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Beware of the ethanol hype
Asia Times ^ | August 1, 2006 | Salman Anwar

Posted on 07/31/2006 7:55:39 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger

Ethanol appears to be the new and exciting source of renewable energy, drawing considerable investor interest, as reflected by recent initial public stock offerings such as VeraSun Energy and Pacific Ethanol. The use of ethanol is also politically expedient, as it is perceived to be an alternative to Middle Eastern oil.

Ethanol also benefits from growing concerns over the long-term supply of oil. And in the US, ethanol's environmentally friendly role is growing because of legislation mandating a phasing-out of other fuel sources with the toxic ingredient methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) in favor of ethanol.

Yet there remain big questions about the projected long-term viability of ethanol as the major oil-replacement fuel stock.

Why ethanol? The economics behind ethanol do not necessarily demonstrate its practicality. Simply stated, it is unclear whether ethanol will be the solution to US energy woes.

At the same time, there is currently an inadequate supply of ethanol to fulfill demand. The pressure from government forced the United States to produce 4 billion gallons (15.14 billion liters) of ethanol in 2006, which is forecast to increase to 7.5 billion gallons (28.39 billion liters) in 2012. This is helping to fuel an ethanol boom that will double the size of the industry by 2008. A number of states have a mandate in place to use 10% ethanol as the blending agent, replacing MTBE, which contributes to more environmental pollution than ethanol. As of April at least 85% of Hawaii's gasoline must be 10% ethanol.

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


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: beware; energy; environment; ethanol; gas; gasoline
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Long read, but informative and it seems balanced. I find it funny that the author's last name is Anwar. ANWR?

It's also interesting that the published date is tomorrow.

1 posted on 07/31/2006 7:55:40 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
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To: texianyankee; JayB; ElkGroveDan; markman46; palmer; Bahbah; Paradox; FOG724; Mike Darancette; ...
This isn't necessarily global warming, but it is a good read, and is related. Ethanol is said to be a savior from greenhouse gases. But from the article:
The study conducted by Alexander Farrell of the University of California, Berkeley, published in Science magazine indicated that corn-based ethanol cuts overall greenhouse-gas emissions by only 13% compared with gasoline.
Still, that's better than Kyoto.
2 posted on 07/31/2006 7:57:41 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger ("You don't have to be a genius to know that evil is bad -- and good ISN'T!" - The Tick)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Thanks for the ping.


3 posted on 07/31/2006 7:59:08 PM PDT by GOPJ
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Powder..Patch..Ball FIRE!


http://www.ncga.com/news/OurView/index.asp


4 posted on 07/31/2006 8:00:43 PM PDT by BallandPowder
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To: DaveLoneRanger
Did a quick calc the other day... estimated that it would take area the size of 3.5 Colorados to grow enough ethanol to replace gasoline. That was raw, no crop rotation, no roads, no, cities,... didn't include the cost of production, cost of building of manufacturing facilities, transportation....
5 posted on 07/31/2006 8:02:09 PM PDT by dhs12345
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To: DaveLoneRanger

In Brazil, where they use ethanol big time, it's based on sugar cane, not corn. Lots more potential energy in sugar cane than corn.


6 posted on 07/31/2006 8:03:24 PM PDT by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestu s globus, inflammare animos)
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To: dhs12345

I think your estimate is low.


7 posted on 07/31/2006 8:04:01 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

>>>It's also interesting that the published date is tomorrow.

Were the lottery numbers included? :)

Ethanol will have the advantage as a home distilled product IMO. If it is made into an investor big business, we won't see the price advantages.

Also, I think it is only an option for older cars.


8 posted on 07/31/2006 8:05:16 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Calpernia

Don't have time to read the complete article tonight, but was the question addressed re: the amount of water that would be used by growing enough corn (or sugar cane) to replace our fossil fuel consumption. I think ethanol is a totally BAD idea, but then ADM has a lot of political clout.


9 posted on 07/31/2006 8:12:30 PM PDT by Segovia (Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.)
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To: Segovia

I didn't read it either.

I read the resources from people that already do it on their own and without making it a big business.

http://www.ethanolstill.com/making-your-own-E-85.html

Besides, water isn't an issue with rain barrels :)


10 posted on 07/31/2006 8:18:54 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: finnman69

Yes, but corn producers are still many and still have money...


11 posted on 07/31/2006 8:18:54 PM PDT by TheBattman (Islam (and liberalism)- the cult of a Cancer on Society)
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To: dhs12345
Did a quick calc the other day... estimated that it would take area the size of 3.5 Colorados to grow enough ethanol to replace gasoline.

Corn ethanol is severely limited by the acreage in corn. Cellulosic ethanol, if and when it becomes cost competitive, is another story. The current ballpark estimate (USDA/DOE "Billion Ton Study") is that cellulosic ethanol, principally from current waste streams, could displace roughly 30% of the U.S.'s current gasoline usage without disrupting current U.S. food and export markets. The feedstocks would include such things as forest waste, switch grass, corn stover, and other agricultural residues.

Ethanol, therefore, is not a complete solution even under the best circumstances. That said, 30% would make a big difference.

If complete energy independence is the goal, the likely solutions are nuclear for electricity and hydrogen fuel cells for transportation fuels. Reasonably competitive fuel cells, however, are still somewhere over the horizon.

12 posted on 07/31/2006 8:20:33 PM PDT by sphinx
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To: DaveLoneRanger

How stable would the supply of ethonol be if it came from crops? I guess the weather or pests might affect it (?)


13 posted on 07/31/2006 8:21:43 PM PDT by bobdsmith
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To: Segovia

"was the question addressed re: the amount of water that would be used by growing enough corn (or sugar cane)"

The same amount of water that would be used to grow corn for corn flakes and sugar for candy I would assume. Water is the least of our problems. But if we can make a substitute for oil using a little water, I am in favor.


14 posted on 07/31/2006 8:22:53 PM PDT by o_zarkman44 (ELECT SOME WORKERS AND REMOVE THE JERKERS!.)
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To: Calpernia

190 proof ethanol isn't really such a great fuel, which is why fuel-grade ethanol is at least 198.5 proof or so.


15 posted on 07/31/2006 8:30:50 PM PDT by hlmencken3 (Originalist on the the 'general welfare' clause? No? NOT an originalist!)
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To: hlmencken3

What are you quoting?


16 posted on 07/31/2006 8:34:08 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Calpernia

Because I am familiar with equipment used in modern ethanol plants, I know a lot more about it than I care too.

Fuel-grade ethanol has a maximum .8 or so percent water, which isn't achievable with distillation.


17 posted on 07/31/2006 8:40:00 PM PDT by hlmencken3 (Originalist on the the 'general welfare' clause? No? NOT an originalist!)
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To: hlmencken3

Congrats for your knowledge. But you aren't quoting the site I posted.


18 posted on 07/31/2006 8:42:55 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: dhs12345
I can see the headline now...Energy Gluttonous Americans Starve The Third World.

So, what happens to those grain exports when we're burning them in our gas tanks? I'm sure Jan Egelund will be bemoaning us stingy Americans again with accompanying photos of starving Africans.
19 posted on 07/31/2006 8:46:04 PM PDT by seowulf
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To: Calpernia

Your site says:

"You are able to produce sometimes close to 100% or 200 proof alcohol. Those people who want to produce this quality should buy or build this kind of unit."

Then your site later says:

"Our still consistently makes 180 to 190 proof alcohol."

I don't consider even 95% alchol "close to 100%" from a technical standpoint.

"Close to 100%" alcohol can't come from a still because of the azeotrope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azeotropic_distillation


20 posted on 07/31/2006 8:56:36 PM PDT by hlmencken3 (Originalist on the the 'general welfare' clause? No? NOT an originalist!)
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