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The fact is that the answer to the engery crisis is going to be a local one. Unlike oil, which works fine for anyone, anywhere, individual communities are gonna have to find amalgams of energy sources that work best for them in their area. Quite right, sugar beet isnt really feasible for places such as alaska or scotland. Were gonna have to use what evers available, but that dosnt necessarily mean a toss up between growing food or fuel.
If all the automobiles in the United States were fueled with 100 percent ethanol, a total of about 97 percent of U.S. land area would be needed to grow the corn feedstock. Corn would cover nearly the total land area of the United States. (Pimentel)
"Ethanol increases ozone formation, which is obviously harmful for people with lung disease, and biodiesel increases emissions of nitrogen oxide," he said.(NY Times)
Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion to ethanol, 131,000 Btu are needed to make 1 gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 Btu. "Put another way," Pimentel said, "about 70 percent more energy is required to produce ethanol than the energy that actually is in ethanol. Every time you make 1 gallon of ethanol, there is a net energy loss of 54,000 Btu."(Pimentel)
Scouring the web with an eye toward understanding a bit more about the use of biomass-based ethanol as a replacement for gasoline, it has become apparent to me that there are a substantial number of "urban legends" emerging regarding the use of switchgrass as a feedstock for ethanol. More properly, these misconceptions are "rural legends," because at least from this former farm kid's perspective they arise from the fact that most people have very little connection to the land, and as such, are simply blowing a lot of wishful smoke about the details of a biomass-based fuel system. Hopefully the analysis below will shed a bit of light on the subject.
Fuel containts up to 10% ethanol
Originally posted by desert
Great topic! This is what we really need to fear from Brazil--making us look foolish. Did we export our great American drive for innovation and have none left? Why was their Energy Policy years ahead of ous? BTW they still will use oil, just not so much of it.