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why is no one excited about ethanol?

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posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 10:46 AM
There was the alternative fuel study that was in effect during during the Carter administration. about the same time G. M. was working with Brazil in creating vehicles that would run on pure ethanol. The alternative fuel study found that sugar beets were the most cost effective plant for ethanol production and was found to not harm the soil. Reagan killed the program by announcing that the program was no longer necessary because it had proven that we could provide fuel that could be replenished. This was 2 days after his term started. Lamar and Bunker Hunt had purchased the Great Western Sugar Company refinery in Colorado and shut the doors to the farmers saying that the machinery was too antiquated the operate, though it was the largest producer of sugar from sugar beets in the world at the time. This led to mass loan foreclosures for the farmers and a transfer of land to corporations,( and Willie Nelsons Farm Aid concerts.) Brazilians were driving Chevettes that ran on ethanol 30 years ago and that is the only fuel that is used in most of the cars there today. Nothing is going to happen here until the corporate giants decide it is in their best interest, which means financially

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 12:01 PM

Originally posted by infolurker
ethanol is not the answer.. subsidies make farmers happy but really.

This Wall Street Journal article kind of sums it up:

Hyrdrogen from Algae an Algae oil is an answer to bio generated fuel.. .see this video (estimated 10,000-20,000 gallons per acre per year.... corn and soybeans are in the hundreds and has to be heavily processed.

jatropha is a very far off 2nd possibility as well if for some reason Algae doesn't meet the claims. No refining needed (58 to 73 US gallons per acre) This CNN video gives a great overview. this stuff can be grown in places where normal food crops don't grow well (desert southwest) though some people are using land in Florida right now. There are problems with this though, this crap is pretty toxic (the plant / leaves) and is labor intensive to use as fuel

[edit on 16-8-2008 by infolurker]

I was just wondering what kind of emissions happen when ethnol is used?

Though hydrogen is the answer yes, but not from biofuels from algae. Usually hydrogen comes from water and since the fuel is water, the emission is water vapor which can be recycled and reused. So potentially you would never have to refill a tank of gas ever again.

Sounds good to me.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 01:09 PM
reply to post by Quickfix
The emissions from ethanol are almost completely identical to pure hydrocarbon emissions. Both will produce carbon dioxide and water (CO2 and H2O). Now, impurities in the fuel would be drastically different. One of the problems with oil is that it is not pure when pumped and therefore the refined fuels can contain impurities. Ethanol typically contains much less impurities than hydrocarbon fossil fuels, and therefore produce less pollutants when burned.


posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 01:47 PM
The trick here is to take a different tack and look at what's being defined as "the problem." If you step back a bit, what problem are we trying to solve? It's not high gas prices, it's getting people from one place to another efficiently, with as little negative impact on the environment as possible, and profitably.

Over the years, because we placed a higher value on personal freedom than the environment, we were able to develop relatively inexpensive modes of personal transportation, pave over a lot of grass and consolidate our food and entertainment centers into large cities. Some of it made sense. Rather than having a small store on ever corner we could walk to, where transportation costs made everything more expensive than it needed to be, we were able to build huge stores we could drive to. So we have more cars, more cheap food, more streets, more apartment buildings, more babies, and so on. That's the real problem.

The thing is, switching from gas to ethanol doesn't really solve the base problem, which is that our population keeps expanding to meet the available energy source, until that energy source becomes too expensive to use. Switching energy sources is only a move to continue gaining profit from investments. But the domino effect has it encouraging continued population growth. Growth and profit, particularly in the energy industries, relies on increased usage, and the easiest way for that to happen is to increase the population.

But there's a breaking point. Again, we can create biofuels, but then we have to choose between driving our cars or some poor suckers in a Third World country starving to death. We can expand and improve our mass transportation systems, but only to a point. We can all eventually drive around on the equivalent of a slot car track. But we still have to keep building the infrastructure to make that happen, and it also has a limit.

That's why eventually we'll have to try to figure out exactly what the optimum (not necessarily the maximum) population level is for the planet, that allows individuals to efficiently get to where they want to go without having such a negative impact on everybody else. Ethanol is not the solution to that problem at all.

[edit on 17-8-2008 by Nohup]

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 01:53 PM
reply to post by Hopup Dave

I have been running into a lot of information about Nikola Tesla as of late.

I must admit my own ignorance as far as the subject of Tesla goes, but I am intrigued by what I am hearing.

I will have to do more research into Tesla.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 01:57 PM
This is a reply to the initial post.

Perhaps this has been mentioned in between in a post, I may have missed..BUT This is not an answer to the problem..and at MAY only help relieve by 30% for fuel consumption across nations.
The food that ethanol is taking away from mouth is far more important then saving a buck. IMO Besides...we pay more for food in the stores because of it is no actual saving.

If people don't like the price of fuel stop driving...

People can whine and complain.all they want..but unless they actually stop paying what is being asked..they will continue to go higher.

You can all can say I cannot live with out a vehicle..I need to get to get food...what ever ..BUT..eventually there will have to be something that gives...guess what...the first one that does..pays the price.

It takes one can or is willing to give up what must be..that is obvious...

SO...with or without ethanol, unless everyone stands up and does something..The price of fuel will continue to rise. Unfortunately the starving mouths will pay far more than anyone would ever pay at the gas pumps.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 02:16 PM
reply to post by hypervigilant

Nothing is going to happen here until the corporate giants decide it is in their best interest, which means financially

Exactly. Corporations are making the move to oust farmers worldwide and take the land using the WTO agreement on agriculture. With house resolution 25 and all the red tape for food production that is planned Corporations will have a strangle hold on agriculture production and no doubt ethanol production. all in the name of profit. No doubt the reason the US turns a blind eye to illegals is so corporations will have plenty of serf labor available to work the farms for a pittance.

As for private home production of ethanol be prepared to have the feds breathing down your neck. You have to account for every single drop of ethanol you produce and keep very careful records. I have been through a federal audit involving the use of alcohol in industry and believe me they are VERY nasty. You are considered guilty and must prove your innocence.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 03:18 PM
reply to post by TheRedneck

I guess my two degrees in engineering dont count as scientific backgrounds then. I do not agree with you, at all.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 04:01 PM
reply to post by spookjr
What part do you disagree with? that alcohol burns at a higher temperature than gasoline? or that it burns slower? That sulfuric acid contains sulfur? That engines are designed based on a specific speed of combustion of the fuel? Or that radiators are designed in production autos for the anticipated fuel to be used?

That is a pretty big response to simply state "I do not agree". Care to specify? I can back up everything I said with facts.

(I will be back tomorrow night. Last post, gotta go do real work for a change.


posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 07:57 PM
reply to post by TheRedneck

Thanks, I didn't know that. Now that ethanol still emits CO2 its a fuel that should not be used.

I think we have enough CO2 and pollutants in our atmoshpere as it is.

The fuel that should be used to get from one place to another is hydrogen. Its free, renewable, clean, and its what wont happen because of the banking elite. There is plenty of info on burning water as fuel on youtube. When a free energy based society is built its that much harder to control people. Free energy means more money, lower bills, no war, more food, and i'm sure many more possibilities. Free energy was already created by Nikolia Tesla a long time ago and it was not a hydrogen type of energy. It just goes to show that the people are held down for profits, but i'm sure you all knew that.

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 12:19 AM
Personally, I'm not that excited about ethanol for fuel because it's so old tech-I was using it since the 80's (I think) from my local stations in Iowa-and for as long as I can recall, it's be required in all state-owned vehicles. One of the best ways to tell an unmarked cop car was to check for the ethanol sticker on the back bumper....

And for the record, my 1977 T-Bird, 460 cc engine never had any trouble with it, with no break-in period, no modifications. The only thing I did, and that was just because of the temperature, was to run an additive through it once a year to burn off any water buildup.

You coasters get so excited over nothing. Come see the middle of the country sometime.

[edit on 18-8-2008 by lostbug]

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 01:36 AM
reply to post by crawgator406

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 01:47 AM
(Fortune Magazine) -- Now that milk and gasoline can cost $3.50 each, filling up your grocery cart or SUV has become an exercise in pain. Most people just wince, pay, and get along as best they can. But someone like me can't help but see these price spikes as a nasty side effect of America's ethanol program. How nasty? Think of the recent film starring Will Smith, "I Am Legend."

You might ask what the connection is between a half-baked energy policy and overdone sci-fi. Answer: the unanticipated consequences of supposed miracle cures.

Ethanol first. This corn-into-fuel program has been around for years but gained vast new impetus from President Bush's program to cure America's "addiction to oil" by using biofuels. We'll grow our way to self-sufficiency. Oh, well. Not only are oil prices at all-time highs (in dollar terms), but diverting agricultural land to energy production is a major factor in the rise of worldwide food prices. We've had food riots in Mexico and Egypt. Even in the U.S., Costco and Sam's Club are rationing rice. Creepy.

Now to sci-fi: If you've seen "I Am Legend," you know that its premise is that a cancer vaccine - your classic miracle cure - backfires by starting a plague that wipes out most of the human race and turns almost all the survivors into zombies. Sure, I'm being a bit over-the-top here, but the parallel to the ethanol situation is obvious - if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Had the Bush administration and Congress exhibited the wisdom and courage to slap a big honking gasoline tax on drivers after 9/11 - or even in 2006, when the President made his "addiction to oil" speech - it would have been a better energy policy than the cornographic panacea they've given us. We could have reduced consumption, cut oil imports, kept low-income drivers whole by rebating their gas taxes with income tax breaks, and used the rest of the proceeds for deficit reduction or something else useful. Food would be cheaper. So would fuel, because demand would be lower and we'd probably have fewer financial speculators, who some experts think are responsible for $25 worth of oil's march from $64 a barrel a year ago to $119 as Fortune goes to press.

So in avoiding a gas tax, we have not avoided higher prices. We've also done something that should horrify anyone who cares about this country: transferred hundreds of billions of dollars of our wealth to oil-producing countries, many of which don't exactly share our society's values of tolerance and freedom. (Can you say Russia? Or Saudi Arabia?)

Even with gas at $3.50 a gallon, I'd be more than willing to pay a much higher gas tax than I do now because it would knock down demand, cost less in the long run, and demonstrate that the U.S. is willing to do painful things in the present to ensure our future prosperity. Turning biological waste like wood chips into fuel makes a lot of sense. But devoting vast acreage of America's breadbasket to fuel - about a third of the U.S. corn crop is dedicated to ethanol - is a really terrible idea, as we're now seeing. Supposedly miraculous and painless cures have a nasty tendency to backfire. Both in scary movies and in the even scarier real world.

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 01:58 AM
The chief reason for using ethanol is that you can distill it yourself. You do not need a multinational conglomerate to deliver it to a gas station so you can go there and fill up. That, to me, is the whole point of ethanol. To free people from the stranglehold of the gas companies. We do not have to wait for them to build distilleries, we can build our own. The IRS pays sixty one cents a gallon for you to use your own alcohol fuel. That will offset the cost of building the still. Especially if you use the full 5,000 gallons a year you are allowed. Using FREE ingredients like mesquite beans or waste food and combining it with the subsidy from the IRS will bring the cost down to where most people can afford to do this.


Right now my transportation is a mountain bike, but if I can get this ethanol thing going I will finally be able to afford to drive a car.

[edit on 8-18-2008 by groingrinder]

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 02:16 AM
20% less fuel efficiency negates cost savings. Food source being used for fuel is never a good thing when algae ponds or other sources are basically free. Think of all the energy used in making a crop of corn and getting it converted to methanol. Waay too expensive and stupid to use food for fuel.

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 08:17 AM
I had a client on the phone the other day, was calling her from Thunder Bay ON to Calgary AB, she was flipping out because she says the pumps at her local station don't support ethanol or bio diesel, I almost started laughing when she says she can't even fill up the new car she bought...

I got the idea the lady was either trying to pull my leg or she was seriously one fried individual because even our small town supports bio diesel at almost every station, but she was right mad... maybe she was a blond who just doesn't read signs... who knows... funny story tho, lol

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 10:46 AM
reply to post by groingrinder

I'm sorry but building a distillery at home for fuel is inefficient, i mean you still have to make your fuel, thats just sad. I'd rather go to my reverse osmosis water filter and just turn it on so water/fuel comes out, its much easier.

When water is used as fuel, emissions are reusable so no tank filling again. More people should be execited about hydrogen since it will end the the fuel companys forever. Oh and don't forget hydrogen is free, clean, renewable energy, it balances food prices and a way to balance humans with nature.

[edit on 18-8-2008 by Quickfix]

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 03:18 PM
to the original poster, ethanol is just a stopgap. Yes you distill your own, but do you have the land to grow the source material(corn, rice, wheat, sugar beets?) Do you have the technical expertise to to build and maintain a still? Do you know how to prepare your source material for distilling? Believe me when I tell you you will earn every gallon you produce. How do you propose to provide the heat to distill the alcohol? Wood? Natural gas? Propane?
Sorry to rain on your parade, but the cost is going to be more than you anticipate. And then, as someone already mentioned, there is the headache of dealing with the government.
I agree that we need alternative fuels and sources of energy. We must use every thing at our disposal, including drilling off shore, in the middle of the country and ANWR. We need to use wind and solar, while we perfect electric cars and batteries.
But above all, we must THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!!!(sam kinison scream!) Somewhere out there, someone is working on something that is totally different, something the rest of us haven't conceived of yet, and when that individual comes forward and proves his point, he will be richer that BIll Gates ever dreamed of. (That is, if the oil and power companies don't kill him/her and suppress the information. (It could and probably has happened)
Until then, we have to, as a nation, work to develop short. mid, and long range programs that eventually will relieve us of our dependence on petroleum products. There were such programs in effect during WWII. People did without. People grew their own food. They saved their bacon grease for recycling. (It was used in the manufacture of gun powder). Scrap metal drives were held. Aluminum foil (tin foil) was used over and over, and then taken to a recycling center. (I recall my grandmother and mother neatly folding foil and wax paper for reuse. They had done without, thus they knew what it was to be frugal.
The baby boomers (of which I am a member) don't know what it is to ration, to do without, to use and reuse, until there was nothing left, or it could be recycled. We have to have an energy program that attacks the problem in much the same way. Think of it as a Manhattan Project for energy.
Those of you who think we'll magically use hydrogen, and thus every one will have free energy, remember, "Tanstaffl!"
You can't make a slave of a free man. The most you can do is kill him.

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 10:57 PM
reply to post by Quickfix
Glad to help. I have to point out, however, that CO2 is not a pollutant. It will be produced whenever carbon is oxidized, whether that oxidation is through combustion or life processes or chemical reactions. It also is necessary for plant life, which is necessary for animal life (including ours).

Hydrogen is indeed the only fuel we know of that does not contain carbon and therefore produces no carbon dioxide. However, hydrogen is unproven. By that I mean that I cannot just go down to the car dealer and purchase a hydrogen-powered car. Nor can I take such a car to a fueling station and fill the tanks if I were able to purchase one. Nor have I been able to actually built a hydrogen-powered engine yet. The videos you see on YouTube are typically scams, which use some hidden energy source to produce hydrogen from water through electrolysis. This does not produce energy, as it requires just as much energy to produce the hydrogen as one would get from burning it or using it in a fuel cell, if we assume 100% efficiency.

Tesla's 'free energy' wasn't free, if you are talking about the wireless transmission of power he is known for. The power could have been obtained for free by someone with a receiver, but the power was generated by more mundane means. There are plenty of theories floating around about how some of his other devices could be used to produce free energy, but so far no one has been able to demonstrate it.

So while I think hydrogen may someday be a great idea, and while I admire Tesla's work and his ingenuity, reality still says we have no present fuel source that is not carbon-based. If that changes, great. But until it does, we still need fuel.


posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 11:55 PM
reply to post by TheRedneck

"Tesla's 'free energy' wasn't free, if you are talking about the wireless transmission of power he is known for. The power could have been obtained for free by someone with a receiver, but the power was generated by more mundane means. There are plenty of theories floating around about how some of his other devices could be used to produce free energy, but so far no one has been able to demonstrate it."

My previous post regarding Tesla's wireless transmission of electricity was not implied as "free" energy. Yes, it must still be generated by the current process, which is energy inefficient. But, my post was to call attention to the possibility to transmit that electrical energy wirelessly to electric automobiles using today's off the shelf battery technology.
The effect would be to:
1. Reduce gasoline consumption and waste in one of the most inefficient applications of automobile use - commuting to and from work.
2. The installation of Tesla Coil electrical energy transmitters at 5 mile intervals along commuter routes to major cities would be much less expensive infrastructure than building hydrogen plants and dispensing stations, more environmentally friendly than ethanol and would not impact our food supply. (also, ethanol crops would be subject to seasonal fluctuations and climate changes (drought, freezes, etc.). (How we would produce the additional electricity required to power all these electric cars is a problem, but not insurmountable).
3. Very inexpensive electric cars could be produced because no great investment in research and development is needed for off the shelf technology. Therefore, the cost of such an electric commuter car could be kept very low - not much more than a luxury golf cart. No need to develop the one hundred mile battery because cars would re-charge on the fly (or drive).

There will never be (in our lifetimes) "free" energy. If corporations could figure out a way to corner the oxygen market, we would be paying to breath. And my proposal above would require taxes and the electric companies would certainly need to be paid for the commuter's electricity. But this would be the beginning of the end of oil dependence. Once this infrastructure is in place it can be expanded to interstate highway systems and soon trucks and cross country driving would all be electric.

The technology is here, it's proven and only needs to be applied.

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