Time to make ready the pitchforks and torches...
We could all get electric cars, then recharge them by plugging into an
already overtaxed distribution system that is fed by coal burning
Canada imports a good bit the ethanol they use from the USA.
It is not as if the corn was being used for anything useful prior to
ethanol. The chief use of this corn if it wasn't turned into ethanol
would be to produce vast quantities of animal fat and sugar which has
led to the epidemic of heart disease and diabetes in the US. The choice
is to turn it into crap food or turn it into fuel. And if it isn't used
to pollute the US food supply it is shipped overseas to prop up
dictators like Mubarek of Egypt. The reason farmers in Egypt can't feed
their country is because they were bankrupted by US grain exports over
the last 30m years and when the Nile delta farmers lost their land it
was bought up by the wealthy and turned into golf courses and large
"30m" = "30 thousand" years? Damn, that's a long time!
> and when the Nile delta farmers lost their land it
> was bought up by the wealthy and turned into golf courses and large
Ah, the magic of free markets!
Ethanol is now generally be added to gasoline, which
is good because it is displacing MMT, which gummed up
catalytic converters and engine control systems.
Some of the ethanol does come from grain based alcohol
but much also is imported from Brazil which uses sugar
cane to produce ethanol. Sugar cane production is
far more more efficient than grain based methods.
Using corn you get about 25-30% more energy than you put into
the process, so it is reducing oil consumption. With sugar cane
the returns are much higher (300-400%) which is in the same
ballpark as much of current North American oil production.
Current US legislation blocks large scale imports of cane
In the long run, grain based ethanol production is likely
only an interim step. Most of the solar energy plants
absorb goes into producing cellulose not the sugar and starch
the seeds. If we used the cellulose in the rest of the
plant instead of just the sugar and starch in the grain
the energy payback would be much higher (competitive with
oil). Most of the current infrastructure currently being
built/used to produce ethanol from grains can be re-used
with cellulose sources.
And if I were the size of a grain of rice, I could dance on the head of a
pin; if we had perpetual-motion machines, we wouldn't need to use oil or
ethanol; if I didn't need to breathe, I could live underwater.
If if if if.
Which is nowhere near /any/ sort of reality. Cellulosic ethanol is a pipe-
dream that's used as partial justification for keeping the insanity alive.
A thousand gallons a day is a toy number. And that's at the cost of the
diversion of 40% of the world's corn production.
They're going to need to be in the /millions/ of gallons per day to even
come close to satifying the requiremenmts of the use of ethanol as a 10%
additive, let alone as a fuel in its own right.
The simple fact is that there is currently no source of cellulase (the
enzyme that breaks down cellulose) available that could be produced in the
volumes necessary to make ethanol economically viable. Not only that, but
there is not even anything in the lab that holds the promise of mass-
production of cellulase. A pipe-dream, as I said.
Ethanol was, and is, a stupid, damamging idea. Unfortunately, thousands of
influential people draw economic benefit from it at the expense of non-
influential millions who have to pay for it, so it's not going to die
Well, ethanol-free gasoline can still be found around, thanks to the web
I was lucky to find one a few miles from my house and their prices are
competitive with other stations.
Yes. We also have politicians who like to buy votes with pork; the farm
lobby and Commercial Alcohols take full advantage of that.
If politicians could not splash out cash to lobby groups, lobby groups
would not exist. Think of it this way: which comes first, the flies or the
Ethanol, climate change, health care reform are all liberal wet dreams
having little to do with the scheme of things in the real world.
I'm starting to think that only a regime change with a resultant "Fidel
Castro" method of remedy will fix it...
You want self-sufficient? Try Brazil.
In the last couple of years Brazil has boosted their domestic oil
production by 876%. That's not a typo. They've done this by accelerating
the issuance of drilling permits on- and off-shore. Even the Brazilians
realize ethanol is an expensive feel-good toy.
It is true that Brazil boosted it's domestic production of
oil, but they they were almost self-sufficient before those
discoveries were made because they use ethanol for much of
their fuel needs. Car fuel Brazil has at least 25% ethanol,
and 90% of the cars and light trucks sold their now can run
with up to 100% ethanol mix.
> oil production.
Canada is more than self-sufficient. We were that back in the
oil crisis of the 70's. Production has gone up a lot since
then as higher prices made things like the oil-sands and off-shore
drilling economic (although with a lot of up-front government money
to kick start it.)
Today, Canada is the US's largest supplier of oil.
(Mexico is second, then Saudi Arabia).
Except that Canada imports quite a lot of oil.
"Even though Canada is a net oil exporter, it imports sizable quantities of
crude oil and refined products. According to the International Energy
Agency (IEA), Canada imported around 1.2 million bbl/d of crude oil and
refined products in 2006."
Which means our oil isn't really economic to produce. Plus we're paying the
rest of the world to take our expensive oil. Pretty stupid. And pretty
Yes we import a fair amount of oil. It's a long way from
the oil producing regions regions to some markets. It makes more
sense to pipe oil south to areas in the US, and import into
areas more cheaply supplied from the ocean.
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