Category Archives: technology: energy

Ethanol, Field of Schemes


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.”


Ethanol and why it’s wrong, part two

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.

Via [Autobloggreen]
[Source: Reuters Foundation]

Ethanol and why it’s wrong

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.

Should Global Warming be a Priority?


I am not saying it is not a valid issue. But… When we look at return on investment and the alternative issues facing us I think it is our responsibility to take a step back and analyze how we can actually make a difference.


When I hear people throw out blanket statements about climate change and the virtues of the Kyoto Protocol, my gut reactions is skepticism. How many people out there can actually tell me what the Kyoto Protocol would actually do in hard numbers? What would the result be? Can anyone tell me?

What if we focused on clean drinking water with the same slick media hype? What about eradicating malaria? How many lives could we save if we could get food to the people that need it?

How many people would be saved now and in the near future if we focused on prescient issues? How many people would be saved if we all pulled together and slowed global warming by lowering the projected trend by 0.07°C in 2050?


Left or Right it don’t matter, look at the money and where it will be used to greatter effect…

Ethanol Production and Water Demand.


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!

From The Fox Hole 6.22.06

Date: 22 June 2006 Thursday

From: General Lee Speaking
Re: From The Fox Hole

From time to time I will send communiqués listed Re: From the Fox Hole. What comes from the Fox Hole? Something you may or may not have heard of, may or may not agree with, regardless it comes from out there beyond the safe digs of one’s domicile.

A car, an engine, a blow torch which runs on water and doesn’t burn your hand.


Mad Cow out of the barn:

Now put on your thinking caps: ” Remember when Canada had their first mad cow out-break? It was the news for a couple of weeks non-stop, “Oh my God the humanity, and on the cover of every major magazine we saw MAD COW IN AMERICA? and the US refused to import Canadian beef, do you remember?”

Then the US had an outbreak and it was like ” Well, no worries, Uncle Sam has it covered, so keep chewing.” And as a kid is to the teat we never looked up.

Now Mad Cow has been reported in the United States for the first time as Spontaneous:

One version of the story

Now the other version of the same story

Now ask yourself, since when has Mad Cow not been something we do not talk about?

Answer: The moment Mad Cow started to appear in the United States, is the moment Mad Cow ceased to be a story.

Copy That.

Gen. L. Speaking

Newbie Blog


Ok this will be my first blog. I have been a big fan of the blogs but never had one myself so bear with me. I have some topics that will actually motivate me into posting on this blog. I am hesitant to do a blog because more often than not my thoughts are reserved for my friends and fam. I am also critical of my self and having a blog would be an exercise in self torture. So with all of that in mind here we go … Please let me know if I start taking this and or myself too seriously. Lord Xenu knows we can’t have that.

What is this blog going to be about?

I have read several definitions for blogging and the one that I like the best is about having a conversation. So I will try to leave it at that, however open ended that is. I figure that will give me some room to move around in this blogosphere.

Let’s get down to brass tacks here and mix some metaphorical thought pudding!

Right now I have been digesting a few articles about new technology in the automotive industry. Mainly about alternative fuel and higher efficiency. If you get bored easily I advise you to skip the next couple paragraphs. One site that I have been following lately is AutoblogGreen, a spin off of a great site Autoblog. Both sites are great and as far as I can tell they aren’t biased. Let me rephrase that, they are biased against stupidity, mismanagement and all things that don’t pertain to the automobile.

There is a great story here about a new engine that uses compressed air from the exhaust in the same way an electric hybrid runs off of the charge created from the engine. They claim it will reduce emissions by 80%.

Ok I am not very schooled in the world of engineering but I read this article and thought I might have stumbled on a magic solution that might change the current supply and demand problem. Am I naive?

My ultimate frustration today is with our politicians and how they are messing around with ethanol and reformulated gas.
Ed Wallace wrote a great article detailing the current problem with ethanol. Among many points he cites the EPA admitting to a federal judge that in fact ethanol will increase smog not reduce it.

So do people care? Are we apathetic until gas hits $3 a gallon?