Instead of the 400 million shown there for the Jones family, it is 40 million. And instead of $1 billion in insider trading, the correct calculation gives you $100 million.

Regardless, it's been a busy few months for the 4 top dumpers. They've filed to sell more just as Arnie was out pumping yesterday and releasing his new "Bioenergy Action Plan" which includes, among other things, a push for ethanol.
(WARNING-5MB PDF file--recommend doing a 'save as' if you want to read this).

Here are the corrected numbers for the Top-4 insiders.

Bill Jones	                Apr 18 - Jul 06 2006   $10,377,001 
Ryan Turner (Jones son-in-law)	Apr 18 - May 16 2006   $28,964,106 
Neil Koehler*                   Apr 18 - Apr 20 2006   $21,009,002 
Frank Greinke	                Apr 18 - Apr 25 2006   $44,054,001 

Total Big-4                                           $104,404,110
*Koehler and his brothers (Paul and Tom) are nationwide players:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1074684/posts?page=20#20
36 posted on 07/14/2006 1:46:41 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: Mr. Lucky
Ok...........thanks for sharing that....I think. Good luck with.....um....not plowing with horses and all that.
37 posted on 07/14/2006 1:51:46 PM PDT by IrishCatholic (No local communist or socialist party chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing.)
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To: neverdem
I wonder if they ignored the recovery of used cooking oil as biodiesel in this study?

I think that even if you recovered every bit of cooking oil, it probably is statistically insignifigant. Even a busy place probably won't generate more than 15-20 gallons a day. After it's processed, it's even less.

I'm not saying don't use it, definately do, but it probably doesn't amount to much.

38 posted on 07/14/2006 5:06:24 PM PDT by Malsua
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To: calcowgirl

Say now... That's the kind of major glitch one could make a "Federal Case" out of with a sharp attorney! That could be considered "injurious!"


39 posted on 07/14/2006 5:15:52 PM PDT by SierraWasp (Memo To: Uncle Sam Re: Terrorists, Insurgents and Illegal Combatants...NoUniforms... No Prisoners!!!)
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To: SierraWasp

Yahoo's finance site used to be really good.
It's gone waaaaaay downhill in the past few years.

The numbers are still outrageous for a company that hasn't turned a profit. With management selling all of their shares, I won't be a buyer. But, then again, with folks like Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla behind them, along with new regulations mandating ethanol being pushed by the Governor himself, how can they lose?

Here's an article I found today:

http://www.fresnobee.com/business/story/12305506p-13039348c.html

Pacific Ethanol produces a new crop of millionaires
By Bethany Clough and Jeff St. John / The Fresno Bee
Updated Sunday, June 11, 2006


40 posted on 07/14/2006 5:46:52 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: IrishCatholic

Check out william Jennings Bryan.


41 posted on 07/14/2006 8:15:59 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (.)
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