Ethanol ScamFrom Rolling Stone, of all places, comes a pretty good article about the problems associated with the ethanol/biofuel "solution" to our energy needs.
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|Jeremy - Robots don't say 'ye'|
Ethanol is one of those things that has potential to do good, but got instantly buried under greed and politics. Anyone who has put 9 seconds of research into the issue could tell you that with our current technology we might as well not even bother with corn. We get out just a marginal amount of energy when it's all said and done. There are many better plants that are easier to grow and provide a higher potential for energy, but no politician is trying to court the switchgrass farmer, they want the "heartland" corn farmer. The heartland corn farmer also wants the price of corn to go up as much as possible, so it's win-win between those two small groups.
Think of all the plant matter that's not "grown" period (ie no time/money/energy is invested in growing it for the sake of growing it) Every ditch in the Wisconsin is full of tall grasses. Every county has a "brush site" where people hand deliver mountains of plant material. Imagine a world where a company mowed your lawn, in exchange for keeping the clippings. It just seems like we're setting our sights on things that have to be painstakingly grown while the rest of us buy special chemicals because the weeds in our yard wont stop growing no matter what we do to them.
Right now I don't think E85 is plausible for everyone. People want to move to "greener" cars, but if everyone did they couldn't support it. That doesn't, however, mean to give up on the whole line of research. We may have just jumped the gun on starting to use it.
|Carlos44ec - Knuckle Sammich|
Please don't forget to also mention that with higher corn value that the rest of our food goes up too... Higher feed prices = higher cost for anything animal-derived.
What about the strain on the Ogalala Aquifer? Every midwesterner with a few acres will want to thow some corn up. Increase the drain on our water resources, it may not be there to meet future demand.
We need to do more fuel cell research- using Nitrogen, Oxygen, etc to create energy with a by-product of pure water. It used to be science fiction, now it seems attainable.
|Jeremy - 8953 Posts|
Well there are lots of things we need to do. One of the biggest things we need to get over is looking for something that's going to cut mpg to 2 and use some magical fuel that gives off rays of sunshine and happy thoughts as exhaust, or not bother at all.
Marginal improvements are good enough for now. If everyone in America did something to make a "marginal" improvement on energy consumption it would make a huge difference.
E85 on the other hand is not a "marginal" improvement, at least not when it's made out of corn. (And you make a good point about corn being the staple for many other things as well)
450 pounds of corn to fill an SUV (with pure Ethanol - so 383 pounds to fill it with E85) is preposterous. How anyone, other than the guy getting the check for a product who's demand instantly jumped off the map, could look at that and say "yeah, that seems acceptable to me," baffles me.
|Jeremy perfected this at 08/06/2007 10:10:12 am|
|Carlos44ec - Since 1980!|
|The guy holding the check and the Congressperson who is kept for another term.|
|Matt - Washington Bureau Chief|
My two favorite things about the article:
1. The name C. Ford Runge
2. The use of the term "Big Corn"
|Carlos44ec - www.digi.com|
|"We grow big corn here."|