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Five Ethanol Myths, Busted

2295 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  nerys
Myth No. 1: Ethanol requires more energy to make than it yields.
False. Argonne National Laboratory research has shown that corn ethanol delivers a positive energy balance of 8.8 megajoules per liter. The energy balance from second-generation biofuels using cellulosic sources is up to six times better, according to a study published in Biomass and Bioenergy Journal.

There are two key reasons ethanol is no longer net energy negative.

First, corn production efficiency has increased dramatically: Producers now grow 160 bushels per acre today versus the 95 grown in 1980, and corn yield continues to increase.

Second, ethanol production has become more energy-efficient. Today, more than 90 percent of corn used in ethanol production goes through a dry milling process that uses far less energy than the wet milling process used before. The combination of more corn per acre, coupled with a reduction of energy input to process ethanol, has resulted in a favorable energy output. The gallons of ethanol yielded per bushel of corn has also increased by about 50 percent.

Myth No. 2: Ethanol production reduces our food supply.
False. Only 1 percent of all corn grown in this country is eaten by humans. The rest is No. 2 yellow field corn, which is indigestible to humans and used in animal feed, food supplements and ethanol.

Specifically, a bushel of corn used for ethanol produces 1.5 pounds of corn oil, 17.5 pounds of high-protein feed called DDGS, 2.6 pounds of corn meal and 31.5 pounds of starch. The starch can be converted to sweeteners or used to produce 2.8 gallons of ethanol. DDGS displaces whole corn and some soybeans traditionally used in animal feed. The United States is a large exporter of DDGS to China and other countries.

Additionally, the food-versus-fuel debate has spurred significant research and development of second-generation biofuels like cellulosic ethanol that do not use food crops. Cellulosic ethanol is made from the “woody” structural material in plants that is unusable by humans. Unlike food crops, ethanol crops and cellulosic ethanol crops can grow in any soil that will sustain grass.

Researchers, including Argonne, are investigating using marginal land to grow ethanol crops. Studies from the U.S. Department of Energy suggest the United States has enough non-edible biomass to produce approximately 30 percent of our total transportation fuel requirements by 2030. That could go a long way toward easing our reliance on imported petroleum.

Taken together, the increase in crop yield and the use of marginal lands can enable us to produce food and fuels.

To be honest who know when every car will swap over to ethanol, but if you want to continue the read click here!
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Myth No1 is pure silly. OF COURSE it takes more energy to make than it yields. anyone who thinks otherwise really (no insult intended) need to re study BASIC science.

Our universe is one based on entrophy. ALL energy transactions are lossy. Period.

for a process to yield more energy than it took to make the process is BY DEFINITION perpetual motion.

it will always 100% of the time take more energy to make ethanol than you can every get from it. This ALSO applies to hydrogen and batteries and GASOLINE and DIESEL and Peanut oil and SOLAR and WIND and any other fuel or energy source you can think of. ALL of them 100% of them are lossy they take MORE ENERGY than they make. always.


Ethanol production does not reduce food supply. it makes food more expensive as farmers devote more CROP LAND (not just CORN crop land) to corn for ethanol production because they make more money crowing inedible ethanol corn than they do food crops.

the only form of ethanol production that is RELEVANT in the USA is CORN Ethanol and this is because we are a CORN nation and short of a FUNDAMENTAL shift in our agri political structure THIS WILL NOT CHANGE IN OUR LIFETIMES.

right now with only 10% we are fine. if we wanted to go PURE ethanol ie REPLACE gasoline there is not enough arable land on this entire planet to meet even just OUR needs in the USA. its not viable.

worse ethanol produces vastly greater quantities of pollution and causes vastly increased demands on both fuel and foreign oil.

a good example is my Voyager minivan. I got the 3.0liter baby V6 for a reason. 28mpg. I scored 28mpg consistently (never deviated under normal conditions by more than 1mpg) for over 3 years and 120,000 miles (I drive 40k miles a year)

On E10 I get 19mpg. do the math. this means I now spend an additional $2608 a year in fuel for an EXTRA 467 gallons of Gasoline and an extra 210 gallons of ethanol over just pure gas from the year before. SO yeah it upset me just a bit and now you know why My minivan sits rusting away and I now drive a Geo Metro.

I can not afford the additional $2608 in fuel per year because of E10.

Worse ethanol production uses simple disgusting quantities of a natural resource FAR FAR more precious than OIL and even FOOD.

WATER. Fresh Water. they wanted to put an ethanol plant outside orlando florida. they submitted their water requirements to the city. the demand was over 10 times the year needs of THE ENTIRE CITY. Just for ethanol production.

Ouch. I hope orlando was smart enough to say no.

ethanol also costs MORE than gasoline. farm and tax subsidies are the only reason we are blindfolded into thinking its cheaper.

when you add in the reduced fuel economy its not even close.

Can you tell I really hate ethanol.?
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