One of you chemists/engineers do the math for the rest of us.
How much energy does it take to produce a unit of ethanol? I think that cost is the big hidden item. Until someone posts a useable figure, let’s say ethanol costs (in terms of gallons of gasoline or BTU equivalents) oh, maybe .5 gal gasoline/per gallon ethonal, then we can create an equation that shows just how much MORE ethanol costs than just 40% less efficient than a gallon of regualr gasoline....
I’d be interested in the overall utility cost of ethanol per gallon from bare ground to end-state MPG in a E85 burning vehicle....
I will bet though, that it is much, much more than a gallon of gasoline costs to produce-even from our overseas monopolistic sources....
let us know, petro chemist!
I have a chemistry background but you don't need that to do the math.
People never knew or they forgot that the ultimate goal was not/is not to produce ethanol from corn.
The goal is to produce cellulosic alcohol, which requires new technology.
The decision to kick off with corn alcohol was to get cash flow to defray R and D costs.
The math on producing alcohol from switch grass or corn stalks is different from alcohol from corn.
This has been a hot topic in the last couple of weeks because one of the corn alcohol producers has developed cellulosic technology and Obama wants to give them a loan guarantee to build the plant.
All told, it takes a barrel of oil to produce a barrel of ethanol.