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Old 03-11-2007, 10:38 PM
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Alternative Fuels - Not all they are cracked up to be!!!

For those that think ethanol and biodiesel is the answer... you may want to read the story (link below).

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wir...C-RSSFeeds0312

Basically, anything made with corn or fed corn will go up in price as the "demand" goes up for all corn production. As well, it takes a lot of fuel, chemicals and the like to farm, ship, produce, ship and the like... which all uses more oil to make the ethonal and biodiesel.

Add in the price and tax breaks the government gives and maybe it does cost less... but at who's expense... all of us tax paying people.

Maybe ethanol and biodiesel is not the long-term answer many of us believe it could or should be. I for one do not want to pay more for corn flakes and the like due to higher demand... nor do I want higher costing beef for the cows that are grain and corn fed.

Read and make up your own mind.
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Old 03-11-2007, 10:47 PM
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corn is probably the most fossil-fuel demanding crop out there... that's a bit of a problem as I see it.

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Old 03-11-2007, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Beachbumcook View Post
For those that think ethanol and biodiesel is the answer... you may want to read the story (link below).

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wir...C-RSSFeeds0312

Basically, anything made with corn or fed corn will go up in price as the "demand" goes up for all corn production. As well, it takes a lot of fuel, chemicals and the like to farm, ship, produce, ship and the like... which all uses more oil to make the ethonal and biodiesel.

Add in the price and tax breaks the government gives and maybe it does cost less... but at who's expense... all of us tax paying people.

Maybe ethanol and biodiesel is not the long-term answer many of us believe it could or should be. I for one do not want to pay more for corn flakes and the like due to higher demand... nor do I want higher costing beef for the cows that are grain and corn fed.

Read and make up your own mind.
They need to make it out of milo (sorgum), a member of the corn family, but not corn itself. Where I grew up they grew a wheat crop, then in the fall grew milo for the cows. It grows quick, doesn't demand a lot of water, and you can get a crop in after you cut a wheat crop.

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Old 03-11-2007, 11:31 PM
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Rape seed is the future of bio diesel and or ethanol. I think you can get 5 crops in a single season down here. Soybeans is pretty close to neutral, corn is a tad on the negative side. This is calculated off of current market prices, which is kind of misleading. However if the government keeps their nose out of this and let the free market drive this, it will work. The first 2 years of full blown production of say corn would see a negative in profits. But once the farmers are running bio in their tractors at half the cost of petro diesel, the gains start to show through. (remember, if the demand is less for petroleum, all the chemicals will be cheaper due to less shared demand for the feedstocks) Remember, no one has came out with a realistic figure of how much we pay the American farmer to NOT farm, to keep commodities prices fair. If every Farmer in the country was growing 3 crops (traditional crop rotation) corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa prices would be in the toilet. They are high, cause the government keeps them their artificially. Just something to think about.
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:07 AM
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However if the government keeps their nose out of this and let the free market drive this, it will work.
Now that's funny, I don't care who ya are!
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:21 AM
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Any car will burn gasoline mixed with a small amount of ethanol. But cars must be equipped with special equipment to burn fuel that is more than about 10 percent ethanol.
Not quite the truth, some can and do run it without changing anything. The "special" equipment is basically ethanol tolerant plastic(ethanol will take the oil out of the plastic) and the neoprene seals.ALso, the computer isn't programmed for the emissions signals, so it doesn't recognize it, and throws a code. WHat the manufacturers do for that is have a sensor that detects the level of ethanol, and adjusts the timing curves and emissions readings to work better with the ethanol.
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The energy required to pump crude out of the ground, refine it and transport it from oil well to gas tank is about 6 percent of the energy in the gasoline itself.

just growing corn requires expending energy plowing, planting, fertilizing and harvesting all require machinery that burns fossil fuel. Modern agriculture relies on large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides, both of which are produced by methods that consume fossil fuels. Then there's the cost of transporting the corn to an ethanol plant,
They quickly mention transport of petro, but itemize it out on corn production...How much fuel do you think those tankers burn coming from the Middle East? How about the cost of building those massive ships? Guarantee those tractors don't cost as much fuel or material, and we had to grow the corn anyway.
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where the fermentation and distillation processes consume yet more energy.
So does refining the petrofuels, and the distiallation process will get more efficient in time, as they catch up to the petro refineries in experience and research.
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Finally, there's the cost of transporting the fuel to filling stations. And because ethanol is more corrosive than gasoline, it can't be pumped through relatively efficient pipelines, but must be transported by rail or tanker truck.
First, ethanol is NOT corrosive, METHANOL is. The reason they can't pump it theough the pipleines is more the method they currently use to push petro through the pipelines: water. When you hear of a station that "waters down their fuel" call BS on it, because the PIPLINES use it. If they simply put the line pigs in instead of the water, they could do away with the waterin gproblems, and be able to push ethanol too.
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In the end, even the most generous analysts estimate that it takes the energy equivalent of three gallons of ethanol to make four gallons of the stuff. Some even argue that it takes more energy to produce ethanol from corn than you get out of it, but most agricultural economists think that's a stretch.
DEpends who and how they do the figures. If you want to itemize it all out, be sure everything is kept equal. It costs to do the exploration test drilling, and all that. The equipment costs money. The trick to it is that the companies separate the refineries from the transport company, and separate the exploration company, so it doesn't really show up as a cost.The study of how it cost more to produce ethanol over petro went so afar as to put the cost of the farmer's meals on the price list, but not on the petro side.
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If you make ethanol from corn, the environmental benefits are limited. When you consider the greenhouse gases that are released in the growing and refining process, corn-based ethanol is only slightly better with regard to global warming than gasoline. Growing corn also requires the use of pesticides and fertilizers that cause soil and water pollution.
As long as we use internal combustion engines, or burn ANYTHING< the so called greenhouse gases are going to be a factor, no matter the fuel.
The use of pesticides and fertilizers is an issue, and has been since BEFORE ethanol was even on the table... it will remain as well, even if we quit producing ethanol.
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But oil prices are off from last year's peaks and corn has doubled in price over the past year, from about $2 to $4 a bushel, thanks mostly to demand from ethanol producers.
What's really sad about that statement, is the fact that farmers are finally making a clear profit, as until the ethanol boost, the price was generally $1-2 a bushel. The truth is, the government pays farmers to NOT plant a crop, specifically corn, to try and raise the price. Now they finally don't have to do so.
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It's true that animals eat more than half of the corn produced in America; guess who eats them? On Friday the Agriculture Department announced that beef, pork and chicken will soon cost consumers more thanks to the demand of ethanol for corn.
What isn't mentioned is that the ethanol production does not take away from the food production, the livestock still get feed from after the distillation (distiller's grain) and human food also is produced (corn sweetener, fiber). The cost of the raw grain is higher. Many producers raise their own grains.
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It's also true that there's a difference between edible sweet corn and the feed corn that's used for ethanol production. But because farmers try to grow the most profitable crop they can, higher prices for feed corn tend to discourage the production of sweet corn. That decreases its supply, driving the price of sweet corn up, too.
Not exactly an issue in the Midwest, as we rarely raised sweetcorn, never really has been profitable, as it is too labor intensive, and not regularly grown for sale on a large scale here...
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America's appetite for corn is enormous. But Americans consume so much gasoline that all the corn in the world couldn't make enough ethanol to slake the nation's lust for transportation fuels. Last year ethanol production used 12 percent of the U.S. corn harvest, but it replaced only 2.8 percent of the nation's gasoline consumption.
That is why corn isn't the only thing that the ethanol industry is looking at, there is better more efficient methods and feedstocks to be had, and they are working on developing them, but that requires research and time. The petro fuel communtiy has had a 100 year lead, to expect the ethnol industry to catch up in 30 years with all of this kind of resistance isn't realistic.
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Studies suggest that cellulosic ethanol could yield at least four to six times the energy expended to produce it. It would also produce less greenhouse gas emissions than corn-based ethanol because much of the energy needed to refine it could come not from fossil fuels, but from burning other chemical components of the very same plants that contained the cellulose.
Research and development, which has to be paid by current types of production... Just think of how much the petro refining processes have changed, when you look at how cars were in the 60's and 70's, as far as longevity and efficency are concerned..
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You can produce a lot of ethanol from cellulose without competing with food," said Wallace Tyner, an agricultural economist at Purdue University. "But if you want to get half your fuel supply from it you will compete with food agriculture."
I have to wonder if they accounted for all of the acres currently not planted due to government CRP programs... Switchgrass can be grown damn near anywhere...
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Ethanol is certainly a valuable tool in our efforts to address the economic and environmental problems associated with fossil fuels. But even the most optimistic projections suggest it can only replace a fraction of the 140 billion gallons of gasoline that Americans consume every year. It will take a mix of technologies to achieve energy independence and reduce the country's production of greenhouse gases.
NO!!! REALLY???? what a genius...
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That means doubling the fuel economy of our automobiles, expanding mass transit and decreasing the amount of energy it takes to light, heat and cool our buildings. Without such measures, ethanol and other innovations will make little more than a dent in the nation's fossil fuel consumption.
ABSOLUTELY!!!

Bottom line, we need to continue supporting the growth of it, be be real about it. Is ethanol a save all? No, but it helps. Running these flex fuel vehicles really isn't the answer either, but until there is suitable enough supply. that is the best choice. If we don't continue with the ethanol or any other alternative fuels, we will be stuck with the petro fuels, and if it is true that it is a finite amount of that, when it does run out, we all would be wishing there was ethanol to run on. If the crisis in New Orleans with gas shortages is any indication, we need to keep moving forward, it will improve given time.

Last edited by Fellro; 03-12-2007 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:54 AM
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Fellro,

Nice write up on your post above.

Is there anything in the Yahoo news story that was correct and accurate?

Seems like you could send your post above (in an email or letter) to the papers and Yahoo and have them print what you did above? Based on your post, there is nothing factual about the story? If so, people need to see and hear the opposing view/side of the story.

Thanks for the "other view" as I now will know what to consider when I read stories on ethanol and bio-diesel.
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:17 PM
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Not all of it was crap, but they continually regurgitate the same old crap. I don't disagree that corn ethanol is not the end all answer. It is but a stepping stone to get where we need to be. I have argued this until I am sick of it over to the know it alls on FTE, as well as other places, but those kinds of people are so closed minded and have gone for what the media and oil industry feeds them, they don't listen to it at all. I get discredited because I live in Iowa and also on a farm, so it gives me a bias in their eyes. It doesnt matter what the facts are. It's like saying someone from outside the field needs to state it before it can be true, basically, the oil companies need to endorse it before it is true. Like it or not, Big oil does have a LOT more money to play with, so they will buy stories and do what they can to discredit anything that may take a chunk of their profits, that's just business. We all moan and complain about it, but that's the bottom line, it is business, and all of us want to have as much profit as we can in our dealings too, so it isn't much of a stretch to believe that they would do so as well.
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:12 PM
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Jeff, you have to understand one thing, Oil companies are driving the release from Yahoo. It is protecting their interest, just like any other lobbiest group. Like everything though, there are 3 sides to every story, the Liberals are just as much to blame for trying to mandate things which has set back alternative fuels about 2-3 years by artifically inflating prices by mandating their usage. (It happened here in LA already, which is very unfortunate ) You have to give people a reason to change, money is what motivates all of us. While methanol/ethanol has its own unique assortment of problems, Bio-Diesel is a direct swap which loses no BTU content.

I will correct a previous post, as it is untrue. Methanol is not corrosive. If it were, DOT would not allow us to inject it into regulated and unregulated Natural Gas pipelines during the winter to keep them from freezing up if it were.
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:02 AM
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Methanol racers have to run magnesium carb housings as well as stainless steel lines, while ethanol can run with aluminum and regular steel lines. Which one sounds more corrosive?
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