Skip to comments.Ethanol could leave the world hungry
Posted on 08/29/2006 5:55:39 AM PDT by Hydroshock
The growing myth that corn is a cure-all for our energy woes is leading us toward a potentially dangerous global fight for food. While crop-based ethanol -the latest craze in alternative energy - promises a guilt-free way to keep our gas tanks full, the reality is that overuse of our agricultural resources could have consequences even more drastic than, say, being deprived of our SUVs. It could leave much of the world hungry.
We are facing an epic competition between the 800 million motorists who want to protect their mobility and the two billion poorest people in the world who simply want to survive. In effect, supermarkets and service stations are now competing for the same resources.
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More about bio-fuels Why Wal-Mart wants to sell ethanol
E85 is available at only a tiny fraction of gas stations. But the giant retailer is poised to change that. (more) Manure mountains to fuel ethanol plant One company's drive to locate domestic sources of energy is taking a turn into the barnyard. (more) Soybeans that give you gas Argentina is a prime market for making and selling renewable biodiesel fuel thanks to cheap land and labor, as well as bumper crops of soybeans. (more)
This year cars, not people, will claim most of the increase in world grain consumption. The problem is simple: It takes a whole lot of agricultural produce to create a modest amount of automotive fuel.
The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol, for instance, could feed one person for a year. If today's entire U.S. grain harvest were converted into fuel for cars, it would still satisfy less than one-sixth of U.S. demand.
(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...
ummm ... how much land are we paying farmers NOT to harvest????
Malthus was right!!!
I wasn't aware that people ate a lot of corn stalks and sugar cane.
This just shows what a truly poor choice ethanol is for a motor fuel. Not to mention that a number of studies show ethanol is a net energy consumer ie you use more fossil fuel energy to produce the ethanol than you get back out of the ethanol you produce.
And it's Wal-Marts fault too.
Oh brother. Here we go again with the "will only supply one-sixth of U.S. demand" argument.
I get tired of these idiots and their arguments that we should never do anything about energy self-sufficiency as it's all only a drop in the bucket.
My friend's husband is a consultant for people building ethanol plants. He says in only a few years they will be turning garbage into fuel. Corn is just a stepping stone.
Stop it. You keep introducing this nonsense, people keep correcting you, and you try it again in the VAIN hope that nobody will notice that you're spinning the same nonsense.
B as in 'B', S as in 'S'.
The high food value of corn - oil, protein and fiber - is not used to make ethanol and is used to make people food (mostly by being fed to livestock). Ethanol is made from the starch in corn, which isn't highly valued nutrition-wise.
I pretty much stopped reading here: Cnn.com
I know, btu this does make me think that coal gasification is a better solution for most of our energy needs. I personally would not be suprised if in 5 years I go to my local wallyworld for gas and get a mix of oil, grains, and coal in my tank.
This is straight from the PETA types who wish the world would eat grain instead of converting grain to meat, notice too that they get in their slams at Wal-Mart.
While I agree that ethanol is not the answer I don't agree with their reasoning.
I knew this was coming.
I wonder if the impact on the fresh water supply isn't a much bigger issue. We are never going to grow enough corn in the US to replace our use of oil. For ethanol to be viable, it will need to be made from something that is a much more prolific grower/producer than corn. In either case, the volume of water requried is tremendous.
Lester Brown is not either very knowledgeable or expert, but he plays one on tv.
The switchover to bio-mass alternatives, basically highly efficient use of renewable agri-waste and low-impact plants, such as switch-grass etc is looming. Corn is projected to go over $5 a bushel even without the pressure of the ethanol industry, and this will, by the force of the free market, make it much more conducive to the adoption of the new feedstock sources for fermentation. Corn will be phased out...naturally...as a market response. Farmers will be happy, as they will have even more variety of sources of income, and stable income, they can develop. American auto owners will be happy, because their fuel prices will stabilize and their gas tanks won't be able to be shut off at the whim of Adhmanajad and Osama Bin Laden and his kin.
But, pity the poor liberal television gloom-and-doomers. They will be very unhappy.
My brother in law is a pipefitter who is building an ethanol plant in Litchfield Mi. He says that ethanol plants are all he sees for work in the forseeable future.
Total crap, which has been refute on this forum countless times! Go educate yourself dude.
Let me see. You advocate lies and tell me to stop disagreeing with them. If ethanol were a net energy producer (and it's not) you could run the whole process on ethanol with some left over. You can't, so stop lying and go suck a government subsidy.
He is quite correct. Ethanol as a fuel only works because of subsidy: agricultural lobbyists notwithstanding.
In 5 years, we'll be inundated in light crude oil from the Canada syncrude projects. If not 5 years then soon after...
Ethanol was the answer, until we start using it. So now it's "bad"
Wind power is the answer, until someone wants to build wind mills where the Kennedy's might see them. Now they are bad.
When are you people going to get over this net energy loss arguement? The facts state otherwise. One other note on this. The corn will be grown whether or not there is an ethanol industry. Is there still a net energy loss? If these poor people need food then they can pay me for the corn. Besides most of the corn is used for feeding animals and you still have feed as a by product after you make ethanol. Farmers are not paid to not farm. Set aside acres went out with the last farm bill.
No my friend you the one who is full of crap and I have news for you. Your ignorant opinion doesn't refute thermodynamics.
All the world's problems are easily solved; cover the planet with solar panels and corn!
See, why was that so hard to figure out?
Let them eat cake!!!
I know why don't the sorry third world bums start growing their own food stock?
Jeeez. Now if old people fill up thier cars with a gas/ethanol blend, they'll starve even more than they are already!
When it's shown to be false by facts.
"The truth is the gov in our country actually pays the farmers not to plant half their fields so they can import from other countries."
"Half their fields" is a gross error and the U.S. is a huge exporter of corn and other grains:
So maybe he ought to start a garden.
I'm thinking cattails, broom corn, and reedgrass first.
We have had ethanol available at the pumps in my area for many years (central Illinois) and it's cheaper because of federal subsidies.
But....Global Warming (trademark, Algore LLC) should expand both the growing season and the Northern extent for grain. Win-win.
Keep driving those SUVs, folks!
Has anybody been to the corn palace?
"Bravo Sierra. All the government has to do is quit paying farmers to not grow corn, and there'd be enough to eat, turn into ethanol, and build a mile-wide bowl of Corn Chex."
What he said!!
In fact, if the gov got out of business of business entirely, thermaldepolymerization, ethanol, and other biodeisel programs could be flourishing.
These are not the solutions to petroindependence, they are some solutions.
It is a bad bet to understimate Americans' capacity for innovation. It is also ill advised to underestimate government capacity to stifle innovation under the weight of beuracracy.
Lots of tasty venison to be eaten with all that corn growing everywhere, feeding nice fat deer.
Ah, Yes , but the one in Mitchell is an energy sink not a producer!
Right between the eyes!
Reminds me of some Andean tribes that were too busy burning dung for heat instead of using it for fertilizer to grow food, and ended up starving to death.
If you forget the lessons of the past, you're doomed to repeat them.
Dr. Tad Patzek, a petroleum and chemical engineer at UC Berkeley, has researched this question. He has carefully studied the amount of energy consumed in producing ethanol versus the amount of energy produced.
"Ethanol production from corn is a fossil-energy-losing proposition," Patzek told the Canadian National Farmer's Union:
"Total crap, which has been refute on this forum countless times
No my friend you the one who is full of crap and I have news for you. Your ignorant opinion doesn't refute thermodynamics."
details if convenient...