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October 25, 2014, 03:04:54 PM
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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  Would you use ETHANOL? « previous next »
Poll
Question: Would you use ETHANOL?
YES - 2 (14.3%)
NO - 7 (50%)
MAYBE - 3 (21.4%)
I'll drink it. - 1 (7.1%)
What's ethanol? - 1 (7.1%)
Total Voters: 12

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Author Topic: Would you use ETHANOL?  (Read 1428 times)
CheezeFlixz
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« on: June 21, 2008, 02:32:47 AM »

OK read up before you vote!

I was out looking at E85 (85%ethanol 15% gas) 1 ton work trucks, E85 is about 60 cents a gallon cheaper than gas around here, but the truck is only $45,000.00 so after driving about 800,000 miles I'll see a saving provided I live that long or the truck last that long. So I'm not buying a new truck. the math just doesn't work for me.

Anywho, the Gov'munt wants us to start producing ethanol so we can get off the crack oil. Well let us take a look at the benefits of these miracle fuels. Having been looking at truck I thought I'd educate myself to the savings and benefits. I do make a effort to be green, I'm just not going to cut my nose off to spite my face. So you know I'm all for reducing fossil fuel use and finding cleaner, renewable energy that WORKS, REALLY WORKS. So you have folks in Washington on both side aisle touting the benefits of ethanol, most of these folks are in corn growing states. I wonder why? Have they ever researched the facts? I think not.

Ethanol doesn't work mathematically and in money and numbers.

Ethanol is made primarily from corn, corn is used to feed cow, chickens, hogs, people and used in 1000's of food and other products. The less corn used to make foods and feed animals the higher to cost at the grocer and many other corn based products will be. That's a no brainer, so from corn flakes to golf tees that are made from corn will go up in cost. The government would like 25% of all cars on the road to run on ethanol according to a resent report, ok that's great BUT that would require dedicating 270,000,000 acres or 13% of the US's land mass to corn production just to make ethanol alone. Where are we going to grow food to eat? The remaining 87% is not all 100% tillable.

But that's not the worst of it, oh no ...

Ethanol can produce 76,000 BTUs per gallon, but requires 98,000 BTUs per gallon to produce that's a net loss of energy. Hardly a path to energy independence. It also requires over 1700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol ... (currently not a problem in the midwest)
For the record gasoline contains 116,000 BTUs per gallon and requires 22,000 BTUs to produce, a net gain.
Net gains are good, net losses are bad in my world.

Containing less BTU's also mean it is less fuel efficient and you will need more ethanol to travel the same distance on a gallon of gas. 35% more to be exact, so if I can drive a work truck that gets 10 miles to the gallon a 100 miles on 10 gallons of gas, I'd need 13.5 gallons of ethanol. These negates any savings at the per gallon cost.

What about the other stuff you can make it from? Well corn ethanol, switchgrass ethanol, and wood ethanol consume 29%, 45%, and 57% respectively more BTUs of fossil-fuel energy in their production, than they produce when they're burned as fuel.

In short a bushel of corn sales for currently $7.62 it can produce 2.5 gallons of ethanol (USDA) now that's $3.04 a gallon just for the raw product prior to converting it to ethanol and getting it to the station, so why does ethanol sell for less than gas? Well, tax dollars at work that's how, the taxpayer subsidizes ethanol at the rate of 51 cents a gallon according to the USDA, however, Corn ethanol subsidies totaled $7.0 billion in 2006 for 4.9 billion gallons of ethanol. That's $1.45 per gallon of ethanol ... not a bargain and a tad more than 52 cents the government claims. 

Here is a chart of how green are biofuels. Just FYI.



The image is heavily resized so here's a linky to it ..

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/dayart/20080503/biofuels_compare.gif


Franky I think Hydrogen is the way to go ... but what do I know I just swing a hammer.
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Jack
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2008, 07:14:27 AM »

Well, I was going to say yes but now you've talked me into maybe.  On the one hand, anything to take a buck out of the pockets of OPEC, but on the other hand, I may pay less for ethanol but of course that's just because I'm not seeing the gov't subsidies coming out of my tax dollars.  With all the political BS of people in corn growing states pushing this stuff, I can easily see prices of food going up, and when the gov't subsidies end the ethanol will go up, and we'll be more screwed than we are now.  But the politicians will have gotten lots of nice contributions, so all is well with the world, as usual.

I wasn't really planning on getting an ethanol vehicle anyway, I don't even think they're practical now with no ethanol stations and I've never seen one for sale.  A nice little hybrid will probably be my next car.  Provided I can find one that's not too hideous.  Ultimately what I'd like to see is electric cars, and all the Middle East terrorists panhandling on street corners for a buck to buy box cutters with.
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akiratubo
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2008, 03:56:51 PM »

My Saturn can run on E85.  I did the math and I save about one cent per mile over 87 octane (at current prices), so I've been using E85.  My turbo Bug simply LOVES the high octane of E85.

Corn is not an economically viable source of ethanol, though, no doubt about it.  I've been reading about techniques to make fuel ethanol from switchgrass, agricultural waste, and other sources that look promising.
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2008, 08:09:31 PM »

My father, a former engineer, goes apopleptic whenever anyone mentions ethanol.  I'll quote him from his latest rant:

"I personally didn't foresee the environmental damage that an ethanol based energy policy has created but is was easy to predict the impact on food prices.
    What still boggles my mind is the fact that corn based ethanol fuel is a net energy loss!!! This is not new information to our nation. Why has it been ignored for so long?
    (P.S. At [a plant I worked at in the 1980s] I was in charge of a power plant that burned ethanol/methanol to produce steam. Those fuels burned cleanly and easily but we could only burn them as a very low per cent of the total fuel mix because their low caloric content . The economics were favorably only because they were waste by-products. So we fulfilled a waste disposal objective for "free" so to speak. We would have thought it ludicrous to consider burning alcohol as an intended fuel.)"

But I still voted "maybe".  I think it's bad energy policy, and a scam perpetrated by Midwestern farmers, but I'm not going to go out of my way to boycott it when it shows up at my local gas station.
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Patient7
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2008, 11:15:00 PM »

After being educated I voted no, I say we just get Civics (the Prius even sounds gay) until they develop a car that runs on hydrogen.  However I did read about this experimental car in sweden, it runs on  BuggedoutCOMPRESSED AIR Buggedout sounds crazy, but people are working on putting a compressed air powered air compressor in the car so people don't even need to stop for anything but food and rest.
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2008, 03:28:29 AM »

I use ethanol all the time. It's really a great way to spice up parties or other social situations.

As fuel it always sounded a bit silly to me. I think it's at best a stop-gap solution until they figure out something that works. The only thing it really has going for it is that it's a renewable resource. It may take more energy to make today, but we can at least keep making it. Eventually oil will be ridiculously expensive, and ethanol could serve as an alternative. I don't think it will be the one that succeeds. As you say, too much energy for too little return, as well as the fact that the price of food is not going to be dropping either.

My opinion is that alternative fuels would not be explored until the price of gasoline became too expensive to ignore, which seems to have become the case. So now people are furiously looking into the alternatives; and whoever does find an actual feasible plan that works will be sitting on a gold mine. Research is definitely happening.

What I would like to see is a weaning away from dependence on a personal vehicle. I'm not saying we shouldn't have them, obviously they are wonderful. However, I live in Phoenix which is designed in such a way that a vehicle is almost a necessity for day-to-day living. They're working on a mass transit system, besides the city buses (which are awful), and hopefully it takes off. What is needed is a radical rethinking of civic planning. Mass transit needs to become a workable alternative. Here in Phoenix it is not an acceptable way to transport yourself. (How would you like your commute to work, a few miles away, to take several hours?)

The idea of reliance on the personal transportation convenience of the car is no longer an acceptable reality.

Of course, we are speaking of a lot of money being put down right now for a somewhat shaky future benefit. But if that is what has to happen, well it has to happen. Acceptable mass transit is the way to go, unless of course somebody comes up with a completely new and cheap fuel solution. Even if that happened, a new mass-transit oriented infrastructure would still be a good idea.

So, to sum up: Oil, still cheaper than ethanol production, but due to limited supply will eventually not be the case. Ethanol; would you rather drive than eat? And we're still not saving you much money (at the moment). Brand new energy source! Great idea, let me know when you find one. Workable mass transit: also a great idea, but you are going to have to pay us a lot of money right now to save later (the new light-rail system in Phoenix? Money sink.).

We'll be living in one of those choices sometime soon. Which one will work? I don't know. If I did I'd be making millions in the stock market.
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Newt
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 09:00:15 AM »

Ethanol can produce 76,000 BTUs per gallon, but requires 98,000 BTUs per gallon to produce that's a net loss of energy. Hardly a path to energy independence. It also requires over 1700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol ... (currently not a problem in the midwest)
For the record gasoline contains 116,000 BTUs per gallon and requires 22,000 BTUs to produce, a net gain.
Net gains are good, net losses are bad in my world.

Containing less BTU's also mean it is less fuel efficient and you will need more ethanol to travel the same distance on a gallon of gas. 35% more to be exact, so if I can drive a work truck that gets 10 miles to the gallon a 100 miles on 10 gallons of gas, I'd need 13.5 gallons of ethanol. These negates any savings at the per gallon cost.

What about the other stuff you can make it from? Well corn ethanol, switchgrass ethanol, and wood ethanol consume 29%, 45%, and 57% respectively more BTUs of fossil-fuel energy in their production, than they produce when they're burned as fuel.

This is the final nail for me.  The net 'gain' simply does not exist; not even in terms of 'green'-ness.  But that key point is not mentioned very often.  All we get is the hype.
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2008, 03:13:25 AM »

No, I wouldn't, no sir.

In the early 1980's in Zimbabwe, they decided to make their own petrol as South Africa had blocked fuel transports to the newly independent country. This was a horrible mix of leaded gasoline and ethanol called "Blend" and it proceeded to bugger up carburettors and fuel lines left, right and centre. Terrible stuff.  Buggedout
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2008, 11:24:28 AM »

After being educated I voted no, I say we just get Civics (the Prius even sounds gay) until they develop a car that runs on hydrogen.  However I did read about this experimental car in sweden, it runs on  BuggedoutCOMPRESSED AIR Buggedout sounds crazy, but people are working on putting a compressed air powered air compressor in the car so people don't even need to stop for anything but food and rest.

Honda already produced a car that can run on hydrogen while it's now in limited mass production, they expect to have it be fully mass produced in the next 10 years.  I first saw it while watching the Indy Japan 300 about 2 months ago.  I think it was a major first for Honda to release a car in the United States before releasing it in Japan.  It's called the Honda FCX Clarity.   
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Patient7
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2008, 03:57:57 PM »

After being educated I voted no, I say we just get Civics (the Prius even sounds gay) until they develop a car that runs on hydrogen.  However I did read about this experimental car in sweden, it runs on  BuggedoutCOMPRESSED AIR Buggedout sounds crazy, but people are working on putting a compressed air powered air compressor in the car so people don't even need to stop for anything but food and rest.

Honda already produced a car that can run on hydrogen while it's now in limited mass production, they expect to have it be fully mass produced in the next 10 years.  I first saw it while watching the Indy Japan 300 about 2 months ago.  I think it was a major first for Honda to release a car in the United States before releasing it in Japan.  It's called the Honda FCX Clarity.   

That's amazing, I can't wait for it to become a commodity.
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