I don't know for sure, but it seems to me that we will have to turn ALL
the arable areas of the US into sugar cane and wheat or whatever if we
are to provide enough Ethanol to replace Gasoline and Diesel. So far
corn based Ethanol cost enough to produce (per BTU) that without heavy
subsidies from State and Federal Governments and Loan Guarantees to the
Farmer based co-op that are building many of them - price alone would
keep Ethanol off the market.
I am not against alternate energy sources and the one we are not using
that we should be is Nucular Power Generation.
EXACTLY. Another amusing thing is the idiots who scream "Look, he runs
his car on french fry oil" because somebody puts free veg oil from the
McDonald's he owns into his diesel. If you have your own McDonalds
that's great, but if everybody did it, it wouldn't be "free". After 100+
years of development the internal combustion gas engine is a
tremendously sophisticated powerplant and will not be soon replaced. The
world runs on oil, not because of big oil companies, but because it is
the most economical energy source.
There is no shortage of oil, just a shortage of very cheap oil. The US
alone has many, many times the oil in the Middle East trapped in shale
deposits out west. With the demand from China and the far east, the
price of oil is rising to a level that will make extraction profitable.
Actually the methodology and test plants are years old and proven - what
keeps it from happening is the price and that may be fast disappearing
as a hold up. I would not be surprised that at the current prices - oil
from shale would be cheaper to produce that Ethanol - problem is it
would all have to start from scratch as there is no operating industry.
Try - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale
The cheapest recovery system I saw involved using nuclear installations
to provide the steam for injection into the shale deposits for the oil
recovery. Unfortunately, while the world actively pursues new reactor
technology (from GE and Westinhouse no less) the twit brigade hog ties us.
I'm not an engineer, (my degree is in management) so this is why I
ask. Why not use all the disapated heat from power plants (Nuke and
Steam) to ferment and distill alcohol and squeeze bio-mass into corn,
soy and peanut oil? My 1965 USAF M35a1 6X6 would run on diesel, Jp-4
or peanut oil.
You should read that article in C & D. Ethanol plants "are springing up
everywhere" is because they are mandated by the Federal gov. By 2012
production is supposed to double. Even at that, ethanol will be a TINY
portion of our energy supply. Don't forget, all things being equal, you
need 30% MORE ethanol than gasoline just to break even. Ethanol even now
is increasing in price. And the stories about "he runs his car on french
fry oil" are always about somebody who hasd the local McDonalds give him
their expended oil. Attempting to create an infrastructure to produce it
for mass consumption is another story.
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