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why is no one excited about ethanol?

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posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 02:25 PM
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Food or Fuel?

Both ethanol and bio-diesel are good alternative fuels, the production of both requires a sacrifice of food resources.

If we kill off a couple hundred million hungry people, then use the abundance of grain crops to produce these fuels we would eliminate a major part of the dependence on foreign oil.




posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by groingrinder
 
One of the facts that people may not be aware of is that ethanol can be produced from a wide variety of waste products. The commercial production of sugar from sugar beets produces a waste product that can be converted into ethanol fuel. The waste products from the production of beer and wine can also be used as a source for ethanol. Ethanol can also be produced by an experimental means by the slow release of ethanol in a concentrated sulfuric acid solution. This process has not been perfected.
Another process that seems to be overlooked is the currently experimental conversion of cellulosic and hemi-cellusic polysacharides, the left overs from a huge variety of commercial food production. In this process cellulosic material is converted to starch by the introduction of acids and enzymes to produce a starch laden solution. This solution is then converted to fermentable sugars by the introduction of alpha-amylase, an enzyme well known to brewers.
Also the use of pure ethanol as a fuel for motor vehicles is so very simple that it is often overlooked. Nay sayers would have you believe that ethanol is bad for your car, this is complete nonsense. If the vehicle has a computer controlled fuel system, it can be modified to burn ethanol more efficiently than gasoline producing greater mpg than gasoline, any one who disputes this not doing their homework. Someone in this forum also stated that ethanol combustion destroys gaskets in the engine because of the higher temperature required for combustion, computer module modification negates this.



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:02 PM
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I like the idea of using the desert plant Agave for Ethanol It has the best metrics of any plant I have seen.




If you read the article above and do some checking you will find that this one plant if it was cultivated on the vast desert plains of the South West and Mexico deserts it would seriously contribute to our fuel needs and without fertilizer (fixes nitrogen) and without irrigation (it is cactus).

The price of tequila would take a hit but they can do things like require fuel makers to mark or otherwise adulterate it like they do for pharmacy ethanol.


[edit on 8/16/2008 by UFOTECH]



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:27 PM
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reply to post by spookjr

One of the facts that people may not be aware of is that ethanol can be produced from a wide variety of waste products.

Not overlooked, debunked. As I previously said, there is no such thing as 'agricultural waste'. It is all fertilizer for the next generation of plants.


Ethanol can also be produced by an experimental means by the slow release of ethanol in a concentrated sulfuric acid solution. This process has not been perfected.

I wonder what the sulfur content would be in the result, bearing in mind that sulfur is a major contributer to smog and acid rain. Other than that, it sounds like a good idea, once perfected. We cannot cut the oil cord until we have a perfected substitute, not just some dream of future breakthroughs.


Another process that seems to be overlooked is the currently experimental conversion of cellulosic and hemi-cellusic polysacharides, the left overs from a huge variety of commercial food production.

Now we have both problems. Using fertilizer for fuel rather than for fertilizer, and still experimental. Do you suggest we all start walking or riding horses until the process has been perfected?


Also the use of pure ethanol as a fuel for motor vehicles is so very simple that it is often overlooked. Nay sayers would have you believe that ethanol is bad for your car, this is complete nonsense. If the vehicle has a computer controlled fuel system, it can be modified to burn ethanol more efficiently than gasoline producing greater mpg than gasoline, any one who disputes this not doing their homework.
(emphasis mine)

Absolutely true, but the catcher is that the engine has to be designed for alcohol consumption. Most of the cars on the road today are not. In a gasoline engine, alcohol will cause a loss of power and a tendency to overheat.


Someone in this forum also stated that ethanol combustion destroys gaskets in the engine because of the higher temperature required for combustion, computer module modification negates this.

Incorrect. Adjusting the timing or the quantity of a fuel can not and will not lessen any chemical interactions with engine components. The problem is that certain gasket materials are corroded by alcohol over time, not that the engine runs too hot.

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:31 PM
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reply to post by UFOTECH
OK, we have a desert crop, grown with minimal (or no) water on areas that cannot be cultivated for food, with a good ethanol production potential.

Ding! Ding! Ding! This one I can get behind. I doubt the amount that can be grown will fill all of our transportation needs, but this sounds like a good place to start supplementing.

If I lived in the desert I would start growing the stuff myself. Great find!

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:32 PM
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reply to post by The_Alarmist2012
 


Read the whole thread. This has already been debunked several times.



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:37 PM
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The shape of the leaves on the Agave catch morning dew and channel it into the roots so no water is needed and it makes the soil more vital while it grows. Its roots also help keep the soil in place to prevent erosion. It can grow on land that I have checked on that cost about $200 per acre. The return on this is 2000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year. That is 8 times the productivity of corn.



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


So you can't get behind Mesquite beans, but you can get behind Agave? I get behind Mesquite simply because it is already here. Landscapers in Arizona throw away many tons of them in the summertime. Renewable, plentiful, and here right now waiting to be used instead of thrown away.

From what I see though, Agave grows much slower than Mesquite and will take lots of land and needs to be replanted after harvest. Mesquite trees give bean pods every year and do not need to be cut down to harvest the bean pods.



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by UFOTECH
I could probably look this up for myself, but have you looked into how many acres of land are suitable for this? Meaning unsuitable for regular crops.

I may just bug my congressman about this little idea. You are getting me excited.

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by groingrinder
 


I lived in West Texas and the only thing that would grow in abundance was Misquite. We would have to clear the beans each year and they were fed to the cattle and goats. We did not throw them away. In fact the goats would eat the beans right from the tree as high as they could reach. They had enough nutrient content to keep a lot of desert animals alive.



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:52 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


Copied from the article I linked in.


95% of the Agavacea family calls Mexico home and 50% of the country is ideally suited for agave cultivation. Dry, arid, and steep terrain typically have fewer economic opportunities and greater poverty


Mexico is pretty big and the suitable land in the desert South West would double that number so it will take a little calculation but I would say that you are looking at about 761602 sq mi in total between the 2.



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 04:53 PM
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reply to post by groingrinder
My apologies, somehow I missed your post about Mesquite beans.

With a bit of caution, only because I do not know much about what can grow in the desert areas, I can get behind them as well. I have seen those Agave plants growing wild beside the road, but I am not sure if I have seen a Mesquite tree (may have and didn't know it).

My bottom line is that alcohol is a supplement, since it can only be used in newer or modified engines without damaging them. It will not remove our need for oil, and if we use vegetation that is essential to our present agriculture, it may damage our food supply.

It can also make a fine supplement to reduce that dependency on oil. I'm not against ethanol at all; I am against using food for ethanol. As someone pointed out, we can eat corn, but we can't eat oil.

So, yeah, I can get behind them too. Sorry for the oversight.

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 05:07 PM
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reply to post by UFOTECH

you are looking at about 761602 sq mi in total between the 2


OK, since I am interested first and foremost in the USA, I'll take half that number. 380,801 sq. mi. is equal to about 243,700,000 acres, at 2000 gal/acre. That means the yearly potential supply is something like 487,400,000,000 gallons per year.

Dividing that by 365 days per year, we have about 133,500,000 gallons per day potential. I just Googled a site and got a figure of 400,000,000 gallons of gasoline consumed per day in the USA, which means we could replace up to one third of our present gasoline consumption with ethanol using Agave. That sounds about right where we should be, considering the number of flex-fuel cars entering the market. Of course, there is the problem of getting the landowners to grow the stuff, but the supply should follow the demand if someone ever gets the ball rolling.

Now, I wonder how the Mesquite stacks up to this? More potential or less?

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 05:24 PM
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Hey this is my first post, I think the solution to all your problems is HEMP
the supercrop that can be used for virtually anything..
Henry Ford built the first car to run on ethanol produced from hemp that he grew on his land!
Unfortunately the industrial revolution caused oil to take over as our main energy source and if you take the time to look into it this, it is why "marijuana" has been criminalised.



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 05:29 PM
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Originally posted by crawgator406
With alcohol fuel, you can become energy-independent, reverse global warming, and survive Peak Oil in style. Alcohol fuel is "liquid sunshine" and can't be controlled by transnational corporations. You can produce alcohol for less than $1 a gallon, using a wide variety of plants and waste products, from algae to stale donuts. It's a much better fuel than gasoline, and you can use it in your car, right now. You can even use alcohol to generate electricity. Alcohol fuel production is ecologically sustainable, revitalizes farms and communities, and creates huge new opportunities for small-scale businesses. Its byproducts are clean and valuable.


Because we don't need Ethanol:

www.youtube.com...

Our politicians are the ones pushing the "enviromentalist" propaganda. Why should we go from gasoline to ethanol when we'll still have to pay for it? The same way we do gas?

WE DON'T NEED IT!

Who cares about ethanol, seriously? We could use magnets to generate electricty, we could become fully independent

So, of course all of these "green" companies want us to use ethanol, they'd be making all of the money...


[edit on 8/16/2008 by dalan.]



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 05:46 PM
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reply to post by groingrinder
 


Really?

Is it no surprise that the American corn growers are so jazzed about the high fuel prices?

It is very profitable to grow corn for ethanol production now, and many farmers are doing just that.

www.ethanolrfa.org...


FACT: Ethanol production utilized the starch in 2.3 billion bushels of corn in 2007.


2.3 BILLION bushels of corn!

Imagine what that production level will grow to for 2008!

While it may be a viable alternative to gasoline, or an additive... It is taking from food production. If you are a farmer and can get more profit from growing corn for ethanol production rather than for export foods what would you do?

Food that could feed millions of starving people round the globe sacrificed so Mr. and Mrs. Jones can drive their SUVs with a little less dependence on foreign oil.

As populations grow, demand for more energy grows, prices will continue to rise, and production of corn for food will decline as farmers try to meet the ethanol demands... It is all about money, really.

We need alternative energy, not ethanol.

IMO


[edit on 16-8-2008 by The_Alarmist2012]



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 06:05 PM
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reply to post by The_Alarmist2012
Your point about using food for fuel is very apt, and I agree. But read carefully above and you will see that there is a new possibility that had eluded me until this point: desert-based ethanol-producing plants would not take land out of food production and yet could produce enough ethanol to cut our gasoline usage by one third (or more depending on how well the Mesquite tree comes in).

While I do not suggest for one minute that ethanol would end our oil needs, a cheaper supply that does not interfere with agriculture would be beneficial, if for no other reason than to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 06:08 PM
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reply to post by thetruthisalie
Welcome to ATS! Let's hope it is the first of many posts.

As for hemp, yes it can be used, but it also grows in the same areas as corn, wheat, soybeans, etc. So while it is not edible in itself, such a cash crop would no doubt still lessen the food supply by taking land that is normally used for food production.

Keep thinking though!


TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 06:24 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


It would be hard for American farmers to switch to growing agave for ethanol production, they are already set up to grow corn, rice and wheat... It is also worth noting that rice and wheat are used in ethanol production as well... From the studies I have read corn is the best, and right now widest used in the USA for ethanol production.

Agave is great for tequila, I'm not sure it can be grown as fast as corn or will as easily be converted to ethanol... I suppose we will find out one day... for me the jury is still out on that one.

Once again, alcohol is not the future for energy, if we are banking on that we could end up starving much of the world in the process as oil will fail to meet the future demands for energy, and food production will be diverted to ethanol production... don't buy the lies!

New drilling and oil extraction methods will only temporarily reduce demands... Remember population growth is key, more people, more demand for energy means higher prices, and more profit! it is and will become a huge problem if we head down that road.

I suppose the best option would be a global population reduction of some kind, and sterilization of a percentage of the population along with limits on births per mother...


We have got to focus our money, and science on the quest for a viable alternative energy, not alternative fuels.

IMO



posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 07:14 PM
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reply to post by The_Alarmist2012

It would be hard for American farmers to switch to growing agave for ethanol production, they are already set up to grow corn, rice and wheat... It is also worth noting that rice and wheat are used in ethanol production as well... From the studies I have read corn is the best, and right now widest used in the USA for ethanol production.

Farmers simply could not switch to Agave for ethanol. Agave is a cactus and would not thrive in wetter climates where food is grown. I consider that one of its good points.

New farms would be required, which would give landowners in the desert regions a chance to grow crops as well.


Agave is great for tequila, I'm not sure it can be grown as fast as corn or will as easily be converted to ethanol... I suppose we will find out one day... for me the jury is still out on that one.

So far I am going on the information provided in this thread. That evidence states a yield of 2000 gallons of ethanol per acre, and that is where my figures are coming from. That answers the rate of growth question sufficiently, since the production is the key.


Once again, alcohol is not the future for energy, if we are banking on that we could end up starving much of the world in the process as oil will fail to meet the future demands for energy, and food production will be diverted to ethanol production... don't buy the lies!

I only buy facts, and I get very suspicious when those facts seem to be intruding on other things we need.

It is true that ethanol is not a future fuel. But as a stopgap measure, it can extend the use of gasoline, at least in newer cars with flex-fuel capability. That in itself is a cause to examine it closely.


New drilling and oil extraction methods will only temporarily reduce demands... Remember population growth is key, more people, more demand for energy means higher prices, and more profit! it is and will become a huge problem if we head down that road.

I have more faith in the oil reserves than you do, but that said, I still think we can do better. My concern is that we must continue to make use of oil while we learn to do better.

Our oil problem is not with supply even now, but with unregulated uncontrolled speculation and with the falling value of our dollar. When you factor in the number of foreign oil producing countries that simply do not like us, energy becomes a big problem. It is a solvable problem, but solutions are not immediate; they take time. The real question before us is, what do we do in that time period? I say drill for more oil here, use ethanol if it does not impact our food supply, use coal gasification plants, do whatever we have to do while the best minds in the nation are trying to figure out a better way.


I suppose the best option would be a global population reduction of some kind, and sterilization of a percentage of the population along with limits on births per mother...

I will not agree with this statement in the least. That is a hornet's nest waiting to burst. Completely beyond the concept of a slippery slope.


We have got to focus our money, and science on the quest for a viable alternative energy, not alternative fuels.

Agreed, although it is possible that energy and fuel can be one and the same, even in the future. We have to keep an open mind and a watchful eye. Recent history teaches us that.

TheRedneck


[edit on 16-8-2008 by TheRedneck]



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