The Great Ethanol Scam?

San Pedro

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Ethanol is a scam for other reasons too. It actually causes more pollution if you consider it's production, and it helps drive up the price of food by moving farmers to grow corn for ethanol instead of food for human consumption, thus lowering supply.
 

jsc

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It's a dud for a more fundamental reason. It costs about 1/2 of an energy unit for every energy unit produced.

Petroleum (gas, diesel, etc.) costs about 1/6 of an energy unit for every energy unit produced.
 

RomDA_73

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Interestingly, it's nothing new either. As the article says, this is Ethanol's fourth attempt to go mainstream, at least in the US. So Ethanol's negatives aren't due to the fact that combustion engines are designed mostly to burn petroleum?
 

gazfast

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There are definitely pros and cons, as with all things in this life.

Through my job, Technical Editor for a magazine group in Oz, I tested a SAAB Flex-Fuel, running 85% ethanol.

Went like hell, lovely to drive, and had no problem when you put 100 % petrol in, because there was no E85 where i was at the time.

Spoke to SAAB MD shortly after, asked about the differences between 'normal' 9-5 and E85 car, mentioning the fuel tank was smaller on E85.

Seems the big problem with Ethanol killing petrol motors is the fuel attacks rust and scale in the metal tank, lifts it and then it flows into the filters, and can potentially get into the injectors, ripping them to bits.

Solution: They fit plastic tanks, basically cubes, rather than the shaped tanks normally used, hence the lower capacity, but, no damage to the fuel system.

Apparently, this was all sorted in Brazil many years ago, cars slated for Brazil are routinely fitted with polymer-type tank, and presto, no engine dramas.

Checked this with other manufacturers who sell into Brazil, all agree it is normal practice.

Agree the problem of enticing farmers away from food is a big one, but BP has bought a chunk of central Africa, no good for food production, and is paying farmers to grow Jatropha, it has a high yield,a dn the bagasse (leftovers) is enough to power the elctricity plant that powers the refinery.

I am sure there is more to it than that, but that is a short version of about 6 years research for numerous newspaper and magazine articles i have written.

Thanks for your time.
 

zehpavora

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Agree with gazfast.
I'm from Brasil, and all the mainstream cars sold here are dual fueled, meaning they work with both ethanol AND gasoline, no questions asked. You can fill your tank this week with pure ethanol and the next week with pure gasoline it won't do a thing to the engine.

In the US, there's a very strong will not to go to ethanol, because there are a lot of petrol scavengers there. The agricultural problem of ethanol is actually zero. All the ethanol used in Brasil (the true name of the country is with a 's') is produced here (Brasil), from a better source than the American one. In Brasil, the ethanol comes from the sugar cane instead of the corn.

Personally, two of the cars here at home are dual fueled but only run with ethanol. Brasil has ethanol cars since the 70's and they're only getting a bigger share of the market.

Also, the US uses big cars. Ethanol is better for smaller cars, such as a Corolla, because you use more ethanol to generate the same amount of energy than gasoline. However, ethanol is way cheaper than gas here in Brasil.
 

gazfast

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That is probably the biggest block to widespread adoption of alternatives, they all lack the efficiency of petrol, but perhaps that is the price we pay - a little more consumed, but at a lower cost.
 

zehpavora

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Well, for efficiency, they are better in the fuel/dollar ratio. BUT if you consider the usage of a truck, the one with petrol will go further.

I think that even though a great part of the users have cars, ethanol would benefit them. However, people think it's better to do everything at once, which is, in my opinion, stupid.
 

Bruceification73

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Good point. It increases demand so much that farmers all over the world are switching from rice and other foods to corn, thus creating more food shortages. People in Asia are seeing increased prices on rice, the staple of their diet. Ethanol is one of the stupidest ideas for alternative fuel, and past generations have blocked its use multiple times, because it is not worth it. The current generation, however, appears to be dumb enough to let it slide.
 

rodney_ws

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Any jackass politician that voted for more ethanol in our gas obviously doesn't own a boat / personal watercraft, doesn't have a clue about anything or has been bought off by farmers. Take your pick. Ethanol is an absolute joke. ENOUGH! 10% in our gasoline is bad enough... 15% would likely push some engines over the edge. Drill in Alaska you retarded dingle-berries!
 

Bruceification73

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Excellent idea, and I still can't believe that environmentalists and politicians won't let us. It is the perfect solution, along with drilling off shore in other parts of the country.
 
It's sure causing problems with boat motors, the shops are loving it though.

Dont buy from a station that posts 10% ethanol signs if you have a boat.
But what if you live in a state where by law all motor fuel in the state must contain ethanol?
Wasington, Minnesota, Montana and Hawaii all have passed laws that the fuel sold in their state must be an ethanol blend.
There are a lot of other states considering or in the process of passing the same laws.
Where I live, Washington, it is 10% right now, and going up to 15% sometime in the near future I believe. (but not sure exactly when)

And lets face it, we may have lots of oil now, but there will come a day when we will not have oil. Sooner or later we have to find something else.
And about growing corn for ethanol instead of food, come on. Only about 12% of the corn in the US is grown as a food source. The rest is dent corn, which is used for everything from corn sweeters and oils to cattle feed and even biodegradable bottles! It is amazing all the things that come from corn, and the least of it is food. We export about 20% of it, and of course ethanol can be made from corn.
But corn is actually a very, very, poor source for ethanol, there are other plants that produce much higher yields than corn.
So don't talk about corn, ethanol is a viable alternative, but certainly not when converted from corn.

But to that end, the problems that arise from burning ethanol in 2 stroke motors are real. But it can be fixed, the technology just needs refined and the motors need to be built that address the problems of running ethanol. There was a problem with burning valves up in older motors when we switched to pure unleaded gas years ago. But we changed the way the valves and valve guides were made to fix the problem.

It's coming, things will change, you will be buying ethanol. Might as well get used to it, and deal with it.
 

Bruceification73

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Are you sh!tting me? You never even considered the possibility of natural gas? I will say again, ethanol pollutes more than gasoline because of the production and distribution, and it is less efficient than gasoline. Natural gas, on the other hand, is very abundant and pollutes less than either. Just because certain states are requiring ethanol in their fuel doesn't mean it's a good thing. It pollutes, it is costly, and yes, it diverts resources. Just because only 12% of the corn grown in the US is used for food doesn't mean that ethanol doesn't create food shortages. As I said before, farmers all around the world who were previously growing rice and soy are now growing corn for ethanol instead, which means less rice and soy, and also higher prices at the grocery store.

It's coming, things will change, you will be buying ethanol. Might as well get used to it, and deal with it.
So what if it's coming? That doesn't make it a good thing. Back in 1938 the Holocaust was "coming." I didn't kill any Jews, and I won't buy ethanol. I will not get used to it, I will protest it. Ethanol is the stupidest fraud of an idea anyone ever actually believed. As I said before, they have tried to introduce ethanol before and failed, because the American people were smart enough to know it was a bad idea. Now they're trying it again, but the American people are much stupider, thanks to public education, and so they embrace the idea they should despise.
 


Burning ethanol does not create a food shortage, and exactly where did I say that burning or making ethanol is a "good thing"? But you will be buying it in the future, or you will be walking. It is just that simple like it or not. It may not be the ultimate answer, but in the meantime it is at least a start to lesson dependancy on fossil fuels.
But lets look at Natural Gas for just a minute, yet another non-renewable natural resource. When it is gone, then what do you do? And in the meantime, if we did switch vehicles over to natural gas, natural gas would do what? It would jump from a few cents to $4 a cubic foot. Your household heating bill would run a thousand dollars a month.
Natural Gas may burn cleaner, and it may be abundant. But if we used it to fuel our transportation means, then in a very short few decades, we would be facing a Natural Gas shortage. It is still a fossil fuel, and non renewable fossil fuels are not the answer.
 

MRFS

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Google "Bakken Formation" (also spelled "Baaken" sometimes):

http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/bakken-oil-trade/658


We strongly suspect that the petroleum cartel / world bankers
secretly financed the Women's Temperance Movement
in order to perfect a monopoly over automotive fuels.

That led to the Volstead Act, then Prohibition -- the 18th Amendment.

Once that monopoly was perfected, Prohibition was repealed,
leaving alcohol high and dry as the preferred fuel for cars and trucks,
and leaving a Federal police force inside the several States,
to continue extorting money from the American People.

The IRS is now what was left over of "The Untouchables"
after Prohibition was repealed.

U.S. v. Constantine held that the Federal Alcohol Administration was
no longer legal inside the several States: so that FAA retreated to San Juan,
Puerto Rico. And, that's where the IRS is now domiciled:

http://www.supremelaw.org/authors/cooper/cooper.htm
http://www.supremelaw.org/sls/31answers.htm

Puerto Rico is even mentioned expressly in the Code of
Federal Regulations for Title 27 (BATF):

http://www.supremelaw.org/cfr/27/27cfr26.11.htm#revenueagent

There is also a second "Secretary of the Treasury" in San Juan:

http://www.supremelaw.org/decs/diaz-saldana/diaz-saldana.htm#secretary


p.s. Henry Ford had far fewer cars to worry about fueling.


MRFS
 

Bruceification73

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I have two legs, and I know how to walk. Besides, electric cars are making a comeback and ethanol still pollutes more than gasoline or natural gas.

Natural Gas may burn cleaner, and it may be abundant. But if we used it to fuel our transportation means, then in a very short few decades, we would be facing a Natural Gas shortage. It is still a fossil fuel, and non renewable fossil fuels are not the answer.
So, you're saying we shouldn't even use it, because it won't last forever? That's not very good logic. And your estimates for the price jumps that might occur are way high. It would jump from a few cents to a few more cents. Also, let's consider nuclear energy, since you seem to think that ethanol is the only option. Nuclear plants create less than 1% the CO2 emissions that traditional power plants do. Fission, the first process in creating nuclear energy, creates 10 million times the energy you get from fossil fuels. Depending on the type of factory being used, nuclear energy can be renewable. The average finished cost of nuclear energy is between 3 and 5 cents per kilowatt, and the cost has dropped over the last 26 years, while the cost of other forms of energy has risen steadily over the same period of time. Uranium, the source of nuclear energy, is available in large quantities in Australia. The uranium is reasonably cheap to mine, and easy to transport to reactors around the globe, making nuclear energy relatively inexpensive to produce when compared to conventional methods of energy production. There are, of course concerns with nuclear energy because of past accidents and because the current technology wastes a lot of the energy created. However, many experts believe that in the near future we will be able to capture more energy and make the whole process more safe.

It may not be the ultimate answer, but in the meantime it is at least a start to lesson dependancy on fossil fuels.
So, lessening our dependancy on fossil fuels makes it ok to starve people? One Minnesota study says 1.2 billion people in the world could be chronically hungry by 2025. That's twice as much as predicted due in part to the loss of crops and increased prices created by biofuels.
 



You have taken every single thing I said and turned it around and construed into something totally different. If you think I believe you will shun transportation and start walking when all you can buy is ethanol blended fuel, yeah right that is complete BS.
I remember when gasoline was only pennies for a gallon, it has risen from literally 40 cents to $4.50 per gallon, where I live, SINCE I GOT MY DRIVERS LICENSE. I can remember my parents paying 18 cents a gallon for it. Can you?
I did not say we should not use natural gas, did I? I don't think so.
Electric cars are great. I will buy one myself as soon as the price becomes affordable to me.
Nuclear energy is not going to be powering your chainsaw or boat, or car for a long, long, long, long time.
To that end, this in not a thread about solving the worlds energy crisis. This is a thread about burning ethanol in you car, truck, motorcycle, boat, weed whacker, and I think that you will be doing just that one way or another in the near future.
And that Minnesota study? Funny how they are a state that mandates all motor fuel be a 10% ethanol blend already. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at that. There are also studies that say the world is going to be a lifeless hunk of rock long before 2025.
There is NO ONE starving in world because we are making ethanol.
 

frozenlead

Splendid
Regardless of any other fact or statistic, it takes more fossil fuels to produce and use ethanol than normally would be used to drive cars anyway. That fact alone makes ethanol not viable - it doesn't solve the problem it was designed for! It just makes the effect less visible, since you won't see the price of gasoline rise higher; only those who still use it will. Just another feel-good fuel.

If you were to ask me, I would say we should use Natural Gas as a temporary solution until we have the technology and production processes to make electric cars and hydrogen cars viable. Fuel cells are excellent ways to power machines, they're just expensive.

On an aside, I also hope that coal dies out, letting Nuclear take over most of the power production, with solar, wind, and hydro power taking over the rest.
 

punisher 281

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I've done quite a bit of research on ethanol. Everyone seems to think that creating it from corn is the only way. A couple of years ago I learned of algea ethanol. A certain kind of algea is produced in large facilities. They naturally are filled with oil that can be burnt in diesel engines, but once they are squeezed too much, they can be fermented into ethanol. An unusable piece of land out in the middle of the desert could be used to produce the algea.

Here's the article

http://awakeatthewheel.net/2010/05/21/diesel-and-ethanol-from-algae-texas-pilot-program-begins/

Also, current engines do not have the proper compression to efficiently use ethanol. They need to have a higher compression, and once they do, they produce more power, more fuel mileage and run cooler than gasoline engines. The octane level is also higher than gasoline. I think its like 105 on average, so more timing is needed as well. That's why it's referred to as "poor man's racing fuel".

I'm still hoping that auto manufactures will start to use ethanol and start building engines that are specifically designed for the fuel. It will finally break us from being dependent on foreign oil.
 

stillerfan15

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Good luck with an older car when we have to go to 15% ethanol. Engines will be hurt. I think ethanol is a very bad idea. JMHO
Dave
 

sykozis

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I'm aware this is a rather old thread.....but ethanol has been used for a couple decades now to prevent gas from freezing in winter. Also, methanol has been used as a racing fuel by the Indy car series for as long as I can remember....also used in racing go-karts. Methanol is very similar to ethanol....it's just more toxic to drink. Methanol also burns cleaner.....produces carbon dioxide and water....just like us breathing. Ethanol does the same, but adds aldehydes...

ethanol contains 2/3 of the energy per volume as gasoline, ethanol produces 19% more CO2 than gasoline for the same energy
 

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