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Alternative Fuels - Not all they are cracked up to be!!!

Fellro

Moderator
Staff member
I'm on production side, I do know what he cost of production is, so unless they are gouging out there and using ethanol as an excuse, the cost is the same, just transit cost is the difference. Also, I do know there are cattle growers out there, I've delivered to a few. Not to mention, Pennsylvania is also a big grower for cattle, dairy and poultry as well. Ethanol isn't only produced from corn either, just that is the prominent US crop. Corn is grown in all 50 states, just not at the same levels. Sugar beets, potatoes, any starchy crop can be used, but I was referring more to food costs. In all reality, fuel prices have more to do with higher food costs than ethanol does. It takes fuel to transport it, but also to produce the food, both in the fields, the barns, the processing plants, as well as the grocery stores.
Here is some info on New York's corn and dairy production...NY ag stats and info
Some more..Corn stats in NY
 
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now i feel foolish. i hadn't heard of this co. but the article does point out issues. it's a decent read though.
http://dailygazette.com/news/2007/dec/25/1225_ethanol/

"ALBANY — Thanks to easy access to corn-based ethanol from Logibio Albany Terminal at the port of Albany, the Capital Region is quickly becoming fueled with E10 blend...."
"Ethanol raises the octane level in gas without polluting groundwater when spilled, although Ethanol refineries do produce more toxic emissions than MTBE refineries, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.

Actually using corn-based ethanol for fuel, however, is thought to have a net zero impact on carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming because corn plants absorb as much CO2 as burning the fuel emits. Most cars are able to burn E10 fuel with only a slightly negative impact on fuel economy. It’s also relatively cheap to obtain in the Capital Region."
 

Fellro

Moderator
Staff member
By no means is it a perfect solution, it comes with problems, as does any other form of energy. The nitrites angle is being worked on from what I understand, in that they are working on fertilizers that will bond to the soil better, and not run off. The processes need to be more efficient, and less toxic. I worked next to an ethanol plant for a while the fumes are nasty. The only good point about the fumes is that they do not stay together forever, they do degrade, just in close contact, they are bad news. So there is room for improvement, but unfortunately, in our markets, if they don't sell it now, they won't work towards those goals for the future, so we have to deal with it for now until either the process is improved to where it isn't an issue, or a different, better source is found and implemented. What is on the table right now all have their problems, no matter it be coal, wind, solar, petro, or ethanol. My thoughts are that if we can integrate these systems to work together, lessen the load on any one, it may be the best way. Until something like cold fusion can come into use, this is what we have to work with.
 

A_G

wuh?
3,188
74
Tulsa, Ok
i know this thread is old. But ive said it once and ill say it again.

If we could get gas down to 89 cents to 1.29 in the summer like it was when i was 10. Id be willing to skull**** a baby seal to get it...

That line used to say polar bear..but that would just look wrong.
 

bucks77ford

We will Rise Again
Consumer Prices would still be high even if Ethanol wasn't being produced and corn prices would still be below $2.00 per bushel and fuel would still be what it is today. What would happen to crop production with the high fuel prices? Farmers wouldn't be able to put it into the ground, irrigate it, or harvest it. So then the supply goes down and price goes up anyway.

I'm all for alternative fuels. It's the best thing we can do. I agree though, that ethanol has to be made from other crops than just corn so it can be readily available. Alternative fuels are the only thing that is going to bring prices of everything down, IMO.
 

polarbear

just growing older not up
12,878
605
Boring, Oregon
For the sake of converation, I'm going to throw a few thoughts out there.

1) Higher corn (and grain) prices are sending grocery bills through the friggin' roof out here. There aren't more than four or five stations that sell Ethanol in the entire States of Oregon and Washington, so the fuel itself is a non-starter. The only time we feel it is at the grocery store. And folks are pretty darned cranky about it.

2) I'm not aware of any governments that were toppled because of rising energy prices. Food staples, on the other hand- dozens. Watch this play out in the developing third world in the next few months/years. There's the real nightmare playing out.

As a side note, Congress conveniently ignored the fact that we are home to the largest coal deposits in the world. The real solutions here, IMO, are nuclear and coal.
 

Gunner

Charter Member
1,480
57
Billings
Ethanol isn't a bad option in and of itself. The question is, what do you make it out of?

Food (Corn etc): Bad move. Drives food prices up. Farmers love it because it makes them money, but it's a bad idea for everyone else.

Biomas(wood pulp etc): Better idea: We could start making it from sawdust from lumbermills, recycled paper, or any other waste product from agriculture or garbage. Thats a win/win. You dispose of the waste, and clean up a lot of nasty stuff.

Natural Gas: When I was in New Zealand they had a synthetic gasoline plant over there. It took natural gas directly from wellheads to a plant that converted that natural gas to ethanol. Then they piped the liquid ethanol downstream to another plant to convert it to synthetic gasoline. Cars didn't know the difference. The reason why the plant failed was the Government over there financed this plant at 60 dollar a barrel oil when oil was at 40. But it can be done.

Some things I've seen that are do able, or, in the case of the synthetic gas, I've seen done

Gunner
 
I agree with both of you guys (Ernie and Gunner).

First, let the free market take over with Coal and Nuclear energy...seeing as they're very cost effective producers of electricity.

Second, put large subsidies/government-awards tied to technology dealing with Biomass. Biomass can work for the farmer's sake too, scientist estimate there is a ton of energy in the stalk of the corn plant.
 

Fellro

Moderator
Staff member
May want to get things in perspective a bit here. First of all, oil prices being what they are, the crop prices would be higher even without ethanol. Why is that? Because petroleum is currently used to make the anhydrous ammonia fertilizer, as well as the fuel to plant it, harvest it, and all the other aspects of production. This would translate to higher food prices all the same. Anhydrous has gone up 200% since last year, seed prices are higher, herbicides and insecticides are higher, land prices are higher, equipment prices are higher, so there is absolutely no way that the grain prices would stay low. Last year was the first in a long time our tenants did more than just cover their costs. My father wants to raise the rent all the time because he sees the same the rest of the nation does, grain prices are high, so they must be making lots of money, but he as everyone else, is forgetting to notice that the input costs are also higher. Ethanol has nothing to do with it, since the corn production would be at the levels they are anyway. We have record exports of grains as well, which also will drive the prices up. Anyone have a guess where those exports might be going????
 
k, here comes the hippie. ANYTHING made from a carbon-based substance (i.e. anything from the ground- corn, oil, etc.) will burn to produce CO2. This is what's causing global warming. Yeah, getting off oil is extremely important, but jumping to another carbon-based fuel is certainly not the final answer.

There's a small cooperation in England/Britain who is trying to change all this. They are trying to change the traditional engine to something very similar to an air compressor, just on a much larger scale. The pros to this is that you would NEVER have to fuel up again and if you had a "air" leak, you just get it patched up and fill it back up with AIR. The second positive thing is that the way the air compressor works, the compressor holds cooling properties to where if everyone (or the majority, or half even) switched to these "air compression" cars, we could REVERSE global warming bc we'd be cooling the atmosphere off. Crazy, right??!?! Plus the cost of the car would be about $16g. So awesome.

The cons of it is that the smallest they can make the car is about the size of a Ford Fusion (not too small, so ppl used to small cars would have to adjust). Also, they're concerned about the noise put off by the cars. Lastly, they're working on improving the horse power of them.

It's a step in the right direction. They're on sale in Europe in very limited distribution. Amazing tho, right?

There's my hippie rant 'peace'
 
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