Ethanol as a Green Fuel? Yeah... Not So Much Apparently

Jim

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"For over a decade, the US has blended ethanol with gasoline in an attempt to reduce the overall carbon pollution produced by fossil fuel-powered cars and trucks. But a new study says that the practice may not be achieving its goals. In fact, burning ethanol made from corn—the major source in the US—may be worse for the climate than just burning gasoline alone."

Link to article.
Link to Study.


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I'm going to have to read this one. I knew corn ethanol was environmentally bad, but I didn't suspect it a global warming contributor, assuming that's what it says. There's also the 30 cents a gallon tax subsidy on a gallon of corn gas, the biggest reason E0 casts you more.
 
Nothing really new there. The corn producing states think it is great. I read years ago it takes more energy to produce it than it gives.
One good thing is it will make the supply of oil last longer. There is only so much crude oil in the earth.
 
I knew corn ethanol was environmentally bad, but I didn't suspect it a global warming contributor, assuming that's what it says.
They don't pin it down Marty. Best case it's a wash. Worst case it's slightly contributing. Either way it ain't helping. One thing that jumped out at me was the increase in fertilizer use contributing substantially...

"After the fertilizer was applied, it released a significant amount of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas that warms the atmosphere 300 times more than the same amount of carbon dioxide over 100 years. The researchers’ estimates of the carbon impact of the fertilizer are probably low, too, since the authors didn’t calculate how much additional pollution the manufacturing process released or the extent to which degraded water quality in downstream waterways released more greenhouse gases."
 
So will solar panels and windmills. :whistle:
True. What's your point. EV's will save on the amount of gas being used. It will all help.
Hydro plants also are very good clean producers of energy. Been around for over a hundred years yet we don't build them anymore.
 
I should clarify my point. Ethanol is helping to save a non-replenishing fuel source. You are right EV's are the future. Just wish we didn't use so much coal and natural gas to make the electricity to run them. Solar, wind and all the other technologies to make electricity are also the future.
Kind of like back in the day you drank draft beer the night or 2 before payday so you wouldn't run out of money and have to stop drinking.
 
This is from an old article. 2006............makes the question of, "why continue with an inefficient product", all the more important.

https://grist.org/article/biofuel-some-numbers/

For net energy yield, ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil is in a class all by itself, yielding over 8 units of energy for each unit invested in cane production and ethanol distillation. Once the sugary syrup is removed from the cane, the fibrous remainder, bagasse, is burned to provide the heat needed for distillation, eliminating the need for an additional external energy source.

U.S. corn-based ethanol, which relies largely on natural gas for distillation energy, comes in a distant third in net energy efficiency, yielding only 1.5 units of energy for each energy unit used.
 
I should clarify my point. Ethanol is helping to save a non-replenishing fuel source.
Ethanol was sold to us as a way to reduce greenhouse gasses. So it saves oil for future generations. If we don't get greenhouse gasses under control, won't be no future generations to burn it. At least not in any way we recognize today.
 
If we could wean ourselves off sugar then making Ethanol out of sugarcane would make it much more environmentally friendly and would go a long way towards carbon reduction.

Wont have to increase land area to produce more ethanol as it is just a switch from producing sugar to ethanol.

Less chemical use due to sugar cane not requiring so much as others

The biggest advantage using sugarcane is, using its own byproduct, (bagass), as power for the conversion.

Running Sugercane mills can be completely carbon neutral, due to using sugarcane byproduct, (bagass), to fire the mill. The local, (Tully), mill has been used in the past to create the electrical supply for the town after cyclones have gone through the area. The last cyclone damaged mains power to the town for 2 weeks.
Using the bagass it fired up and produced power to the whole town.
 
I read or heard someplace that we had a 200 year supply of oil remaining and maybe more coal than that. We have some time and please don't beat me up over my accuracy or lack there of. I'm not suggesting we use it all up. We do have time to come up with real solutions that aren't creating more damage in the name of doing something. The question is how to move forward without forcing unproven tech on everyone. It's an interesting topic. As I said before, I just wanna ride my motor sickle, until I can't and I prefer to do it ethanol free. Peace y'all.
 
I read or heard someplace that we had a 200 year supply of oil remaining and maybe more coal than that. We have some time and please don't beat me up over my accuracy or lack there of. I'm not suggesting we use it all up. We do have time to come up with real solutions that aren't creating more damage in the name of doing something. The question is how to move forward without forcing unproven tech on everyone. It's an interesting topic. As I said before, I just wanna ride my motor sickle, until I can't and I prefer to do it ethanol free. Peace y'all.

Not beating you up Marty.

The problem is we have had the time make changes If only a portion of money spent on arms was spent on solutions to global warming we would have some solutions by now. Not just picking on the US here but if 1% of the 770 billion was spent on funding for global warming, the chances are solutions would have been found

Resistance from conglomerates, who have known and hid the fact they were creating a global warming and climate change problem through their continued use of fossil fuels. This is another tobacco cancer type cover up.

Also resistance by gov'ts to do something so they could keep-up the pretense it would cost to much and hurt the average citizen..............Australia still wont stop the mining and advancement of coal. We claim to add only 1.3% to global warming but if you take into account the coal sold overseas and its contribution it jumps up to near 5%

Resistance from the public by going about their business and saying what can i do, or i just want to enjoy my life and not be concerned about something that isn't affecting me now
 
Resistance from the public by going about their business and saying what can i do, or i just want to enjoy my life and not be concerned about something that isn't affecting me now
I don't consider myself to be one of those people. I've done plenty of recycling in the past. I don't do much of it now because I can't do it effectively here. Our house is new and energy efficient. I'm wearing a sweater rather than keep the thermostat at tropical paradise. We drive two fuel efficient cars, both over 30 mpg and I work at least half time from home. We severely reduced or eliminated processed food from our diet and in turn, severely curtailed what we send to the landfill each week. I still want to run my gasoline powered motorcycle to the edge of the earth.
 
There is another factor into the equation
The gasoline will never end ,But no one can afford the last gallon.
A couple of years ago At a bike meet a man said his wife had a part time job not so many hours and sometimes
Split up over the day.
He said with these fuel prices and low wages what is the sense go to work One might as well get a goat and och couple och chickens wife stay at home.

This winter we had some cold periods. .And the infrastructure was not good enough to transfer electricity so prices skyrocketed
No wind so the wind powered systems did not work Solar energy ?? Hell no ... far North ... the sun does not even go up
And South only a few hours a day. the 4 -5 days a month it is not Cloudy.
The Diesel allegedly is the worlds most expensive .So people living in remote areas where a car is a must and have electric need for heating
Took a severe beating .. the goat and the chicken calculus is going on.
We have a party " Environment Party " but they currently have few Friends :And the talks are about more Nuclear power.

So the petrol consumption will go down i do believe .. With higher prices. And people trying to make ends meet . Where it is possible will use public transportation or smaller vehicles .. Reducing emissions
The car was not always something everyone owned. Even in the mid 60 ies there were small cars 800 cc Fiat 1200 Volkswagen
1800 Volvo.
People went to work on Bicycles Mopeds and small Motorcycles. to a large extent at least end 50 ies.
These solutions might not work at all places .But people traveled less back then. In smaller vehicles And can do so again.

The politician that tells people that have 50 - 60 hours workweek including commuting ..and expensive fuel costs and electricity .
You're on your Own your property is worth less. It is to far out Might as well not run at the election.
Subsidizes are talked about . But prizes are going up and wages down.

I would be surprised if not customers starts asking for vehicles the working man can afford . Be it electric or Petrol smaller.
Not sure if vehicles is even a big factor but the point is that the market and pricing can to some extent regulate it.
 
IIRC Global natural carbon budget is 455 trillion tons. Those tons cycle into the atmosphere and back to the earth. Growing, dying, rotting, burning and growing again. That includes plant and animal life. Volcanoes add a bit into that 455 trillion tons. Human fossil fuel use and cement production adds about 40 trillion tons, just under 10%, that doesn't fit into the natural budget. 10% extra seems to be too much. To that end the US and Europe and some other economies are steadily reducing our carbon footprints which is right and proper. However emerging economies are steadily increasing their footprints because lights and AC are really wanted in Asia, Africa and South America. The number is staggering, 800 (?) new coal plants to come on line in China in the next decade. Smaller economies, NZ and AU and others, are not mentioned because the relative size is less consequential (but still important).
 
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