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Angry_Games

Doing my part for energy conservation (merged environmental threads)

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EDIT** I posted this in another thread, and I thank Happy for directing me to this post.

 

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=6817

 

Upon reading this article, it disheartens me to realize America's slow, next to non-existent, growth towards the benefits of being non reliant on foreign fuel. After hearing an add on T.V. about California's Prop 87, I have been doing research about countries that rely on other forms of Energy other than Gasoline. This ethonol proves to be more than effective, but as far as making it, it's not efficient because of the cost of pulling it from the starch in our main product, corn. I say, to stop this oil nonsence and do exactly what the Govt. officials did over there. They basically told to farmers to grow sugar and they would give them a flat rate price, regardless of the demand for it and it would fuel the economy.

 

It just seems that America is always ready to screw someone else over in any other country, whether it be politically, business wise, or war. But when it comes to looking out for its own people, we fail to recognize actually learning from someone else. America seems very stubborn, and I hope our next president puts the majority of his/her energy into looking to better our country, rather than BullS***ing in another.

 

What do you guys think? Do you think this different energy opportunity is open for US market consumption? I sure as hell do, and the reason I know so is because after people see $1.26 for a gallon of Ethanol and $2.38 for a gallon of Gasoline, everyone will soon switch over time.

 

LATER THOUGHT>>>>

 

After thinking about it some more, I have a few more statements to make>>>

 

THINK ABOUT all the jobs this will create! Not only is this creating energy, but partly, just think about all the other opportunities this will open up. For example, there are going to have to be regulatory committies, Commercial opportunities, Marketing opportunities, Accounting Opportunities, the list goes on. All from switch from Oil to Ethanol.

 

I have also heard from others that a lady in the Midwest developed an Enzyme that allows you to take Recycleable trash, like paper and biodegradable stuff, and put it in a can with an enzyme and it spits out water on one side and ethanol on another. This would also be awesome if we could actually produce our own fuel at the house, at the same time, making some pretty Kick A$$ drinks. That would one nice Fraternity party!

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While I agree that something needs to be done to lessen on our dependance on foriegn oil, ethanol isn't really a viable solution. It's half the price per gallon but you will use twice as much making cost per mile the same.

 

Hydrogen would be a better alternative..

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It would also support americas farmers. My uncle owns a farm and has been living off of goverment subsedies because his fields need to yield 3x their current output, which is next to impossible. Also corn is a very hard product to damage, unlike cotton which he also grows along with tobacco. And with oil companies paying top dollar for corn I belive many farmers will stop growing tobbaco all together. Of course this is a kind of best possible scenero ;)

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While I agree that something needs to be done to lessen on our dependance on foriegn oil, ethanol isn't really a viable solution. It's half the price per gallon but you will use twice as much making cost per mile the same.

 

Hydrogen would be a better alternative..

But it's a very easy done switch. Most engines can be adjusted safely and pretty cheap to be run on ethanol. It might not be the optimal solution, but it's far better to use in the meantime, since such a switch would lower the pollution levels. Let's say you can't convince an American to use out of economical reasons, maybe then the acceleration boost does it? :)

 

Over here it works great as long as you're not living north of Stockholm, like I do. The cold winters make it a bad choice. However where it works all year it's still a cheaper solution per mile. Hence it should be possible in the US as well.

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The switch is easy, I have been running alcohol on my personal race cars since I was 17 years old, it's easier to work with, more forgiving and makes more power..

 

The US is pretty much based on greed so I don't see any mass alternative fuel not becoming a clusterf$%^ regardless of what it is. A shift of power to people within our own country isn't a whole lot better than what we have now..

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The economics of it have also held back the mass distobution of electric cars. We have the tech, they have been around as long as gas cars, and it is polution free.

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There are a few promising technology demonstrator plants just coming online in the mid and far west that may make ethanol and E85 fuels marketable and profitable.

 

Corn and sugar are capital crops but in no way are they the most qualified for conversion to bio-fuel. At most we get 400 gallons of fuel per acre.

 

At our current level of consumption we use 140 Billion gallons of auto fuel a year. There aren't enough acres of farmland in the proper climate to replace that much fuel with corn or sugar derived ethanol.

 

Switchgrass and Miscanthus are much more suited to as bio-fuel stocks. Additionally, you can reduce the cost to manufacture ethanol by using methane produced from cow manure to drive the process.

 

One of the big pluses of ethanol is that it's best produced close to the feed-stock source. This means the refineries will be built out on the plains with no one around for miles. This will allow the building of these plants without the "not in my back yard" bunch.

 

Currently most cars will see a 25% reduction in miles per gallon when using ethanol versus petroleum gasoline. This effect is reduced substantially by burning E85 until engines are completely optimized to run 100% ethanol.

 

Saab as a technology demonstrator engine that shows only an 18% deficit running 100% ethanol.

 

The big concern is keeping the US Government out of the way. Let Wall Street get a sniff of the profits available and the race will be on.

 

Ethanol is a great fuel source until we can get the next generation of nuclear plants up and running to power all of our electric vehicles.

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ExRoadie, I agree with your statements, however the main idea I was trying to get across was to learn from your neighbor. The road has already been paved for getting energy out of the sugar and corn. In the article, they give a larger estimate closer to about 6000 or so. They have developed better methods of extraction and better crops resulting in a more profitable way of gathering the energy. If anything, I would still have farmers create the grass you are talking about and do business with Brazil. The inflation is so high over there, that buying from them would be helping their financial situation as well as making it extremely cheap to purchase energy. So many opportunities are out there and I know for a fact that America is doing exactly what you guys have said. They have been the new comers to the oil game and are trying to get paid as much as the Russians and Saudis have done for Decades. At this time, why not be the leader in a new Technology. Sure it has plenty of risk, but the profitability would be more than tremendous.

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@_unexpected_

 

I'm quite sure you've never stood in a sugar cane field if you believe that 6,000 gallons of ethanol per acre is even a remote possibility. There's simply not enough biomass available for conversion even at 100% efficiency.

 

The biggest concern with any of these alternative fuel sources is economic viability. While we'll never see $18.00USD barrel oil again, likewise, you won't see it much above $60.00USD a barrel for long periods either. The oil producers simply can't afford for oil to be too high because that makes the alternatives that much more viable.

 

Any country that has oil or access to oil will keep using it as long as it makes economic sense.

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If we forget economics for awhile, even though it's a crucial and in my view the saddest part of the equation; how on earth will humans be able to regulate qualities like humanity and temperance by greed?

 

First some statistics which as always has to be under scrutiny, but I suppose the liability is fair. According to a report by WWF, "Human footprint too big for nature" (that report if a part of this thorough one: http://assets.panda.org/downloads/living_planet_report.pdf), the earth is capable of providing each humans with about 4.5 acres for consumption. In other words as long as we don't use more for our life-style our earth is big enough. At the moment a citizen in Sweden use about 27 acres and in USA about 43. This is a common problem among industrial countries. In total we're using close to 5.5 acres and yes that means we should need either a bigger planet or an extra one!

 

The point which should be taken is that all this talk about alternative fuel is in the end only a small part of a bigger picture. Even if we choose good alternative fuel in an attempt not to be blown away by hurricanes, crushed under trees, drown in huge waves, buried under meters of snow or killed in some other more fantastic way, we still have a more important task to deal with: we can't live like we do at the moment; we have to change our life-style!

 

So besides greed we have to tackle our omnipresent love of ease. Maybe this will prove to be even more difficult.

 

At the moment Sweden is experiencing climate changes and now in a brutal fashion; for years it has been a “yeah, yeah, maybe it’s a bit warmer but how knows the cause of it”, but now nobody can avoid the obvious. Because of demographic and geographic reasons we don't suffer or expect to experience anything close to what the southern countries of Europe will, but still it means we have to start make practical changes.

 

This year has been haunted by snowstorms. A couple of weeks ago here at the north; October was unnaturally warm and then suddenly over night it changed and we had heavy snowfall and storms for a week. Earth is still warm but is covered by a 75 cm layer of snow (in other words the snow is melting from down under while we now have about -15 C, which is a terrible scenario for the animals). Now the south and middle part is in chaos because of similar snowstorms. The government is taking measures to handle upcoming storms and floods. And this is just the beginning…

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Just a quick aside here...

 

Climate change is just that, climate change.

 

Anyone that believes the earth climate is static needs simply to look back at the historical record to see that the climate is in constant change.

 

There is proof that the earth was once much colder at times and hotter at other times. Just a few decades ago they were predicting the coming of a new ice age.

 

There are believers on both sides of the "human induced" climate change argument.

 

It's become an almost "religious" argument so lets keep this thread on topic about energy conservation.

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