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Could grass be a better alternative to corn, for making ethanol?

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posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 06:55 AM
Im currently writing a senior project about ethanol.

The most productive way to make ethanol and other biofuels is definetly through HEMP!!!

In fact, industrial hemp is the best way to make anything

It is the source of energy from the past for the future.

Check out these guys:

And remember to consider hemp for production of anything

Hemp rules

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 07:02 AM
Better yet would be hydrogen but I am not fan of wasting water since there is already somewhat of a water problem on the horizon.

We need an energy revolution...

Question, would a steam engine work? what are the problems with that?

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 08:19 AM
I heard hemp creates three times more ethanol than corn does. Why not go that route since we will soon be seeing a food shortage soon.

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 08:22 AM
reply to post by GrOuNd_ZeRo

I'm doing Hydrogen right now and you would be surprised how little water it uses up after the electrolysis process. After the Hydrogen is used it turns back to water so there is no waste in water.

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 08:37 AM
reply to post by zhuzha

You are probably right about hemp, but the Puritans would never allow such a plant to be cultivated widely. Grass, as waste, is widely available and do not need the approval of the Puritans.

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 12:54 PM
I understand that in your country USA, the ethanol from corn is subsidized , I am sure nobody thought :
- We are going to make fuel from organic stuff, what is the best way to do it ?

If they did that they would have seen that corn is not the best solution. The fact that it's subsidized tells me there are people in your government that follow their plans about depopulation, trough any means

Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature

[edit on 29-4-2008 by pai mei]

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 02:37 PM
waste grass would be a great use for this. really, think about this, since where is it going otherwise? Not just grass but what about a lot of the waste from manufacturing of food. say for corn, all the stalks, leaves, etc. if they're not going to be used and mostly just converted into landfill, who not convert them into something that can be of use?

I understand some things are reused, made into feed, plowed back into the ground for enrichment purpose,s etc, but what about the waste? There can be a multifold benefit here. Taking pressure off the already groaning waste management sector, help stave off the growing need for ethanol, and.. theres more corn to go around.

What we need ot know though is, how much more efficiently can we turn grass into ethanol? corn is almost 1:1 for production even if it usually costs more to make it than use it.. is grass better or worse in this regard?

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 03:00 PM
I remember hearing on the radio that we actually place a tariff on Brazilian ethanol (effectively making it cost more) to allow the homegrown ethanol infrastructure to develop. So even with biofuels the Govt artificially raises the price of it. We just can't win as consumers.

Check out what Brazil has done.

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 05:11 PM

Originally posted by anti us gov
A better way to save the world and still have gas is.......hemp!!! We need those stupid laws gone to the save world and more press on the issue.

Pretty much what I was going to say...

"*Hemp can yield 3-8 dry tons of fiber per acre. This is four times what an average forest can yield."

Go figure.

Source and more facts:

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 05:40 PM

Originally posted by TheOracle
Bad idea.
Best to leave plants out of the energy making business. They clean up the air.

Best alternatives: Wind, Solar, Maritime power

That is a good idea to power our homes, but it isn't practical to use in vehicles.

The best batteries developed at this time can only power a car for roughly 40 miles. I travel farther than that to college and back every day.

(this doesn't mean that better batteries won't be available in the future, but we can't afford to wait for it.)

Our current infrastructure is built around commuting. Most Americans travel great distances every day.

That is something we cannot afford to fix at the moment, given our crazy national debt. We still can't afford to upgrade most of our current bridges, and our roads are falling into disrepair.

If gasoline becomes too expensive and we have only electricity to power things, everyone will be forced to move much closer together. This would multiply congestion on major roads.

Ethanol keeps us from the expense of having to change things much.

The problem is that corn is not a viable source for ethanol. And we shouldn't be using our farmable land to grow our fuel.

*Grass grows pretty much everywhere, and so it doesn't need to displace farmlands.

*It gives a much higher energy yield per acre then corn.

*It produces a product that doesn't require expensive overhaul to our aging infrustructure

So grass ethanol could be an answer to our need for a different fuel.

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 06:47 PM
Only problem guys.

Grass is not a commodity and they can't make money off of it or control it.

At least not yet.

posted on Apr, 30 2008 @ 04:23 PM
Corn is a poor way to make ethanol. It's currently made from the actual corn kernels, which can be used as feed for animals, or food for us. Add on the fact that corn farmers are subsidized by our tax dollars, both for ethanol AND food production, and it becomes a double whammy. Much better to let farmers find their niche and stop the subsidies. Natural market action - price - will dictate who plants corn and who plants switchgrass. Or whatever plant will provide cellulose deemed best.

Another factor to keep in mind is that vehicles will get worse mileage from ethanol. Just not as much energy stored in a gallon of ethanol as in a gallon of gas.

Another solution is the gassification of coal, which we have VAST amounts of in the US. At the current forseeable price of crude, coal is a viable alternative, and with the right grade of coal, has less sulfur than the crude being used for fuels. This would be particularly noticeable when you get next to a diesel pickup truck. No smell.

Yet another alternative is natural gas. It's also found in VAST quantities off all of our shores. Clean burning. But for vehicles, it would be better suited for large trucks/buses, since the fuel tanks need to be made significantly heavier and stronger to eli minate tank rupture in an accident. They also would get worse fuel mileage and need large tanks, which is less of an issue for large vehicles.


posted on Apr, 30 2008 @ 06:19 PM

Originally posted by DJMessiah
Maybe if the goverment paid each household a certain amount of money each month...

Uhhh no.

Leave the fire trucking Government out of it. If ethanol fueling companies want to pay people directly to grow grass and give them the clippings, that's their call. Keep your hands off my tax dollars.

But, using grass is a damn good idea. There's still some of the same problems as there are with corn though. Mainly collection, transportation, distribution, yada yada. If however individuals used their own grass to produce their own fuel, it'd work great. Or neighborhoods and small towns could contribute their clippings to a central local distillery which supplies fuel at a significant discount for contributors.

Personally I compost mine so I'm not interested in putting my grass in my gas tank. I'm happy with petroleum until battery technology improves for all-electrics.

posted on May, 2 2008 @ 11:39 AM
reply to post by apc

What would be wrong with a tax refund, or tax break? Essentially, the money we pay for gasoline at the pump has a goverment tax that goes straight into the government's pockets. Why shouldn't it be time the goverment pays us back, even a percentage of what we had to pay them?

posted on May, 2 2008 @ 11:56 AM
A Couple of points, pro and con


-Switchgrass is not the grass growing in your yard. I'm pretty sure it's a broadleaf tallgrass.

-The tall praire grasses make a small clump on the ground, with nothing growing around the clump; they then put out tall stalks before branching out higher up. In other words, you cannot play sports on it.

-While it is a native grass, it probably doesn't store anything NEAR the sugars you'd want for ethanol production, without irrigation. Most hay and grass production (for horses) relies on at least partial irrigation in dry years. Irrigation is a factor never mentioned in the articles linked.

-Switchgrass can be used as a grazer for livestock. This is important for farmers, since it means that if there is a sudden collapse of the ethanol market, at least they can run animals on it, In fact, if the two markets (fuel vs. forage) are up and down a lot, a farmer could change his strategy every few years, and sell to whichever processor promises the most profit.

-Switchgrass will produce some fermentable material, even in bad years. Maybe not enough to fuel the nation, but enough that it could supply critical needs in the case of a foreign embargo.

-One of the best sources of natural runnoff in arid areas is drainage from roads. These right-of-ways must be mowed every year, to maintain visibility for motorists. In other words, the right of ways are cut anyway, and no one expects to play football or golf there. You could probably even have the DOT auction off the rights to mow a given stretch of roadside, and local farmers would do it for you, thereby cutting the costs of highway maintenance.

some fuel for thought



posted on May, 2 2008 @ 01:10 PM
reply to post by DJMessiah

That would be acceptable. The way you had phrased it though, "pay each household," reads subsidize. If something has to be subsidized by the Government it is a failure and should be left to die. If sufficient demand exists for some sort of product or service there is no need to artificially prop it up with tax dollars.

Providing credits and exemptions however is better. It's still, "we won't steal as much money from you if you do X," but under the current system that's a good way to motivate an initiative such as this.

[edit on 2-5-2008 by apc]

posted on May, 4 2008 @ 04:18 AM
Grass would be a great source of ethanol, if we had a bacteria or enzyme that could break down cellulose into ethanol. It's being worked on, but it ain't a reality yet. The sooner the better, I say. I'm tired of this "using corn for fuel" crap. I want to eat it, or to have somebody feed it to animals that I'll eat. Grass, after all, grows faster than corn.

It's kind of funny, the OP came at the problem the complete wrong way, yet stumbled onto the right answer. We don't turn the corn plant itself into ethanol; if we did, there wouldn't be any problem. Waste not, want not, after all. No, we turn the edible part of the corn into ethanol, the same way we make drinkable alcohol. In places where they can grow it, people use sugarcane. It makes meat and animal products and corn expensive, which makes up a large part of the food industry. All that high fructose corn syrup in all our unhealthy processed food doesn't just come out of thin air, after all.

Of course, if we could turn grass into ethanol, we could turn corn stalks into ethanol too. Bamboo, too. At that point, you just pick whatever grows fastest. I've heard switchgrass is a good choice. Algae too.

Originally posted by Realtruth
Only problem guys.

Grass is not a commodity and they can't make money off of it or control it.

At least not yet.

Who says YOU can turn fuel into grass? You can grow all of it you want, it's never going to fuel you car without some kind of controlled, cultured, engineered bacteria or enzymes to break it down into ethanol. You'll just have grass. Good for a lawn, or golf course, decent for tinder when dry, not good for much else. Nobody's going to buy your lawn clippings off of you. The stuff grows plenty fast, and anyone who can afford a plant to turn grass into ethanol has enough money for land. The stuff grows like weeds.

Dead grass probably runs like a buck a ton, so you're not going to make much selling your yard clippings. You'd be better off composting, so you could grow your own food, which isn't cheap either.

They can control it all they want. You don't want the grass, after all, you want the ethanol. If you want inorganic nitrates for fertilizer, you can't just pull it out of thin air, but a company with a large chemical plant can, and you buy it from them. They don't control the air, but they control the inorganic nitrates. The same will be true for ethanol. You probably live on soil that has some amount of iron in it. But you don't dig it up ands smelt it when you want something made of steel. You go out and buy something. Most things take the cumulative efforts of many people these days. This is going to take the efforts of hundreds of scientists over seveal years, followed by a large and intimidating industry presence.

Originally posted by DJMessiah
reply to post by apc

What would be wrong with a tax refund, or tax break? Essentially, the money we pay for gasoline at the pump has a goverment tax that goes straight into the government's pockets. Why shouldn't it be time the goverment pays us back, even a percentage of what we had to pay them?

For the same reason they don't just repeal all gas taxes and subsidize it at the pump so you can have gas for free-

Because that's a stupid idea. The money's gotta come from somewhere.

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