Ethanol - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-29-2007, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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We just had a discussion on ethanol on the Tompkins Sustainability
listserv, and I would like to share one of the most interesting inputs from
an employee of an independent energy firm in our area:

At Cornell, a study has shown the inefficiency of ethanol; please see:

<>Biomass for biofuel isn't worth it

"It seems as if the final word on energy efficiency is still out.
Pimental, who is widely and correctly quoted, is viewed as an extremist.
( He may still be right), Most research indicates a tiny bit of positive
energy produced with corn to ethanol9 10-20%, and a little better for
Biodiesel from soybeans.

Some interesting articles are listed below:

Drunk on Ethanol- Audubon Society:
<>Audubon: Incite
"But the reformulated-gasoline program has turned out to be a colossal
failure, and the ethanol industry has transmogrified into a sacrosanct,
pork-swilling behemoth that gets bigger and hungrier with each feeding.
Ethanol dirties the air more than it cleans it. Its production requires
vast plantings of corn, which wipe out fish and wildlife by destroying
habitat and polluting air, soil, and water. Of all crops grown in the
United States, corn demands the most massive fixes of herbicides,
insecticides, and chemical fertilizers, while creating the most soil

"Does it take more energy to make ethanol than is contained in ethanol?
That question continues to haunt the ethanol industry even after 27
years of expanding production. Over the years more than 20 scientific
studies have examined the question. This document contains links to the
major studies of the subject completed during the last decade."
<>New Rules Project - Agriculture - The Energetics of Ethanol: An Introduction and Link to Studies

Here is a good article from renewable energy access, by LesterBrown of

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects that distilleries
will require only 60 million tons of corn from the 2008 harvest. But
here at the Earth Policy Institute (EPI), we estimate that distilleries
will need 139 million tons -- more than twice as much. If the EPI
estimate is at all close to the mark, the emerging competition between
cars and people for grain will likely drive world grain prices to levels
never seen before. The key questions are: How high will grain prices
rise? When will the crunch come? And what will be the worldwide effect
of rising food prices?
"From an agricultural vantage point, the automotive demand for fuel is
insatiable. The grain it takes to fill a 25-gallon tank with ethanol
just once will feed one person for a whole year. Converting the entire
U.S. grain harvest to ethanol would satisfy only 16 percent of U.S. auto
fuel needs.

The competition for grain between the world's 800 million motorists who
want to maintain their mobility and its 2 billion poorest people who are
simply trying to survive is emerging as an epic issue. Soaring food
prices could lead to urban food riots in scores of lower-income
countries that rely on grain imports, such as Indonesia, Egypt, Algeria,
Nigeria, and Mexico."

Today's Ithaca Journal has a report on "Mexican President tries to
contain tortilla prices" due to a surge in corn prices driven by the US
ethanol industry. Seems like the riots are about to start...

And Iowa may have to import corn next year, from who knows where?

According to IATP numbers, the biofuel boom - if fulfilled - will
require Iowa to import 200 million bu. of corn, rather than export 670
million bu. as it did in 2005/06. Nebraska would need even more, 421
million bu., to fill its ethanol-made hole."
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-29-2007, 06:59 AM
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My top customer's studies show only sugar cane as a profitable feedstock for ethanol. The whole thing is a scam by corn farmers. Diesel from coal is what is really in our future. BTW- look at the list of badly effected countries, they are all potential sugar cane producers.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-29-2007, 07:03 AM
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I actually just saw a discussion on CNBC and the guy they were interviewing was saying that Ethanol producers are hurting right now. They do not make good money unless the price of oil is at 70 dollars a barrel and with the price of corn up so high now and oil down to 50 to 55 the profits are getting tight in ethanol.

As for the efficiency of ethanol it is widely known that Sugar cane is much better to make ethanol from and we continue to push corn where sugar cane is much better for producing ethanol. I do remember posting a thread on this fact 3 months ago ro so.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-29-2007, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
My top customer's studies show only sugar cane as a profitable feedstock for ethanol. The whole thing is a scam by corn farmers. Diesel from coal is what is really in our future. BTW- look at the list of badly effected countries, they are all potential sugar cane producers.
FTL! We finally agree on something (other than your great shots from Hawaii)!
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