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The Ethanol Effect: When Alternative Fuels Go Bad

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posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 11:29 PM

The Ethanol Effect: When Alternative Fuels Go Bad

\\\"everything about ethanol is good, good, good,\\\" crows Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, echoing the conventional wisdom that corn-based ethanol will help us kick the oil habit, line the pockets of farmers, and usher in a new era of guilt-free motoring. But despite the wishes of Iowans (and the candidates courting them) the \\\"dot-corn bubble\\\" is too good to be true.
(visit the link for the full news article)

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posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 11:29 PM
The corn fed farmers are trying to pull a fast one on the American consumer again.

(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 10:21 AM
It is true there a many issues that make bio-fuels unsatisfactory for large scale production and use.

"Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and Wood;
Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower"
by David Pimentel1,3 and Tad W. Patzek2

Is a study that was published in 2005 that speaks out against the efficiency of bio-fuels. link to abstract (I can not link to the entire article due to restrictions placed upon its use by my Universities Library. Sorry for the inconvenience).

Their conclusion is this:

Several physical and chemical factors limit the production of liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel using plant biomass materials.These include the following:

(1) An extremely low fraction of the sunlight
reaching America is captured by plants. On
average the sunlight captured by plants is
only about 01.%, with corn providing 0.25%.
These low values are in contrast to photovoltaics
that capture from 10% or more sunlight,
or approximately 100-fold more sunlight
than plant biomass.
(2) In ethanol production the carbohydrates
are converted into ethanol by microbes,
that on average bring the concentration of
ethanol to 8% in the broth with 92% water.
Large amounts of fossil energy are required
to remove the 8% ethanol from the 92%
(3) For biodiesel production, there are two problems:
the relatively low yields of oil crops
ranging from 1,500 kg/ha for sunflower to
about 2,700 kg/ha for soybeans; sunflower
averages 25.5% oil, whereas soybeans average
18% oil. In addition, the oil extraction
processes for all oil crops is highly energy
intensive as reported in this manuscript.
Therefore, these crops are poor producers of
biomass energy.

As much as I would love to believe that we will be able to develop alternative liquid forms of energy to power our cars in a sustainable manner I grow less and less optimistic all the time. In place of this I believe that the true answer is in limiting personal transportation and investing in mass-transportation.

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