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The Great Ethanol Scam

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by BFJ201, May 19, 2009.

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  1. BFJ201

    BFJ201 TS Member

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    More government at work.

    James

    Edit: Apparently I placed the URL in the Wrong Box
     
  2. Jollytrapshooter

    Jollytrapshooter Member

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    I assume you were trying for this http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/may2009/bw20090514_058678.htm

    You ask any farmer here in Iowa and they think that Ethanol is the greatest thing ever...well the plant that's just north of me probably uses more energy than it produces. At night, they seem to think they need to light it up like it's daylight out. Also, from what I've read, they use quite a bit of natural gas to turn the corn into ethanol. Great idea, isn't it? Josh
     
  3. Mismost

    Mismost TS Member

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    I've read of production models that used corn for the mash to distill, then feed the spent mash to cattle, and then cow manure to produce methane gas to power the stills, and finally spread the spent manure on the corn fields as fertilizer.

    It would be simpler to raise the cost of exported corn to equal the cost of imported oil!
     
  4. Hauxfan

    Hauxfan Well-Known Member

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    I have stuck with regular gas. In Minnesota, you don't have a choice, but you do in Iowa.

    Some of our farmer legislatures wanted to mandate all ethanol fuel for Iowa, but the hue and cry was to much for them to overcome.

    If you buy ethanol instead of regular gas, you won't get as good mileage.

    If they would end the subsidy of ethanol, it would cost about 50 cents more a gallon than gas. Paid for by all of us taxpayers......

    Hauxfan!
     
  5. Jim Porter

    Jim Porter Well-Known Member

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    OK folks stop and think for just a minute---how many days a year do the oil companies pump crude out of the ground?? 365 x 24 hours. How many days a year does a farmer gather corn??? About a week if he is a BIG farmer. If all the corn raised in Mississippi (and we are not a really big corn state) were fed just to chickens in Mississippi poultry production how long would it last??? About 10 days. Ethanol from corn is feel good legislation and will NEVER work. There may be something out there that will but not corn!
     
  6. wm rike

    wm rike Member

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    There are other problems.

    Ethanol manufacture requires between 4 and 10 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol. With a small ethanol plant putting out 100,000 gallons per day, communities are starting to realize that it places a strain on their water resources. To my knowledge, there are not yet any regulations in place that require a study of the effects a plant would have on local water supplies.

    Massive amounts of CO2 are produced in the manufacture of ethanol, and that's why, from a pollution standpoint, ethanol is no better than burning fossil fuel. In the meantime, the EPA is supposed to be maneuvering to have CO2 declared a toxic substance (no more soft drinks, kids).

    What a mess. I'm not as afraid of the oil lobby as I am the corn lobby.
     
  7. skeet100

    skeet100 Member

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    Typical government

    Find something that needs to die and pump a Trillion of "free" dollars into it. Their friends get wealthy. Become big campagin contributors. Then we see the need for more trillions because it's such a great thing and we already have so much invested another Trillion is the only rational thing to do.


    we are screwed............


    Only your enemy could come up with a more stupid plan like taking your food and a good gallon of good gas and making .90 of a gallon of inferior product.

    Makes you wonder why it didn't work 30+ years ago.
     
  8. BRGII

    BRGII TS Member

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    Any time you try to make a fuel out of a food product your pissing in the wind. JMHO BRGII
     
  9. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    A large new ethanol plant NW of Portland recently closed. Even with vast sums of taxpayer prop-up money, a ready source of lumber industry waste, and mandatory 10% ethanol in our gas here, they still couldn't make it viable.
     
  10. X2 fan

    X2 fan Active Member

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    That about says it all, Brian.

    Corn-based ethanol needs to go away, NOW.

    Tim
     
  11. Don Steele

    Don Steele Well-Known Member

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    You know the problem...What Have you Done to help make it go away...???!!
    This will have to become our mantra for the next 3 yrs....
    Pumping each other up on the internet is fine, but at the end of the day...the left wing extremists have CLEARLY beaten us at the only game that counts..ORGANIZING for VOTES. VOTES in our state and federal legislatures...AND...VOTES on election day to support our friends, and DESTROY our enemies..!! They've done it to us and if we sit here and pound our keyboards for 3 yrs. we'll be watching another Obama inauguration party and suffering through another 4 yrs. of Socialism during which he will have NO NEED to compromise on any of his extremist ideas.
     
  12. cottondoctor

    cottondoctor Member

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    Everyone here has made some good points – BioFuels may play some role in our future energy supply but that role is yet to be defined as research continues. Ethanol is not that answer – at present more BTU’s are consumed in the production of Ethanol (fuel for production of feedstock {ie. in this case corn}, fertilizer {natural gas is used to produce nitrogen fertilizer}, fuel for transport of feedstock and energy for the ethanol plant itself- etc.) than are produced by the Ethanol. ( more energy in than energy out). If government incentives went away Ethanol plants would go away…………But to the general American Population (which, while many individuals may have high basic IQ's, is largely agriculturally and science based technology illiterate – but think they have a cause) politicians have (successfully) made it sound like Ethanol is good and “Green”…………in the large picture it has been bad – I will not go into great detail but just a sampling is that the Ethanol “smoke screen” driven price of corn has disrupted the acreage allocation to the major row crops across the country thus disrupting the normal infrastructure that was in place to support the routinely grown crop mix and has disrupted the feed cost to our animal industry ----ie the food chain. On and on ------Another example and proof of the adage that a well fed and well entertained society is easily led down any path with a promise to stay well fed and entertained. Unfortunately our American public is very well fed, very well entertained and so complacent that a slick politician can coerce them into giving up freedoms for the promise of being well fed and well entertained. If communism could have fed the people those countries would still be communist………. So, under such BS as coming out of Washington how much longer will the few (productive) work to feed/take care of the many (non-productive living off a Gov promise) ?????
     
  13. Big Heap

    Big Heap TS Member

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    Case for Biofuels Weakens Further
    Energy piece by Guest: Dennis T. Avery
    CHURCHVILLE, VA - Biofuels are a terrible answer to the fuel problem.

    * They force consumers to bid against themselves on food and fuel, artificially driving up the prices of both.

    * Biofuels take huge amounts of land to produce each gallon -and land is the planet’s scarcest resource. Farmers know they must double food and feed production over the next 40 years to adequately feed the expected 8 billion people and we already use most of America’s good farm land.

    * If you believe atmospheric carbon is a problem, be aware that when grassland is converted to cropland to grow biofuels, we incur a “carbon debt” as the stored carbon in the soil gasses into the air. This aggravates greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere - for decades into the future.

    The most urgent problem, however, is the staggering cost of biofuels. Government subsidies for oil and natural gas totaled just 10 cents per megawatt hour in 2007, according to the Energy Information Agency. Converted to electricity, corn ethanol and other biofuels got 19 times as much subsidy per unit of delivered energy - $19.52 per megawatt-hour.

    Coal got 44 cents per megawatt-hour in subsidies during 2007, while wind turbines got $23.37 and solar panels got $24.34 per MW-h!

    Nuclear power produces carbon-free electricity, and is subsidized at only $1.59 per MW-h. However, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu just announced that he won’t open the Yucca Mountain storage facility, so bye-bye to more nuclear power.

    For all those subsidy dollars, the EIA says wind and solar provided only 1.1 percent of our electricity in 2008 - after doubling during the Bush years. They’re now only 0.2 percent of our total energy package. Ethanol displaced just 1.9 percent of our oil use. (My thanks go to Patrick Bedard of Car & Driver for teasing those numbers out of the voluminous EIA data.)

    Cheerleaders for corn ethanol say the diverted corn doesn’t much impact food costs.

    But, even with ethanol plants going bankrupt, corn is still far more expensive than four years ago. As the ethanol mandates expand sharply in the years ahead, expect food prices to rise accordingly. Corn growers may applaud higher prices, but shouldn’t they admit the food-price reality?

    Actually, the U.S. is gaining energy independence in one area - the huge amounts of modestly priced natural gas, from shale, that are now hitting the market. Oil prices are up 12 percent since the beginning of 2009, but natural gas prices are down 41 percent. We’re producing the shale gas with computer-guided horizontal drilling, then “frakking” the shale layers with high-pressure liquids and sand to release more gas. Hugely productive new fields are being developed: Texas (the Barnett shale); Louisiana (the Haynesfield shale); and across Appalachia, from western New York clear down through West Virginia (the Marcellus shale). An industry-backed study sees 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas, enough to last nearly 100 years at current use rates.

    Natural gas, of course, emits about 60 percent as much CO2 per unit as burning coal. “The availability of natural–gas generation enables us to be much more courageous in charting a transition to a low-carbon economy,” says Jason Grumet, an Obama advisor with the National Commission on Energy Policy.

    Expect the sharp increase in natural gas production to flow into more gas-fired power plants, along with a more gradual increase in propane-powered car and truck fleets.

    We can use the same drilling technology for the 400 billion barrels of light, sweet crude oil in the Bakken shale formation that underlies the Dakotas, Montana, and Saskatchewan.

    Can someone remind me why we’re subsidizing corn ethanol?
     
  14. pdq

    pdq Member

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    This is not new info. A number of years ago Consumers Reports did a study which showed that by switching to 10% ethanol fuel, MPG dropped sufficiently to more than offset the blend.

    It's all politics.

    Pete
     
  15. Bruce Specht

    Bruce Specht Well-Known Member

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    Hydrogen cell is the future ethanol like electric hybrids are a stop gap and nothing more. Ethanol from corn is a waste of resources. In order to make ethanol and do it right grasses need to be used far less energy expended to make the product
     
  16. jjv1234

    jjv1234 Member

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    Jeez--there's an awful lot of ethanol bashing going on here so I will input the only positive statement so far.

    If corn ethanol is so bad, then what is your alternative to meet the energy demands? More oil? Natural gas?

    The reason that the government subsidizes corn ethanol today is the key work "renewable". Oil - not renewable; natural gas - not renewable. No one is making more. There are no crude oil trees and dinosaurs aren't making a miraculous comeback. Okay, make the arguement that we have 100 years worth of natural gas and/or oil in reserves. That's still pretty short sighted in the grand scheme and simply pawning off the problem to future generations. The ethanol industry is not the long-term answer to energy needs and it is a proactive step. The whole idea behind the subsidy is to support "renewable", not expendable.

    Besides, would you rather send all of your gas money overseas? With the ethanol industry we are supporting U.S. citizens. Farmers, seed companies, farm equipment suppliers, ethanol plant workers, rural businesses, trucking companies, fuel blenders, etc., not oil sheiks and terrorists.

    I am not saying the government is wise and making all the right decisions and most ethanol professionals know that corn ethanol is not the long term answer to energy independence. We are in an energy transition age and corn ethanol is a stepping stone to finding the next technology or resource that will meet the huge energy demand and without support for the current system that we have, new developments will likely stall. We need to address renewable energy now, while we still have the oil and nat. gas reserves to work with.

    As far as net energy gain, it certainly depends on the source. Ratios vary from just below 1:1 at the low end to 1.5:1 gain on the high end. These figures vary depending on who's data you want to believe. The difference between the numbers lies in how far back in the corn production process does energy usage count? On the low end, experts would have us believe that the actual production (corn growing) process should be counted, i.e. planting, growing, harvesting energy all counts as input, but aren't ethanol plants just an alternative market for corn? This would mean that most of this corn would be grown regardless and the corn production energy inputs were already there. Keep in mind the largest net energy loser IS the oil industry at about .87:1 and that's on the high end.

    Lastly, quality of fuel. I will agree that high and inconsistant amounts of ethanol can be damaging to some vehicles and some vehicles are not designed to run on any ethanol, nonetheless high content. This is where we need to hold fuel blenders (read oil companies) accountable to what is in their tanks and hold auto makers accountable (good luck with that in today's environment, be sure to thank your local union) to developing the engine technology to accomodate ethanol blends.

    We cannot continue to just rely on fossil fuels while turning a blind eye to the need of finding a sustainable, renewable approach to energy. Every type of technology ever produced had some ideas that were vastly improved upon once the prototype (corn ethanol) was developed, studied, and extensively used; anyone still carry a bag-cell phone? Of course not, we have advanced far beyond that and we will with renewable energy, too. Bear with the process.
     
  17. ou.3200

    ou.3200 Well-Known Member

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    Bearing with the process is causing us to use more oil rather than less. In my experience a car running on 10% ethanol will get 10-15% fewer miles to the gallon as compared to pure gasoline so where is the savings? When a viable alternative fuel comes along the government won't have to subsidize it. Ethanol is not the answer.
     
  18. Holeinmypattern

    Holeinmypattern TS Member

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    Funny how none of you are farmers. The price of corn IS higher than 4 years ago but all of our input costs have doubled in the same amount of time. So if you can get the equipment, fertilizer, and seed companies to knock their prices way down then maybe some of us will be willing to listen to your garbage.
     
  19. Dahaub

    Dahaub Active Member

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    Everyone knows I'm liberal as can be and most of you don't like it. I don't care if you like it or not. My view on ethanol is that it shouldn't be used if it takes more energy to make it than it produces. That is only good sense. We in Illinois have to use the damned ethanol in the gas we buy. We do have one thing worse though, that is the bio-diesel. God put that stuff on earth because he got tired of diesel pick up trucks running for years without problems. I have to replace my fuel filter somewhere close to every ten tanks of fuel. The additative we use is about two dollars a tank also. If we were using the old style diesel I have been told by other diesel owners that they literally went for years and never had to change a filter. I don't know I never had the pleasure of going more than ten fill-ups without replacing one of those 25 dollar filters. I'm tired of it and wish those that pushed for all the free federal money on the little ethanol plants and bio-diesel plants had them shoved where the sun don't shine. I have one buddy who knows a station who sells bio-free diesel and he gets his there and also has a 90 gal tank for his truck so he doesn't run out. He has none of the problems that the rest of us do. Damn it's too far for me to run over to fuel up and keep my truck free of the bio-diesel. Dan
     
  20. bocephus

    bocephus Member

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    Dahaub you explained it all in your first sentence......

    Funny how even some liberals know what is right but continue to vote for and condone what our socialist government (that they voted for and support) keeps cramming down our throats. Yes dahaub, you and your ilk are what is wrong with the once great USA! You have gotten what you begged for......and got!...and now don't want?

    jjv, you shouldn't be so shortsighted, we do not know for certain that oil is running out, some experts now believe it is a renewable resource- do some research.
     
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