Debate and Discussion

Ethanol ; eco-fuel or recipe for Mass Starvation
lothar at 4:47PM, March 23, 2007
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a lot of people are excited about this new fuel. It is supposed to be environmentally friendly and free the US from the need for foreign oil. But the bad side could be that a lot of forests are destroyed and many people will starve !
maybe some people that worry about wars in the middle east and global warming are forgetting that a large part of the worlds people are surviving off of cheap grains from countries like the US. In the rush to find an alternative fuel a lot of these people are likely to be skrewed!

what are your thoughts?

heres an article about the environmental and food impact http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2328821.ece

some quotes -

Food-
“One estimate is that the grain needed to fill the petrol tank of a 4X4 with ethanol is sufficient to feed a person for a year.”

“The competition for grain between the world's 800 million motorists who want to maintain their mobility and its two billion poorest people who are simply trying to stay alive is emerging as an epic issue.”

Enviroment-

“The ethanol industry has been linked with air and water pollution on an epic scale, along with deforestation in both the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests, as well as the wholesale destruction of Brazil's unique savannah land.”

also the humans rights abuses related to ethanol
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2029908,00.html
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Ronson at 6:11PM, March 23, 2007
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no doubt. It's costly unless subsidized and can never replace oil consumption.

We really need to work toward alternate fuels. Electric cars would be a good way of consolidating this alternate fuel at the power plants, where wind, hydro and solar can at least contribute to reducing consumption.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
LIZARD_B1TE at 6:40PM, March 23, 2007
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Bah.

You know that alternate energy sources won't start being produced until after we run out of oil.

It's all about money.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:36PM
mechanical_lullaby at 4:27AM, March 24, 2007
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Problem with ethanol is that it needs to be mixed half and half with gasoline to be put into a tank because it's contents burns holes through the gastank. Also, you need to burn something to make it into fuel and that also burns gasoline as well. It doesn't really help much when you consider those things. Hopefully the government changes the standards for energy companies soon so that they'll have to make at least 20 or even 30% of their energy from alternative resources, instead of that measley 2. And hopefully it will involve wind power or geothermal or solar instead of ethanol. Ethanol is not a good way to go.
Environment Hippie out.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:57PM
Phantom Penguin at 12:26PM, March 25, 2007
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Ethanol is just like oil. Its seems to be better then what came before it but people and the earth will suffer from it. I don't see ethanol really getting big anyway. It requires change. GASP.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
lothar at 5:17AM, March 26, 2007
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my main reason for posting this as a debate topic was to draw attention to the hidden cost of Ethanol use; the loss of agricultural land and recources formerly used for food production.
many people seem to think that Ethanol will never take off as a fuel to replace gasoline, but look at Brazil. They have a pretty strong Ethanol infrastucture already and are getting ready to start exporting to the U.S.
the switch to Ethanol is probably the most plausable altenative to oil there is at this time. Once oil becomes too expensive Ethanol will become more popular, already something like 17% of the U.S. corn crop is going to ethanol production. This is already starting to be felt in food prices ; the price of corn and tortillas in Mexico has more than tripled in some places linked artical

i do not know why there is not a bigger contraversy over this . it's simple -
if Ethanol use becomes widespread throughout the industrialized world -

Many Many People Will STARVE TO DEATH !!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
reconjsh at 10:40AM, March 26, 2007
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Where I grew up in Michigan pretty much everyone was a farmer of some sort. Most grew corn as many years as they could and rotated in beans or something to help cycle nutrients back into the soil. Some were also cow farmers… and the biggest provider of eggs in the east half of the US is in my hometown as well. I only bring this up as a backdrop for my point:

I was always amused that there were farmers that continually farmed land that did not yield much crop and/or it flooded from the Grand River every year. Well come to find out, they were paid by the government to farm crappy land because there was a surplus of their produce (corn). What produce the farmer did grow was sold locally and the difference between how much he could have made had it been pimp land and how much he actually made on crappy land was made up by the gov.

So, I don't know if this is really relevant, but alot of those farmers had plenty of land I'm sure they'd want to farm but weren't allowed to… and they ended up being year round hay fields. So, if ethanol catches on, I bet at least the farmers of Ionia Michigan will be happy.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM
skoolmunkee at 4:07PM, March 27, 2007
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reconjsh
So, I don't know if this is really relevant, but alot of those farmers had plenty of land I'm sure they'd want to farm but weren't allowed to… and they ended up being year round hay fields. So, if ethanol catches on, I bet at least the farmers of Ionia Michigan will be happy.

Yup, I was just going to say that I'm not sure people would starve to death over it. There's plenty of rich farmland in the US that simply isn't being used because it would create too much surplus. It's worth more to farmers to be paid not to use their land than it would be to farm it and sell the products. So, if the need for more grain, etc were there, there's some room to grow.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
Phantom Penguin at 4:13PM, March 27, 2007
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reconjsh
Where I grew up in Michigan pretty much everyone was a farmer of some sort. Most grew corn as many years as they could and rotated in beans or something to help cycle nutrients back into the soil. Some were also cow farmers… and the biggest provider of eggs in the east half of the US is in my hometown as well. I only bring this up as a backdrop for my point:

I was always amused that there were farmers that continually farmed land that did not yield much crop and/or it flooded from the Grand River every year. Well come to find out, they were paid by the government to farm crappy land because there was a surplus of their produce (corn). What produce the farmer did grow was sold locally and the difference between how much he could have made had it been pimp land and how much he actually made on crappy land was made up by the gov.

So, I don't know if this is really relevant, but alot of those farmers had plenty of land I'm sure they'd want to farm but weren't allowed to… and they ended up being year round hay fields. So, if ethanol catches on, I bet at least the farmers of Ionia Michigan will be happy.

heh i'm also from Michigan…
but you right. Its the same with farmers in Arcadia and Cadillac.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
lothar at 5:37AM, March 29, 2007
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The problem with Ethanol is not just about the US , It's not just about feeding Americans and American cars !
the USA is already exporting grains to other countries ,and a lot of the relief supplies going to disaster and famin effected areas is because of the “surplus” grains that Americas farmers produce. This is what is being threatened by the switch to Ethanol production! i am not suggesting that Americans will ever starve, although you may have to pay more for Doritos in the near future.
This is a Global problem and i wish people could see it for that and stop with this myopic view that it is simply a boon for US farmers. i'm sure America has enough crop land to feed it's 300 million inhabitants AND supply a percentage of Ethanol to it's vast motorpool. but poorer countries that rely on those lost grain imports are going to suffer. And besides that, if Ethanol becomes more popular in the future, other countries might find it more profitable to create and export fuel to the US and other countries rather than adaquetly feed their own people .
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
mlai at 5:08AM, April 23, 2007
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Mass starvation is Mother Nature's method for population control. Case closed.

Forget ethanol. Get 100% pure acetone (not nail polish acetone) from any drug store, and add (only) 30-90mL to your car's gas tank per 10 gallons of gasoline.

1. It gives u 10 more miles per gallon.
2. Makes your engine run cleaner/greener.
3. Preserves your engine from corruption.
4. Makes your engine more powerful.
5. Gives Exxon the bird. This is the cheap commonplace additive Big Oil doesn't want you to know about. Race cars have been using acetone as an additive for decades.

Go online and research it. Plenty of reputable sites explain acetone as a gas additive.

I added 30mL of acetone to my Corvette this Sunday. It felt like I was using Super/Premium grade fuel even tho I was using Regular. Engine felt like it had power to spare. I'm gonna add the other 60mL today.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
ozoneocean at 5:47AM, April 23, 2007
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About Acetone: Apparently if you use too much it decreases mileage, it can also damage any rubber seals…
From all the into I looked at it does indeed seem to work: apparently it decreases the surface tension of the fuel and makes in vaporise easier. But you have to keep the amount small something like this:
How Much to Use

Add in tiny amounts from about one part per 5000 to one part per 3000, depending on the vehicle – just a few ounces per ten gallons of gas. This comes to between 0.0003 % to 0.0025 % acetone maximum or approximately 1/15th of one-percent. Note that is around .78 cc per liter or one ounce per 10 gallons. Not more than three oz. per 10 gallons.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:26PM
mlai at 8:06AM, April 23, 2007
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90 milliliters is 3 fluid ounces.

1. You mean, if you add too much at one time, it decreases mileage. You can't use it “too much.” As in, you can use it for years and years, saving you mileage and engine wear.

2. Acetone does not damage the rubber found in car engines, which are obviously of high grade. This has been tested independently.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
ozoneocean at 8:37AM, April 23, 2007
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Yes, too much at one time as I quoted.
mlai
2. Acetone does not damage the rubber found in car engines, which are obviously of high grade. This has been tested independently.
That's not true. It's been tested on plastic and metal components in car engines, I never saw anything about rubber… The thing is it has been banned from use in Vietnam due to the perishing it as caused to the rubber seals in the motor taxies there. :)

Basically all engines are slightly different, but they're designed to handle a certain range of substances, solvents, temperatures, and conditions. Obviously they haven't been designed with acetone in mind ;)
Due to the similarity of its properties to many other solvent fluids that engines are designed to handle, there won't be a problem in most cases, but not in all cases. This is simple logic.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:26PM
reconjsh at 9:38AM, April 23, 2007
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I have a 2004 Ford Focus. It gets great gas mileage. Seems suspect that 1-3 oz/10 gallons would yeild a noticable difference in power and/or gas mileage.

I guess the only thing to do is research and try it. It just seems… wonky… and unlikely on the surface. You guys got a noticeable difference? 10 miles per gallon?

Hmmm… (Google… Google… Google… Google Search Engine, HOOOOOO)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM
ozoneocean at 10:08AM, April 23, 2007
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reconjsh
You guys got a
I have no direct experience. Only Mlai has here :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:26PM
reconjsh at 10:16AM, April 23, 2007
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The data available definitly indicates there's a fuel efficiency increase. The only thing discussed so far I can't find is definitive proof it doesn't harm your engine any more than normal.

I also found some great tips on other MPG increases… but that's for another forum I s'pose.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM
lothar at 6:03AM, April 24, 2007
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mlai
Mass starvation is Mother Nature's method for population control.
it was also Maos method
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao#Great_Leap_Forward
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
mlai at 10:49AM, April 24, 2007
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The point is, if the human population continues to grow on a planet of finite size and of finite percentage of arable topsoil, eventually the resources will peak, and those on the bottom rung of the ladder gets weeded out (starvation, disease, war due to the instability, etc.). Simple logic, no morality or empathy attached.

If one really wants to do good, one would find a way to limit population growth, rather than try to sustain those who are unsustainable due to the fact that they're the ones on the left of the curve.

If a boat holds 10 ppl and it can only keep 5 or else it'd capsize, I believe in tossing 5 overboard, rather than letting all 10 drown. I know plenty believe otherwise. But they'd be killing 10 ppl not 5.

==============================

Acetone:

So, I added 1/3 recommended dose yesterday, and seemingly drove with high octane gas even though I had low octane gas. This is good for my sports car because low octane gas was in fact harmful to its engine. Some ppl on another forum think this may be why results for me seem so dramatic.

Last night I added another 1/3 recommended dose. Total 2/3.

Today not only do I feel like I'm driving with high octane, I noticed at least 5 extra MPG on my dashboard instant-MPG meter. While I'm accelerating more.

I'll know for sure after I've emptied the tank and seen how many miles total I got from it.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
lothar at 4:09PM, April 25, 2007
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my point in starting this topic was that an increase in the use of ethanol worldwide will certainly lower the number of people that the planet can supply with food.
it's pretty callous to accept that in order for me to drive around in a car , several other people in this world might starve. that's my main problem with ethanol.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
lothar at 7:34PM, Dec. 8, 2007
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it's getting worse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/nov/03/food.climatechange
“Empty shelves in Caracas. Food riots in West Bengal and Mexico. Warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan Africa. Soaring prices for basic foods are beginning to lead to political instability … ”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
TitanOne at 8:25PM, Dec. 8, 2007
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lothar
a lot of people are excited about this new fuel. It is supposed to be environmentally friendly and free the US from the need for foreign oil. But the bad side could be that a lot of forests are destroyed and many people will starve !
maybe some people that worry about wars in the middle east and global warming are forgetting that a large part of the worlds people are surviving off of cheap grains from countries like the US. In the rush to find an alternative fuel a lot of these people are likely to be skrewed!

what are your thoughts?


My thoughts are that people are easily duped by those who own our major newspapers, TV networks, and so on. Guess who that is, folks? Hint: It ain't the corn farmers.

Ethanol is a poor substitute for more effective alternative energy sources, but anything that reduces civilization's pull on the petroleum teat is a move in the right direction.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
bobhhh at 12:43AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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TitanOne
lothar
a lot of people are excited about this new fuel. It is supposed to be environmentally friendly and free the US from the need for foreign oil. But the bad side could be that a lot of forests are destroyed and many people will starve !
maybe some people that worry about wars in the middle east and global warming are forgetting that a large part of the worlds people are surviving off of cheap grains from countries like the US. In the rush to find an alternative fuel a lot of these people are likely to be skrewed!

what are your thoughts?


My thoughts are that people are easily duped by those who own our major newspapers, TV networks, and so on. Guess who that is, folks? Hint: It ain't the corn farmers.

Ethanol is a poor substitute for more effective alternative energy sources, but anything that reduces civilization's pull on the petroleum teat is a move in the right direction.

Ethanol can also be derived from switchgrass which grows in unfreindly places where corn and other foods won't grow.

Also there is the technology of gasification which renders things like pressed sawdust, coffee gounds and walnut shells as clean burning fuel. And its by product is a gas mixture is called synthesis gas or syngas and is itself a fuel. Gasification is a very efficient method for extracting energy from many different types of organic materials, and also has applications as a clean waste disposal technique.
My name is Bob and I approved this signature.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
Mister Mxyzptlk at 7:26AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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bobhhh
Ethanol can also be derived from switchgrass which grows in unfreindly places where corn and other foods won't grow.

Except that the guy who is developing the switchgrass to ethanol system admits he is somewhere around 20 years and several large government grants away from making it work out…

bobhhh
Gasification is a very efficient method for extracting energy from many different types of organic materials, and also has applications as a clean waste disposal technique.

That too is a technology with promise but not much product. Everything that has cellulose (which is everything you listed) can be converted to methanol, methane, hydrogen and CO. In the old days they called it “wood gas”. However it's pretty touchy and if you don't keep the pressure and temperature right you can wind up with a lot of CO2 as well… If you were careful and knew what you were doing you could make one of these devices in your backyard and be cranking out a combustible gas you could use sort of. You'd need special jets in your gas burning appliances to get the right mixture and you'd need to completely revamp your car to run it. Oh, and if you screwed up you'd blow yourself into tiny pieces. Also it wouldn't be a very consistent product. Variations in the makeup due to different materials used would make one batch have a BTU rating that would be different from the next batch.

And the end product would be CO2, just like every other kind of combustion. So you'd heat your home and still produce CO2. Not to mention the CO2 you'd make producing your wood gas. Temps of over 700 deg C are going to take some hot burning stuff. That's more CO2 to make your green gas that will just make more CO2 in the end.

Rolling Stone
My soul was removed to make room for all this sarcasm.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM
Mister Mxyzptlk at 7:30AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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reconjsh
The data available definitly indicates there's a fuel efficiency increase.

My use of that technique in a 75 dodge van showed no measurable improvemnt over ten tanks of gas.
My soul was removed to make room for all this sarcasm.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM
bobhhh at 1:48PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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Mister Mxyzptlk
Except that the guy who is developing the switchgrass to ethanol system admits he is somewhere around 20 years and several large government grants away from making it work out…

Not exactly true, check out these resources..

Bioenergy Feedstock Development Program
“Producing ethanol from corn requires almost as much energy to produce as it yields,” he explains, "while ethanol from switchgrass can produce about five times more energy than you put in. When you factor in the energy required to make tractors, transport farm equipment, plant and harvest, and so on, the net energy output of switchgrass is about 20 times better than corn's."

David Bransby, professor of energy crops at Auburn University, is an expert on switch grass. Bransby says switch grass is cheap to grow and provides a high yield crop that can make a lot of ethanol for a low cost.

Switchgrass is also essentially a weed, that doesn't need the pampering of other crops, and grows in places where food doesn't thrive.

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Mister Mxyzptlk at 5:12PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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bobhhh
Bransby says switch grass is cheap to grow and provides a high yield crop that can make a lot of ethanol for a low cost.

Except that he's assuming a breakthrough in bioengineering to make a bug that can convert cellulose to ethanol. I can't find the article I read where that very guy was talking about how, “with twenty years and a big govt grant we can make this work!” Sure under very specific temps and pressures they can make some magic, but as far as big time production goes the method is just too tricky to be profitable. That is unless you are getting some big time subsidies from the feds. Then anything goes. HEck, you don't even need to make product to make money off it.

bobhhh
Switchgrass is also essentially a weed, that doesn't need the pampering of other crops, and grows in places where food doesn't thrive.

Yes, they're trying to push it in the Dakotas. I've talked with farmers out there who laugh when you mention the stuff. The Ag Dept is trying to get them all to grow the stuff and none of them want to waste the space on it. If your horses get into it they will die, the stuff has something in it that they can't digest. If cattle get into it they can get sick if they eat too much of it. Goats and sheep oddly enough love the stuff.

The government is offering to buy the stuff off the farmers and then offering to sell it to producers, if the producers ever come along. After the latest ethanol boondoggle out in those parts I doubt anyone will be jumping up and down to get in on this.

My soul was removed to make room for all this sarcasm.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM
bobhhh at 6:30PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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Mister Mxyzptlk
Except that he's assuming a breakthrough in bioengineering to make a bug that can convert cellulose to ethanol. I can't find the article I read where that very guy was talking about how, “with twenty years and a big govt grant we can make this work!” Sure under very specific temps and pressures they can make some magic, but as far as big time production goes the method is just too tricky to be profitable. That is unless you are getting some big time subsidies from the feds. Then anything goes. HEck, you don't even need to make product to make money off it.

Actually he says in the interview considering the current technology that it can yield 20 times what corn ethanol can, unless he lying in the interview. He goes on to say that at 10 tons of SG per acre, which yields 100 gallons of ethanol at a price of say $1.50/gallon you yield $1500 per acre, which he claims is a relatively high crop profit per acre.
My name is Bob and I approved this signature.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
bobhhh at 1:07PM, Dec. 10, 2007
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There is something else to consider here. Currently the government pays farmers to destroy surplus crops to stabilize the market price of some goods and to keep farmers flush financially.

To be sure these subsidies are usually not enough to realize a profit (especislly for smaller farms), but if a segment of farmers began growing SG, there probably would still be plenty of farms growing food, and the restuctured market would not need subsidies from the government that are slow coming and barely helpful.

In Meyers and Kent's book Perverse Subsidies, they explain that taxpayer-funded assistance subsidizes farmers to grow so much of a crop that the price of that crop crashes, which creates the need for another subsidy to destroy or store the surplus (American farmers were paid to destroy a billion oranges in the 1990s).
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
horseboy at 7:28PM, Dec. 10, 2007
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It's my understanding that Brazilian ethanol is made out of sugar cane. It was supposed to be actually more efficient than the corn based. The US won't let it in, because ethanol was supposed to be a huge corporate subsidy to ADM.

So, anyway it's not like we're loosing “food” we're just loosing “sweetener”. There's only so far the sugar lobby can go before the people break and demand to be able to use stuff like stevia for a sweetener. (You can't legally label stevia as a sweetener in the US) Of course, given how “environmentally hazardous” corn growing is, it's days are numbered anyway.
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Never seek for happiness, it will merely allude the seeker. Never strive for knowledge, it is beyond man's scope. Never think, for in though lies all the ills of mankind. The wise man, like the rat, the crocodile, the fly, merely fulfills his natural function.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM

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