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Posted: 2/25/2006 10:20:34 AM EDT
Now, I am the first to be leary of jumping on the Ethanol band wagon.

Through my research on the topic it is my understanding that the cost and fuel required for planting, growing, fertilizing, watering, weeding, harvesting, processing, and distilling whatever crop you use to make the stuff is greater than the amount of fuel/energy that is derived from the process.

With that being said, how do you factor in the intangibles of the process. Is there a way or method in economics to do this?

For example, I think getting off foreign oil would be great. I would love to "stick it" to Saudi, Venezuela, and everyone else. That in turn, I think would reduce the dollars that terrorists are funeled. It would reduce the power held by extremists, and would help alliviate some of the issues that would arise from the oil cartel switching to a Euro based system.

Also, being energy independant, kind of correlated to the above, but slightly different. I think that immediately speaking, it would not really be calculable, but long term could have some huge benefits.

To my knowledge, these types of things are not calculated into traditional economic equations of which I am aware.

So, how are these types of issues brought into the discussion to make the process of "Swithing Over" more economically feasible?

Link Posted: 2/25/2006 10:30:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Yossarian:
Through my research on the topic it is my understanding that the cost and fuel required for planting, growing, fertilizing, watering, weeding, harvesting, processing, and distilling whatever crop you use to make the stuff is greater than the amount of fuel/energy that is derived from the process.



That is what some people claim but it is false because from the start they set out to prove a net energy loss. They say not only do you have to figure in all those cost but then you have to figure in the cost of building the ethanol plants, of making the concrete the goes into the plants, of transporting the concrete to the plants, of making the steel to make the cement trucks...ects going all the way back until they rack up enough energy use to prove their point. The bottom line is if all those costs really affect the price of corn then you couln't buy bushel of corn for $2.50 it would cost you $25.00. When you start at corn at $2.50 a bushel factor in the cost to process it, add in the profit from the waste product which is worth almost as much as the corn itself was, plus the profit from the ethanol, you end up with a net energy gain and a profit. Right now the gain and profit isn't that great but given some technological improvements in the profits plus genetically modified corn that will produce more ethanol and it will become a viable business.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:00:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/25/2006 6:19:48 PM EDT by TequilaReseva1800]
You have to start somewhere,they (.gov) has known we need a alternative fuel source since at least the 70's. My hippie high school teachers were telling us we would be out of fuel by 2015 and that was in 1974. Nuclear energy was the rage then by the liberal shits of the day. I wish the world would run out of oil then we would have no problems with alt energy sources, the oil producers would be back to being the 3rd world dumbfucks they always were.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:08:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TequilaReseva1800:
You have to start somewhere,they (.gov) has known we need a alternative fuel source since at least the 70's. My hippie high school teachers were telling us we would be out of fuel by 2015 and that was in 1974. Nuclear energy was the rage then by the liberal shits if the day. I wish the world would run out of oil then we would have no problems with alt energy sources, the oil producers would be back to being the 3rd world dumbfucks they always were.



Agreed. Lawmakers in Idaho are considering a bill that would require a 10-percent Ethanol mix to gasoline. Seems that every place that produces oil in the world is unstable, with the exception of Alaska.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:27:43 AM EDT
Alternative fuels are a fad. Electric vehicles are the future.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:30:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jetlag:
Alternative fuels are a fad. Electric vehicles are the future.



maybe but surely not batteries.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:35:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By enigma2y0u:

Originally Posted By Jetlag:
Alternative fuels are a fad. Electric vehicles are the future.



maybe but surely not batteries.



No the battery technology almost here.

They are still trying to ge the cahrge times down, right there right at a hour.

Kokam has some very cool 100aH LiPy batteries
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:39:29 AM EDT
Who would you rather pay for your fuel? Farmers or the MIddle East?
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:41:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jetlag:
Alternative fuels are a fad. Electric vehicles are the future.



Do you think the electricity comes form the wall for free? You have to burn or otherwise convert SOMETHING to generate electricity, just because you are not getting your fuel at a gas station, does not mean that there is not a power plant at the other end of the wire.

Nick
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:48:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Commando_Guy:

Originally Posted By Jetlag:
Alternative fuels are a fad. Electric vehicles are the future.



Do you think the electricity comes form the wall for free? You have to burn or otherwise convert SOMETHING to generate electricity, just because you are not getting your fuel at a gas station, does not mean that there is not a power plant at the other end of the wire.

Nick


Nuclear Power FTW
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:53:28 AM EDT
As far as I know, ethanol has a slightly positive energy balance, something like 1.3:1. Biodiesel is even better at graeter than 3:1. If /when it becomes a necessity, I expect both of them will be even better. Another positive thing is that some of it is just byproduct from other plants already being grown, or if you grow specifically for fuel, you will still have byproducts to seel which can help keep the price down.

On the other hand, without government mandates or ridiculous taxes on petroleum oil, I don't think they will be competitive economically until we really do start to get low on oil. Oil companies and oil countries are making a killing- even if you could sell ethanol for a dollar less than the current price of gas, I bet they could just drop the price of oil a dollar and drive the alternative fuel right back to the lab it came from.

One thing I don't know is how much land it takes to grow the crops to produce the fuel. I've read that it would only take about 2% of current farming land to produce enough biodiesel to replace ALL ground transportation fuel in the US. BUT, I think that is using algae, which isn't exactly something we are growing all over the place like soy and corn. I have no idea how much ethanol you can get from a given amount of corn.

One thing a lot people don't realize is that it takes the energy-equivalent of a few gallons of oil to get oil out of the ground and turn it into fuel. So if there were a million gallons left, we would only have about 300k to use. If you use that 300k to make biodiesel, you end up with a million gallons. :) Or at least it would seem that way to me.

As cheap as oil is, I don't think any one thing will ever replace it until oil becomes expensive due to rarity. And even then, I don't think one alternative will be the answer, but many alternatives... nuke plants to power electric vehicles, biodiesel, ethanol, etc. We'll need them all.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:44:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Commando_Guy:

Originally Posted By Jetlag:
Alternative fuels are a fad. Electric vehicles are the future.



Do you think the electricity comes form the wall for free? You have to burn or otherwise convert SOMETHING to generate electricity, just because you are not getting your fuel at a gas station, does not mean that there is not a power plant at the other end of the wire.

Nick



Of course power plants require fuel, but is that what were talking about? Ethanol is a gimmick being pushed by the corn lobby. They could just burn the corn in a power plant and be done with it. But there are better things to burn in power plants and there are better things to burn in your car.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:58:16 PM EDT
first off ethanol is not a gimmick, it just isn't improved yet. Nuclear powerplants are hardly efficient... but people want to put up thousands of them.

No I am not a supporter of the ethanol, but i think some people are drinking too much of the oil company kool-aid and too much of the ethanol kool-aid.

Battery powered cars are a primative solution in my opinion.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:02:57 PM EDT
A lot of folks say that Ethonal cars don't have the acceleration of a gas powered car, but that is B.S from my experience.

The Ethanol cars I have driven at work had lots of pick up.

Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:07:51 PM EDT
www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/

Reading is fundamental

also
biodiesel.org
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:09:37 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:11:40 PM EDT
Ethanol works ok but you'd better be on top of your metering systems if you expect to realize any real gains. Gasoline works over a wide range of air:fuel...ethanol is much less forgiving in my admittedly dated experience (late 70s). Read this ....dirty injectors are Not allowed.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:38:28 PM EDT


Just wait until the hippies realize that genetically modified crops are part of the deal. Then ask if Cargill or Halliburton is worse. Guaranteed stammering.

I'm suspicious of people who claim easy solutions to complex problems.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 7:01:39 PM EDT
yeah but we also use a ton of oil to grow crops.

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