It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Busting the Ethanol Myths

page: 1

log in


posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 06:48 PM

Busting the Ethanol Myths


Myth #1: It Takes More Energy to ­Produce Ethanol than You Get from It!

Most ethanol research over the past 25 years has been on the topic of energy returned on energy invested (EROEI). Public discussion has been dominated by the American Petroleum Institute’s aggressive distribution of the work of Cornell professor David Pimentel and his numerous, deeply flawed studies. Pimentel stands virtually alone in portraying alcohol as having a negative EROEI—producing le
(visit the link for the full news article)

Related News Links:

posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 06:48 PM
I posted this because I am still perplexed at the many myths believed by so many well meaning folks about ethanol and how it is not a viable alternative to our energy woes. Maybe this needs to be moved to the survival forums I don't know? However as I have noticed gas prices creeping higher and have done quite a bit of research regarding alternative fuels ethanol strikes me as being the main one that could really turn things around very quickly.

The problem is most people equate it to the gasoline model and centralized plants processing and trucking it all over the country not to mention the energy and infrastructure both foreign and domestic needed to get the oil to processing plants etc.

After reading Alcohol Can Be A Gas by David Blume it really opened my eyes to the fact that almost every negative thing I have heard about ethanol is a lie put out by big oil to protect its markets. The book is well researched and well done! I encourage folks to do thier due diligence instead of just parroting media and pundit negative comments about ethanol. Read the whole article and see that we have a viable clean fuel we can use right now no special or experimental technology needed.

It is actually fairly easy to make your own fuel. Farmers and the economy could really get back to work if we followed some of the advice in the book and developed a more regional and local decentralized model of ethanol production. And for survivalist it think this is a must learn.

Anyway I hope this will dispel some of the myths and encourage some to start making thier own fuel and free themselves from the energy and oil cartels!
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 07:19 PM
How many gallons of Ethanol do you get per acre? 18 on the low end to 149 on the high end.... (some tout almost 450 gallons per acre! 450 gallons of ethanol compared to 10,000 to 100,000 gallons of algae oil, no comparison)

Not a good thing to churn food into a very inefficient fuel. If there were no subsides, nobody would do this except for personal use. I see you point on the "survival" aspect, A+ on that but it is a waste to do it commercially.

Closed system algae bio-reactors can produce 20,000 to 100,000 gallons per acre per year (say corn provides 500 gallons an acre per year, this is hundreds of times less fuel or more depending on the method of your algae harvest).

Glass covered Algae Oil trenches.... 10,000 to 20,000 gallons per acre.

[edit on 4-4-2010 by infolurker]

posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 07:51 PM
it depends on what your useing as a source for bio-mass.

most sources that are considered efficient for fuel purposes are less economically viable due to the source being worth more as a product than to be used as fuel, like corn for example is more valuable grown as food.

so algae always ends up as the top contender because of its easiness to grow, and its uselessness as a product.

Cannabis...moreover hemp... has already proven to be the MOST efficient (as in none better) bio-mass fuel source. but due to its illegality is never considered by most mainstream study's like this one.

the only mainstream study i know of useing cannabis/hemp as a biomass fuel is currently being done by PPI(power-plant industry's) for the La Farge cement company. but when legislation passes in california to legalize i dont think it will be long before everybody figures out that Cannabis is as easy to grow as algae and 100 times better a fuel source.

posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 07:55 PM
Food for fuel should be abandoned and should against the law. It completely boggles my mind how it is ok for farmers to just let food rot in the fields when there are starving people, not just in other countries, but in our own and now it has become an acceptable idea to turn food into fuel. The waste of food in this nation is beyond mind boggling and turning food into fuel is more waste when there are far more efficient and economic solutions. Let's also not forget drought, disease, insects and other natural disasters that could potentially wreck crops over a period of years. Food in stores would skyrocket right along with fuel prices.

posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 07:57 PM
I don't think he promotes corn in the book, he prefers a more productive source like sugar beets.

That's just from memory as per his appearance on Coast to Coast.

His ideas on the collectives are an approach to the problem of transport and pricing. I like his ideas.

Coast to Coast - Alchohol Fuels

[edit on 4-4-2010 by Dogdish]

posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 08:21 PM
ill also add that the cannabis method almost funds itself due the high value of fiber stock you get with it.

or the seeds are 30% bio-diesel "as-is".

theres so many ways you can do it with hemp, yet nobody explores any of them.

hemp in an ideal climate like california will produce about 150 Gallons per acre of ethonol. but the cost of produceing it is much smaller, and its easier to grow, and it grows in more climates.

posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 09:02 PM
being someone who has been building race cars for over 8 years now and has used E85 in his own race as well as tuning others for it...i can tell you flat out that the myths and gripes over ethanol are CRAP

ethanol is NOT a poor burning or dirty fuel like some claim it is..E85 holds a US octane rating of MINIMUM 103..depending on the time of year and mixture...for the most part, its 105 octane..the only MAJOR difference in normal petrol compared to ehtanol is you need to run 35% more of it in your car (ANY car can run just need to upgrade your injectors to compensate for the fuel flow, possibly your fuel pressure regulator and you need to add some kind of either piggy back or stand alone ECU replacement..basically it would cost you about $800-$1000 to run E85 in ANY CAR!!)..those of us in the racing world have known about using alcohol and ehtanol for YEARS...they are a cleaner and cooling burning fuel..much more so than any pump gas you can get

100 octane runs $6.00+ per gallon here in vegas at rebel stations...E85 runs between $2.00 to $2.50 per gallon..100 octane is still a pure petrolium based product..E85 is 15% petrolium (actually less when you look at the breakdown)

E100 in south america is i believe almost 120 octane and i believe brazil RUNS on the stuff

ehtanol is given a bad name by people who are PAID to give it a bad name in this coutry..its all a load of crap..the negative image is fueled by greedy corporations whose top level employees are terrified to take a pay cut and who continue to ruin this world and drain it dry thru the use of traditional petroliums in automotive machinery

my 4th 240sx that i built that i retuned for using E85 still got GREAT gas millage...on a full tank of 100 octane @ 16psi of boost with an SR20det from japan (putting down over 300whp) i would get about 280-300 miles out of the tank (yes race cars can still hold great gas millage if you tune them correctly) 240 running E85 got about 215-235 miles on a full tank depending if i was driving around town or on the track...nlets take a a whopping 60-70 mile difference on a car that by all intents and purposes was a full fledge RACE CAR

unfortunately people are too stupid (yes stupid) to do research and learn about things they dont understand...they rely on the media and such for information on things...they want things just to be pretty on the outside that they dont care about how they work (cars for example)...that information tends to be sure most of you are on here because youre tired of such things...but the point im trying to make is...lets look at a well known and heard of myth in the computer world...


ah yes...the age old argument...well...15-20 years ago...YES macs were better than PCs at qutie a few things because of RISC vs CISC architecture in CPUs...well jump forward 20 years to current day...guess what hardware powers every mac out there...the very company that mac use to trash and put down every chance they got...INTEL...macs today are very poor machines...theyre over simplified...they tend to be VERY faulty with hardware/software compared to windows (and yes i will defend that to my dying breath...but im not going to get into it)...and the mac coporation has managed to brain wash people into buying their complete waste of comptuers, ipods and phones...but its simply because people refuse to question and maybe learn otherwise about what steve jobs is telling them they need

but point being is that ethanol is bashed and looked down upon in this country (and so is diesel) because of sheer greed and power...this world runs on it...and this world will believe whats its told without ever questioning otherwise...its sad and very pathetic

unfortunately most people dont considder this question...what you rather buy..a resource that drains our earth of something that cannot be replenished? or a resource that can be grown in acres and acres and do no damage

[edit on 4-4-2010 by dorkidori_s13]

posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 09:45 PM
I believe that ethanol will become increasingly popular as more and more independent distilleries pop up to service cars that have been converted to run on it by more and more entrepreneurial mechanics as gas prices rise.

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 12:28 AM
Glad to see some folks get it!

Still it looks like a few jumped on the thread without even reading the article and repeated the media mantra BS about ethanol taking food off of tables etc. Do your research folks none of the corn used for ethanol is used for food. It is mostly animal feed corn and the by-product of it after making ethanol is actually a high protein feed that is better for the animal then if just fed the corn before it is has been through the distilling process.

While corn is not the best feedstock for ethanol neither is it as bad as they say. It is about in the middle as far as yield and efficiency so it is still viable. It is mostly the centralized big processing plant model that is the problem.

As for hemp yes it is a good feed stock among other things it is good for like fiber and oil etc. but unfortunately is still being suppressed by government under orders from thier corporate benefactors. Just like ethanol was suppressed by standard oil in the early 20th century.

Now is the time for ethanol it can be made by anyone and there is pelnty of waste product now being thrown out that can be used to make. There is no fee to get a permit for under 10,000 gallons a year and and you can make a nice still for about $500-600 or so. Check out the youtube video in the OP.

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 03:10 AM
Interesting topic. Does anyone have any good sites to find info on hemp oil production?

Algae oil seems to be quite interesting too. Going to have to do more research

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 04:17 AM

Originally posted by Curious and Concerned
Interesting topic. Does anyone have any good sites to find info on hemp oil production?

Algae oil seems to be quite interesting too. Going to have to do more research

The the thing is that hemp oil has to be made from hemp. Hemp is illegal to grow in the US right now so you have to import the oil which makes it more expensive.

Algae oil takes special ways to grow it and make it too, most people can't do it easily at home.

If your interested in biodiesel your better off going with waste oil from restaurants etc. for now. A good site for this is they have lots of info and on other biofuels too including ethanol

The thing with ethanol is any car after 1985 can run at least 50% ethanol with no modifications and most of them can run 85% with no modifications. Ethanol is something most folks could run right now no need for a special diesel car is make a bunch of modifications etc.

With ethanol and biodiesel we could be energy independent in a couple years and put millions back to work.

[edit on 5-4-2010 by hawkiye]

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 04:49 AM
My biggest concern for ethanol blended fuel is its cost. Here in Australia there is 2-4 cent difference between 10% ethanol and regular unleaded, then there is a 8-15 cent difference between regular and premium.

Ethanol burns faster than regular and premium so you are actually spending more money to go the same distance. The 4 cent difference in cost just doesn't equate.

So yes it may be a renewable and cleaner fuel but it is not cost effective for the consumer. Again it comes down to the sheeple paying big dollars to save the planet from the corporate giants killing it!

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 06:29 AM
The source in the OP has no sources, and links back to someone trying to sell products like books and videos relating to biofuel production. Still, it has some merit.

A Note on Rising Food Prices

The increases in biofuels production in the EU, U.S. and most other biofuel producing
countries have been driven by subsidies and mandates. The U.S. has a tax
credit available to blenders of ethanol of $0.51 per gallon and an import tariff of $0.54
per gallon, as well as a biodiesel blenders tax credit $1.00 per gallon. The U.S. mandated 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012 in its 2005 legislation and raised the mandate to 15 billion gallons of ethanol from conventional sources (maize) by 2022 and 1.0 billion gallons of biodiesel by 2012 in energy legislation passed in late-2007. The new U.S. mandates will require ethanol production to more than double and biodiesel production to triple if they are met from domestic production.

I have no problem supporting developing technologies provided they are worth it. It would be interesting to compare subsidy per joule of oil vs biofuel, and also taxes per joule of oil vs biofuel. Remember it's not only what you put in - it's what you get out of it.

V. Summary and Conclusions

The increase in internationally traded food prices from January 2002 to June 2008 was
caused by a confluence of factors, but the most important was the large increase in
biofuels production from grains and oilseeds in the U.S. and EU. Without these increases, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate. Land use changes in wheat exporting countries in response to increased plantings of oilseeds for biodiesel production limited expansion of wheat production that could have otherwise prevented the large declines in global wheat stocks and the resulting rise in wheat prices.

Maize is the same as corn. I still prefer a Plutonium or Solar thermal based economy generating Hydrogen, Ammonia, or Electricity for transportation. Biofuel can (and is) make a large contribution in the short-term however. I think Biofuel production must be managed carefully as to not impinge on food production too much. Perhaps when food prices go up we can shift biofuel production back to food production, and when oil is expensive we can shift food production to biofuel, although I'm not sure that's possible. Also, apparently, 7 kilograms of corn is required to produce 1 kilogram of beef, perhaps it would be smarter if the world cut down on meat, both for the environment, biofuel and low cost food.

sou rce:

[edit on 5/4/2010 by C0bzz]

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 07:53 AM

Originally posted by hawkiye
Glad to see some folks get it!

Still it looks like a few jumped on the thread without even reading the article and repeated the media mantra BS about ethanol taking food off of tables etc. Do your research folks none of the corn used for ethanol is used for food.

Sorry man, I gotta call BS on this. It is just not true.

I can name 4 coal fired ethanol plants that get ALL of their corn from fields that fed humans. These 4 plants where designed for coal and don't work well with biomass. I have heard statements from the plant managers to lab techs, that told me that the energy required to make and transport the product was more than the product produced.

Everyone at the plant level just said it was to be used as a supplement to help with the demand.

Now the ironing....
It is absolutly fantastic how well algae grows in the stacks or exhaust systems of coal fired plants, and un-freaking believable that we don't use the super CO2 to grow more algae.
We could scrub the airsteam and provide biomass fuel right at the plant level.
Sounds easy, so it won't happen soon.

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 07:59 AM

[edit on 5/4/2010 by C0bzz]

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 08:15 AM
reply to post by C0bzz

Yes I can name them.
They where built by Fagan (ethanol tech) and ICM (cumbustion technology)

There are two in Iowa (Lincoln Way and Corn LP) , one is North Dakota (Red Trails Energy) and one in Minnesota (Heron Lake).

My information came from the plant level, and could have changed by now, however they did get all of the corn from human feeding fields. I do not have any proof of this besides what I was told, so take it for that.

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 03:37 PM
reply to post by SLaPPiE

As I have said the large centralized model is the problem. So yes ethanol can be manufactured inefficiently still the net gain is better then gasoline.

"'How much oil does ethanol replace?' The answer might surprise you. Very little oil - mostly diesel fuel for planting, tilling and harvesting crops - is required to produce ethanol. A recent publication in the journal Science shows that only about 0.04 MJ (mega joule, a measure of energy content) of petroleum is required to produce one MJ of ethanol. That is a 25:1 advantage in favor of ethanol production. Because ethanol has less energy per gallon than gasoline, we get more than 30 gallons of ethanol for every gallon of oil we "invest" to make the ethanol, versus eight-tenths of a gallon of gasoline per gallon of oil. When ethanol is used as E85 fuel in a flex-fuel vehicle, we are effectively getting around 800 miles per gallon of oil consumed."

"His calculations indicate that every MJ of ethanol can displace 28 MJ of petroleum, in other words ethanol greatly extends our existing supplies of petroleum. Using corn ethanol provides an 18% reduction in greenhouse gasses compared with petrol, while fibre-produced ethanol gives a 88% reduction compared to petrol."

"Michael Wang, of the Argonne National Laboratory’s Center for Transportation Research, said that many studies contradicted the claims of Pimentel and Patzek. He said that Argonne’s study of the same subject concluded that producing corn ethanol requires 26 percent less energy than it contains, and that cellulosic ethanol, made from switchgrass and other inexpensive plant sources, requires a whopping 90 percent less, partly because its byproducts can be burned for energy to power the processing plant."

"...a US Department of Agriculture study concludes that ethanol contains 34% more energy than is used to grow and harvest the corn and distill it into ethanol."

And still we can use ethanol to produce ethanol also so we don't have to invest any oil. it would take some time to transition to that but it can be done

Still it can be done even better.

"Corn isn’t a very efficient crop, but luckily there are crops out there that are MANY times more efficient than corn. Brazil uses sugarcane to produce energy in a very efficient manner and is one of the most energy self-sustainable countries on the planet. The biomass parts of the plant that can’t be turned into ethanol are used to help distillation. It’s a very efficient method. There are other crops that are even more efficient than sugarcane, as alcohol can be made from anything with sugar or starch. There are also many companies and researchers working on creating cellulosic ethanol which will allow an even greater variety of plants to create ethanol. Regardless, some ethanol crops can be made very efficiently and produce MORE energy than consumed. It all depends on what crop, how it’s being grown, etc.

The people that cite this myth also often discount, or completely forget, the byproducts that result from manufacturing ethanol. Even corn ethanol results in a byproduct called DDGS. This ‘dried distillers grains with soluble’ still contain all of the protein and fat, and much of the cellulose, vitamins and minerals. The only thing that has been removed is the starch. This byproduct can still be used as an animal feed, and has been proven to be better than corn when fed to cattle (quicker cattle growth!). The removal of the starch, which goes through cattle undigested, allows quicker digestion and growth of the animal when DDGS is used."

[edit on 5-4-2010 by hawkiye]

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 03:49 PM
reply to post by spearhead

Well yeah if we let the oil company model take control of it, it will always be more expensive. The point is it can be much less expensive. Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world and has already proven it works. They do not import any oil. and they use less then 2% of thier farmland to grow ethanol producing crops. 50% of thier cars run on ethanol. So anyone who tells you it can't work has not done their homework.

posted on Sep, 2 2010 @ 02:05 AM
reply to post by infolurker

How many gallons of Ethanol do you get per acre? 18 on the low end to 149 on the high end.... (some tout almost 450 gallons per acre! 450 gallons of ethanol compared to 10,000 to 100,000 gallons of algae oil, no comparison)

Try 1000 gallons an acre:

Sweet Sorghum produces 500 gallons of ethanol per acre, with the added advantage of being capable of producing 2 crops per year (yielding up to 1000 gallons per acre per year). It also yields as much as 5 tons of fiber per acre per harvest, as well as large grain tops. It grows in marginal soils and uses only a third the water of corn to produce.

I would like to see some proof on the algae yield and even so what kind of investment would it take for farmers to set up for algae? With Sweet Sorghum for ethanol nothing new needs to be done just plant and harvest two cuttings a year.

new topics

top topics


log in