Investing in precious metals 101

Ethanol

Login or register to post comments Last Post 4588 reads   27 posts
Viewing 10 posts - 11 through 20 (of 27 total)
  • Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - 10:52pm

    #11

    Damnthematrix

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 09 2008

    Posts: 1132

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

"Who said anything about corn?"

YOU did……  you mentioned corn cobs and corn stover, and last time I looked, they were all by products of CORN!

The reason corn is used to make ethanol, BTW, is that it is high in sugars.  I doubt there’s a lot of material in the cobs and stover, at least when compared to the kernels, that will transform into alcohol.  There is no way known ethanol can remotely keep business as usual going….. 

  • Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - 11:02pm

    #12

    Damnthematrix

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 09 2008

    Posts: 1132

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

[quote=gtazman]Here in Wisconsin farmers have set up methane digesters for the ecological use of cow manure. The methane gas runs a power plant that produces electricity and process heat to be used in the ethanol plant next door, which takes in plant matter from the farm. The byproduct of corn ethanol production (if that is the input) is distillers dry grain (DDG) which is feed to the cows. DDG is much healther for animals than straight corn feed. So you can see a complete LOCAL operation is running without a significant transportation costs associated with fossil fuels. Sure fossil fuel (natural gas) is used to produce fertilizer, but biodiesel can run the tractors, tanker trucks for milk delivery, etc. 
[/quote]

That sounds like a perpetual motion machine to me.  You left out the FOSSIL FUEL INPUTS, again…..

How is all that animal feed first produced?  With FOSSIL FUELS, of course….. remove thje FFs, and you immediately have fewer cows..  Reduce the number of cows, and you have less manure, less ethanol, ledd dry grain, and because the farm machinery can’t do as much work running on Ethanol, the grain farm slowly but surely starts producing ever less grain, feeding ever fewer cows, giving ever less manure…….  I hope you get my IMPORTANT drift here:  ENTROPY rules!

The only reason we can currently produce Ethanol at the rate we are able to now is because we have OIL.

Like producing Hydrogen, this only proves to me that with FFs you can do ANYTHING….. 

  • Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - 11:14pm

    #13
    Futuo

    Futuo

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 16 2008

    Posts: 131

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

I think there’s a bit of a paradigm schism that’s occurred here. Stepping back, I feel like everyone’s right. Damnthematrix is right, ethanol isn’t going to keep business as usual going. Gtazman is also right, that the production of ethanol from plants and
organic waste can be made without oil and used locally without
transporting it.

Ethanol will never work, from any source, if the intent is to have huge farms producing any particular biomass (from corn to trees to whatever) to provide for the entire energy needs of the country, of the world. That’s one of the most difficult things to escape from in the "modern age". We’re so used to different parts of the world specializing in different things, that we don’t even consider ethanol, because it would be ineffective with the current "create&distribute" paradigm employed for the drilling and refinement of oil. However, ethanol can be highly effective once we switch paradigms to the local perspective. The real difficulty is accepting that there doesn’t have to be a single comprehensive solution. Ethanol may work very well in certain localities, where wind would not be desirable. Likewise, many places where solar is particularly effective won’t have any use for wind. 

I guess in conclusion my point is that ethanol can be an effective solution, if only we stay away from the "mass production" paradigm. Aside from some possible algae strains, farms for biofuels, especially derived from human food products,  will never be practical, economical, or desireable. However, we can see with Gtazman’s Wisconsin example, that ethanol can be a by-product of making the best cow feed (or the other way around), without too much difficulty. This better feed goes to the cows, and then we use the manure from the cows to fertilize. If we keep the plants close to the cows, and develop our husbandry and agriculture in accordance with the local-community paradigm, we solve for the biggest issue any energy solution faces: transportation that requires oil.

 Just my thoughts. I’m by no means an expert, and would appreciate others’ opinions. 

Thanks!

  • Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - 11:19pm

    #14
    Futuo

    Futuo

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 16 2008

    Posts: 131

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

[quote=Damnthematrix]

That sounds like a perpetual motion machine to me.  You left out the FOSSIL FUEL INPUTS, again…..

How is all that animal feed first produced?  With FOSSIL FUELS, of course….. remove thje FFs, and you immediately have fewer cows..  Reduce the number of cows, and you have less manure, less ethanol, ledd dry grain, and because the farm machinery can’t do as much work running on Ethanol, the grain farm slowly but surely starts producing ever less grain, feeding ever fewer cows, giving ever less manure…….  I hope you get my IMPORTANT drift here:  ENTROPY rules!

The only reason we can currently produce Ethanol at the rate we are able to now is because we have OIL.

Like producing Hydrogen, this only proves to me that with FFs you can do ANYTHING….. 

[/quote]

 

There’s a flaw here, though. ALL that animal feed is not produced with fossil fuels. There was a time before fossil fuels when we still had animals, crops, and animal feed. There was a time before fertilizers were used. Local solar, geo-thermal, ethanol, and wind systems can solve for that, easily, by providing the needed energy. You will most likely counter, explaining how oil is necessary to bring in the parts for these systems, how solar panels are made from oil, etc…but to me, that just means we need to act quickly while we still have reasonably priced oil to make these systems. I don’t view that oil involvement as a reason to disregard all these possible alternative energy solutions.

  • Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - 12:26am

    #15

    gtazman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 07 2008

    Posts: 23

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

Damnthematrix wrote

"There is no way known ethanol can remotely keep business as usual
going….. "

Exactly James Howard Kunstler’s vsion of our "post peak oil" future, business as usual will not be.  Autos, trucks, airplanes, trains – anything run on oil will most likely not survive the transition. Replacement solar panels will not be available, batteries for electric cars will not be made, new plastic for anything will be in scarce supply.  Scarcity of manufactured products is going to be reality.

The solution does start on the farm (smaller family run farms) where biodiesel (as I mentioned before) can run the tractors, farm machinery and trucks used.  It starts now with cheap oil before it runs out.  I don’t mean to imply that we are not using FF now.  It is too damn cheap not to.  The sustainability of a family farm has a higher probablity of success thancommercial farm operation.

 

 

  • Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - 12:35am

    #16
    Glaucus

    Glaucus

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 25 2008

    Posts: 11

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

Just a reminder: I’m looking for help in understanding the difference between corn (crop) based ethanol and waste-based cellulosic ethanol.

 Anybody? 

  • Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - 01:00am

    #17

    gtazman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 07 2008

    Posts: 23

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

Glauccu

A great place to start would be to read David Blume’s ALCOHOL CAN BE A GAS book.  link: http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.com/   I found it at my library before I bought my own copy.  He is biased towards alcohol in a big way, but he started in the 70s during the first gas crisis before it was fashionable.

gtazman

  • Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - 03:27pm

    #18
    Glaucus

    Glaucus

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 25 2008

    Posts: 11

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

gtazman:

Thanks!  I’m buying the book and have signed up as a member. 

Will still appreciate any feedback regarding the benefits of waste-based cellulosic ethanol over corn-based ethanol. 

  • Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - 03:58pm

    #19
    switters

    switters

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 19 2008

    Posts: 436

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

[quote=Glaucus]

Just a reminder: I’m looking for help in understanding the difference between corn (crop) based ethanol and waste-based cellulosic ethanol.

 Anybody? 

[/quote]

Glaucus,

Here’s an article about a recent study at Iowa State University indicating that cellulosic ethanol isn’t likely to be a viable fuel source.  The gist of the article is this:

[quote]A quiet consensus seems to be forming among people you’d think would know the facts on the ground: cellulosic ethanol, touted as five years away from viability for decades now, may never be viable.[/quote]

I’d also recommend checking out this recent article on The Oil Drum about a cellulosic ethanol company.  This one is about ethanol and biofuels in general.

Chris

  • Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - 04:01pm

    #20
    switters

    switters

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 19 2008

    Posts: 436

    count placeholder

    Re: Ethanol

[quote=Futuo]

I think there’s a bit of a paradigm schism that’s occurred here. Stepping back, I feel like everyone’s right. Damnthematrix is right, ethanol isn’t going to keep business as usual going. Gtazman is also right, that the production of ethanol from plants and
organic waste can be made without oil and used locally without
transporting it.

Ethanol will never work, from any source, if the intent is to have huge farms producing any particular biomass (from corn to trees to whatever) to provide for the entire energy needs of the country, of the world. That’s one of the most difficult things to escape from in the "modern age". We’re so used to different parts of the world specializing in different things, that we don’t even consider ethanol, because it would be ineffective with the current "create&distribute" paradigm employed for the drilling and refinement of oil. However, ethanol can be highly effective once we switch paradigms to the local perspective. The real difficulty is accepting that there doesn’t have to be a single comprehensive solution. Ethanol may work very well in certain localities, where wind would not be desirable. Likewise, many places where solar is particularly effective won’t have any use for wind. 

I guess in conclusion my point is that ethanol can be an effective solution, if only we stay away from the "mass production" paradigm. Aside from some possible algae strains, farms for biofuels, especially derived from human food products,  will never be practical, economical, or desireable. However, we can see with Gtazman’s Wisconsin example, that ethanol can be a by-product of making the best cow feed (or the other way around), without too much difficulty. This better feed goes to the cows, and then we use the manure from the cows to fertilize. If we keep the plants close to the cows, and develop our husbandry and agriculture in accordance with the local-community paradigm, we solve for the biggest issue any energy solution faces: transportation that requires oil.

Just my thoughts. I’m by no means an expert, and would appreciate others’ opinions. 

Thanks!

[/quote]

Futuo,

You do have a valid point.  Ethanol may be practical for small-scale use.  But scale is the operative word here.  What Damnthematrix is addressing is the viability of ethanol as a large-scale, commercial fuel source.  As you well know, that’s exactly the role oil has served for over a century and exactly what need to replace in a hurry.  Small-scale alternatives are no doubt important for, well, small-scale operations, but they won’t do much to mitigate the commercial fuel shortage that will be caused by peak oil.

Viewing 10 posts - 11 through 20 (of 27 total)

Login or Register to post comments