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Posted: 3/17/2006 5:23:26 AM EDT
I really like what I've been seeing about Ethanol. I really think it can help ween us from foreign oil, boost our farming economy, and help the environment all in one. Are there any negative sides to it? Will it help us that much? Discuss.

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:30:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 5:30:48 AM EDT by BOBK48]
It would be nice to have an alternative to gas. I haven't seen 1 gas station that is selling E 85 in my state. I have 1 van that will run on it . I have travelled around CT,MA,NY,NJ and PA haven't seen it yet.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:31:18 AM EDT
E85 costs 20% more and gives 40% worse gas mileage than E10. It requires more ethanol than gasoline in the air/fuel mixture ratio. They don't tell you that.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:31:48 AM EDT
Negative sides:
It takes alot of energy to make a gallon of ethenol
One gallon of E85 (or E10 for that matter) gives you less energy than 100% gas.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:33:34 AM EDT
I hope it can. But I've heard that it takes as a lot of engery to make the ethenol and that the entire US corn crop could not meet our demand for gas. I don't know if that's correct. I just read it on some crazy web site called jobrelatedstuff.com.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:34:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gks452:
I hope it can. But I've heard that it takes as a lot of engery to make the ethenol and that the entire US corn crop could not meet our demand for gas. I don't know if that's correct. I just read it on some crazy web site called jobrelatedstuff.com.



Buncha right wing wackos there.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:34:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BOBK48:
It would be nice to have an alternative to gas. I haven't seen 1 gas station that is selling E 85 in my state. I have 1 van that will run on it . I have travelled around CT,MA,NY,NJ and PA haven't seen it yet.



Why would you expect to see E85 in New England? I think the only place they make it is in the Mid West.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:40:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 5:41:10 AM EDT by SmilingBandit]

Originally Posted By FunYun1983:

Originally Posted By BOBK48:
It would be nice to have an alternative to gas. I haven't seen 1 gas station that is selling E 85 in my state. I have 1 van that will run on it . I have travelled around CT,MA,NY,NJ and PA haven't seen it yet.



Why would you expect to see E85 in New England? I think the only place they make it is in the Mid West.



And I can only think of one station in town that has it.

ETA: Link to map of stations
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:43:05 AM EDT
Michigan just passed legislation that will give gas station owners tax credits for installing E85 pumps and will drop the state sales tax from the E85. That is over $.50 a gallon. There will be 33 more ethanol plants opening this year around the country. I think it has the potential to be big.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:43:34 AM EDT
Ethanol will help reduce are increase demand for oil, we will just not increase are importation of oil from the Middle East. Ethanol increase fuel economy with small amounts. Fuel that is 10% ethanol will help in most cars, but going up to 85% will have a decrease in mileage. The only way that E85 is going to take off is if it gets tax breaks, no federal tax and lower state tax than regular gas. Can we replace our need for foreign oil? No way even if we turn all of are fields to crops to produce alcohol, we still could not produce enough to meet demands now. Buy the way sugar beets produce the most ethanol per acre.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:43:51 AM EDT
In 20 years, the Congress will hold Big Corn executives to the fire in a Senate hearing.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:44:06 AM EDT
I didn't say I expected it anywhere in the Northeast. Just said I haven't seen it in my travels.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:46:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Nozzleman:
E85 costs 20% more and gives 40% worse gas mileage than E10. It requires more ethanol than gasoline in the air/fuel mixture ratio. They don't tell you that.



Where are you getting this information at? Definately not at the pump. E85 is all over the town I grew up in. It runs about 20% cheaper than gas that has 10% ethanol in it and it is nowhere near 40% less efficent. Please explain where your information came from because it goes against everything I have seen in real life.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:53:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By markmars:
Ethanol will help reduce are increase demand for oil, we will just not increase are importation of oil from the Middle East. Ethanol increase fuel economy with small amounts. Fuel that is 10% ethanol will help in most cars, but going up to 85% will have a decrease in mileage. The only way that E85 is going to take off is if it gets tax breaks, no federal tax and lower state tax than regular gas. Can we replace our need for foreign oil? No way even if we turn all of are fields to crops to produce alcohol, we still could not produce enough to meet demands now. Buy the way sugar beets produce the most ethanol per acre.



What do you mean the only way E85 will take off? E85 has already taken off and is already here! Well at leasts in the midwest where most of the corn is grown and people are trying to figure out what to do with all the corn. While it is true that currently there isn't enoug farm land to replace all of the oil that doesn't mean crops can't be genetically altered so they result in higher ethanol output or that the refining process won't become more efficient. But who said we need to replace 100% of the oil immediately anyway? Of the top 10 oil consuming nations the US is first, we consume just as much oil as the other 9 nations combined. If we cut our oil usage by 50% the market would be flooded with oil. That would be enough for me until we figured out hydrogen fuel cells.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:56:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 5:57:13 AM EDT by jimtash9]
Don't just look at cars as the only user of oil. I'm still wondering why at least homes that are newly constucted aren't using some sort of solar paneling as a supliment to coal, gas and oil or why wind power isn't starting to come on line. Any combination of those two could impact our foreign energy needs for the better but yet no one is taking adavtage of it. We need to forget the oil and start looking at alternatives that will help us out not only financially, but ecologically as well.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:58:03 AM EDT
Here's my direct experience with E85:

2000 Ford Ranger - 3.0L V6 / Flex fuel

Mileage on E10 - Approx 23mpg
Mileage on E85 - Approx 20mpg

So by simple math that's about a 13% decrease in mileage with E85.

Now, my assumption would be that the price of E85 would also have to be 13% less than the spot price of normal gas to make it an even substitute.

Local prices here in West central Indiana run about 10-20 cents/gallon cheaper than normal unleaded.

So my logic tells me, at least at this point E85 actually costs me more to run in my market because of the decreased mileage obtained and the "not quite cheap enough" cost of E85 locally.

On a side note, my truck seems to run great on the stuff.

I think it is a good option, but it's not going to solve all our issues.

YMMV.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:59:15 AM EDT
Brazil is having a lot of success with Ethanol. If I remeber correctly since the government of Brazil made an effort to move the nation towards ethanol 20 years ago it has reduced it's dependency on foriegn oil from 80% to 30%.

If gas prices keep rising in the US then ethanol will deffinately become something to look at.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:12:25 AM EDT
Ethanol might be able to replace some of our gasoline, but I don't know if we can grow enough corn to replace all of it. And it takes almost as much energy to create ethanol as it gives you, so it doesn't help much in terms of reducing overall energy use. Maybe we can use domestic coal to power the process, but I don't know. More than likely we will still need a lot of oil.

Biodiesel is a much better option, due to the fact that it has a much more positive energy balance, is used in a more efficient engine(diesel vs otto), has a higher yield(gallons/hectare), and can be made from several different crops. It would be great for OTR trucks I think, but unfortunately we don't have many diesel cars yet, which is where we would need it most.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:18:14 AM EDT
The refining/production method for ethanol is still too inefficient as stated above. But it is a step in the right direction. Non-petroleum based fuels will be the future (maybe not the near future).
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:18:55 AM EDT
I think it holds alot of promise and needs to be pushed more.....like someone else said, we don't need to completely remove our dependancy on foreign oil right now, if we just dropped our demand by 20-25% I think the oil prices would drop considerably......I would rather see the .gov spending money on research and grants to refineries than in Iraq.......much better for the country IMO.....
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:19:34 AM EDT
Trying to figure out what to do with all the corn?

We already figured that one out down here; we drink it!

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:23:07 AM EDT
Ethanol right now requires two major subsidies (many billions a year in govt spending): first to grow the corn, and second to produce the ethanol. In the future there should be better technologies that can produce ethanol without subsidies (some believe at 1/4 the cost of current ethanol) and without using corn (sawgrass is the suggested crop, again no subsidy to grow it).

Notice how much more beef costs these days? Some people think that ethanol production is gobbling up all the available corn we used to have to feed cows.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:24:40 AM EDT
Around here, reformulated gas is the only thing that is regulated for sale in the surrounding counties. This reformulated gas includes ethanol. This law was passed in the early '90s.

My mechanic is very knowlegable. He told me that before ethanol was put in gas, they replaced fuel injectors in about 2-3 cars per year. Since ethanol was put in gas, that number went up 8-10 times!

Ethanol apparently eats away some of the gas line (not sure what it all involves) and deposits it in the fuel injectors, gunking them up.

The only thing that apparently takes care of it is Chevron brand fuel treatment with thier pattented formula.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:26:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 6:28:07 AM EDT by JFP]
kinda f'd up to burn fuel inorder to make fuel
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:26:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 6:30:50 AM EDT by phatmax]

Originally Posted By markmars:
Ethanol will help reduce are increase demand for oil, we will just not increase are importation of oil from the Middle East. Ethanol increase fuel economy with small amounts. Fuel that is 10% ethanol will help in most cars, but going up to 85% will have a decrease in mileage. The only way that E85 is going to take off is if it gets tax breaks, no federal tax and lower state tax than regular gas. Can we replace our need for foreign oil? No way even if we turn all of are fields to crops to produce alcohol, we still could not produce enough to meet demands now. Buy the way sugar beets produce the most ethanol per acre.



Sugar CANE does, it just does not grow in temperate climates. Sugar Beets are #2, BUT will grow in the US.

ETA: you can't run E85 in non-E85 cars, because the E85 WILL eat the fuel system. Flex vehicles have different rubbers/Plastics that can take it.

Also, the vaporization temp of Ethenol is MUCH higher then gas, thus Brazilian cars actually have retro fit tiny gas tanks that run the engine when the temp outside is low, until the engine is warm enough that the ethanall will vaporize.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:29:19 AM EDT
No. Not any time soon in this country.

What we really need is someone to invent a "Mr. Fusion".
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:31:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 6:32:20 AM EDT by macman37]

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Ethanol right now requires two major subsidies (many billions a year in govt spending): first to grow the corn, and second to produce the ethanol. In the future there should be better technologies that can produce ethanol without subsidies (some believe at 1/4 the cost of current ethanol) and without using corn (sawgrass is the suggested crop, again no subsidy to grow it).

Notice how much more beef costs these days? Some people think that ethanol production is gobbling up all the available corn we used to have to feed cows.

GunLvr



Yeah but the beauty of it is, many farmers are being subsidized to NOT produce anything... Get them all growing corn or sugar beets, and maybe we can make a dent in America's gas consumption problems.

BTW anyone know if you can retrofit an existing engine to run on E85 I have a thirsty 4.7l V8 Dodge Dakota I'd like to keep a few years. EDIT: It appears phatmax answered that question. Bummer.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:34:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shop_rat45:
I really like what I've been seeing about Ethanol. I really think it can help ween us from foreign oil, boost our farming economy, and help the environment all in one. Are there any negative sides to it? Will it help us that much? Discuss.


Ethanol research didn't result in what we were hoping for. Same thing with methanol. Like others have said, it costs a lot to convert it.
If we changed directions and went with corn-oil fueled diesel engines, that's a better approach because the trucking, train and shipping industry would be less dependent on world gas prices. That trickles down to savings for everyone, not just one person buying a diesel vehicle for personal use.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:35:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Ethanol right now requires two major subsidies (many billions a year in govt spending): first to grow the corn, and second to produce the ethanol. In the future there should be better technologies that can produce ethanol without subsidies (some believe at 1/4 the cost of current ethanol) and without using corn (sawgrass is the suggested crop, again no subsidy to grow it).

Notice how much more beef costs these days? Some people think that ethanol production is gobbling up all the available corn we used to have to feed cows.

GunLvr



Yeah but the beauty of it is, many farmers are being subsidized to NOT produce anything... Get them all growing corn or sugar beets, and maybe we can make a dent in America's gas consumption problems.

BTW anyone know if you can retrofit an existing engine to run on E85 I have a thirsty 4.7l V8 Dodge Dakota I'd like to keep a few years. EDIT: It appears phatmax answered that question. Bummer.



You CAN retrofit cars. it just depends on how much of the almighty $$$$$$$$$ it takes. Every car is different and whoever does the retrofit, better damn well know EXACTLY what components are in the fuel system and their composition. Otherwise that 6 inch fuel line, tucked somewhere that Buddy the mechanic does not see it........ Ooops, my car is on fire, gotta RUN!!
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:39:12 AM EDT
during the 70s after the arab oil embargo, lines at the pump and the gas shortage, there was a lot of interest in making your own ethanol, converting your car to run on ethanol.

there were lots of places you could buy books on home ethanol production. was fairly interesting.

here are some facts (I think).

pure ethanol (98%, it will absorb about 2% water from the atmosphere, is nearly impossible to have completly anhydrous ethanol outside of a lab) has about 75% the energy per volume as gas. but you can run higher compression or with a turbo lots of boost so you can hotrod a car to run off ethanol like racing gas. you have to be able to push more fuel than gas. so you need bigger fuel lines and in the old days you needed to modify your carb. of course today you would run bigger fuel injectors. methanol was also talked about. indy cars run on methanol. you can get around 1000hp out of a small 2 liter engine running tons of boost and 15 to 18k rpm. but methanol only has about 55 percent the energy content of gas.

ethanol is an interesting fuel. i dont know about e85 but i would expect it to have a little less energy per volume than 100% gas. but if ethanol can help make us energy independent i for one am willing to pay more. i suspect that as technology is brought to bear, more effeciencies will be found plus other sources of alternative fuel.

i say if we can do it at home we tell the middle beast to take a hike.. and should include countries like venezuela too.

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:43:14 AM EDT
My Nissan Titan is E85 flex, and my GAS MPG is between 14-18 (on the tag) It really runs between 14-20. The E85 MPG was 10-14 on the tag, but no one here has it...so... But, damn, for the price, it is not worth it yet.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:45:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Nozzleman:
E85 costs 20% more and gives 40% worse gas mileage than E10. It requires more ethanol than gasoline in the air/fuel mixture ratio. They don't tell you that.



Gasoline ratio is between 14 and 17 air to fuel ratio

Alcohol ratio is 6 air to fuel ratio.

A car that could previously drive 300 miles on a tank of dino fuel could only go a little over 100 miles on a tank of alcohol. And remember you are paying more per GALLON of fuel not per mile traveled so the cost is around 4X dino fuel.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:47:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:48:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SnoopisTDI:
Ethanol might be able to replace some of our gasoline, but I don't know if we can grow enough corn to replace all of it. And it takes almost as much energy to create ethanol as it gives you, so it doesn't help much in terms of reducing overall energy use. Maybe we can use domestic coal to power the process, but I don't know. More than likely we will still need a lot of oil.

Biodiesel is a much better option, due to the fact that it has a much more positive energy balance, is used in a more efficient engine(diesel vs otto), has a higher yield(gallons/hectare), and can be made from several different crops. It would be great for OTR trucks I think, but unfortunately we don't have many diesel cars yet, which is where we would need it most.



What he said. Diesel has always been the road to energy independance.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:52:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By phatmax:

Originally Posted By markmars:
Ethanol will help reduce are increase demand for oil, we will just not increase are importation of oil from the Middle East. Ethanol increase fuel economy with small amounts. Fuel that is 10% ethanol will help in most cars, but going up to 85% will have a decrease in mileage. The only way that E85 is going to take off is if it gets tax breaks, no federal tax and lower state tax than regular gas. Can we replace our need for foreign oil? No way even if we turn all of are fields to crops to produce alcohol, we still could not produce enough to meet demands now. Buy the way sugar beets produce the most ethanol per acre.



Sugar CANE does, it just does not grow in temperate climates. Sugar Beets are #2, BUT will grow in the US.

ETA: you can't run E85 in non-E85 cars, because the E85 WILL eat the fuel system. Flex vehicles have different rubbers/Plastics that can take it.

Also, the vaporization temp of Ethenol is MUCH higher then gas, thus Brazilian cars actually have retro fit tiny gas tanks that run the engine when the temp outside is low, until the engine is warm enough that the ethanall will vaporize.



IIRC the vapor pressure of alcohol is lower than petrol meaning more tendency to vaporlock. Not a problem on fuel injected vehicles but we are getting an exemption here in Idaho for off road vehicles and aircraft that can't stand the stuff.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:56:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 7:01:14 AM EDT by pale_pony]
Plow the field...

Disc the field...

Plant the field...

Harvest the field...

Transport the corn from field to processing...

Process and distill the corn...

Transport ethanol to fueling stations...

= use 2 gallons of diesel to make 1 gallon of ethanol, which is no where efficient as diesel...

It's called alchemy, or trying to turn lead into gold...it's a myth perpetrated by crooks seeking farm subsidies, and believed by gullible tree hugging idiots.

...Now, if you want to see something REALLY EXCITING, do a google search on Syntroleumstabilized liquid diesel made from sour (unusable) natural gas.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 7:09:39 AM EDT
There are only two ways to make synthetic fuels work

A.) Harvest the grain, then use the stalks in a thermal depolymerizations stack to produce sweet light crude. This way you are making money from both the food product and it's byproduct.

B.) Build a series of giant reactors and breeder reactors of fuel them, then use the cheap electrical power to synthesize hydrocarbons out of electroylyzed water and atmospheric carbon.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 7:22:45 AM EDT
Ethanol: the process by which corn is poured into a pork barrel allowing alcohol and red ink to pour out the bottom.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 7:27:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By pale_pony:
Plow the field...

Fertilize the field

Disc the field...

Plant the field...

Spray herbicide on the field

Harvest the field...

Transport the corn from field to processing...

Process and distill the corn...

Transport ethanol to fueling stations...

= use 2 gallons of diesel to make 1 gallon of ethanol, which is no where efficient as diesel...

It's called alchemy, or trying to turn lead into gold...it's a myth perpetrated by crooks seeking farm subsidies, and believed by gullible tree hugging idiots.

...Now, if you want to see something REALLY EXCITING, do a google search on Syntroleumstabilized liquid diesel made from sour (unusable) natural gas.



You forgot a few runs through the field.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 7:30:00 AM EDT
As some have already pointed out, there are increased costs wih processing ethanol.
I think an even bigger problem is distribution. There are no ethanol stations anywhere near me here in my locality in the SE PA area. It amuses me that GM is heavily advertising biofuel vehicles here in the northeast. "Uh, earth to GM........There AREN'T any biofuel refueling stations here!!!!"

That being said, ethanol is going to be part of the solution, I believe. But probably not so much here in the northeast, at least not in the short term; more in the West and Midwest.
Biodiesel will be part of the solution, too, but distribution issues have to be resolved there as well.
There is no one silver bullet. The problem of escalating fuel costs for transportation will have a range of options; ethanol, biodesiel, amd hybrid technology cars are all part of the solution. I'm less convinced about fuel cell technology. FC tech is just incredibly expensive right now and it also has the same distribution issues as ethanol and biodiesel.

As much as folks on this board hate to hear about it, the best solution right now are hybrids. They run on existing refueling infrastructure while doubling the gas milaege. Toyota will be introducing the hybrid Tundra early next year, so all you truck fans will have a hybrid option in a fullsized pick-em-up. The Sienna mini van will launch later this year.
The technology on these vehicles is excellent right now and will only improve with decreasing unit cost and accumulating "real road" testing.

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 8:14:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 8:17:36 AM EDT by muddydog]
E85 is going to be a tough sell.

it takes farming to grow it..
farming takes land...

do we eat ??( either personally or by raising animals which also eat) our population is growing yearly. we feed 1/3 of the world.
or
do we drive???
oil/LPG is not a food competitive resource.

oil prices will not go down due to the asian market need.

anything grown..costs money and causes environmental hardships.
till the soil...top soil erosion..
spray the crops...spraying out poison.

i grew up on a large peanut farm. i've seen what farming does.

there is a finite amount of land that is being gobbled up at a phenomenal rate for housing and development.

this finite land has to be used for every crop we need.
something to ponder..

wheat..corn..soybeans..green beans..peas..peanuts..

people see only the food commodity..
there are a helluva lot of non-food industrial needs that also have to be addressed before we go running hot on green alternative fuels.

why would we waste energy..( $$ to produce) a fuel that is going to only save us a a a couple a dimes per gallon.

too many issues at this point that need to be addressed.

from what i have read and from talking to people ( family) in the oil and gas fields ..
biodiesal is the real alternative..

other than

"H"....

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 8:57:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BOBK48:
It would be nice to have an alternative to gas. I haven't seen 1 gas station that is selling E 85 in my state. I have 1 van that will run on it . I have travelled around CT,MA,NY,NJ and PA haven't seen it yet.



They are going to put an ethanol plant around Frackville, PA. So it is coming.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 8:59:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By doubleclaw:
Trying to figure out what to do with all the corn?

We already figured that one out down here; we drink it!




The excess is a good animal feed, so there won't be a problem selling it.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:06:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By macman37:
Yeah but the beauty of it is, many farmers are being subsidized to NOT produce anything... Get them all growing corn or sugar beets, and maybe we can make a dent in America's gas consumption problems.

BTW anyone know if you can retrofit an existing engine to run on E85 I have a thirsty 4.7l V8 Dodge Dakota I'd like to keep a few years. EDIT: It appears phatmax answered that question. Bummer.



It depends what year your Dodge is, call a dealer as there are loads of newer cars that can run E85 it's just that the owners don't know it.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:14:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By pale_pony:
Plow the field...

Disc the field...

Plant the field...

Harvest the field...

Transport the corn from field to processing...

Process and distill the corn...

Transport ethanol to fueling stations...

= use 2 gallons of diesel to make 1 gallon of ethanol, which is no where efficient as diesel...

It's called alchemy, or trying to turn lead into gold...it's a myth perpetrated by crooks seeking farm subsidies, and believed by gullible tree hugging idiots.

...Now, if you want to see something REALLY EXCITING, do a google search on Syntroleumstabilized liquid diesel made from sour (unusable) natural gas.



Your numbers are bogus. Want to provide a source to back them up? One acre of corn averages 150 bushels of corn, that corn is distilled into 300 gallons of ethanol. You are claiming it would take 600 gallons of disiel to farm that 1 acre. The standard lot size for row houses is .33 of an acre. So add up the size of 3 houses and try to honestly tell me it would take 600 gallons of disiel to farm it. If you think that is anyway close to accurate you need to loosen the tin-foil because you are cutting off your circulation.

If you want some real life detail numbers take a look at this report. www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aer721/AER721.PDF It's put out by the Department of Agriculture which forms the basis for everything that happens from education, to programs, to prices, to tax breaks, to incentives in this country when it comes to agriculture. It's not written by some liberal nut job professor in New York or California who has never been out of the big city. The report shows a net postive energy gain, explains why, and provides the raw numbers to back it up.

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:25:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 9:27:59 AM EDT by carguym14]

Originally Posted By Dance:

Originally Posted By doubleclaw:
Trying to figure out what to do with all the corn?

We already figured that one out down here; we drink it!




The excess is a good animal feed, so there won't be a problem selling it.





Yep,basically zero waste.

E85 is 1.899 here.10% is 2.439 and regular unleade is a dime more.
Farmers are already getting subsidies,so no real change there.They are building quite a few ethanol plants around here-they have already made improvements and figured out some better (more efficient) ways to do it since the first one opened.

The technology will keep getting better.

It will not replace imported oil,but at least it's a start.It is not "the" answer,but it's something.I do see a poroblem with food production-the ethanol plants pay between 10 and 15 cents more per bushel than the elevators.That's a lot of incentive to a farmer to sell it for fuel rather than food.

Either way,it needs to be grown,planted,and harvested,so the story of costing more to make it is basically bull.



ETA-Yes ethanol ruins fuel injectors and pressure regulators at an accelerated rate.Fuel pumps don't seem to be affected,though.The ethanol also works as "dry gas" and will also clean out any gunk in your tank-especially if you have been using regular and switch over.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:28:18 AM EDT
As some have already pointed out, there are increased costs wih processing ethanol.
I think an even bigger problem is distribution. There are no ethanol stations anywhere near me here in my locality in the SE PA area. It amuses me that GM is heavily advertising biofuel vehicles here in the northeast. "Uh, earth to GM........There AREN'T any biofuel refueling stations here!!!!"

That being said, ethanol is going to be part of the solution, I believe. But probably not so much here in the northeast, at least not in the short term; more in the West and Midwest.
Biodiesel will be part of the solution, too, but distribution issues have to be resolved there as well.
There is no one silver bullet. The problem of escalating fuel costs for transportation will have a range of options; ethanol, biodesiel, amd hybrid technology cars are all part of the solution. I'm less convinced about fuel cell technology. FC tech is just incredibly expensive right now and it also has the same distribution issues as ethanol and biodiesel.

As much as folks on this board hate to hear about it, the best solution right now are hybrids. They run on existing refueling infrastructure while doubling the gas milaege. Toyota will be introducing the hybrid Tundra early next year, so all you truck fans will have a hybrid option in a fullsized pick-em-up. The Sienna mini van will launch later this year.
The technology on these vehicles is excellent right now and will only improve with decreasing unit cost and accumulating "real road" testing.


Uh, you can pump ethanol out of anything that pumps gas. In fact, that is one of the brighter things about ethanol we already have the distribution network in place. That is why you don't see a lot of propane or natural gas vehicles. Because there is no infastructure in place to distribute it. The companies that are forced to used alternative fuel vehicles as mandated by the clean air act basicly have to set up their own fueling stations.


Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:34:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 9:35:40 AM EDT by Coolio]

Originally Posted By Spongehead:
As some have already pointed out, there are increased costs wih processing ethanol.
I think an even bigger problem is distribution. There are no ethanol stations anywhere near me here in my locality in the SE PA area. It amuses me that GM is heavily advertising biofuel vehicles here in the northeast. "Uh, earth to GM........There AREN'T any biofuel refueling stations here!!!!"

That being said, ethanol is going to be part of the solution, I believe. But probably not so much here in the northeast, at least not in the short term; more in the West and Midwest.
Biodiesel will be part of the solution, too, but distribution issues have to be resolved there as well.
There is no one silver bullet. The problem of escalating fuel costs for transportation will have a range of options; ethanol, biodesiel, amd hybrid technology cars are all part of the solution. I'm less convinced about fuel cell technology. FC tech is just incredibly expensive right now and it also has the same distribution issues as ethanol and biodiesel.

As much as folks on this board hate to hear about it, the best solution right now are hybrids. They run on existing refueling infrastructure while doubling the gas milaege. Toyota will be introducing the hybrid Tundra early next year, so all you truck fans will have a hybrid option in a fullsized pick-em-up. The Sienna mini van will launch later this year.
The technology on these vehicles is excellent right now and will only improve with decreasing unit cost and accumulating "real road" testing.


Uh, you can pump ethanol out of anything that pumps gas. In fact, that is one of the brighter things about ethanol we already have the distribution network in place. That is why you don't see a lot of propane or natural gas vehicles. Because there is no infastructure in place to distribute it. The companies that are forced to used alternative fuel vehicles as mandated by the clean air act basicly have to set up their own fueling stations.





Well, duh!
My point is that there are currently no stations around here that sell it right NOW!
So, I'm not exactly going to run out and buy a new vehicle that uses ethanol and then wait for it to show up at my local gas station.

I have no doubt that eventually it will happen and I said as much. The next generation of hybrid vehicles will also be able to burn biofuels. This will stretch the gas mileage of a gallon of gasoline to up around 90mpg.

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:37:55 AM EDT
Well DUH to you too. But you said the distribution was a major drawback to ethanol, which in reality it is a plus for ethanol. If you meant that you can't run out and buy ethanol because no one sells it then don't mention distribution as being a draw back. Another draw back to your scenario is that you can't by ethanol cars in the US.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:49:00 AM EDT
Just for refrence , i've done quite a bit of research on ethanol here last year and am hoping on building a ethanol plant in central ohio....


E85 in my small , small town of about 12k people , we have 1 e85 gas station. It currently sells e85 for around $2.00 a gallon. There's alot of confusion about subsidies , but what it breaks down to is about 5 cents per gallon of e85. Its 5 cents per gallon of fuel that contains ethanol in it , that includes e5 , e10 , ect. Some companies sell ethanol to gas stations that ONLY sell e10 ,and make a 50 cent profit via the subsity.

Ethanol is currently made from corn for the sole reason of america producing about 50% more corn than actually needed. Once the ethanol process is over , about 17 pounds of distillers grain is left over that can be used for animal feed or high protein foodsuffs.

There's about 3 dozen or so types of grains/plants that currently can be used in america. Corn isn't that efficient over the other types , you gain only about 4% in the total energy cycle (if anyone tells you that it LOOSES energy , they're using a very popular statistic from the USDA circa 1978-79 when bushel yields were much lower than they are now for corn.

Brazil uses sugar cane to grow thier ethanol and it works awesome. Currently they're working on using sorghum bicolor in the same way that they use sugar cane down there. For refrence ,the special hybrid sorghum plants produce no seeds , but grow about 12feet high , and produce 40 tons of stock per acre. The whole plant , roots included is used in the ethanol process. Using hybridized sorgum yields about 10 times the ethanol from a equal acre of corn. Right now the main problem is transportation , a field in ohio can be upto 5000 acres, and 5000ac x 40 tons per acre means 200kt of product in one year time! Not only can it be grown in most states , but in the south , it can potentially be grown all year around ( about twice a year , maybe 3).

Right now , ethanol with a 5 cent govt subsidy sells for $1.25 cents per gallon on the market . Gas stations are allowed to provide a markup with ethanol , versus the hit that most corporately owned gas stations (speedway , ect). The price of ethanol has been going down since its initial public debut in the 70s. Back then it cost around $3 a gallon to produce (inflation factored in). The agricultural market rarely spikes , so its very doubtful that we'd see prices double over night. Ethanol plants can be built anywhere crops are. Most are in rural , central midwest states ( ohio has around half a dozen) so they're not prone to hurricanes and such. Most plants produce several million gallons a year ( versus much more with a oil refinery) Which means , you're not likely to knock out a good % of them in a natural disaster.

Another great thing with ethanol is the effect it has on big block engines. v4s , v6s may notice mpg decrease due to the high octane level of ethanol. Big trucks on the other hand , can have about a 20% increase in total MPG versus normal gasoline ( can be more in comparison if the truck is hauling). Another added benefit with ethanol is it cleans the carbs out on a car very well , in fact , look at what's in a bottle of engine cleaner , its either ethanol or methanol (something close to ethanol but made with wood.)

Finally , the problem that EVERYONE talks about is the need to "buy a new vehicle to use it" Whic is true to a point , but a modification can be done to almost every vehicle to allow it to use it. Modification can include seal replacement , boring of pistons , but for most 90-00 vehicles , all that's needed is new fuel injection programming for the 110 octane level of ethanol fuel.

All in all , i LOVE ethanol , the great thing is , ANYONE can make the stuff. A friend of mine made a batch of ethanol with common household equipment ( and $1 worth of yeast from walmart). Although the ATF sucks on gun regulations ,thier regulations dealing with ethanol are quite lax ( if you're under 10kgal/year , you're only required a expirmenters permit).
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:56:17 AM EDT
Ok, we have seen that it takes "2 gallons of fuel to get 1 of ethnol", now how many gallons are used to find, drill, pump, transport, refine, and transport raw crude? In most cases, the oil we buy now is shipped from half way around the world. E85 would come from our backyard and would increase the amount of money that says in the US. I will most certainly agree that E85 will not replace gasoline, but it will put a dent into it and anything is better then the status quo.


Another draw back to your scenario is that you can't by ethanol cars in the US.


You can buy flex fuel Impalas and Taurus right now. In fact, I think all of the base model Impalas are flex fuel standard.


As much as folks on this board hate to hear about it, the best solution right now are hybrids. They run on existing refueling infrastructure while doubling the gas milaege. Toyota will be introducing the hybrid Tundra early next year, so all you truck fans will have a hybrid option in a fullsized pick-em-up. The Sienna mini van will launch later this year.
The technology on these vehicles is excellent right now and will only improve with decreasing unit cost and accumulating "real road" testing.



Big deal, Chevrolet and Dodge are already offering hybrid pickups. It still remains to be seen if hybrids will handle the beating most trucks take. An interesting spin on hybrids is Ford's gas/hydraulic hybrid that is supposed to get 50 mpg in an F150 and not have a reduction in towing/power capability.
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