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O/T Corn vs Sugar beets for etahanol

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by GoldEx, Jan 3, 2008.

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  1. GoldEx

    GoldEx Active Member

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    We keep hearing thst the price of corn has gone through the roof due to the increased demand for corn for ethanol. What surprises me is that I havce not heard anything mentioned about sugar beets. From what I have read, there is only about a 3-5% net gain when using corn to make ethanol. That simpoly stated, you burn 100 gallons of ethanol to make 103 to 105. Not a good return. In Brazil, they make it out of sugar cane and get 6:1. 6 gallons for every one burned!!!! That's how you become self sufficient! Does anyone out there know what the sugar content of beets are compared to corn. I can tell you that a sugar beet tastes a whole hell of a lot sweeter than corn! Just curious.

    Jeff
     
  2. Questor

    Questor TS Member

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    Corn and beets are similar in that they are low energy substances. They have a niche for now, but eventually science will find a way to break down high energy substances like switch grass or woody plants. The most promising research today is in enzymes. Some, for example, are derived from tropical termites. The goal is to find an effective enzyme that can be synthesized for high volume work.
     
  3. jimx200

    jimx200 Member

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    This article points out that the cost to produce ethanol from beets is approximately double that of corn.

    http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/pub/sep06/ethanol.htm
     
  4. smokerz

    smokerz TS Member

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    **Takes a more tropical temperature to grow beets.**

    The most productive sugar beet area is the Red River Valley in North Dakota.
     
  5. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't matter, corn or sugar beets.

    Either way, ethanol is a waste of resources for use as a transportation fuel.

    Corn, for example. According to some reports, if we used every acre of possible corn growing farmland, and every last kernel of corn grown in the USA to make ethanol, we'd put about a 6% dent in our petroleum fuel use.

    Then, we'd have to find something else to substitute for all the things corn is now used for.

    Not only that, ethanol is only competitive if it gets significant government subsidy. That means your tax dollars.

    Ethanol is somebody's pipe dream.
     
  6. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    The Farm States' political pipe dream...to be exact.
     
  7. DJM

    DJM Member

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    Enviromentalism is not so much about doing good as feeling good about what you do.
     
  8. noseeam

    noseeam TS Member

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    Here in IL. you can sell next years corn crop now for $4.00 per bushel.

    Some of the big farmers here say corn will go to $5.50 to $6.00 per bushel.
    Net result high meat prices.

    Bo
     
  9. pendennis

    pendennis Well-Known Member

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    See the above link. It details production, etc.

    Dennis
     
  10. Jim101

    Jim101 Active Member

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    The world runs on petroleum and will for the foreseeable future. If the politicians were really serious about energy independence there would be a massive effort to develop oil and gas production in areas we control. They would allow building of a lot more nuclear power stations. The technology to economically replace petro based fuels is just not ready yet, Maybe in 50 years. JMHO.




    Jim
     
  11. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Ethanol for motor fuel not going to keep us out of the middle east but hemp oil for bio-diesel has a lot of promise. The beauty of hemp is that it can be grown on marginal quality land with minimal effort. This will probably become more attractive once the true costs of making ethanol from corn are passed on to the dinner table.
     
  12. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    We should just convert to diesel. There's plenty of oil seed and you can get better MPG AND cleaner air.
     
  13. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    wolfram,

    Not familiar with bio-diesel from hemp.

    The question, like ethanol form corn, is how much hemp needs to be grown to make enough bio-diesel to replace petroleum diesel, and do we have enough land to grow that much, and will the demand to grow hemp displace land available to grow other useful crops?

    Also, hemp is excellent for making rope, but it hasn't been grown for rope for many years since there's the stigma (and may even be laws) of "smoking hemp to get high" and therefore nobody grows hemp.
     
  14. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Tim,

    I don't recall the oil yeild numbers for hemp other than they are several times higher than peanut or soybean. You keyed into the major obstacle though - hemp is associated with pot and therefore not legal to cultivate here in the US. Ironically, the guy that invented the diesel engine - Diesel was his name - designed it to run on vegetable oil. The hemp used for fiber and oil production is not the same species as the cannibis plant that many people like to smoke. In fact cross pollination of the industrial hemp plant and the drug plant ruins the drug production. Yet the stigma persists.

    To answer your question about do we have enough land and what will the true costs be, I think that is something that needs to be tested and proven. There is a lot of development work going on in Canada on hemp oil fuel so the idea has promise.
     
  15. kelly andersen

    kelly andersen TS Member

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    Sad thing about ethanol is your milage drops also when used.I think the figure was 3-6% drop in mileage. I believe I read it cost more and uses more energy to make ethanol.
     
  16. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Ethanol, the grand solution brought to you by the same machine that alerts us to global warming.

    It took about 24 years longer, but Orwell's vision is materializing.

    War is Peace

    Love is Hate.

    Black is White.

    Big Brother loves you.

    This message was brought to you by the Ministry of Truth.

    HM
     
  17. wm rike

    wm rike Member

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    Several points.
    First, only a politician can say "energy independence" with a straight face.
    Second, ethanol especially, and biofuels in general, are not much of a solution, especially as promoted in this country. A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation concluded that biofuels may hurt global economics as they steer resources away from needed food supplies. Looking critically at the infrastructure of biofuel, the OECD noted that "when such impacts as soil acidification, fertilizer use, biodiversity loss, and toxicity of agricultural pesticides are taken into account, the overall impacts of ethanol and biodiesel can easily exceed those of petroleum."
    Meanwhile, Congress is on a rip to see that we plant more and more corn for ethanol. Elections are nigh.
     
  18. Tripod

    Tripod Well-Known Member

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    Iowa man!!
    plus you can smoke the residue from hemp.
     
  19. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, no THC in Hemp. You still have to go gather the ditchweed.

    HM
     
  20. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    Looks like there are some very intelligent and scientific trapshooters who have posted on this thread. No oxymoron!! But...before I retired, the organization for which I worked threw out massive, I mean massive, amounts of paper goods. Could not paper and wood goods somehow be recycled to make methanol as another alternative fuel? I thought the tons of waste each day going into dumpsters etc. was just criminal.

    (I also think a way to become more energy independent is to build more shooting ranges. This way, shooters would drive less to get to the range. I think an enlightened government ought to subsidize THAT!!!)
     
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