From Ed Wallace, Fort Worth Startelegram [link]
“Why is ethanol ten to twelve cents more per gallon? Why am I getting taken twice?” — Steve Kirkpatrick, corn farmer, Cedar County, Iowa (Sioux City Journal,July 4, 2006)
…It tickles me that the quote that started this column came from America’s Heartland. Iowa corn farmer Steve Kirkpatrick is infuriated that he’s not making any extra money growing corn to fulfill our ethanol mandate. Yet E10, the same ethanol/gas mixture we use here in the Metroplex, is now selling for more money than regular (non-ethanol-enhanced) gasoline in Iowa. That’s ironic, considering that Iowa is an ocean of corn islanded with ethanol refineries.
Typical of the American ability to blame someone else, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association’s Lucy Norton claimed the rising price of E10 in Iowa on East Coast distribution problems. That, of course, does not explain ethanol’s high price in Iowa; the distribution there, from cornfield to refinery to gas station, can encompass as little as 10 driving miles.
The best irony? Farmers using E10 ethanol are also complaining that they also get lower gas mileage than they did without it. To which I reply: “Welcome to the new reality and mess created by Congress, a mess that Iowa farmers also lobbied to make.”
Here is an interesting article about how ethanol production might effect the commodities markets which in turn would effect the consumers.
Poor could lose out in world ethanol market
Lester Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute said yesterday that the increase in ethanol production around the world could one day hurt the world’s poor as foodstuffs like corn and soybeans are turned into ethanol. Brown said, “This is shaping up as competition between the 800 million people in the world that own automobiles and the 2 billion low-income people in the world, many of whom are already spending over half their income on food.”
One way the poor could be hurt, Brown said, is if the foodstuff prices rise as the commodities become more valuable. The grain-importing nations of Indonesia, Nigeria, Mexico and Egypt, are most vulnerable to an increase in prices, he said. Higher mileage vehicles, better hybrids and working cellulose ethanol production are some solutions Brown put forward.
[Source: Reuters Foundation]
My previous posts on E85, here and here
Where do we start? Lets start with what we have now. My concern with the current E85 blend is that it creates more pollution, is less efficient and will increase the price of common commodities than fossil fuels. Ethanol is being sold by corporations and politicians that are draping themselves in a green cloak. This is my opinion, my bias.
So what would be a better solution? Signs are pointing to cellulosic ethanol. What is it you say? Here is the Department of Energy’s explanation [Link]
Cellulosic ethanol can be made from other forms of plants, mulching, grass clippings, corn stalks and other non fruit bearing parts of plants. Why are we not using it now? The yeild for the process is not worth the effort. So why am I bringing this up? Well the process could be improved with the inclusion of GM plants. That’s Geneticly Modified plants.
Ethically what are the implications of using GM plants to supplement our demand for fuel? I may be premature by raising this subject or behind the curve in regards to the GM conundrum, I don’t know. We are already using GM foods all over the world and the cat is out of the bag. Questions about cross pollination and whether or not we should play god is a topic I am not fully versed in. However I do think this topic needs to be discussed in the open. E85 was never given much scrutiny before it was pushed on us by Washington.
So which lines do we cross and which ones do we hold sacred? Is the jury still out on GM foods? 50 years from now what would the implications be? 100 years?
via AutoblogGreen [LINK]
Biologist David E. Pitts wants farmers, fuel producers, and the government to stop the development of ethanol or at least stop devoting so many resources to the alternative fuel. Why?
-More oil and diesel will be consumed to farm corn fields set aside for ethanol. He calculates it takes seven times more land to produce one year’s worth of ethanol than to feed an average American. The result is more pollution, not less, with ethanol.
-Corn is an inefficient source of simple sugars used in the production of ethanol. Scientists have to develop more costly methods to convert corn when sugar cane is a more effective and simpler source of ethanol.
-He calculates it’ll take five times the amount of land currently set aside for crops in the U.S. to grow enough corn to fuel the current number of cars in the U.S. alone.
-He questions the ethical issue of diverting foodstuff to fuel vehicles when there are more than two billion starving people in the world.
Water demand for ethanol production causes concern.
Eyebrows definitely rose when city planners in Illinois and Iowa realized that approximately 300 million gallons of water would be needed in the production of 100 million gallons of ethanol yearly. Both states are major producers of the alternative fuel at No. 2 and No. 1 respectively.
But scientists reassured state and city governments that while the demand is high, neither will affect state supplies. They point to Chicago, which uses 500 million gallons daily from Lake Michigan. The Illinois cities of Champaign and Urbana, where a nearby ethanol plant is proposed, use 23 million gallons of water daily. The Mahomet Aquifer in Illinois is estimated to contain 13 trillion gallons, more than enough to meet the demands of proposed ethanol plants as well as the needs of the various farms, homes, and industries. Ethanol supporters state corn shortages are more likely to decrease ethanol production than lack of water. Still, ethanol producers acquiesced to do more studies on aquifer supplies to continue the construction of ethanol plants in the cities. -[Source: Associated Press via Detroit News]
Ok at what point does the MSM start addressing the ethanol E85 scam that is being pulled buy our politicians and agrigiant corporations. I am not talking about E10 which most urban dwellers are already using and don’t even know it. I am dumbfounded buy our E85 fixation. A few facts: 20 -30 % less efficient, creates more smog, uses more water, saps the transportation infrastructure resulting in a supply decrease and as a corn derivative will never be produced without affecting the prices of other food products.
Update: It would take 1,215 gallons of water per acre of corn for the conversion process. The yield per acre of corn to ethanol is 405 gallons. That’s per year. So how much would it take to run our country for just one day on ethanol? Here are the numbers, 32,035,500 gallons of ethanol or 791,000 acres of corn, 96,106,500 gallons of water and that is just to process it to ethanol. We still have not touched the amount of water it takes to grow it. So for the yearly amount of water required for an ethanol only market is 34,982,766,000. 35 BILLION gallons of water!