Skip to comments.Will California Shuck Corn Ethanol?
Posted on 04/25/2009 2:21:42 PM PDT by neverdem
Energy Policy: California regulators are ready to conclude that corn ethanol cannot help the state fight global warming. It seems they've discovered putting food in our cars would destroy the earth in order to save it.
California regulators have apparently discovered it ain't easy being green. The California Air Resources Board began two days of hearings in Sacramento on Thursday on a proposed Low Carbon Fuel Standard which considers the carbon intensity of fuels during a given fuel's entire life cycle.
The California Environmental Protection Agency apparently has concluded that corn ethanol would not help the state implement Executive Order S-1-07. The order, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Jan. 18, 2007, mandated a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity of the state's fuels by 2020. Fuels deemed to have low carbon intensity earn credits toward that goal.
With 20-20 hindsight, the California EPA, by dropping ethanol for now as a cure-all for climate change, is doing the right thing for the wrong reason. "Ethanol is a good fuel, but how it is produced is problematic," Dimitri Stanich, public information officer for the California EPA, said in an interview with World Net Daily. "The corn ethanol industry has to figure out another way to process corn into ethanol that is not so corn-intensive."
California could build more nuclear power plants, but never mind. Ethanol is in fact not a good fuel. According to the Hoover...
It generates less than two units of energy for every unit of energy used to produce it. It takes about 1,700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. Each acre of corn requires about 130 pounds of nitrogen and 55 pounds of phosphorous. Increased acreage means increased agricultural runoff, which is creating aquatic "dead zones" in our rivers, bays and coastal areas...
(Excerpt) Read more at ibdeditorials.com ...
Maybe pigs will fly?
The CA politicians must have completed selling off their stock in the corn-producing corporations. Explains why CA is shucking the idea now.
Huh? Maybe make it less corn intensive by substituting oil that comes from the California coastline?
“The corn ethanol industry has to figure out another way to process corn into ethanol that is not so corn-intensive.”
WTF!? Maybe we should try pixie dust?
As has been explained elsewhere, a “less carbon-intensive” fuel means a less energy-efficient fuel, which means you simply have to burn more of it.
Huh? Maybe make it less corn intensive by substituting oil that comes from the California coastline?
They're refering to cellulosic ethanol in which the whole plant gets digested by enzymes and requires much less energy to produce the ethanol. You won't need corn to make it. Get that oil too.
Now that makes sense.
ethanol cuts the oil companies and the ragheads,
out of the deal.
sadly, many on FR don’t like that idea.
Uh, no it doesn't bub.
If you want to "cut" the ragheads out of the equation, drill for oil here.
See comment# 6.
oil companies are not the friends of
America or of the Conservative movement.
the electric car is coming.
People were trying to tell them that for years. But no, they had to see for themselves. At a huge cost.
The law of unintended consequences strikes again.
I've been trying to figure out a way to make make work less work-intensive. And my sleeping less sleep-intensive. And paying bills less paying-intensive. And making taxes less tax-intensive.
“No subsidies for corn ethanol!”
Surely you are jesting. Corn belt farmers have their congressmen by the short and curlies on this. Sadly, ethanol subsidies are here to stay. Now, probably the best we can hope for is to pay farmers not to produce the stuff.
Tis whole business of trying to control the amount of CO2 emissions from various sources may be a misplaced priority, as its only political virtue lies in having a handle on a new way to assess taxes, based on the size of the "carbon footprint" produced in a year's time.
The best, surest and most tested method of taking up CO2 is to let there be sufficient plant growth (which requires considerable water and reasonably fertile land area) to form a "sink" for the supposedly "excess" carbon dioxide formed by burning of so-called "fossil fuels". If there is enough biomass, from the excess of plant growth, then the biomass can be recycled right back into a form of energy we can use, which involves burning up the biomass in some manner. So our problem here is to produce sufficient amount of water of low salinity to adequately water these crops, and for that we could turn to nuclear power plants, to produce the heat necessary to desalinate brackish water wherever it is found, distilling the mixture to near-potable degree of purity (totally satisfactory for crops), then just using the resources made available by this process to continue the expanded cultivation of green growing plants of EVERY variety.
The biomass could be fed directly into a Thermal Depolymerization unit, as a slurry, and under conditions of heat and pressure in the absence of oxygen, the slurry is converted into an excellent grade of kerogen, much like crude oil but without the grit and sand of the natural product. The science and the tweaking have already been pretty well worked out on this process, and it proves to be "carbon-neutral", because the feedstock is taken from biological substances that were formed from atmospheric carbon dioxide which was temporarily sequestered, and have no impact on the burning of fossil fuel at all.
This provides a substitute for petroleum, but if there is anyone who wants to go really high-tech, a process called Plasma Arc Trash Reduction could empty out all our landfills, convert the daily trash stream into a reliable source of electricity, and generate several other revenue streams for the entity that makes it into a going concern. ALL forms of trash are reduced to their constituent atomic structure, then the heat generated by this process is used to drive electric power generation. The primary products of this process are "syngas", a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, both of which are excellent fuels that may be used to drive the generation of electric power, and a silica slag which contains practically all other components of whatever went into the trash stream.
The volume of the slag that comes off is about a quarter to a tenth of the volume of the original trash, and it may be mined for various metallic content, as it is a higher grade of ore than is most of the material that is hauled up out of the ground by various mining operations all over the world. It may be hot-formed into building blocks, and depending on how it is cooled (rapid quench or slow radiant cooling), it forms various grades of igneous stone. Or it may be crushed as aggregate for concrete or for road building purposes.
The temperature of the plasma torch is about 33,000˚ F., about three times the temperature of the sun's surface. The syngas generated is about 2,200˚ F., and is passed over a heat exchanger to generate superheated steam, in the process of cooling it. Once cooled, the stream of hydrogen and carbon monoxide may be separated, yielding up pure hydrogen which may be used to power a fuel cell, or burned directly in the presence of oxygen to yield a very hot flame, which may be used to further produce power through the medium of superheated steam. Carbon monoxide itself is an excellent fuel which when combined with oxygen, forms carbon dioxide, a safe, NON-POLLUTING fraction of our atmosphere, and one that is vital for the photosynthesis of oxygen and carbohydrates in green growing plants. The carbon dioxide may also be captured, cooled and compressed into either liquid CO2, or allowed to become "dry ice", an intensely cold and solid form of CO2, and an important industrial product.
The hydrogen, of course, when combined with oxygen, becomes water vapor.
Empty out our land fills and turn those blighted acres back into "greenfields", divert all the existing and continuing waste stream into electric power, reduce need for and dependence on fossil fuels, assure a continuous supply of building materials that will prove to be the equal of our current supplies, and provide a way of reclaiming metallic elements otherwise lost when merely dumped in a hole in the ground. And not only the land fills, the sewage sludge that is now dumped there could go through this plasma arc, with the decomposed fecal matter adding its bit to the "syngas", and simultaneously extracting all the dreaded metals like cadmium and mercury from circulation in the soil and groundwater.
I don't see a downside. Most elegant solution.
It has been estimated that perhaps fewer than a dozen of these processing units could both clean up all the existing waste dumps, and the current waste stream, for a municipality the size of New York City, and generate enough electricity to keep it lit and industry-capable, without tapping into outside sources.
There is a place to spend the funds for infrastructure that does NOT have to be only for the roads and bridges. This is infrastructure that actually IMPROVES our environment. And generates a number of useful by-products, not the least of which is relatively cheap electric power.
And carbon-neutral to boot. NO fossil fuels are used once the cycle is started.
Can't get greener than that.
And the conservative movement.
Drill and produce in spite of the “unfriendly” oil companies.
The electric cars run on coal, very environmentally unfriendly.
Ethanol has a net energy loss of 8%
It a political fuel, that's all. At least in this country.
>Ethanol has a net energy loss of 8%<
ethanol has a LIQUID energy gain of ten to one.
which has the effect of cutting the ragheads
out of the deal, I realy don’t care how
much coal is used.
Surely you are jesting.
Why should I? I want cheap energy. Let the market figure it out. I would tax imported energy. Until there's a revolution in renewable energy, it's are very expensive, e.g. wind turbines cost about $1,000,000 each, and good only for adding to peak load on an electricity grid. Otherwise, we also have to pay for storing it in a usable way.
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