Congress ends corn ethanol subsidy

Interesting timing, especially when some biomass companies are switching from wood chips to corn, because they couldn’t turn a profit on wood chips. Looks like all the wheels are coming off the bus now.

To Survive, Some Biofuels Companies Give Up on Biofuels – Technology Review

Gevo, a prominent advanced-biofuels company that has received millions in U.S. government funding to develop fuels made from cellulosic sources such as grass and wood chips, is finding that it can’t use these materials if it hopes to survive. Instead, it’s going to use corn, a common source for conventional biofuels. What’s more, most of the product from its first facility will be used for chemicals rather than fuel.

As the difficulty of producing cellulosic biofuels cheaply becomes apparent, a growing number of advanced-biofuels companies are finding it necessary to take creative approaches to their business, even though that means abandoning some of their green credentials, at least temporarily, and focusing on markets that won’t have a major impact on oil imports. This is hardly the outcome the government hoped for when it announced cellulosic-biofuels mandates, R&D funding, and other incentives in recent years.

Here’s the story on the subsidy ending from the Detroit News:

Congress adjourned for the year on Friday, failing to extend the tax break that’s drawn a wide variety of critics on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Critics also have included environmentalists, frozen food producers, ranchers and others.

The policies have helped shift millions of tons of corn from feedlots, dinner tables and other products into gas tanks.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth praised the move.

The end of this giant subsidy for dirty corn ethanol is a win for taxpayers, the environment and people struggling to put food on their tables,” biofuels policy campaigner Michal Rosenoer said Friday.

Dirty Corn Ethanol? I’m all for ending taxpayer siphoning, but dirty corn ethanol? 

Full story  h/t to Lawrence Depenbush

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426 Responses to Congress ends corn ethanol subsidy

  1. mikelorrey says:

    Mascoma Corp has just inked deals with a couple companies to build cellulose to ethanol facilities. Their process is patented and trumps all existing wood/ethanol processes, which is why their competitors are exiting the business.

  2. mikelorrey says:

    The “dirty corn” comment is based on the fact that when you make biofuel from crops, you are burning up the nations topsoil in your fuel tank, PLUS it takes a gallon of oil to produce a gallon of bioethanol (fertilizer, transpo, refining energy, etc) and the ethanol has lower energy content, so bioethanol is actually more polluting than oil.

  3. Joe Labriola says:

    Most civilizations have struggled to feed their populous enough to avoid system breakdown. Let’s fuel up our SUVs.

  4. crosspatch says:

    The subsidy is ending but mandates aren’t. It just mean the price of fuel in areas with ethanol mandates is going up even more. California, for example.

  5. Larry Fields says:

    Is Congress coming to its senses? Or would that be too much to ask for?

  6. tallbloke says:

    Got any more bright ideas Al? Do us a favour and keep them under your hat.

  7. Scarface says:

    Burning up food is the most cynical outcome of the RedGreen agenda. Promoting it and still feel superior is beyond any logic or ethic. They should be ashamed, very ashamed!
    And then pretend to wonder why food prices are skyrocketing… Watch out! Malthusians at work.

    How poor countries can still support the UN and IPCC is a complete mistery. People suffer there.
    Their governments couldn’t care less apparently. It’s contempt to the power of 10.

    @mikelorrey: Burning up the nations topsoil indeed! Omg, how could it have come so far.

  8. San says:

    What is that ?????

    I want Peace in world

  9. morgo says:

    maybe we should eating wood chips instead of corn ? what are the left wing greenys eating.the answer [grass]

  10. Allan M says:

    Actually he meant “dirty rotten corn ethanol.” Permissible under the Hays code.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hays_Code

    I also like the bit about ‘advanced(?)-biofuels. PR speak?

  11. Paul in Sweden says:

    Maybe food prices will come down again!

  12. John Marshall says:

    Biofuel manufacture from food crop was always the stupid option. Production of methane from waste to produce electricity and heating, as many farms have done in the UK for their greenhouse crops, is profitable and worthwhile. On a very large scale waste to methane may be a route to go. Methane can be used for polymerization to more profitable chemicals as well as power and heat production.

  13. H.R. says:

    “This is hardly the outcome the government hoped for when it announced cellulosic-biofuels mandates, R&D funding, and other incentives in recent years.”

    It’s exactly the outcome those in government wanted. Billions siphoned off the public trough and handed to the favored few. Whether or not it solved a problem was never much of a concern.

  14. newtlove says:

    In your 1st paragraph, I thought your use of the word biomass, as in “some biomass companies” was a pun. You made me consult an on-line dictionary. I was unaware of the 2nd definition. Thank you for the education.
    biomass, noun:
    1. Ecology . the amount of living matter in a given habitat, expressed either as the weight of organisms per unit area or as the volume of organisms per unit volume of habitat.
    2. Energy . organic matter, especially plant matter, that can be converted to fuel and is therefore regarded as a potential energy source.

  15. JFB says:

    at the same time, the U.S. overthrew the tariff barrier to the entry of Brazilian sugar cane ethanol.

  16. Lew Skannen says:

    I have often wondered how to measure the energy that is expended in producing a litre of biofuel. From my own experience I got the impression that you burn a litre of diesel for every litre of biofuel if all energy is taken into account.
    It occurred to me that a useful way of estimating the energy that has gone into producing a product is to just use the cost of the product in the free market.
    Since biofuels are subsidised it seems to me that they definitely absorb more energy that they produce.
    Any thoughts?

  17. A. Scott says:

    Another bash ethanol thread – goody :rollseyes:

    To mikelorrey – you are absolutely and completely incorrect – it does NOT take a gallon of anything to make a gallon of ethanol. Unless of course you are quoting Patzek and Pimentel of Berkely fame (or infamy) who have been soundly debunked by almost every agency and group out there – they are worse the Mann, Jones etc in many ways for how much of an incorrect outlier their fully dis-proven work is.

    It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to create appx 1.6 BTU of ethanol energy using corn processes. It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to make 6 to 8 btu using cellulosic processes.

    And to say we are burning topsoil is equally false and silly. Just as silly as the claims about putting food in SUV’s gas tanks.

    The US met 100% of the corn demand for feed, food and fuel in each of the last several years, PLUS we met the entire export demand AND we still added to the US reserves.

    Likewise, using corn for ethanol has NOT caused any widespread shift in plantings to corn and away from other crops – simply read the USDA crop reports.

    Ethanol is a far cleaner fuel overall than oil – reducing emissions and GHG’s in virtually all meaningful areas.

    Ethanol replaces a useful share of our fossil fuel use, at worst extending significantly our own and world reserves.

    Eliminating the Brazil tariff, which was to help American producers (sine Brazil also got the US blenders credit), was almost entirely meaningless. Brazil has not exported virtually any ethanol in several years, having become a net importer to meet their own demands.

    Ethanol uses virtually entirely seed corn – not food corn. And the production of ethanol creates high value distillers dried grains animal feed that replaces nearly half of the feed corn used for ethanol.

    Ethanol does get lower mileage than gas however it also costs less. E85 blend costs me $2.55 vs $3.35 for E10 blend – almost 25% less. My average fuel economy drops appx 15-18% in a 2003 Tahoe flex fuel vehicle – for a net overall saving in fuel with E85.

    Ethanol production does use water – a 150 mgpy (mill gal/year) plant uses equivalent (from memory) of appx 3 full service car washes or a handful of golf courses. That said gas requires similar. And most ethanol plants today recycle majority of their water for repeated re use.

    A single frac well uses up to several million gallons of water – all of which is trucked long distances to wells and then back from wells where most is injected untreated deep underground.

    Last and most important – ethanol is 100% renewable – we can repeatedly grow more fuel for the 10-15% of fossil fuel we are replacing. Unlike solar and wind etc it is a proven steady resource, whose efficiency continues to grow.

    So many falsehoods perpetrated about ethanol its truly sad – especially coming from otherwise usually very intelligent folks here. I wish people would make same effort to get facts with ethanol as they do about warming.

    No ethanol is not the magic replacement for fossil fuels – but it does replace a significant part – with clean renewable energy.

    And no – I’ll repeat in advance I have zero involvement with the industry – as with my initial AGW believer status I was a disbeliever in ethanol. In both cases I made the effort to learn and educate myself and the facts and science convinced me to disbelieve in AGW and to believe ethanol serves a valuable purpose.

  18. Kum Dollison says:

    Actually, inasmuch as the import tariff is going away at the same time as the subsidy, and that the import tariff is nine cents/gallon more than the subsidy, and that California gets its ethanol from Brazil (while Brazil imports corn ethanol from the U.S.) California should come out just a tisch ahead of the game.

    As for oil inputs, there are about 5 btus of Petroleum inputted into 76 btus of corn ethanol.

    This study estimates that the presence of 14 Billion Gallons/Yr of corn ethanol in the fuel market is saving you, at least, $1.00/gal on your gasoline:

    http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/synopsis.aspx?id=1160

    At the same time we are farming 34 Million fewer acres than we were in 2002, and we are paying landowners NOT to farm 30 Million Acres.

  19. jim says:

    As the difficulty of producing cellulosic biofuels cheaply becomes apparent, a growing number of advanced-biofuels companies are finding it necessary to take creative approaches to their business
    JK: Why not switch over to coal or natural gas as a feedstock?
    That would make sense!

    Thanks
    JK

  20. polistra says:

    Also worth note: this move (or rather action by default!) happened JUST BEFORE the Iowa caucuses, not JUST AFTER as you’d expect.

    The caucuses were always the sole reason for the ethanol project. If Congress is willing to allow the subsidy to go away now, they must finally be sensing the complete turnaround of public attitudes.

  21. A. Scott says:

    Sorry – it has also been repeatedly shown that any impact on food prices is exceedingly minuscule if any – the vast majority of food price increases are the result of speculators/speculation. If you want to see volatility largely disappear and food prices moderate prevent all speculation by anyone who does not take delivery of the product. THAT would be a meaningful impact on food prices.

    Again from memory – ethanol currently use appx 30% of the US feed corn crop. Yet, using net nutritional value it replaces about half of that feed corn with high quality Distillers Dried Grains animal feed. It also produces corn meal and corn oil (which can even be made into plastics).

    We get renewable fuel and keep a majority of the value of the corn crop use to create it.

    We also continue to improve even the corn ethanol process efficiency and net energy yield, but are also moving into higher tech, higher yield cellulosic and similar processes.

    The BIGGEST reason IMO we are behind expected on cellulosic is same thing that affected so many corn ethanol plants – the meltdown of economy and disappearance of capital the last 4 years or so. It takes money to research, refine, advance and improve and there was little or no capital avail for that or almost any purpose from 2007/8 to now.

  22. kwik says:

    ho ho ho!

  23. JFB says:

    A. Scott says:
    “Brazil has not exported virtually any ethanol in several years, having become a net importer to meet their own demands.”

    Sorry, A. Scott, but Brazil has been exporting billions of liters of ethanol since 1999, as you can see this updated spreadsheet (http://www.mdic.gov.br/arquivos/dwnl_1318342678.xls) by the brazilian Ministry of Industry and Trade. More information on the fate of the exported ethanol, you can find in http://www.mdic.gov.br/sitio/interna/interna.php?area=2&menu=999.

  24. O/T but there is an interesting email from Keith Briffa in which he admits the evidence points to a MWP in the Southern Hemisphere.

    I suggest this should be taken together , the sparse evidence of Southern Hemisphere temperatures prior to the period of instrumental records indicates that overall warming has occurred during the last 350 years, but the even fewer longer regional records indicate earlier periods that are as warm, or warmer than, 20th century means.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/briffa-confirms-mwp-in-southern-hemisphere/#comment-285

  25. Espen says:

    What a relief! Now we got to stop this madness in Europe as well.

  26. Fitzcarraldo says:

    OT but a reminder that neither NH or SH ice extent is falling and its now 2012.

  27. commieBob says:

    mikelorrey says:
    December 28, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Mascoma Corp has just inked deals with a couple companies to build cellulose to ethanol facilities. Their process is patented and trumps all existing wood/ethanol processes, which is why their competitors are exiting the business.

    We’ll see. I remember ‘oil from turkey guts’. The company was a lot like Mascoma. They had big backers. The process worked and was close to economic. They claimed that using agricultural waste they could replace all the oil imported to the United States. They just couldn’t run a profit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changing_World_Technologies

    If I were thinking about fuel from a biological feedstock, I would worry more about shale gas and shale oil coming on line. That will lower the price of all fuels and make it hard to profitably sell bio-fuels.

  28. Mike M says:

    tallbloke says: Got any more bright ideas Al? Do us a favour and keep them under your hat.

    It was my understanding that Al Gore changed tack about a year ago and is now leaning more my way, at least on corn based bio-fuel thus far. (I’ve always called the use of food and food producing potential for machine fuel an evil practice that should be banned. )

    I and most others who post comments here have FAR more scientific education and just basic scientific instinct than Al Gore but of course the NYT doesn’t pay any attention to us because it’s a political agenda not a scientific one. How long before Al admits that he was completely wrong about CAGW too? tick..tick..tick..

  29. crosspatch says:

    If you want to create carbon fuel for the future, do this:

    1. Outlaw paper recycling. Force trees to be planted for paper. Collect the waste paper, convert it to slurry and pack it in to old coal and limestone mines as tightly as you can pack it. Compress the living hell out of it and fill those mines back up with carbon in the form of paper slurry. Seal off the entrance with 10 feet or so of concrete and let nature take its course. Every ton of coal extracted gets a ton of paper put back in its place. Coal becomes “carbon neutral”. Same with strip mines. Fill them back up with paper compressed to nearly rock and put the overburden back over it.

    Put carbon back into the ground to replace the carbon you take out from coal mining.

  30. theBuckWheat says:

    It is just foolish in the extreme to burn food for fuel when you can burn something that cannot be food. We are told that burning 1/3 of the corn harvest is somehow “sustainable”, despite its total lifecycle cost. But what else is new? The left loves to scold the rest of us about “sustainability” yet none of their economic schemes are ever sustainable. And sure enough, we got exhausted attempting to maintain the mirage that ethanol was sustainable.

  31. MarkW says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Now that we have heard from the ethanol lobby, can we get back to reality?

  32. MarkW says:

    Ah yes, the standard left wing attack on speculators.
    Speculators do not cause price increases, at worst speculators shift the timing of price changes. Speculators buy know when they believe that prices will go up in the future. This does cause a price increase now, however when the speculators later sell what they bought, they cause an equal price decrease. What speculators do is even out price swings making prices more stable over all.

    Any time you hear someone trying to blame speculators you know you are dealing either with an economic illiterate, or someone who is trying to shift blame from the real villians.

  33. MarkW says:

    All I have to say is that if ethanol is so efficient and cheap to make, why do we need subsidies and mandates in order to get people to make and buy it?

  34. Kum Dollison says:

    Valero is putting up most of the money for Mascoma’s new wood-to-ethanol refinery. Valero knows a little something about “refining,” so, we’ll see.

    I expect to see an approx. $1.00 spread between ethanol, and gasoline later in the year. That would be approx $2.00/gal for wholesale ethanol vs. $3.00/gal for RBOB.

    Many people are expecting an IC Engine that gets essentially the same mileage on high ethanol blends, and gasoline within a year, or two (with more HP from the ethanol blends.) About the only remaining steps are “heated injectors,” and an “ethanol sensor” in place of the O2 sensor.

    Largely unremarked upon this year is that the majority of Ford F-150 Sales have been Six-Cylinder Engines, with the majority of those being of the Flex-Fuel Eco-Boost (Turbo-Charged) variety.

  35. John Brookes says:

    There should be no subsidies to help farmers. Just put a price on carbon emissions and be done with it. Don’t choose technologies.

  36. Bruce says:

    The subsidy may be over but the “mandate” to use ethanol in gasoline still stands for the time being. Without the subsidy and with the mandate will it not just increase the cost of gasoline at the pump?

  37. David says:

    So many subsidies…. So little proper research…
    All of this (solar, wind, ethanol, etc…) comes back to that most famous of quotes by Ernest Benn (British Labour politician Tony Benn’s uncle, himself a politician)….
    ‘Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it wrongly and applying unsuitable remedies…’

  38. tallbloke says:

    Some well informed debate here. Good stuff.

  39. DavidCobb says:

    CommieBob
    The CWT plant was a serious mis-application of technology.
    1. Who thinks “turkey” and “excess fat” at the same time. Their feedstock had a very low energy value.
    2. Turkey waste products have food value (they assumed it wouldn’t due to the BSE scare) and sells for $40 a ton for animal feed.

    Shale gas is very expensive and is close to uneconomical at todays prices. If they can’t make money they won’t drill.

  40. Ric Werme says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Ethanol does get lower mileage than gas however it also costs less. E85 blend costs me $2.55 vs $3.35 for E10 blend – almost 25% less. My average fuel economy drops appx 15-18% in a 2003 Tahoe flex fuel vehicle – for a net overall saving in fuel with E85.

    Thanks for your input, I appreciate informative comments with a lot of work behind them.

    You didn’t say if you say the industry still needs subsidies. Someone else commented on using natural gas as a feed stock for making ethanol. I imagine that’s doable, though I don’t have the organic chemistry knowledge to point to any particular process.

    We don’t pay too much attention to E85 here in New Hampshire. According to http://www.e85refueling.com/ Vermont, Maine, and NH have no E85 service stations. (Neither do Alaska and Hawaii.) I assume the transportation charges are the killer.

  41. lenbilen says:

    Ethanol is dirty only because the fermenting process converts nearly half of the sugar into CO2, the rest is then the fuel. If you are concerned at all about CO2 levels don’t ferment. This is the environmentalist’s dirty argument.

  42. starzmom says:

    A comment to A. Scott–

    When I am forced to use a 10% or less ethanol mixture in my Toyota RAV4, I get 10-15% lower gas mileage than with regular gas, and the price is the same for 10% ethanol versus regular gas. Here (Kansas) the difference between e85 and regular gas is about 10 cents per gallon. I lose money and mileage when I have to use ethanol. And the amount of the US corn crop that has gone to ethanol production in the past few years has been 40% not 30%.

    Here in Kansas, many farmers grew corn in areas that would not normally have been planted in corn because the price was so high this year (due in part to ethanol demand)–many of those farmers lost their crop to floods on the Missouri, or to drought in July, because they planted in non-irrigated areas. I could be wrong, but I am not sure there is difference between the corn used for animal feed, the corn used for ethanol, and the corn used to make corn meal, corn sweetener, and related products. There is a big difference between field/feed corn and sweet corn from the farmer’s market.

  43. Jim Cripwell says:

    A. Scott, you seem to know a lot about ethanol; I have an enormous interest but not much knowledge. Here, in Canada, unlike the USA, we are a net exporter of oil, and for this, and other reasons, it makes no sense for us to have a corn ethanol industry. However, with our large agriculture industry, producing massive quantities of cellulose, cellulose ethanol is an entirely different matter.

    Several years ago, Iogen, in Ottawa, Canada, developed the technology, and built one of the first pilot plants, producing about half a million litres of cellulose ethanol per year. For many reasons, a full scale production plan was never built. More recently, Poet, undert it’s Project Liberty, has developed very similar technology. They are due to build a production plant, with an output measured in tens of millions of gallons per year, in 2012, with production to start in 2013. What is your assessment that Poet will be successful

    a. technologically
    b. economically

    using your definitions as to what these terms mean?

  44. GregO says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    “Another bash ethanol thread – goody :rollseyes:”

    Thanks for providing a balancing argument for ethanol – very informative.

    If ethanol is a good idea, and production seems fairly well underway, then why can’t the free market provide whatever support is needed? Why is public funding needed? Can’t the industry simply stand on its own?

    I own a small high-tech manufacturing company. We are 100% supported by the market even though we have lots of great ideas. Most of these ideas will never be realized due to lack of funding. We cannot even get an SBA loan what’s more direct public funding.

    What makes corn ethanol production worthy of public funding if it is already a good idea?

    I do not mean this question to be taken rhetorically; it is a topic of interest to me; and I know I should just do my own research – but I’m really busy and if you could provide some more information and a cogent argument for public funding of corn ethanol production I would be grateful.

    Thanks in advance.

  45. Janice says:

    mikelorrey says: “Mascoma Corp has just inked deals with a couple companies to build cellulose to ethanol facilities. Their process is patented and trumps all existing wood/ethanol processes, which is why their competitors are exiting the business.”

    Mike, I have been trying to find information about Mascoma Corp. There are lots of news items about them getting loans from DOE, and sundry other financing options. But, I can find nothing at all about how much biofuel they are actually producing from their demonstration facility. The demonstration facility was completed in 2008, and was supposed to be able to produce 200,000 gallons per years, but I can find nothing about the actual production. Do you happen to have a link that shows actual production from their demonstration facility, in particular for 2011?

  46. philincalifornia says:

    Some excellent points A. Scott in both your posts.

    Brazil has clearly had some issues with its sugar cane harvests in recent years, e.g.

    http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/8294/aging-cane-fields-weather-continue-to-affect-brazil-crush

    …… but I think (without the ability to read Portuguese) that JFB (says:December 28, 2011 at 3:29 am) is still probably correct and Brazil is a net exporter, although they do import some ethanol from the U.S. (don’t ask me how that works).

    The Wikipedia article on Brazilian ethanol is pretty good and shows what a huge success story that has been for Brazil.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil

    The linked article about Gevo is, other than the title, also an excellent read. The title is rather odd because this isn’t about “survival”. In fact, this industry sector is thriving, with several huge IPOs being completed already this year (including Gevo’s $100MM IPO in February). The realization that the infrastructure built for bioethanol can be used for more expensive chemicals has been great news. The one example of plastic bottles is based on an ability to make p-xylene which is in every plastic bottle made. This market is amazingly huge and will, in fact, lead to less petroleum dependency as p-xylene currently comes from petroleum.

    Lastly, and as has been noted above, the article describes how the cellulosic feedstock situation is really related to an immature current infrastructure. The chemistry and enzymology of cellulosic sugar production is quite advanced and technology is continuing to advance. Projections for costs of cellulosic sugars at scale are actually very promising, with 20 cents/Kg being a current target. Some producers are even suggesting that 10 cents/Kg is attainable. Not only would that put the advanced biofuels well within the range of profitability, but would lead to huge profitability across a whole range of specialty and commodity chemicals. So lets not throw the baby out with the bath water just yet.

  47. enneagram says:

    Something to remember: Plants, trees, manufacture their body, made of CELLULOSE, a polymer of GLUCOSE, out from the CO2 they breath ,and WE EXHALE at a rate of 900 grams a day, water (H2O) and LIGHT from the SUN above, in a process called photosynthesis; in other words: An Energy saving process intended for the sustainability of LIFE ON EARTH. Precisely, that chain of feeding is called ECOLOGY (which includes the eating of a human being by a predator-a fact currently ignored by the tragically comic eco nuts-). Then its main purpose is to serve as FOOD (which, wisely, also includes that elevated form of energy called WHISKEY´s or WINE´s ethanol). If we foolishly change the way of nature, the way of ecology, we are NOT BEING GREEN, but simply idiots.
    By insanely fighting “CARBON” we have declared the WAR AGAINST FOOD, AGAINST OUR FOOD!, and not only our daily food but against our UNDERWEAR, against our PANTS AND SHIRTS, made out of CELLULOSE, thus if we (rather YOU, “first -and broken- world” FOOLS) succeed in your silly “green agenda” (A.K.A.: Un´s “AGENDA 21″), success will be heralded by hunger and nakedness, and, finally LIFE WILL END ON OUR PLANET.
    Thanks God, before that happens, you know what will happen instead-it´s happening right now!-, and it will be for you only to enjoy it.

  48. cwj says:

    polistra: “Also worth note: this move (or rather action by default!) happened JUST BEFORE the Iowa caucuses, not JUST AFTER as you’d expect. ”

    The Iowa Farm Bureau has come out in favor of eliminating the ethanol blender’s credit as well as eliminating direct farm payments. So I don’t know why you’d think the caucuses would have any effect.

  49. Richard Lewis says:

    Just one step remains to be taken by Congress: Eliminate the mandate for blending ethanol with gasoline. When that fateful step back to market-based competition is taken, all mystery about the comptitiveness of ethanol will be ended. My prediction is that when that prospect looms (hopefully immediately following the 2012 election) panic will prevail in Iowa.

  50. commieBob says:

    The solar voltaic industry is also suffering:

    ” … bankruptcies, plummeting stock prices and crushing debt loads are calling into question the viability of the solar energy industry … ”

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/12/28/0236205/prospects-darken-for-solar-energy-companies

  51. James Sexton says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Another bash ethanol thread – goody :rollseyes:

    To mikelorrey – you are absolutely and completely incorrect – it does NOT take a gallon of anything to make a gallon of ethanol. Unless of course you are quoting Patzek and Pimentel of Berkely fame (or infamy) who have been soundly debunked by almost every agency and group out there – they are worse the Mann, Jones etc in many ways for how much of an incorrect outlier their fully dis-proven work is.

    It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to create appx 1.6 BTU of ethanol energy using corn processes. It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to make 6 to 8 btu using cellulosic processes.
    ==================================================================
    Sorry, I don’t have time to respond to all of your errant points, so I’ll just respond to the first one you made and hopefully, you’ll understand that the information you’ve received is wrong.

    (my bold) Tell me, what’s wrong with this literary picture? So the energy crisis is solved! We actually create energy!!! Yea!!!

  52. cwj says:

    GregO: “If ethanol is a good idea, and production seems fairly well underway, then why can’t the free market provide whatever support is needed? Why is public funding needed? Can’t the industry simply stand on its own?”

    Actually, the industry proposed a phase out. Under some duress and political pressure, but they did propose a phase out. The phase out would have had no subsidy when the price of oil was less than $90 per barrel, a level I doubt we’ll see very frequently again. Also, as I understand it, the subsidy was a blender’s credit which went to the oil company using the ethanol, not to the ethanol industry. The benefit to the ethanol producer was indirect.

  53. Randy says:

    From ascott – “To mikelorrey – you are absolutely and completely incorrect – it does NOT take a gallon of anything to make a gallon of ethanol. Unless of course you are quoting Patzek and Pimentel of Berkely fame (or infamy) who have been soundly debunked by almost every agency and group out there – they are worse the Mann, Jones etc in many ways for how much of an incorrect outlier their fully dis-proven work is. It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to create appx 1.6 BTU of ethanol energy using corn processes. It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to make 6 to 8 btu using cellulosic processes. ”

    Are you comparing apples to oranges? Perhaps mikelorrey was referring to the entire big picture process from planting to production instead of just the end game production aspect which it seems you are arguing here?

    Same big picture view exists with green electric cars. Not so green up to the point you are actually in the car and pressing on the gas…errrr electric pedal.

  54. Latitude says:

    Dirty Corn Ethanol? I’m all for ending taxpayer siphoning, but dirty corn ethanol?
    ====================================================
    Not sure, but they might be referring to fertilizers, pesticides, etc

    I was told that corn for ethanol is not regulated the same as corn for food or feed, so you can use a lot more or different pesticides, etc

  55. Luther Wu says:

    Such good news and so early in the morning!

    To those green spokesmen in this thread who claim that your policies have no ill effects on our nation’s soil bank, etc: why don’t you learn to be a true caretaker of the environment, rather than an advocate for an agenda which ultimately ends in tyranny?
    Perhaps along the way, you will reflect on the hypocrisies of your present position and of the true costs and real damages incurred by the doctrines and misinformation which you promote.

  56. Mike M says:

    A. Scott says: It takes money to research, refine, advance and improve and there was little or no capital avail for that or almost any purpose from 2007/8 to now

    I don’t recall Standard Oil whining about a lack of investment funding back in the great depression?

  57. philincalifornia says:

    lenbilen says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:43 am
    Ethanol is dirty only because the fermenting process converts nearly half of the sugar into CO2, the rest is then the fuel. If you are concerned at all about CO2 levels don’t ferment. This is the environmentalist’s dirty argument.
    ——————————————-

    …… and what a silly argument that is too, given that the CO2 is from a source where it has been taken out of the atmosphere and is just being recycled.

    By the way, there are some microorganisms (known as acetogens) that use essentially all the sugar for product and produce no CO2.

    http://www.zeachem.com/

  58. DirkH says:

    philincalifornia says:
    December 28, 2011 at 6:33 am
    “The Wikipedia article on Brazilian ethanol is pretty good and shows what a huge success story that has been for Brazil.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil

    From your link:
    “The Brazilian government provided three important initial drivers for the ethanol industry: guaranteed purchases by the state-owned oil company Petrobras, low-interest loans for agro-industrial ethanol firms, and fixed gasoline and ethanol prices where hydrous ethanol sold for 59% of the government-set gasoline price at the pump. Subsidising ethanol production in this manner and setting an artificially low price established ethanol as an alternative to gasoline.”

    So, they subsidized it into the market; of, well, actually, not a market, they fixed the prizes. You think that’s a huge success? Now, Brazil has good growth rates at the moment, but they’ve been doing this ethanol thing for decades now, and for a long time during the past decades their economy has been a basketcase. Maybe that has to do with that “huge success” of misallocating capital?

  59. Matt Schilling says:

    At 2:52AM A. Scott wrote: “The US met 100% of the corn demand for feed, food and fuel in each of the last several years, PLUS we met the entire export demand AND we still added to the US reserves.”
    Yet, when I googled “U.S. grain reserves” the first page was filled with multiple alarming stories about very low levels of grain reserves. I hope we do not rue the day we squandered away the food we had in our national cupboard. It seems to me the nation of amber waves of grain and frutied plains is one bad crop away from real hunger.
    And, because we are the Saudia Arabia of food exports, if we go hungry, then teeming thousands around the world would starve.
    Stupid is as stupid does.

  60. philincalifornia says:

    Mike M says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:03 am
    A. Scott says: It takes money to research, refine, advance and improve and there was little or no capital avail for that or almost any purpose from 2007/8 to now

    I don’t recall Standard Oil whining about a lack of investment funding back in the great depression?
    ======================
    …… or Codexis/Shell and BP in this recession, but A Scott does have a point. In a better economy, the cellulosic field would be far more advanced than it is now (i.e. with more private capital).

  61. Philip Peake says:

    @A Scott. I would be interested in the source of your statement than ethanol is less polluting. I spent some considerable time trying to understand this. The EPA has no studies on the subject. There are references to other sources for the idea that it is less polluting, all of which seem to lead back to a single Canadian study, which indicated that with vehicles specifically designed for ethanol, under specific circumstances, there may be a small reduction in some pollutants, with a corresponding increase in other, more dangerous, pollutants.

    As for the same milage, personal experience in several vehicles indicates a drop of around 10%. I don’t need a label on the gas pump to tell me it contains ethanol, I can tell by just watching the gas guage.

  62. Sal Minella says:

    A. Scott says:

    “It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to create appx 1.6 BTU of ethanol energy using corn processes. It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to make 6 to 8 btu using cellulosic processes.”

    A 60% gain!! Amazing stuff! Why arent we converting all gasoline to ethanol? I’m going to start growing corn in my back yard. With a little luck, I will have an infinite amount of ETOH in no time. I’ll make 2.44 gal. of ETOH (76,000 BTU/gal) from 1 gal (116,090 BTU/gal) of gas. Then I’ll use the the 2.44 gal of ETOH to make 3.9 gal ETOH, gaining 60% in energy content at every cycle. Soon I’ll have infinite energy all from one gallon of gasoline input.

    Does any other conversion of energy feedstock have as high or higher gain? Because 1.6 is pretty good. Actually, anything over 1.0 is great. 6 to 8 is just unbelievable!!! Gotta love it when this kind of thing happens – it’s magical.

  63. DirkH says:

    And, uh, are that SMOKESTACKS I see in that wikipedia photo of a Brazilian ethanol plant?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Panorama_Usina_Costa_Pinto_Piracicaba_SAO_10_2008.jpg

    Doesn’t look like H2O and CO2 what comes out of them. Quick, somebody call EPA.

  64. jabre says:

    Don’t forget the subsidies of oil. Also keep in mind that the importing of oil is helping maintain the $100/barrel prices which subsidize the regimes that are hostile to the US and its friends. When you look at costs to the US citizens, after consideration of all hidden costs (subsidies, military spending, etc.) I have seen estimates as high as $10/gallon. Just google real/true cost of oil. One quick, credible reference puts it at $480/barrel (http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/oil-gas-crude/461).

    Also, keep in mind that the $1/gallon subsidy, which is now rolling into a cellulosic (non-starch) subsidy ensures that the entire amount spent on the fuel remains in the US economy. So, the real tax subsidy is less as the $$ are changing hands and being re-taxed within the country.

    If you have some time read the Energy Independence act of 2007. In many ways it is shockingly good legislation with respect to renewable fuels. As I mentioned, it forces the industry to roll over from a starch-based subsidy (corn) to cellulose-based (wood/grasses/etc) over time to maintain the subsidy. That is what is happening now. If we can do nothing else but redirect the $252 Billion of annual (http://useconomy.about.com/od/tradepolicy/p/Trade_Deficit.htm) oil import dollars into the local economy it will significantly outweigh the relatively modest subsidy used to develop the industry necessary to support the transition.

  65. ShrNfr says:

    Now to get the crud out of our fuel all together. It makes for lower mpg. An interesting fact is that the fuel that is used to get mpg figures on cars does not contain it.

  66. David S says:

    Newsflash: Hell freezes over! Congress does something right!!

  67. Janice says:

    May want to hold off on investing heavily in Mascomas:
    http://gigaom.com/cleantech/some-red-flags-numbers-in-mascomas-ipo-filing/
    Looks like they could become another Solyndra, fairly quickly.

  68. beng says:

    IF one wants to burn food as fuel, it’d make more sense to eliminate all the processing & capital required for corn-to-alcohol conversion. Just dry the corn & burn it in a steam or Sterling-engine powered vehicle.

    Kinda puts the idea of food-to-fuel in perspective.

  69. Rob Potter says:

    To:

    Sal Minella says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:15 am

    and others. Are you just trolling? The energy comes from the sun – the calculations of 1:1.6 for corn ethanol etc. are calculated on end to end inputs vs outputs with the growing of the corn harvesting solar energy.

    The whole point of the exercise was the propaganda put out by anti-ethanol lobbies (and countered by the pro-ethanol lobbies) on the need for fossil fuel inputs into growing corn. By redefining what are “inputs” and “outputs” you can get a whole range of figures. I think A Scott is pulling out the most rational numbers, but everyone is busy arguing over where you draw the lines around agriculture and ethanol production.

    As far as subsidies/mandates go, let’s face it, these (and the biodiesel subsidies/mandates in Europe) were political – buying votes in important constituencies. And with all such market interventions, the US and Europe don’t suffer unduly by the marginally higher food prices since food is such a small part of spending. The impact has been felt in developing countries which pushed state-controlled farming into energy crops (corn for ethanol in S Africa and palm oil for biodiesel in SE Asia) making the same mistakes as when they were pushed into tobacco, coffee etc.. This is where there have been real food issues and is always the problem of overspill of internal policies into international markets.

  70. Alec, aka Daffy duck says:

    Forget Al Gore, Newt Gingrich was the champion of ethanol and was an Ethanol Lobbyist:
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53678.html

  71. harrywr2 says:

    I wouldn’t clap quite yet.
    I don’t think congress ended the annual volume requirement for ethanol?
    http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/8442/rfa-presses-epa-to-release-final-2012-rfs-volumes

    All the end of subsidies means is that we will be seeing more of the ‘true cost’ of ethanol at the fuel pumps.

  72. DirkH says:

    jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am
    “One quick, credible reference puts it at $480/barrel (http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/oil-gas-crude/461).”

    Your credible reference also says the CO2 that the US produces costs 65 trillion a year.

  73. philincalifornia says:

    DirkH says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:07 am
    ———————————————
    Maybe Dirk but, as the saying goes “Good things come to those who wait” and the wait is clearly over, as evidenced by the football (soccer) star proxy. Brazilian clubs can now afford to keep their own players even (its economy has now overtaken that of the U.K.):

    http://internationalbusinessblog.conversisglobal.com/2011/08/16/is-brazil’s-economic-growth-and-power-changing-european-football/

    Also, more seriously:
    http://globalgeopolitics.net/wordpress/2011/03/22/sugar-cane-and-ethanol-boom-drives-development-in-southern-brazil/

  74. A. Scott says:

    “It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to create appx 1.6 BTU of ethanol energy using corn processes. It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to make 6 to 8 btu using cellulosic processes.”

    I see several folks trying to spin this into something it is not. This is not a violation of thermodynamic principles or magic. It is perhaps poor phrasing because those who have taken the time to study fuel ethanol understand the context.

    The energy gain is the capture of free solar energy you don’t have to pay for by the growing plants. The energy input quoted is “purchased energy” such as natural gas, coal generated electricity etc. The free energy of solar power absorbed by the plants is not included in the accounting because it is a harvest of a potential energy source that exists free for the taking. Just like the free energy solar energy that moves water to the high mountains so it can be used to produce hydro power during the summer melt, or the free solar energy captured by coal and hydrocarbon fuels thousands or millions of years ago. We don’t include the cost of that solar energy in the accounting for how much energy it takes to produce gasoline either.

    It is the net gain in useful energy over the energy contained in the direct energy inputs provided by man.

    I am an advocate of E85 and fuel ethanol and am personally glad this has happened. The industry has been on the point of break even for the last few years, where well run plants that were not victims of market manipulation or other active efforts to block their growth could make a profit on ethanol without the subsidy. Some of them are still being forced out of business due to issues they have no control over. For example a law suit was filed for violation of minimum mark up laws in Wisconsin. They were selling their ethanol “too cheaply” and as a result the gasoline vendors filed suit using old minimum mark up laws that were intended to avoid price gouging on gasoline and price wars during the arab oil embargo.

    This will shake out the industry and only the well run operations will survive, and marginal operations will have a strong incentive to get their house in order. Fuel ethanol is one of the best methods to improve fuel octane of gasoline available in the market today, and using it as an octane enhancer substantially improves the fuel yield from petroleum and the economics of gasoline production to meet Federal requirements for fuel octane, so it is not going away any time soon.

    It took Brazil 30+ years to get their fuel ethanol industry built out and the infrastructure developed to use it as a major part of their fuel cycle and they had the advantage of a tropical climate to grow sugar cane and the political will to do it. Even they ran into some issues but they proved it could be a viable component of a mature fuel energy cycle.

    Larry

  75. mkelly says:

    jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am
    Don’t forget the subsidies of oil.

    Please identify the “subsidies” of which you speak. Also ensure you understand the difference between a subsidy and a tax credit.

    Most of the oil we import is from Canada, Mexico, etc that are not “hostile” to us. Except maybe the Canuks don’t like the Wings.

  76. philincalifornia says:

    DirkH says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:17 am
    And, uh, are that SMOKESTACKS I see in that wikipedia photo of a Brazilian ethanol plant?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Panorama_Usina_Costa_Pinto_Piracicaba_SAO_10_2008.jpg
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    That’s probably emanating from the burning of bagasse for energy. Bagasse is the woody part of the cane and, as you can easily guess, is produced in massive quantities in Brazil. In fact, one recent calculation has it at $600 Billion of chemicals being possible per annum by converting the bagasse to cellulosic sugars:

    http://www.altenergystocks.com/archives/2011/11/bagasse_the_big_prize_1.html

    This is happening guys. It’s smoking hot in a different way from the pic. Pity we can’t switch into sugar cane here in the U.S.

  77. Danny V says:

    Car manufacturers are taking advantage of a CAFE fuel economy credit loophole when they produce E85 vehicles. Ever wonder how the super size pick up truck continues to be sold? E85 loophole is the answer. Everything is not always as it seems.

  78. TomH says:

    Celanese Corporation has a commercial catalytic natural gas-to-ethanol process (not an expensive Fischer Tropsch) that would significantly undercut the price of biomas ethanol. Unfortunately for consumers in the U.S., the congressional mandate to blend ethanol in gasoline stocks is specific to biomas ethanol. Celanese is building commercial scale natural gas-to-ethanol plants in China. ( http://celanesetcx.com/ )

  79. Sal Minella says:

    It seems that the problem is solved so, why all the discussion of imports and subsidies? It really doesn’t matter where we get that first BTU – it could come from foreign oil or a man on a tread mill. All that matters is, once we have it we can make 1.6 BTU from it (the 6 to 8 seems really crazy) and then, through geometric progression, make as much energy as we want with absolutely no external input of energy. With it’s ability to amplify energy, we should be using 100% ethanol.

    Why hasn’t this been done before and why are corn producers asking for subsidies? They should all be so busy counting their cash that they have no time for anything else. For the sake of argument, if one BTU costs $1 and you can make 1.6 BTU from it then, the 1.6 BTU can be sold for $1.60 – a 60% profit. What other business will give you this kind of return on your investment? And, using that logic, rather than selling it now, why not plow your 1.6 BTU back into ethanol making 2.56, then 4.09, then 6.55, then 10,48 etc. all the way up to infinite BTUs before selling? Your $1 investment will become infinite dollars in no time or maybe even 2x infinite dollars, or 100x infinite dollars or inifnite x infinite dollars.

    NY state government funded three corn-ETOH plants within a 50 mi. radius of where I live to the tune of 10s if not 100s of millions of taxpayer dollars. One ran for a few months and the other two never really got into production. How could such an enormously profitable buisness have failed? It makes no sense – we should be making and storing ETOH BTUs in every available nook and cranny. Hell we should be building gargantuan space-based storage facilities for all of the free energy that can be produced from one dirty oil-based seed-BTU or one sweaty man-on-a-treadmill seed-BTU.

    Maybe we should get that First BTU (the sacred one) from the sun or the wind making the input cost nothing (solar and wind power are free) making the % prorfit infinite with production of one ETOH BTU.

  80. Mike M says:

    jabre: Don’t forget the subsidies of oil.

    I can’t forget something I never knew in the first place. Tell us about these ‘subsidies’ you speak of. From what I’ve heard, some people think subtracting the cost of labor and tooling on an oil company’s 1040 is considered a ‘subsidy’ – as though government somehow ‘paid’ for them?

  81. Kevin Kilty says:

    I agree entirely with MarkW who takes A. Scott to task for his assertion that speculators cause food price increases. In addition, a report from Argonne national lab (ANL) shows that for each BTU of energy input we end up with 1.34 BTU of energy in ethanol–a 34% increase, not the 60% increase stated above. In terms of liquid fuels, for each BTU input of diesel or gasoline, we get 6 to 8 Btu of ethanol energy. However, we use a lot of natural gas and coal to provide the balance of energy. The results depend upon how one apportions the energy content of the fuel versus the co-products–thus there is some uncertainty in estimates.

    This report is obviously pro-corn ethanol, but it makes a good case that there is a small net gain from ethanol. In the conclusions we find a rosy picture painted for the future according to this report, because the inputs will all improve as they are subject to discipline by market forces — exactly what we have shielded ethanol production from. The advocates never see such irony. I doubt this will actually come to pass, because if we try to replace any large fraction of liquid fuels with corn ethanol we will have to begin using marginal farmland and so average corn yields will decline.

    Regarding the claim that ethanol as a transportation fuel is always cleaner than the fuels it replaces, note that ethanol increases the volatile portion of gasoline, and leads to increased air pollution (haze in this case) from unburned hydrocarbon.

  82. Tom_R says:

    >> jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am
    Don’t forget the subsidies of oil. <<

    Please list the subsidies of oil … and not just some link to a WWF type website.

    How much do they amount to per gallon of fuel? Compare them to the per-gallon subsidies of ethanol. A quick back of the envelope calculation has the US producing 13 billion gallons of ethanol for a $6B subsidy, or just under $0.50 per gallon. I doubt that the oil company 'subsidies' come close to that.

  83. PRD says:

    Jabre, so the price of hay for my horses goes up? It’ll be beer for my horses before I know it.

    Seriously, the cost of hay for livestock can force many small producers to “sell out” quickly. Selling out means that they lose the agricultural tax exemption on their property, causing them to lose the property, which then get’s purchased by developers who turn it into an exurban neighborhood. I’m seeing it happen before my eyes. The only thing stopping this eventuality for some is a Haynesville shale gas lease agreement, or if the owner is a minority family that has had the property title handed down since US Reconstruction and the title is claimed by so many heirs as to make the clearing of the title nigh on impossible.

  84. PRD says:

    Dang, as i clicked “Post Comment”, I realized the lack of clarity in my previous comments. The US Reconstruction property that was granted to freed slaves is somehow maintained as long as inheritance is passed down through the family. I’m not sure how property taxes are handled when the title is distributed amongst heirs which may be scattered from coast to coast. Property taxes may not even apply to land titles that reach back to Reconstruction private property grants. Please don’t take this to be a crass or heartless, mean spirited remark. This situation applies to properties all across the southern USA.

  85. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Presumably when A. Scott said “It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to create appx 1.6 BTU of ethanol energy using corn processes. It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to make 6 to 8 btu using cellulosic processes.” he is not suggesting creating energy from nothing.

    He means it takes 1 BTU of fossil energy plus an large amount of solar energy to create the 1.6 or 6-8 BTU’s of ethanol energy. Here’s a similar example: when I cut down a tree and burn it in my wood stove the energy I used in my chainsaw (including manufacturing and maintenance) and my splitter was far less than the heat energy I created when I burned the wood (including stove losses).

  86. eyesonu says:

    The ethanol lobby has been out in full force on every site that I have seen an article on the ethanol industry. It happened here on WUWT about a year or so ago. I don’t remember the thread title but I remember the boiler room tactics of copy and paste, thread hijacking, misinformation, etc. A couple of years ago the same tactics were used on theoildrum.com but were decisively debunked. One of the articles there investigated the Energy Returned on Investment (EROI) of corn ethanol. It is NEGATIVE. I guess that energy experts are much better suited to smackdown claims made by ethanol advocates more so than those knowledgable in climate issues.

    A Scott, there are so many holes in your posts here that I will not waste my time with you. Your boiler room of advocates are surely here now and will come to your rescue if need be. That is the way your ilk has operated in the past and I am sure will continue to do so. Your lobby has too much $$$$ at stake.

    I will toss a couple of ideas for you /yours to chew on.

    Cotten to corn plantings?
    EROI?
    Reduced MPG equal to or greater than the ethanol volume included (Leave out the 10 – 15% ethanol and use gas and gain 10 – 35% depending on the engine) ?
    Drop in water tables for irrigation?
    Fertilizer runoff?
    The numbers you cite in you post?

    You are either very misinformed or a troll for the ethanol lobby. I will bet the latter.

    This is the limit of my time that I will waste with you.

  87. denis says:

    Making ethanol from sugar cane is seven times more efficient than making ethanol from corn.

  88. Alf says:

    So Red Green’s the guy behind all this, eh? Now it all makes sense….

  89. Kevin Kilty says:

    jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

    You repeat all of the fallacies about global trade, oil marketing, and oil production that I can think of. We will never redirect the $252 B that goes into the purchase of imported petroleum–never–or at least not with ethanol. We cannot grow enough corn in the U.S. to replace more than 20% of our liquid fuels demand, and to get even to this level would lead to environmental issues you could not tolerate. The better path would be to use enhanced oil recovery on our own reserve, and import Canadian heavy oil to refine and export as higher value fuels (i.e. Keystone pipeline), but I’m certain you cannot tolerate any of this based on the other shibboleths you repeat.

    The subsidies of the oil industry you quote are just wild guesses (WAGs) that do not stand up to any scrutiny, and the $480 per barrel figure you quote–well LOL, where does that implied subsidy of 20 MBBL per day times $480 = $9.6 B per day come from? (that’s 3.5 trillion dollars per year).

    According to your economic fallacies we would be better-off to close our borders and just recycle and re-tax all dollars right here in some unspecified activities. Does it ever occur to you that as we alter completely huge portions of our economy and world trade, that there will be less work and lower pay all around?

  90. Kevin Kilty says:

    Cripes! The formatting occasionally trips me up.

    jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

    You repeat all of the fallacies about global trade, oil marketing, and oil production that I can think of. We will never redirect the $252 B that goes into the purchase of imported petroleum–never–or at least not with ethanol. We cannot grow enough corn in the U.S. to replace more than 20% of our liquid fuels demand, and to get even to this level would lead to environmental issues you could not tolerate. The better path would be to use enhanced oil recovery on our own reserve, and import Canadian heavy oil to refine and export as higher value fuels (i.e. Keystone pipeline), but I’m certain you cannot tolerate any of this based on the other shibboleths you repeat.

    The subsidies of the oil industry you quote are just wild guesses (WAGs) that do not stand up to any scrutiny, and the $480 per barrel figure you quote–well LOL, where does that implied subsidy of 20 MBBL per day times $480 = $9.6 B per day come from? (that’s 3.5 trillion dollars per year).

    According to your economic fallacies we would be better-off to close our borders and just recycle and re-tax all dollars right here in some unspecified activities. Does it ever occur to you that as we alter completely huge portions of our economy and world trade, that there will be less work and lower pay all around?.

  91. ChE says:

    Please identify the “subsidies” of which you speak. Also ensure you understand the difference between a subsidy and a tax credit.

    Shh! Youa no harsha the buzz.

  92. Sal Minella says:

    No matter where the magic extra energy comes from, if you can get a gain of 60% in BTUs then you can make a 60% profit or plow your product back into the process making the same gain with each cycle. It follows then that, after the input of one non ETOH BTU the ETOH cycle will, eventually, produce an infinite number of ETOH BTUs. If this is the case then there is no need for subsidies or any other source of energy, ever. If it is not the case then ETOH will need subsidies to support its production and will not improve or even replace our “fossil fuel” energy production.

  93. James Sexton says:

    “Sorry – it has also been repeatedly shown that any impact on food prices is exceedingly minuscule if any – the vast majority of food price increases are the result of speculators/speculation.”
    =========================================================
    That’s demonstrably untrue. Go here….. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/Gallery/Background/CornUse.jpg Nearly 1/2 of the corn produced today goes to our fuel tanks. Now go here and compare both graphs at about the 2006 mark. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/Gallery/Background/CornPriceReceivedAndProduction.jpg

    But, we’re only talking about corn. What’s going on with our other food stuffs?
    Here’s some planted acreage data…..
    Corn, 86.0, 86.4, 88.0, 90.0,
    Sorghum, 8.3, 6.6, 7.0, 7.0,
    Wheat, 63.2, 59.1, 55.0, 56.0,
    Rice, 3.0, 3.1, 3.1, 2.8,
    Soybeans, 75.7, 77.5, 76.5, 73.5,
    Barley, 4.2, 3.6, 3.6, 3.6,
    Oats, 3.2, 3.4, 3.4, 3.4,

    These are for years 2008-2011 if the formatting doesn’t hold, I separated the values with a comma. Every crop but oats have decreased in acreage planted since ethanol has revved up. But, that’s not the only place where we feel the impact. As the story states, ranchers are against ethanol as well, why? Because is caused feed to become too costly. We’re back to sneaking calves onto other peoples cattle trailers in the winter. For an .xls spreadsheet go here. http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/ers/94005/2010/Table17.xls

    So, the rise in food prices isn’t related to increase in non-food and feed use? It isn’t related to the decrease in other foods acreage planted?

  94. Gary says:

    So Red Green’s the guy behind all this, eh? Now it all makes sense….

    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

    Seriously, a guest post on ethanol (with references and links to data) by A. Scott would be welcomed.

    Biofuels make sense if the benefits outweigh the costs, of course. However, it’s necessary to count everything in the equation.

    And it should be done without subsidies and gov’t interference.

  95. Judy F. says:

    Starzmom @5:54

    You are right. There is no difference in the corn raised for corn sweetener, animal feed or for ethanol. Americans ususally don’t eat field corn. We use it in lots and lots of stuff, but we don’t pick it and eat it on the cob or frozen from the grocery store. We eat sweet corn, which only goes for other purposes when it is too ripe to be enjoyed on the cob. Sweet corn plants are smaller and so are the ears of corn, so there is not a whole lot of value to harvest the plants for silage or the corn for feed. You make your money as corn on the cob, and dry corn stalks for Halloween decorations. Otherwise you leave the rest to feed the cows that graze down the stalks or for any local wildlife to enjoy.

    Latitude @ 7:01

    Usually, if an ethanol plant needs corn, they can get it two different ways. They might contract corn direct from the farmer, for example, for 1,000 bushels of corn. But the farmer might grow 2,000 bushels, and he will then sell or use the non-contracted corn however he wants to. The other way the ethanol plant might get corn is to contract directly with the local grain elevator. Either way, the farmer is going to grow his corn so that it can be sold anywhere, and he is not going to use extra chemicals in raising that corn, just to get rid of some extra chemicals he has laying around. I was at the bank the other day and a local farmer was making small talk with the bank teller, and he said that he had $100 per acre of inputs in raising his corn crop this year. We live in a marginal corn area- not as much rain as in the midwest, so his yields were lower than what a midwest farmer might get.

    The only reason I see for relaxed chemical allowances is to allow imports that might not be as regulated as domestic corn is.

  96. Kevin Kilty says:
    December 28, 2011 at 8:32 am
    Regarding the claim that ethanol as a transportation fuel is always cleaner than the fuels it replaces, note that ethanol increases the volatile portion of gasoline, and leads to increased air pollution (haze in this case) from unburned hydrocarbon.

    You only provided part of the information and out of context. The Reid Vapor pressure of gasoline ethanol mixtures is not linear with the percentage of blend. In fact the highest Reid Vapor pressure occurs at low ethanol blends. At higher ethanol blends Reid vapor pressure actually drops significantly below that of straight gasoline. The highest RVPs were observed with relatively low concentrations (5-20%, v/v), the non-ideal mixtures then drop and flatten out their vapor pressure over a large range of mixtures.

    http://saefuel.saejournals.org/content/1/1/132.abstract

    The effect you refer to also depends on the specific blend of gasoline the ethanol is added to as well. This was one of the issues with fuel ethanol added in California. Some of the fuel blends that they used in their reformulated blends, when mixed with ethanol added blends from out side the area had significantly higher evaporative emissions than either blend alone. This was a problem until MTBE was outlawed as an oxygenate due to its propensity for contaminating ground water from leaking fuel storage tanks. Now that ethanol added oxygenate is the dominant blend this issue has largely disappeared.

    Larry

  97. Rujholla says:

    To those of you commenting about the creation of energy, you do realize that energy is coming from the sun, it isn’t actually being created. Don’t be intentionally obtuse.

  98. Kevin Kilty says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 3:06 am
    Sorry – it has also been repeatedly shown that any impact on food prices is exceedingly minuscule if any – the vast majority of food price increases are the result of speculators/speculation. If you want to see volatility largely disappear and food prices moderate prevent all speculation by anyone who does not take delivery of the product. THAT would be a meaningful impact on food prices.

    I can’t stand this statement going un-examined.

    To eliminate speculators in a market reduces liquidity. If you reduce liquidity in a market then what occurs is that trades cannot be made until rather large swings in price occur. In effect you reduce the ability to complete trades at small increments of price and increase market volatility. If you limit trading activity to only those who take physical delivery of commodities, then you no longer have a futures market, but rather only a forward contracts market. Such market is not much different than barter and is costly and inefficient. Moreover, even people who deal in the commodity do not always take delivery, but would like the insurance provided by hedging that only a liquid futures and options market can provide. Finally, proof that futures markets with speculators to provide liquidity reduces volatility comes from an analysis of the onions futures market which existed in the 1950s but does no longer. Please stop repeating the left-propaganda about speculators and markets.

  99. Sal Minella says:

    1.6 > 1.0. If you can turn 1.0 schmeckels into 1.6 schmeckels then you have a .6 schmeckel gain. Plowing the schmeckles back into the schmeckel cycle will, over time, provide you with an infinite number of schmeckels for the cost of one schmeckel. Doodad subsidies don’t effect the schmeckle cycle because doodads have a gain of 1.0. If you put a doodad in you get one out so, you can subsidise doodads all day long without effecting the schmeckel. Because, as with any system with a gain of greater than one, the schmeckle is pure profit that only increases with time. This to say nothing of the groznik that has a gain of 6 to 8. The groznik is better than the schmeckel because the groznik cycle gets to infinity faster. So, let’s scrap schmeckels and go with the groznik and, instead of a subsidy, I would suggest that we collect a small tax on every groznik sold. After all the sale of infinity grozniks will produce infinite tax revenues freeing the workers of the world from paying them.

  100. eyesonu says:

    To the readers of WUWT: Click on the ‘full story’ link at the end of the lead article. Read it.

  101. Judy F. says:

    I just called the local elevator and corn is up today, selling for $6.13 / bushel. If you look at the link I provide below, you can see that some of the Western Nebraska counties have yields in the 100-130 bushel/acre range. With $100 per acre direct input, the farmers in this area have a pretty tight budget in order to make a profit.

    http://www.nebraskacorn.org/main-navigation/corn-production-uses/production/

  102. jabre says:

    mkelly and others:
    Canada is less than 25% of our oil source – have a look at the list of ‘friendly’ nations we’re subsidizing: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm & http://205.254.135.7/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html.

    Kevin Kilty and others:
    Your arguments about redirecting corn crops are totally off the mark. As I indicated the initial subsidies which were based on corn are now being phased out. If anyone wants to produce ethanol and continue to receive subsidies they must now produce a cellulosic (non-corn, non-sugar) source. Read the legislation.

    Kevin Kilty and others: “WAGs”
    I try not to snipe but you have got to be kidding – what planet have been on since the ’70’s? Are you implying that are military spending in the Middle East, Arab/Persian nations is for the sole purpose of befriending the world? Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia – tell me, why do we care about these countries and spend trillions invading and defending them?
    $480/barrel source : if you actually read the reference is Milton Copulus, the head of the National Defense Council Foundation, former principal energy analyst for the Heritage Foundation – not much of a greenee – huh? As I said, there are many hundreds of references which break down the cost – just google.

  103. _Jim says:

    philincalifornia says on December 28, 2011 at 8:21 am

    This is happening guys. It’s smoking hot in a different way from the pic. Pity we can’t switch into sugar cane here in the U.S.

    “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride” *

    Are you aware of the latitude differences between the US vs Brazil, Phil?

    .

    .
    * Origins

  104. Zeke says:

    “Congress ends corn ethanol subsidy.”
    Does this mean that the mandate to use 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022 has been suspended? Does the EPA still get to fine everyone for missing the mandate?

  105. mkelly says:

    Eric (skeptic) says:
    December 28, 2011 at 8:40 am
    Presumably when A. Scott said “It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to create appx 1.6 BTU of ethanol energy using corn processes. It takes appx 1 BTU of energy to make 6 to 8 btu using cellulosic processes.” he is not suggesting creating energy from nothing.

    What is not clear if he is only counting the manufacturing plant energy of 1 BTU to get 1.6 BTU or if this includes the planting & harvest of seed corn, packaging/transport of seed corn, the fertilizer/tilling ground for the corn, the planting/harvest of the ethanol corn, the transport of the corn to the ethanol manufacturer. Not counting the manufacture of the tractor, havestor, semi, etc approtioned to this application.

    Besides the BTU(calories) in one 20 gal tank would feed a person for a 2/3 of a year. The trade off doesn’t seem equal.

    “Approximately 21,300 human-available calories in a US gallon of pure ethanol.” found at a site.

  106. Sal Minella says:

    All of the energy contained from corn comes from the sun and the nutrients (natural and enhanced) in the soil. I fail to see how that is at all relevant to this discussion. The 1 BTU of input energy is required to convert the energy in the corn from one chemical form to another: carbohydrate to alcohol. I submit to you that net energy that goes into the production of 1 BTU of corn energy is greater than 1 BTU, All systems that we are aware of are less than 100% efficient for an efficiency of greater than unity can only be a perpetual motion machine that is run on magic. If ETOH produced from corn or any other source contained more energy than is used to create it then all I can say is: WOW!!!!!!!!! Let’s all get on the ETOH bandwagon because it doesn’t need our tax dollars to keep it solvent. It should be a boon to mankind the likes of which have never been seen before. (If we drink a lot of it will it make us understand the logic of pouring good high-energy-density fuels down the drain to produce it?)

  107. Downdraft says:

    Ok, I looked at the report Jabre referenced (December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am). It appears to be complete nonsense. The study apparently uses new math, and attributes all the ills and costs of society to oil, then multiplies by 3 just to make a stronger case. Where have we seen that tactic before? It is good for a laugh, but that’s about all.

    If, as A. Scott says (December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am), ethanol from corn is such a good thing, then why the subsidies and tariffs? It is the distortion in the free market that is the issue for me. There is no doubt, however, that the increase in demand for corn above what it would otherwise have been drove the price up (check the price charts at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/2010baseline.htm). It also placed more land under cultivation of a water hungry crop, and caused starvation in the poorest countries because the NGO’s couldn’t afford to buy as much corn.

    According to http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/AF/265.pdf, the production of 1.34 BTU of ethanol from corn takes 1BTU of some other fuel. If that other fuel is something other than a fossil fuel, for example electric from solar, hydro, nuclear, etc., then there is a real energy advantage. This is a case where the energy is not fungible. We could convert nuclear power into liquid fuels, which is also a pretty good way to store energy (better than in a battery). The process could be closed loop and self sustaining. (Nuclear generated electric to run the ethanol plants to produce the ethanol to power tractors, pumps, and trucks, and make the fertilizer) with the surplus sold to be added to gasoline.

    Congress has mandated that we use 22B gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 vs. 9B in 2008. That is equivalent to about 4.5% of our total petroleum consumption in terms of BTU’s. Hardly a path to energy independence.

    The loss of subsidies will transfer the costs to the buyer of the fuel directly, where it belongs. The loss of the tariff protection will help allow the markets to work as they should.

  108. ChE says:

    As several have noted, with the mandate still in place, all this means is the pump price rising. So now, instead of the government subsidizing the difference out of tax money collected from the top income earners, it’ll be paid by everyone. The greens get what they want. Higher pump prices, for everyone down to the bottom. This is called “progressive”.

  109. Blade says:

    jabre [December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am] says:

    “If you have some time read the Energy Independence act of 2007. In many ways it is shockingly good legislation with respect to renewable fuels.”

    Right. Legislation that attempts to reach into every home, even the bedrooms, to dictate light bulb selection. I thought you leftist drones were against government in the bedrooms! Oh, right, only when it suits your agenda and coincides with your green religious beliefs.

    “If we can do nothing else but redirect the $252 Billion of annual oil import dollars into the local economy it will significantly outweigh the relatively modest subsidy used to develop the industry necessary to support the transition.”

    You green nitwits just don’t get it (or perhaps you do ;-), attempting to redirect the $252 Billion of annual oil import dollars into the local economy means there will be no local economy. Never-mind the fact that your ilk first CAUSED the dependence on foreign oil in the first place by systematically attacking every facet of the energy supply chain, even locking down our own resources. Then you turn around and talk about dependence on foreign oil! This is like a murderer who kills the parents and criticizes the children for being orphans.

    To the normal intelligent people engaging in these energy debates, you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that you are no longer in a academic Scientific or Ecological argument. The enemy is green socialism, period. They are simply modern retreads of past historical luddites and diggers. The new twist is the green eco-nazi component (pioneered by such nutjobs as Paul Ehrlich) in an unholy cabal with modern political socialism. This is what makes them very dangerous to free people anywhere in the world.

    They are fully committed to their sick, pathetic religion. And they will never let up. Look at what the quoted commenter said (presumably with a straight face): redirect the $252 Billion of annual oil import dollars into the local economy. These people are fully prepared to destroy modern industrialized society and send us back into a fairy tale of neo-Agrarianism, and believe me, they are fully prepared to embrace the massive de-population necessary to acheive this. It matters not that petroleum and its derivatives appear in every single thing we use in our modern, healthy, long lives. In fact, that is the actual point to their obsessive compulsive need to kill off petroleum.

  110. _Jim says:

    jabre,

    Your argument/your cited reference has been
    adjudged to be “complete nonsense”; are you going to stand for that?

    .

  111. John F. Hultquist says:

    morgo says:
    December 28, 2011 at 1:24 am
    “maybe we should eating wood chips instead of corn ? what are the left wing greenys eating.the answer [grass]

    I believe the answer is Arugula.
    http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Articles/Produce-440/arugula.aspx

    That would be according to our current president.

  112. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    As the difficulty of producing cellulosic biofuels cheaply becomes apparent

    The difficulty of breaking the covalent carbon bonds of the cellulose chain was painfully apparent to us at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1980, when we first studied this process. Enzymes from termite gut bacteria yadda yadda yadda….

    Some scams just never go away. If they want ethyl alcohol so badly, let them capture the waste sugars of beverage bottling plants, cheese whey and other industrial effluents. Kraft Foods did this with parmesan cheese whey permeate at a plant in Minnesota, slick as hell.

    Make mine shale oil and natural gas.

  113. JFB says:

    _Jim says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:38 am
    philincalifornia says on December 28, 2011 at 8:21 am

    This is happening guys. It’s smoking hot in a different way from the pic. Pity we can’t switch into sugar cane here in the U.S.
    “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride” *
    Are you aware of the latitude differences between the US vs Brazil, Phil?


    Jim, Philincalifornia, Brazil is adapting a new variety of sugar cane suitable for the south where the climate is subtropical (State of Rio Grande do Sul).
    North:
    Latitude: -27º 04′ 48”
    Longitude: -53º 01′ 53”
    South:
    Latitude: -33º 45′ 06′
    Longitude: -53º 23′ 48”

  114. Spen says:

    This subsidy is one of the most immoral of all government subventions and the environmental lobby groups like Greenpeace should hang their heads in shame. The diversion of corn yields into fuel and non-food production has had a major impact on the international cost of food. Who are the main sufferers? – the poor worldwide of course.

  115. eyesonu says:

    I knew the trolls were here and would come to A. Scotts rescue.

    I knew you would be here ‘hotrod’ [hotrod (Larry L) says: December 28, 2011 at 8:09 am]. Where is ‘220 mph’?

    See:eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

    The post that I referred to on WUWT about a year age being hijacked by the ethanol lobby was hijacked by you; ‘hotrod’ and ‘220 mph’. Remember the multiple ‘cut and paste’ comments that you two performed by posting long comments that took 10 minutes to read yet you were posting one after another only a few minutes apart over several hours, that likely took hours to produce with the related links.

    So the ethanol trolls are here in force and now include A.Scott. Maybe you should change your ‘tags’ as you have been outed.

    Trolls.

  116. Pofarmer says:

    “I was told that corn for ethanol is not regulated the same as corn for food or feed, so you can use a lot more or different pesticides, etc”

    No difference on any of the above between any types of commercial corn. There are different restrictions for sweet corn, but all field corns, which include corn used for chips, sweetners, ethanol, and livestock feed, have the same rules.

  117. Zeke says:

    I hate to be an ant at the corn ethanol picnic, but to meet a 36billion gals/year mandate by 2022, you still need to build the plants.

    If we are going to burn our food in gas tanks at such an outrageous rate by 2022, the figures to build the plants should be figured into the btu needed to create the btu out of food grains.

    And to be a further ant at the green energy mandate picnic, grains are a thing which people need to eat. With food prices globally going up over 25% in one year, it might not be best to mandate such an outrageous amount of food to be burned in a gas tank. A gas tank is meant for gas, which can be found in ANWR and in the deep sea beds.

  118. cwj says:

    To look at the historic price of corn, I found a site from the University of Illinois on the price of corn received by farmers in Illinois, in dollars per bushel. I used the calendar year annual average price. I then found a Consumer Price Index from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and used the annual average CPI. I adjusted the price of the corn to 2010 prices according to the CPI. The numbers are as shown below for every five years. The average for 2011 is based on January through October and is my calculation from the values presented, and is not adjusted to 2010 prices.

    As can be seen by the data, the current price of corn is not high by historical standards. The 2010 inflation adjusted price was actually less than 1990 and before. The current price is less than the Price in 1980 and before. In fact the data shows that the price of corn has been at a historic low level and is just returning to prior levels.

    Year, Annual Average, CPI, Price in 2010 dollars

    1960 1.03 29.60 7.59
    1965 1.19 31.50 8.24
    1970 1.27 38.80 7.14
    1975 2.72 53.80 11.02
    1980 2.78 82.40 7.36
    1985 2.53 107.60 5.13
    1990 2.46 130.70 4.10
    1995 2.61 152.40 3.73
    2000 1.90 172.20 2.41
    2005 2.04 195.30 2.28
    2010 3.85 218.06 3.85
    2011 6.17

    ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt
    http://www.farmdoc.illinois.edu/manage/pricehistory/price_history.html

  119. henrychance says:

    Good news for Koch industries. They just a few weeks ago bought a plant that was built for 50 million and paid 5 million. Of course they had a few from recent bargain purchases. In Georgia a celulosic plant closed 300 million subsidy and almost zero poduction before closing. Now the Government is forking many millions for Abengoa to build a plant in SW Kansas. Cellulosic won’t work and will also fail.

    It takes a lot of petroleum to plant, harvest and produce corn and then a lot of natural gas to brew ethanol and dehydrate it. Promoters forget to add that pollution to the carbon claims.

  120. I submit to you that net energy that goes into the production of 1 BTU of corn energy is greater than 1 BTU, All systems that we are aware of are less than 100% efficient for an efficiency of greater than unity can only be a perpetual motion machine that is run on magic.

    So you are saying a hydro electric dam can never generate more power than the amount of energy used to build the dam? An oil refinery can never produce more gasoline, fuel oil, JP4 or diesel fuel energy than the amount of fuel burned to build the refinery?

    Get a grip — we are not talking about recovery of energy in an inelastic collision or the actual energy released when a compound burns compared to the total energy contained in the chemical bonds and actually used to form the compound.

    We are talking about the ratio of direct operational energy inputs to run the process compared to the total chemical energy stored in the output ethanol, which includes a surplus of energy from work done by the plants as they grew which is mostly free save the energy costs involved in growing and harvesting the plants. (which by the way is included in those calculations)

    Gasoline only produces .85 BTU of fuel energy delivered to the consumer for every 1.00 BTU invested in the refining and delivery chain, but it is still a useful product because you are also getting 19,000 btu / lb of hydrocarbon in free stored energy invested by the sun and geothermal energy over the millions of years it took to turn that bio mass into raw crude. This is the exact same stored energy the corn plant puts into the corn starch, just that the storage process is happening in real time rather than drawing down an energy deposit made long long before man walked the earth.

    Larry

  121. cwj says:

    An old farmer, my father-in-law, once told me the best way to increase the organic content of soil is to grow continuous corn. The roots, stubble, and debris were left in the field to decay and added to the organic matter. That was in the 1970’s. With the increase in plant densities since then from roughly 25,000 plants per acre to now approaching 40,000 plants per acre, even more organic material is being left in the field. So the assertion that we are depleting the soil to produce ethanol from corn is not true. If 25,000 plants added to the organic matter, 40,000 plants would add even more.

    Removing the corn stover as a feedstock for ethanol production, if done to excess, would deplete the organic material in the soil. So the best way to prevent soil depletion is to leave the stover and make the ethanol from the corn.

  122. Pofarmer says:

    The problem with the whole 36 billion gallons by 2022 thing, is that it was supposed to be primarily cellulosic ethanol. There is not ONE, NONE, NOWHERE commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants in production right now, even pilot plant projects are few and far apart and in the plannting stages, and in 10 years we are supposed to be making something on the order of 20 billion gallons of it? Okaaayyyyyy. The truth of the matter is, without subsidies far outweighing that given to corn Ethanol, there would be virtually nothing being done on cellulosic ethanol, and the vast majority of what is being done is to capture govt grants and may never make even a drop of Ethanol.

  123. Sal Minella says:

    Zeke says:

    “Congress ends corn ethanol subsidy.”
    Does this mean that the mandate to use 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022 has been suspended? Does the EPA still get to fine everyone for missing the mandate?

    The mandate still exists, they are simply removing the subsidy. This will not cause us not to meet the mandate, it will simply cost more for each gallon of gas/ETOH that we consume. It transfers the cost from the federal taxpayer to EVERYONE, making it a regressive “tax’ on the little guy. This cannot stand – the subsidy will be back unless they remove the mandate.

  124. philincalifornia says:

    _Jim says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:38 am
    philincalifornia says on December 28, 2011 at 8:21 am

    This is happening guys. It’s smoking hot in a different way from the pic. Pity we can’t switch into sugar cane here in the U.S.

    “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride” *

    Are you aware of the latitude differences between the US vs Brazil, Phil?
    ====================================
    Yep. That was, in fact, my point Jim.

    “it is useless to wish and that better results will be achieved through action”

    On that note, more than a couple of the big advanced biofuel players (the ones that got off their IPOs) are upgrading plants down in Brazil now. My lament was for the U.S. economy, but I shouldn’t begrudge the Brazilians their success in harnessing their climate.

  125. _Jim says:

    JFB says on December 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

    … Brazil is adapting a new variety of sugar cane suitable for the south where the climate is subtropical (State of Rio Grande do Sul).

    Really!!??

    Got any references you can cite on that? This isn’t like the Jatropha plant that hasn’t really panned out for vegetable oil production, is it?

    BTW, the name is “_Jim” on account of all the Jims on the board …

    .

  126. _Jim says:

    “The extraordinary collapse of Jatropha as a biofuel”
    Posted on August 7, 2011 by Anthony Watts

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/07/the-extraordinary-collapse-of-jatropha-as-a-biofuel/

    (Story submitted by Ronald C. Henry)

    The current American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology has a most amazing story demonstrating the foolish, indeed outright dangerous, application of the “precautionary principle” to AGW mitigation.

    The story is at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es201943v, but all you really need to know is summarized in the last paragraph.

    [ Note from Anthony: IPCC co-author, Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz paper entitled "Yield and Oil Content Ideotypes Specification in Jatropha curcas L." won Best Scientific Poster Award for Agricultural Sciences by the National Academy of Science and Technology on July 15, 2010.

    It looks like Al Gore via his Goldman Sachs train-wreck had a hand in this nonsense too. See the Wikipedia description for Jatropha:

    In 2007 Goldman Sachs cited Jatropha curcas as one of the best candidates for future biodiesel production. It is resistant to drought and pests, and produces seeds containing 27-40% oil, averaging 34.4%. The remaining press cake of jatropha seeds after oil extraction could also be considered for energy production. However, despite their abundance and use as oil and reclamation plants, none of the Jatropha species have been properly domesticated and, as a result, their productivity is variable, and the long-term impact of their large-scale use on soil quality and the environment is unknown. ]

    The Extraordinary Collapse of Jatropha as a Global Biofuel

    Promode Kant , Institute of Green Economy, C-312, Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024, India
    Shuirong Wu Chinese Academy of Forestry, Wanshoushan, Haidian District, Beijing 100091, China

    Blending of fossil diesel with biodiesel is an important climate change mitigation strategy across the world. In 2003 the Planning Commission of India decided to introduce mandatory blending over increasingly larger parts of the country and reach countrywide 30% blending status by the year 2020 and opted for nonedible oilseed species of Jatropha curcus raised over lands unsuited to agriculture as it was considered to be high in oil content, early yielding, nonbrowsable and requiring little irrigation and even less management.

    In a massive planting program of unprecedented scale millions of marginal farmers and landless people were encouraged to plant Jatropha across India through attractive schemes.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    More – see link above

  127. MarkW says:

    jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

    There are no subsidies for oil. The tax break that most complain about, is nothing more than the same depreciation allowances that all other manufacturers use.

  128. Sal Minella says:

    Downdraft – excellent post!. The problem with unreliable energy sources such as wind and solar is the fickle nature of energy demand. If the energy from these sources were buffered then they would become reliable. One method might be to power pumps to raise the potential energy of water or some other substance however, using that energy to produce ETOH makes a great deal of sense. It could well be the best energy buffering methodology available allowing us to make use of the tens or hundreds of billions invested thus far in wind and solar boondoggles.

  129. MarkW says:

    If you are concerned about the price of oil, then support opening up all energy sources here in the US. Don’t know if we can become completely self sufficient, but we can get pretty close.

  130. Pofarmer says:

    “Gasoline only produces .85 BTU of fuel energy delivered to the consumer for every 1.00 BTU invested in the refining and delivery chain, ”

    This is not a correct comparison. That only looks at the BTU’s going into the refinery, and the energy required to refine and deliver the end product. It does not look at the total energy balance of oil, only of the refining process. Total EROI of oil is something like 1 in to 10 out.

  131. jabre says:

    Downdraft: ‘I looked at the report Jabre referenced’
    – no you did not. The $480B (annual) was a specific reference from within that page not the summary conclusion. To go into his details:
    The true cost of importing oil to the US includes the following aspects:
    The cost of the oil ($2.50)
    Oil-related defense expenditures ($3.79)
    The loss of domestic employment and related economic activity due to cash outflow for oil ($3.23)
    The reduction in investment capital ($10.85)
    The loss of local, state and federal tax revenues ($1.18)
    The economic toll periodic oil supply disruptions impose on the domestic economy ($3.65)
    Federal subsidies for oil & gas industry ($0.69)
    The market cost of carbon ($0.18)
    Pricing shown per US tax payer; assumes $60 per barrel of oil and $20 per ton of CO2
    Source: Testimony of Milton R. Copulos, President, National Defense Council Foundation, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 30, 2006; IMF, 2008; EIA; CleanTech Group, 2007; US Census Bureau; Experian Automotive; Paper presented to Congressional staff members by NDCF President Milt Copulos, January 8, 2007

    You may argue as you will with the details. But, I challenge you to redefine your perspective of this to less than the $1/gal that cellulosic ethanol is receiving.

    ‘ethanol from corn’ – overlooking the fact that the corn-based ethanol subsidies are phasing out. It’s algal/cellulosic – no corn unless you’re just using the stalk. (http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=IssueItems.Detail&IssueItem_ID=f10ca3dd-fabd-4900-aa9d-c19de47df2da&Month=12&Year=2007). Read sec 201 for more details on the definition of advanced.

    Since most folks just want to argue and aren’t willing to spend the time to review links in detail:

    HR: 6-31
    (2) APPLICABLE VOLUMES OF RENEWABLE FUEL.—Subparagraph (B) is amended to read as follows:
    ‘‘(B) APPLICABLE VOLUMES.—
    ‘‘(i) CALENDAR YEARS AFTER 2005.—
    ‘‘(I) RENEWABLE FUEL.—For the purpose of subparagraph (A), the applicable volume of renew-able fuel for the calendar years 2006 through 2022 shall be determined in accordance with the following table:
    Applicable volume of renewable fuel ‘‘Calendar year: (in billions of gallons):
    2006 …………………………………………………………………… 4.0
    2007 …………………………………………………………………… 4.7
    2008 …………………………………………………………………… 9.0
    2009 …………………………………………………………………… 11.1
    2010 …………………………………………………………………… 12.95
    2011 …………………………………………………………………… 13.95
    2012 …………………………………………………………………… 15.2
    2013 …………………………………………………………………… 16.55
    2014 …………………………………………………………………… 18.15
    2015 …………………………………………………………………… 20.5
    2016 …………………………………………………………………… 22.25
    2017 …………………………………………………………………… 24.0
    2018 …………………………………………………………………… 26.0
    2019 …………………………………………………………………… 28.0
    2020 …………………………………………………………………… 30.0
    2021 …………………………………………………………………… 33.0
    2022 …………………………………………………………………… 36.0
    ‘‘(II) ADVANCED BIOFUEL.—For the purpose of subparagraph (A), of the volume of renewable fuel required under subclause (I), the applicable volume of advanced biofuel for the calendar years 2009 through 2022 shall be determined in accordance with the following table:
    Applicable volume of advanced biofuel ‘‘Calendar year: (in billions of gallons):
    2009 …………………………………………………………………… 0.6
    2010 …………………………………………………………………… 0.95
    2011 …………………………………………………………………… 1.35
    2012 …………………………………………………………………… 2.0
    2013 …………………………………………………………………… 2.75
    2014 …………………………………………………………………… 3.75
    2015 …………………………………………………………………… 5.5
    2016 …………………………………………………………………… 7.25
    2017 …………………………………………………………………… 9.0
    2018 …………………………………………………………………… 11.0
    2019 …………………………………………………………………… 13.0
    2020 …………………………………………………………………… 15.0
    2021 …………………………………………………………………… 18.0
    2022 …………………………………………………………………… 21.0
    ‘‘(III) CELLULOSIC BIOFUEL.—For the purpose of subparagraph (A), of the volume of advanced biofuel required under subclause (II), the applicable volume of cellulosic biofuel for the calendar years 2010 through 2022 shall be determined in accordance with the following table:
    Applicable volume of cellulosic biofuel ‘‘Calendar year: (in billions of gallons):
    2010 …………………………………………………………………… 0.1
    2011 …………………………………………………………………… 0.25
    2012 …………………………………………………………………… 0.5
    2013 …………………………………………………………………… 1.0
    2014 …………………………………………………………………… 1.75
    2015 …………………………………………………………………… 3.0
    2016 …………………………………………………………………… 4.25
    2017 …………………………………………………………………… 5.5
    2018 …………………………………………………………………… 7.0
    2019 …………………………………………………………………… 8.5
    2020 …………………………………………………………………… 10.5
    2021 …………………………………………………………………… 13.5
    2022 …………………………………………………………………… 16.0
    ‘‘(IV) BIOMASS-BASED DIESEL.—For the purpose of subparagraph (A), of the volume of advanced biofuel required under subclause (II), the applicable volume of biomass-based diesel for the calendar years 2009 through 2012 shall be deter-
    mined in accordance with the following table: Applicable volume of biomass based diesel
    ‘‘Calendar year: (in billions of gallons):
    2009 …………………………………………………………………… 0.5
    2010 …………………………………………………………………… 0.65
    2011 …………………………………………………………………… 0.80
    2012 …………………………………………………………………… 1.0

  132. eyesonu says:

    Blade says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:56 am

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

    Bingo!

  133. david says:

    C’mon Sal Minella!

    No perpetual motion here!

    The only question here, is if the 1 BTU represents all the costs associated from the moment the corn is planted until it arrives as ethonal at the pump, or as some are questioning here, does it only represent the energy needed at the factory to convert the sugar to ethonal.

    Perhaps A. Scott could clarify that, and while doing so, perhaps he could phrase it so that the “perpetual motion” comments are avoided.

  134. MarkW says:

    jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I can’t believe that any person with a functioning brain actually believes that the only reason we have a military is to protect oil.

  135. MarkW says:

    ChE says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:56 am

    The difference is that as long as the subsidy was hidden, there was little demand for getting rid of the mandate. Now that the mandate is impacting the price that people pay, it might be easier to get the mandate repealed as well.

  136. _Jim says:

    Apropos for this thread too (Onion parody):

  137. philincalifornia says:

    CRS, Dr.P.H. says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:02 am
    The difficulty of breaking the covalent carbon bonds of the cellulose chain was painfully apparent to us at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1980, when we first studied this process. Enzymes from termite gut bacteria yadda yadda yadda….
    =====================================
    Yes, unfortunately the latest developments in molecular biology and enzyme evolution are beyond paywalled. They’re not even published for proprietary reasons. You can, however, find a lot on the chemical methodologies in the patent literature. There’s a lot of new, good stuff in this field. My prediction is that it will indeed find an infrastructure, for higher value specialty chemicals first though.

  138. Frank Kotler says:

    With the production of artificial fertilizers, we have been converting “fuel to food” for some time. Just sayin’…

  139. James Sexton says:

    cwj says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

    To look at the historic price of corn, I found a site from the University of Illinois on the price of corn received by farmers in Illinois, in dollars per bushel…….
    =======================================================
    Have a look at this. While much of the increase return would be because of higher yields, it is also because of higher pricing. Further, like most other commodities, looking at present day pricing, one needs to factor in the recession.

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/Gallery/gallery2010/NetReturn.gif

    (other examples of recession lowering prices….. http://suyts.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/image_thumb30.png?w=630&h=348 http://suyts.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/image_thumb18.png?w=560&h=385 )

  140. Pofarmer says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:45 am

    “Gasoline only produces .85 BTU of fuel energy delivered to the consumer for every 1.00 BTU invested in the refining and delivery chain, ”

    This is not a correct comparison. That only looks at the BTU’s going into the refinery, and the energy required to refine and deliver the end product. It does not look at the total energy balance of oil, only of the refining process. Total EROI of oil is something like 1 in to 10 out.

    Correct, — but it is the same bogus energy accounting used by the anti-ethanol group to discredit fuel ethanol with intentionally misleading energy accounting.

    Larry

  141. Sal Minella says:

    Hotrod says:
    So you are saying a hydro electric dam can never generate more power than the amount of energy used to build the dam? An oil refinery can never produce more gasoline, fuel oil, JP4 or diesel fuel energy than the amount of fuel burned to build the refinery?

    Hotrod, Hotrod, Hotrod. The hydro dam does not convert the energy used to build it into electricity. The same is true with the refinery.

    Since you seem earnest in making that statement, I will explain both the hydro plant and the refinery.

    In the case of the hydro plant, as water flows from a greater altitude to a lesser altitude some of it’s potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and that is the energy that we exploit. The pouring of concrete to create the dam and the casting and drawing of metal to create the dynamos is not where the energy comes from it is simply the means of converting the waters kinetic energy into electricity ( it is less than 100% efficient by the way).

    You might get the picture but, then again you might not so, I’ll explain the refinery to you as well. The bricks, mortar, metals, ceramics, glass, etc. used to build the refinery are not converted to gasoline. The gasoline comes from a feedstock that is known as oil. Oil is material that stores energy from some other source such as the sun or geothermal. The conversion of oil to gasoline is less than 100% efficient as well. Being less than 100% efficient means that some energy is lost in the conversion process.

    In both cases it is quite likely that the wind and the sun were the source of potential energy that is stored in these materials. The dam cycle is probably shorter than the oil or coal cycle but in all cases more than one BTU had to be put into the system in order to get one BTU out. Only magic can make one BTU in into greater thanone BTU out

    So, when you say that you get 1.6 BTU of energy out for each 1.0 BTU in you vioalte some very basic scientific principles that we all learned in grade-school.

    Every BTU of energy produced from any source takes more than a BTU to produce it otherwise there would be no impending future energy crisis, Instead of “using up” our energy sources we would be constantly adding to them, creating an infinite amount of energy from, essentially, nothing.

  142. GeoLurking says:

    Sal Minella says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:44 am

    “… If the energy from these sources were buffered then they would become reliable. One method might be to power pumps to raise the potential energy of water or some other substance however, using that energy to produce ETOH makes a great deal of sense. It could well be the best energy buffering methodology available allowing us to make use of the tens or hundreds of billions invested thus far in wind and solar boondoggles.”

    Until the dam breaks.

    Taum Sauk pumped storage plant

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taum_Sauk_Hydroelectric_Power_Station

  143. eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I knew the trolls were here and would come to A. Scotts rescue.

    The only troll here is you.

    You magically pop up every time there is a substantive discussion of fuel ethanol or any pro-oil discussion. I have been posting here for years on lots of other topics, but you are a one man band of ad-homonym attacks and misinformation directed at anyone that tries to present the other side of the story that is conveniently ignored by the folks who are against ethanol.

    Your tactics are exactly the same small minded sort of character assassination attacks with no substance as we see from the global warming crowd and simply will not fly here.

    If you have facts or personal observations you wish to contribute to the discussion, please carry on an adult discussion, otherwise please go back into your hole.

    Larry

  144. cwj says:

    MarkW: “There are no subsidies for oil. The tax break that most complain about, is nothing more than the same depreciation allowances that all other manufacturers use.”

    Oil producers get a depletion allowance of 15 percent of the gross income from all the oil they pump, regardless of the depreciation. If the depreciation of the capital investment to develop the field is greater than the depletion allowance they can claim depreciation instead. I don’t think other manufacturers get that sweet a deal. Other manufacturers may get accelerated depreciation, but they do not get to claim more than their capital investment. This is a subsidy to the oil business in the US.

  145. philincalifornia says:

    _Jim says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:34 am
    JFB says on December 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

    … Brazil is adapting a new variety of sugar cane suitable for the south where the climate is subtropical (State of Rio Grande do Sul).

    Really!!??

    Got any references you can cite on that? This isn’t like the Jatropha plant that hasn’t really panned out for vegetable oil production, is it?

    BTW, the name is “_Jim” on account of all the Jims on the board …
    ====================================================
    This thread’s great. I’m learning so much new stuff. Thanks Anthony.

    _Jim, here’s a start:

    http://www.scielo.br/pdf/pab/v45n10/01.pdf

    We’ll probably see an acceleration of this as Monsanto appears to be entering with its powerhouse breeding systems.

    http://monsanto.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=656

    Also a tip: Don’t compare sugarcane with Jatropha

  146. jabre says:

    Jim – LOL – you like poking a stick and getting people going ;-)

    Blade – take a valium. I am hardly a greenee. I used a Heritage Foundation reference and that’s what you call me? LOL You quoted me ‘shockingly good legislation with respect to renewable fuels’ then go on a tirade about light bulbs? Really, I agree with most of the comments. End the subsidies. But, make it a level playing field if you’re going to do it. Cut our defense spending in the middle east to zero and let the free market truly define our fuel choices. We’ll start to see Thorium get the attention it deserves. Coal will thrive. Once an alternative infrastructure is in place (regardless of what it is) the price of oil will be back to where it belongs at less than $28/barrel.

  147. jabre says:

    Mark W. – ‘I can’t believe that any person with a functioning brain actually believes that the only reason we have a military is to protect oil.’

    Feel free to explain our military spending in the middle east and how it is disassociated with oil. It will obviously be concise and trivial from someone with a functioning brain.

  148. Myrrh says:

    Well, I’ve got a bright idea. Let’s go back to growing hemp: for fuel, for clothing, for food (human an animal consumption), for paper..

    ..for medicine.

  149. So, when you say that you get 1.6 BTU of energy out for each 1.0 BTU in you vioalte some very basic scientific principles that we all learned in grade-school.

    Every BTU of energy produced from any source takes more than a BTU to produce it otherwise there would be no impending future energy crisis, Instead of “using up” our energy sources we would be constantly adding to them, creating an infinite amount of energy from, essentially, nothing.

    You obviously are either not paying attention or are being intentionally obtuse.

    The direct energy input used in fuel ethanol production includes:
    Fuel and pesticides, and other production energy etc to grow the corn
    Transportation of the corn to the fuel ethanol plant
    direct process energy to run the plant.
    Transportation energy used to deliver the fuel ethanol to the buyer.

    That is the energy input in that equation.

    Energy output is the lower heating value of the fuel ethanol produced by the plant plus the energy content/value credited to the co-products such as cattle feed and commercial CO2 captured during the fermenting process.

    This is the real energy successfully harvested and includeds solar energy captured by the plants during their growth which we do not pay for, just like we do not pay for the potential energy stored in a snow pack as atmospheric convection (driven by solar energy) moves water to high altitude. Nor do we pay for the solar energy stored by some fern in the Jurassic which many years later is returned to us in the form of a gallon of gasoline.

    There is no violation of conservation of energy laws or themodynamic principles just a plain and simple accounting of the energy we pay for to produce a fuel product we can burn to produce energy.

    It is no different that accounting for the energy used to chop down a tree, transport it to a firewood yard and split it compared to the total thermal energy contained in the fire wood when it is sold. The fire wood operator only pays for and need account for the direct energy inputs to harvest the wood. He does not pay for the 30 years of solar energy that the tree converted to cellulose and lignin.

    You are beating on a logical fallacy because you refuse to use straight forward accounting for the actual energy cost of production that humans have to invest to get fuel ethanol as a salable product.

    Don’t believe me — go debate it with Argonne National Laboratories and Hosein Shapouri
    James A. Duffield and Michael Wang

    http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/AF/265.pdf
    http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2005/NCGA_Ethanol_Meeting_050823.ppt

    Larry

  150. Dr. Dave says:

    Our usual ethanol disciples will doubtlessly dispute this, but if one were to take a gander at the total usage and imports of oil by the US it becomes abundantly obvious that ethanol hasn’t made a significant dent in the amount of oil we import or use. The disciples will claim it’s like Obama’s “jobs saved” or the stimulus spending (i.e. without ethanol it would have been much worse!). So what’s the point of converting feed stock into ethanol? It does NOT reduce pollution. It does NOT reduce the price of motor fuel at the pump. No one would ever put it in aviation gas. You certainly want to avoid it in fuel for marine engines. Ethanol is hygroscopic and absorbs water. It’s very hard on small engines. It DOES reduce gas mileage so we spend more per mile traveled.

    Corn farmers get paid the same Ag subsidy rather they grow sweet corn, feed corn or corn for ethanol. For the individual farmer it’s a surprisingly modest sum and it’s nothing new. For Big Ag giants like ADM it’s a huge sum of money. Currently the ethanol producers are paid a subsidy and the blenders (i.e. the oil companies) are paid a subsidy. If the taxpayer subsidies go away the only thing that will change is the cost of fuel at the pump. What must end are the mandates – specifically the federal mandates. I don’t care if California wants to mandate that THEIR gasoline be adulterated with ethanol (sorry, crosspatch). It should be the decision of the individual states. It doesn’t even bother me that ethanol is used to adulterate gasoline or that some folks feel better about themselves for using E85. I just don’t want to be forced to subsidize their artificially less expensive fuel. I also want to be able to burn pure gasoline in my vehicles that were designed to burn pure gasoline. Let the free market pick the winners and losers, not politicians and crony capitalists using taxpayer money. Without these damn subsidies it would cost the refineries less to produce pure gasoline than an E10 blend. So if ethanol is such a wonderful technology as asserted by A. Scott and Hotrod Larry, end the mandates and subsidies and see if the ethanol industry survives.

    Ethanol provides no measurable benefit to the USA. It benefits relatively few at the expense of the many. It is also laughable to even suggest that diverting 40% of our corn crop to make motor fuel doesn’t affect food costs. The mandates inflate the cost of corn (which the farmers and Big Ag love) and this affects all other food stuffs. Ask anyone who raises cattle, hogs or chickens. This isn’t the evil work of “speculators”, it is simple supply and demand. Converting food to fuel while millions are starving is immoral.

  151. Pofarmer says:

    “I don’t think other manufacturers get that sweet a deal. Other manufacturers may get accelerated depreciation, but they do not get to claim more than their capital investment. This is a subsidy to the oil business in the US.”

    The same deals are available for mining, and, I believe, timber production.

  152. Pofarmer says:

    “Correct, — but it is the same bogus energy accounting used by the anti-ethanol group to discredit fuel ethanol with intentionally misleading energy accounting.”

    Not really. Most everyone agrees that there is a positive energy balance for Ethanol production, somewhere on the order of 1.3-1.4 to one. Where the disagreement comes in, is if this catches all the energy expenditures required to produce it. Where the discussion really gets hairy, is when the claim comes in that we are “replacing” 10 billion gallons of oil with 10 billion gallons of Ethanol. Well, not really, because it took the equivalent of about 7 billion gallons to make it, so, the net positive is pretty darned small in the scheme of things.

  153. Myrrh says:

    http://www.ffhboo.com/hemp.html

    “FUEL
    Hemp biomass as a source of fuel is the most under exploited, yet potentially the biggest industrial use of the plant. Hemp stalks are rich in fiber and cellulose with potential for use in the generation of energy. The hemp stalk can be converted to a charcoal-like substance through a process called pyrolysis, and used for power generation and to produce industrial feed stocks. Auto giant Henry Ford was a pioneer in the pyrolysis process, and operated a biomass pyrolytic plant at Iron Mountain in northern Michigan.
    Hemp as an auto fuel is another potential use. Almost any biomass material can be converted to create methanol or ethanol, and these fuels burn cleanly with less carbon monoxide and higher octane than fossil fuels. In fact, the diesel engine was invented to burn fuel from agriculture waste yet ended up burning unrefined petroleum. Hempseed oil can be refined to produce a type of hemp gasoline.Hemp seeds have provided a combustible fuel oil throughout human history. More importantly, though, the same high cellulose level that makes hemp ideal for paper also makes it perfect for ethanol fuel production. Ethanol is the cleanest-burning liquid bio-alternative to gasoline. In one test, an unleaded gasoline automobile engine produced a thick, black carbon residue in its exhaust, while the tailpipe of a modified ethanol engine tested for the same 3,500 miles remained pristine and residue-free.”

    And if you’re wondering after reading that page why hemp was outlawed, think about the industries at the time which were in those markets..

    That’s why there was a huge campaign in the US to demonise it, they had to give it a name change, to marijuana, because hemp was so well known not to be demonic.. Having gotten it outlawed in the States, the BigCompaniesCartel had it outlawed world wide.

    No one has a right to make any law forbidding its use.

  154. MarkW says:

    jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Ever hear of a group called Al Queda?
    Ever hear of a country called Israel?

  155. Sal Minella says:

    A. Scotts, Hotrod, et al,

    Until you stop stating the information concerning energy out vs energy in in such an obtuse and misleading way, I will not stop ridiculing you,re inference of perpetual motion. If it is factual that corn ETOH contains more energy than the sum of its energy inputs. it is an energy amplifier.

    Since it doesent matter what the source of the input BTUs in is then corn ETOH could be used as the energy input. Then one BTU of corn ETOH in will give you 1.6 BTU of corn ETOH out. In this case only one BTU of non corn ETOH is needed to prime the corn ETOH pump making all other sources of energy moot and all ETOH energy essentially free.

    Your statement is misleading at best and something that you honestly believe at worst. If ETOH was such a magical fuel. it would need no subsidy and would bring nearly free energy to every citizen of the world.

  156. SteveSadlov says:

    And none too soon!

  157. Al Gored says:

    “Dirty Corn Ethanol? I’m all for ending taxpayer siphoning, but dirty corn ethanol?”

    Funny. Yes, like the Dirty Oil from the Canadian oil sands. Or Dirty Coal. The greenies seem to love to use this term for anything but dirt, which is, of course, organic and pure. Unless it has dirty fertilizer or dirty pesticides in it. Or is tilled by machines using dirty oil.

    They love to talk dirty. It sounds so ‘bad.’

    Propaganda is based on the selective and repetitive use of ‘fuzzy’ words. Following the Orwell model I suppose some things will soon be called doubledirty.

  158. Justa Joe says:

    philincalifornia,
    I lived and worked in Brazil. I’m of a belief that the “Alcool” success story of Brazil is mostly hype. I cannot see where the benefit is realized for the average Joe. Automobile fuel prices are higher in Brazil than, for example, the USA even after the USA’s fuel price increases over the last few years. Brazilians have less money for fuel to begin with. Per capita Car ownership is much lower in Brazil so fuel demand is less. “Gasolina Comum” is still sold in Brazil so the alcohol fortified fuel has not displaced gasoline. Petrobras is pulling out all of the stops to cultivate Brazil’s off shore oil reserves. My guess is it’s mostly just domestic politics like the USA’s interest in these types of alcohol related fuels. It pumps money into certain peoples’ pockets and provides domestic make work.

    Jabre, Can we count the cost of the defense of the entire continentsl USA towards the cost of ethanol?

  159. DirkH says:

    philincalifornia says:
    December 28, 2011 at 8:07 am
    “DirkH says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:07 am
    [mentioning decades of sugar cane subsidies in brazil]
    ———————————————
    Maybe Dirk but, as the saying goes “Good things come to those who wait” and the wait is clearly over, as evidenced by the football (soccer) star proxy.”

    I wish you luck with that attitude in California. Maybe in 30 years the jobs you are now losing to Texas just might come back.

  160. Smokey says:

    cwj says:

    “Oil producers get a depletion allowance of 15 percent of the gross income from all the oil they pump, regardless of the depreciation. If the depreciation of the capital investment to develop the field is greater than the depletion allowance they can claim depreciation instead. I don’t think other manufacturers get that sweet a deal. Other manufacturers may get accelerated depreciation, but they do not get to claim more than their capital investment. This is a subsidy to the oil business in the US.”

    Companies that extract water from the Ogallala aquifer get the same depletion allowance as oil production, because like oil, an aquifer is a diminishing resource. And many industries are allowed accelerated depreciation in the tax code [accelerated depreciation is recaptured upon sale of the asset]. What you are actually commenting on are simply incentives provided in the tax code for oil exploration and production.

    The only number that really matters is the net amount paid into federal and state treasuries after all tax incentives are accounted for. Oil companies pay substantially more than the average company in net income taxes. There is no comparable subsidy to the immense sums provided to politically favored industries such as windmill companies, which on balance not only pay zero income taxes, but which collect enormous taxpayer resources to allow them to keep afloat.

  161. Dr. Dave says:
    December 28, 2011 at 11:47 am
    … No one would ever put it in aviation gas. …

    Already done that:

    http://www.ethanol.org/index.php?id=39#AviationGradeEthanol

    Aviation Grade Ethanol (AGE-85)

    Aviation Grade Ethanol (AGE-85) is a high-performance, 85 percent ethanol-blended fuel for use in any reciprocating engine aircraft. AGE-85 is beginning to replace 100 octane low lead aviation gasoline (avgas), which has been the standard leaded gasoline for aviation since World War II.

    Though avgas is the single largest contributor of lead in the atmosphere today, the Environmental Protection Agency has allowed its use until a suitable unleaded replacement can be found. More than 300 million gallons of avgas are used each year by the piston engine fleet in the United States – including aircraft made by companies like Piper, Cirrus, and Cessna.

    AGE-85 offers a substantial improvement in performance for these aircraft, producing at least 12 percent more horsepower and torque at typical cruising power. Lower operating temperatures are also achieved, with engines tending to run 50 to 100 degrees cooler than similar settings on avgas. Because this fuel causes considerably less buildup of combustion byproducts in the engine, the time between engine overhauls is greater and maintenance costs are lower.

    Supplemental type certifications (STC), required through the Federal Aviation Administration, are beginning to be secured for AGE-85. Through comprehensive testing on a 1962 Cessna 180, this registration has been obtained for C-180s and C-182s. Work is being completed on a 1982 Mooney 201 and a Grumman Ag Cat to expand certification to the experimental aviation and aerial applicator communities. With ongoing testing and further approval, AGE-85 can become a solid replacement for the leaded avgas of the past.

    http://www.fuelandfiber.com/Archive/Fuel/Research/AGE85/age85.html

    Pofarmer says:
    December 28, 2011 at 11:51 am
    … Where the discussion really gets hairy, is when the claim comes in that we are “replacing” 10 billion gallons of oil with 10 billion gallons of Ethanol. Well, not really, because it took the equivalent of about 7 billion gallons to make it, so, the net positive is pretty darned small in the scheme of things.

    Yes it does multiply fuel availability.

    The majority of the energy used to make fuel ethanol is derived from natural gas and coal fired electric — it is essentially transforming those fuel sources into a usable liquid transportation fuel. It also directly replaces gasoline which everyone agrees that if you add 10% ethanol to a batch of gasoline you end up with more fuel than you started with. Since fuel ethanol has a direct energy content of 72% of gasoline on a gallon for gallon basis, you have increased the fuel energy available by 7.2%. You also have increased the octane of the gasoline blended in, so you allow the refiner to you a larger distillation cut from the crude oil. Distilate that he previously could not sell legally as gasoline when blended with ethanol now meets minimum octane requirements for sale.

    The most common way to denature ethanol so it can be sold as fuel ethanol rather than taxed as liquor is to add 5% straight run sub-octane gasoline. Because of those combined effects each gallon of ethanol blended with gasoline effectively increases our gasoline supply producible from available crude by about 1.2 gallons.

    Once you add in the economic benefit of spending that transportation fuel money in the U.S. rather than sending the money overseas to crude oil importers the net benefit is substantial.

    Will fuel ethanol ever fully replace gasoline. NO!!

    And you would be an idiot to try, it is a high quality blending agent that enhances gasoline and increases the available supply while also improving fuel octane, and burn characteristics. Its best use would be to blend it with gasoline in high ethanol blends from 20% – 60% ethanol for low octane requirement engines and 85% (E-85) for high octane requirement engines.

    Larry

  162. Kevin Kilty says:

    jabre says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:32 am
    mkelly and others:

    Kevin Kilty and others:
    Your arguments about redirecting corn crops are totally off the mark. As I indicated the initial subsidies which were based on corn are now being phased out. If anyone wants to produce ethanol and continue to receive subsidies they must now produce a cellulosic (non-corn, non-sugar) source. Read the legislation.

    You were the person who advocated redirecting the $252 billion we spend for imported oil into the U.S. economy and implied this would henceforth be for production of liquid fuels using ethanol. I’m simply saying that you’ll never get there with ethanol because the side issues are too grave. Moreover, there is no need to become energy independent, which is what this issue is really about. The argument is: “We can pay a non-economic price for “renewable” fuels because there are all these other savings to be had and subsidies we can eliminate. etc and so on…”

    Kevin Kilty and others: “WAGs”
    I try not to snipe but you have got to be kidding – what planet have been on since the ’70′s?

    You are snipping (not that I care), I am not kidding, and I have been living here, on Earth, for 60 years now. Your figure of the “true” cost of oil being $480 per barrel is not credible. If you mean that oil induces $480 of economic activity per barrel consumed I could believe that, but you said “subsidies” and that is not credible.

    Big _Jim says your reference is bogus anyway.

    hotrod (Larry L) says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:13 am
    Kevin Kilty says:
    December 28, 2011 at 8:32 am…

    You only provided part of the information and out of context. The Reid Vapor pressure of gasoline ethanol mixtures is not linear with the percentage of blend. In fact the highest Reid Vapor pressure occurs at low ethanol blends. At higher ethanol blends Reid vapor pressure actually drops significantly below that of straight gasoline. The highest RVPs were observed with relatively low concentrations (5-20%, v/v),

    The extra information you provided is interesting, thank you. But since we are speaking mainly of ethanol/gasoline blends in the range of 15% (V/V) with gasohol (E85 can’t be much market share), then what I said is not out of context, and is germane to the topic at hand. Refiners do reduce the amount of pentanes in the gasoline before blending to offset for this volatiles issue. Thus, one may add 15% ethanol, but one does not extend the liquid fuel available by as much as 15%. As since we are speaking of a very small gain in this replacement scheme anyway, this becomes important to the life-cycle analysis of using ethanol in gasoline.

    Finally,

    Sal Minella says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:28 am
    1.6 > 1.0. If you can turn 1.0 schmeckels into 1.6 schmeckels then you have a .6 schmeckel gain…

    Well, true, but if you look at it another way, It doesn’t seems so great. First I’ll use a figure of 1.34 rather than 1.6 (see the reference I provided way back up at 8:32am). To get 1.0 BTU of gasoline energy into the economy we must consume about 0.15 BTU of energy for production, refining, and transportation. To replace that 1 BTU of gasoline with 1 BTU of ethanol requires we consume 3.0 BTU of energy to get back 4.0 BTU of ethanol (1 BTU net to replace the gasoline). Therefore we increase the flow of energy through the economy greatly with all the attendant environmental and investment issues.

  163. GregB says:

    For all of its portrayal as a green renewable source I can’t get over the fact that you must burn off 1 BTU of energy and afford all of the associated consequences before you can get at that 1.6 BTUs of green renewable energy and all of the slightly smaller consequences.

  164. ChE says:

    Funny. Yes, like the Dirty Oil from the Canadian oil sands. Or Dirty Coal. The greenies seem to love to use this term for anything but dirt, which is, of course, organic and pure. Unless it has dirty fertilizer or dirty pesticides in it. Or is tilled by machines using dirty oil.

    Even funnier is what “clean” organic fertilizer is made of v.s. the “dirty” stuff made from natural gas and air.

  165. _Jim says:

    JFB says:
    December 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Well, _Jim, Google can help you: Follow the link:

    Lovely; still in the ‘research phase’ … an easy spot when the first few paragraphs start like this:

    “Pesquisadores estão desenvolvendo … ”

    and

    “A idéia é reproduzir no estado produtividades … ”

    and

    “O objetivo da pesquisa é criar todo um … ”

    (Meaning “Researchers are developing ” and “The idea is to reproduce ” and “The objective of this research is to “.)

    Hopium at this phase.

    .

  166. tommoriarty says:

    I suppose if you are worried about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere it is ultimately because you are worried about the well-being of the people living on the planet.

    Even if CO2 is a problem and biofuels are a solution to that problem, biofuels still reduce the well being of people living on the planet by forcing some of them into starvation.

    Example…
    http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/biofuels-leading-to-disaster/

  167. cwj says:

    Cost of the corn component in food at $7.00 per bushel of corn

    Corn flakes, 18 oz box $0.10
    Soda, 2 liter bottle $0.12
    Beef, per lb of beef $0.33
    Pork, per lb of Pork $0.45

    http://ncga.com/facts for more details. (National Corn Growers Association compiling data from other sources)

    Compare the above estimates to the cost of any of the above at your local grocery store. The cost of corn is not a large component of the cost of any food, even corn flakes.

    The cost of the raw agricultural product of any food in the US is a small part of the ultimate cost to the consumer. Most of the cost of food is in the processing and distribution.

  168. Kevin Kilty says:

    Smokey says:
    December 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm
    cwj says:

    “Oil producers get a depletion allowance of 15 percent of the gross income from all the oil they pump, regardless of the depreciation. If the depreciation of the capital investment to develop the field is greater than the depletion allowance they can claim depreciation instead. I don’t think other manufacturers get that sweet a deal. Other manufacturers may get accelerated depreciation, but they do not get to claim more than their capital investment. This is a subsidy to the oil business in the US.”

    Smokey did well here, in response, but I wanted to add something. First, in order to “incentivize” people to produce strategic minerals some get a better deal than the 15% depletion allowance on oil–nickel for instance gets 22%. So other people do better than oil. Second, the 15% depletion is limited to one-half of taxable income, and so despite the depletion allowance the producer still pays taxes; and unlike what cwj claims, this is for depletable assets and not depreciable ones–they are not the same.

  169. Mike M says:

    Speculators or not, Scott A cannot explain why, if the demand of corn has been going up, (almost HALF of the demand is now ethanol!) – why have our exports been going DOWN?

    What some people totally fail to understand in all this is that in the third world the cost of feeding a family is sometimes 100% of that family’s income. When our exports drop the price of food in the third world goes up and those people have less to eat as a result. Adding insult to injury, some farmers in the third world are enticed to grow bio-fuel crops and some are even being told to abandon their farms altogether to mitigate CO2 via reforestation thus further reducing the food supply.

    It boils down to a matter of rich people buying the food right out of the mouths of starving people in order to ‘feed’ it to their machines. If that isn’t evil then evil has no meaning. Genocide is exactly the unspoken end result that these gaia worshippers actually desire as they foist their faux notion of ‘saving the planet’ on us. END the ethanol mandate now.

  170. _Jim says:

    hotrod (larry L) says on December 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    And you would be an idiot to try, it is a high quality blending agent that enhances gasoline and increases the available supply while also improving fuel octane, and burn characteristics. Its best use would be to blend it with gasoline in high ethanol blends from 20% – 60% ethanol for low octane requirement engines and 85% (E-85) for high octane requirement engines.

    It threatens (has been threatening and has ‘worked over’ a lot of old boat motors) the boating industry with its incompatibility with various seals and rubber used in fuel systems, just as it has rotted seals and rubber used in a multitude of small engines where it is mandated to be used as a motor vehicle fuel.

    Why can’t politicians just leave us alone without messing with every little thing they can get their fingers on, like our previously-functioning fuel supply system or our lives? Launch the Challenger in sub-freezing temperature against engineering recommendations not to, go for ‘Throttle up’ … just be prepared for failure down the road because of decisions that countermand reality and better judgment.

    .

  171. Zeke says:

    @cwj: People who are living in or close to poverty are deeply affected by grain prices, and right now the global price of wheat is rising. Corn is not in a vacuum. “Maize prices have increased sharply and are affected by complex linkages with other markets. In January 2011, maize prices were about 73% higher than June 2010. These increases are due to a series of downward revisions of crop forecasts, low stocks…the positive relationship between maize and wheat prices, and the use of corn for biofuels…Higher global maize prices are also passed through to consumers indirectly by raising animal feed prices, meat prices, and the price of many processed food categories.”

  172. Kum Dollison says:

    Three ways 10% Ethanol is saving you money.

    1) The wholesale price of ethanol, today, is $2.21/gal (Gasoline is $2.66/gal).

    http://news.ncgapremium.com/index.cfm?show=62&subtype=25

    2) The gasoline that is blended with ethanol is lower grade gasoline than the “straight” gas you might still be able to buy in some places. The straight gas is 87 Octane. The gasoline that is blended with ethanol is 84 Octane (the higher Octane ethanol brings it back up to 87 Octane.)

    3) Following the lead of Brazil, and the U.S., the “World” is now producing close to 2 Million Barrels/Day of Ethanol. Taking this 2 mbpd off of the global market would surely raise the price of gasoline, Substantially.

  173. cwj says:

    Smokey; “What you are actually commenting on are simply incentives provided in the tax code for oil exploration and production. ”

    The difference between the 15% depletion allowance and actual depreciation is a subsidy as well as an incentive. Even ACRS only accelerates the timing when the depreciation offset income, it never exceeds the amount of the depreciated Capital investment. Depletion allowance by design exceeds the amount of depreciable asset.

  174. Smokey says:

    cwj,

    What’s your point? There is a depletion allowance for both oil and water, among many other resources. It is an incentive to produce something that society needs.

    Society does not need a corn ethanol subsidy. Nor does society need a corn ethanol mandate. Do you disagree with Congress eliminating the subsidy?

    Kum Dollison,

    Ethanol is not saving us money, it is costing us money.

  175. Mike M says:

    cwj says Oil producers get a depletion allowance of 15 percent of the gross income from all the oil they pump, regardless of the depreciation

    Every DIME of tax paid by an oil company or any company comes from one single place – our pockets. Oil profits are at a record high and by no coincidence so was the amount of tax revenue collected on it. Big oil and big government are in bed together; reducing the supply increases price = more profit and .. more tax revenue.

  176. Philip Bradley says:

    it has also been repeatedly shown that any impact on food prices is exceedingly minuscule if any – the vast majority of food price increases are the result of speculators/speculation.

    Nonsense.

    Speculators do not consume any corn. Thus they have no effect on supply or prices over the medium to long term (approx 3 months+).

    What speculators do is buy and sell over the short to medium term, Buying when supply is high and selling when supply is low. Thus the net effect of speculators is to reduce average prices over the short to medium term.

    If this weren’t true speculators would lose money and quickly stop doing it.

    Blaming speculators is the 21st century equivalent of blaming goblins and demons.

  177. Kum Dollison says:

    Field Corn has Never, Ever, been exported to feed “Poor People,” Anywhere.

    Field Corn is, primarily, Cattle Feed. When Field Corn is Exported, it is Exported to be used as Cattle Feed.

    The Beef is, then, eaten by Middle, and Upper Class Consumers.

    If our exports are down a bit, it’s because the last two years have been Horrible “Weather” Years.

    The fact still remains that we took 34 Million Acres OUT of Production between 2002, and 2007, even as ethanol production was ramping up. We Still Pay Farmers Not to Plant 30,000,000 Acres.

  178. enneagram says:

    Zeke says: You are a sensible person, who cares for the poor…However if you are of the Malthusian kind you would not care about it, as you would consider yourself a privileged one destined to be among the 500 million people cool, gay, intelligent and of course liberal like you, chosen to survive once you finish your task of sending to a better life the pesky rest of 6,500 millions hard working and ugly smelling people.
    However, don´t you think such a “Brave New World” will be boring?

  179. Downdraft says:

    To Jabre December 28, 2011 at 10:50 am
    Clearly I did look at the report you referenced. Please don’t make accusations you know to be false.

    The report you cite is so outrageously wrong it is comical. At one point they make the statement “We use 21 million barrels a day of oil. At $480 a barrel, that’s $10 trillion a year draining from the national coffers”. Do the math. That works out to $3.6792T per year. Still an absurd number, but far short of $10T. The rest of the report, including the derivation of the $480 per barrel figure, is just as wrong. The fact that you cite such drivel to prove your point only casts doubt on everything else you claim.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you did not read the report.

  180. eyesonu says:

    hotrod (larry L) says:
    December 28, 2011 at 11:19 am
    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I knew the trolls were here and would come to A. Scotts rescue.

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

    Please read my earlier comments:

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

    @ “Hotrod’ — Seems you may have blown a headgasket and thrown a rod. You may have also spun a bearing and scoured your crank. Your head is obviously cracked and possibly dropped a valve or two. Check your oil pan for corn. Maybe all your issues are from corn in your oil pan.

  181. Dr. Dave says:

    Hotrod Larry,

    I would NEVER get in an aircraft fueled with the ethanol slurry you describe (and quote from an ethanol industry propaganda site). My Dad had a Cessna 172 from the time I was 11 until my early 20s. I spent a lot of hours flying. One of the standard pre-flight checks you ALWAYS made was the fuel supply with a little cup. There were spring loaded drain valves on the low spots on the wings. If there was any water in the gas it would pool at these spots. You pressed on the valve and emptied a little gas into the clear cup. You could easily see if there was water in the gas because it isn’t miscible in avgas and would appear as little blobs at the bottom of the cup. Water in fuel tends to cause airplanes to fall out of the sky. Water is completely miscible in ethanol. I haven’t flown in small aircraft in many years but I have a lot of friends who are pilots and several who own planes. I will inquire about this ethanol avgas, but I suspect it’s mostly pro-ethanol propaganda and NOT in routine use. I know that E10 is a disaster for marine engines and small engines like lawn mowers, rototillers and chipper/shredders.

    What I have not yet heard from any of our ethanol disciples is a legitimate defense of government mandated use and subsidies to prop up the ethanol industry. It’s a damned boondoggle. The entire industry cannot survive in the free market. By definition this means it is a non-viable technology. Just because it’s possible to run an airplane on the avgas equivalent of E85 doesn’t mean we should.

  182. Kum Dollison says:

    Smokey, ethanol may be costing “You” money (if you’re in the oil bidness,) but, for the life of me, I can’t see how substituting a lower priced product for a higher priced, in short supply, product could possibly be costing “Me” money.

    Gasoline Prices (w/o ethanol) were the highest in history in 2011, as were oil prices (averaged over the year.) In spite of that, the World produced slightly less C + C (Crude + Condensate) than it did in 2005.

    The Oil Company Folks can rant, and rave, and have published disinformation all they want, but we’re going to need all the help we can get, going forward.

    BTW, the Cellulosic Tax Credit expires on Dec 31, 2012, so it’s not going to have any practical effect to speak of.

  183. kwik says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    “The Oil Company Folks can rant, and rave, and have published disinformation all they want, but we’re going to need all the help we can get, going forward. ”

    Then please let the free marked do its work.

  184. Neo says:

    The cost of ethanol per gallon of fuel from sugarcane in Brazil, at $0.83 per gallon of fuel, is lower than the cost from corn in the United States, at $1.09 per gallon (see the OECD report “Agricultural Market Impacts of Future Growth in Production of Biofuels,” available athttp://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/58/62/36074135.pdf).

  185. Robber says:

    With oil, we clearly get far more energy from crude oil than goes into its production, shipping, refining and distribution, because we are not paying for the original creation of the oil millions of years ago.
    For example, the world price of crude oil is about $100 per barrel.
    It costs anywhere from $5-50 per bbl to drill, pump, and separate that oil. Middle east cost are lowest, deep water offshore and tar sands etc highest. Those costs include all energy costs and equipment costs.
    It then costs $1-2 per bbl to store and ship that crude oil to refineries around the world.
    Refining costs to turn that crude oil into refined products (gasoline, jet fuel, diesel etc) are around $2-3 per bbl. Add another $2-5 per bbl to get that product into your tank.
    Similar cost structures exist for coal burnt in power stations, or wood or other plant materials. We get net energy gains.
    The challenge comes when you try to take coal, or wood, or corn,and turn it into liquid fuels because the conversion costs are far higher.

  186. Merovign says:

    1) It is clear that since there is no penalty for lying, honest debate is crowded out by dishonest. Arguing from authority doesn’t help because they “have an agenda.” Virtually this entire discussion is wheel-spinning, and every time someone tries to set up an independent arbiter it’s overrun by politics.

    2) As a driver, I don’t like ethanol because of poor energy density, especially absent subsidies this kills it. It’s the same reason why hydrogen fuel has not and will not catch on (for the foreseeable future) absent draconian mandates. It’s just a terrible energy storage medium.

  187. son of mulder says:

    Chimes well with the latest plan from Cameron control centre in the UK

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/8979765/David-Cameron-plans-minimum-alcohol-price-in-England.html

    Next thing the poor will be back on the meths again.

  188. Downdraft says:

    To Kum Dollison says:December 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm
    There are a couple of problems with your information.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_corn
    Large-scale applications for field corn include:[1]
    Livestock fodder, whether as whole cobs (for hogs only), whole or ground kernels, or (after chopping and ensilage) the entire above ground portion of the unripe plant
    Cereal products including breakfast cereals, corn meal, hominy and grits
    Other processed human-food products including starch, oil, and sweeteners
    Alcohol and corn whiskey

    From http://www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS/TODAYRPT/acrg0611.pdf
    Released June 30, 2011, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of
    Agriculture (USDA).
    Corn Planted Acreage Up 5 Percent from 2010
    Soybean Acreage Down 3 Percent
    All Wheat Acreage Up 5 Percent
    All Cotton Acreage Up 25 Percent
    Corn planted area for all purposes in 2011 is estimated at 92.3 million acres, up 5 percent from last year, and the second highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944, behind only the 93.5 million acres planted in 2007. Growers expect to harvest 84.9 million acres for grain, up 4 percent from last year.

    Total cropland was down, as you say. See http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/US.htm. The reasons for the decrease in total cropland aren’t clear to me and I don’t have the desire to delve into it any further. The report cited needs lots of ‘splainin. I wonder why land in cotton was up 25%, for example.

    In summary, acreage suitable for corn and in use for corn was up, not down, and people do eat field corn once it is processed.

  189. Pat Moffitt says:

    There is no better place to see the ethanol insanity than Maryland.
    The EPA has ordered the State of Maryland to remove some 10million lbs of nitrogen per year from the Chesapeake Bay at a minimum cost of $10bn not counting the disruption to development, agriculture and personal choice. Plus, Maryland’s largest agriculture segment is poultry which is being killed by grain prices. If we stopped ethanol there would be no need for the EPA directive to remove nitrogen and everyone including the environment would benefit other than EPA and the few people that feed from the ethanol trough.. The taxpayer is being told to pay for the ethanol subsidy and pay again for removing the nitrogen needed to grow it. (in addition to countless other costs)
    As evidence lets use the most recent corn crop harvest for MD of 45.5 M bushels(bu) and use the average value of 1.5lbs of Nitrogen fertilizer per bushel of corn and we get 68.5M of N as the corn fertilizer usage. Assuming 40% of the corn is used for ethanol production and a nitrogen runoff of 30% we get 8.2M lbs of N from the requirement to use ethanol! Given that EPA is considering an order that may require a 45% reduction of N inputs for the Mississippi River basing- ethanol’s costs are going to get totally out of control.

  190. Kum Dollison says:

    Part of what has happened is the oil companies use lower octane (84) when they blend E10. As a result, you don’t get the benefit of Ethanol’s Higher Octane (114) that you get from blending it with standard 87 Octane Gasoline. That means you get the lower btu content w/o the advantage of ethanol.

    It means they can produce it cheaper, but you pay more of a price in mpg.

  191. Philip Bradley says:

    If you want to reduce CO2 emissions, reduce imported oil, reduce (by a large amount) harmful vehicle pollutants, and BTW increase vehicle safety, switch cars to natural gas fueled.

    Here in Western Australia most vehicles on the road are NG powered and the only reason there are still petrol and diesel powered cars and light trucks is, if you do low mileage the conversion cost doesn’t make economic sense.

    If vehicle manufacturers would actually produce NG powered vehicles for about the same cost as petrol/diesel models, rather than waste billions on idiotic electric and hybrid vehicles, all vehicles except large trucks here in WA would be NG powered within a few years.

  192. MarkW says:

    cwj says:
    December 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    In your opinion, everytime someone pays less than 100% of their income to the govt in taxes, they are being subsidized?

  193. MarkW says:

    “Taking this 2 mbpd off of the global market would surely raise the price of gasoline, Substantially.”

    You assume that this 2 mbpd is taking the place of gasoline.

  194. MarkW says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    If ethanol is saving us money, why does it have to be subsidized and why does the govt have mandate it’s use?

    If anything you wrote was accurate, people would be lining up to buy the stuff without any pressure from anyone.

  195. MarkW says:

    “The reasons for the decrease in total cropland aren’t clear to me”

    My guess would be floods in the mid-west and drought in Texas.

  196. MarkW says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    octane has nothing to do with gas mileage.

  197. MarkW says:

    Pressurized NG tanks are safer than gas tanks? You’ll have to cite some studies to convince me of that.

    If we wanted to reduce oil imports we could drill for oil at much less cost.

  198. 40 Shades of Green says:

    @jabre I visited your link on the true cost of oil being $480 a barrell. The article was very unbalanced. Would you have a link to an article that gives both sides of the debate as to what should be included and what should not.

    As an FYI the cost of maintaining the roads is covered by the taxes on fuel in most of Europe. Similarly oil companies pay governments a lot of money for the right to drill over here, unlike the free use of federal land that the article alleges.

    I am genuinely interested so please give me a link.

  199. Pofarmer says:

    “3) Following the lead of Brazil, and the U.S., the “World” is now producing close to 2 Million Barrels/Day of Ethanol. Taking this 2 mbpd off of the global market would surely raise the price of gasoline, Substantially.”

    How many MBPD are used worldwide?

  200. Kum Dollison says:

    Well, that’s just it, Mark. The Subsidy is going away in 3 days, now.

    The oil companies have fought a Powerful fight against it. And, they are the ones that own the fueling infrastructure.

    Also, the Greenies have settled on Electric Cars, powered by wind, and solar, and have united against biofuels (and all other fuels that complement fossil fuels.)

    And, you have, whether you realize it or not, witnessed an unholy alliance of some “greenie” outfits, and their financiers, the oil companies. None of this is as simple as it might appear.

  201. Downdraft says:

    To Neo says:December 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm
    The information I found on prices of ethanol fuel don’t agree with what you have. Not sure where the problem is, but here is what I found:
    From http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/66.html, the current price of ethanol is $2.88 per gallon. On a BTU basis, that is like paying $2.88*1.5= $4.32 for a gallon 0f gasoline. Per the same report, gasoline is selling for $2.69 a gallon. Ethanol was cheap once, not any more. Or where am I wrong.
    And apparently ethanol is no longer available from Brazil due to a shortage there. It turns out that things like droughts can reduce biofuel output. Not a problem with fossil fuels. There’s that inconvenient need for a backup energy source again.

  202. Dr. Dave says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    “Part of what has happened is the oil companies use lower octane (84) when they blend E10. As a result, you don’t get the benefit of Ethanol’s Higher Octane (114) that you get from blending it with standard 87 Octane Gasoline. That means you get the lower btu content w/o the advantage of ethanol.”
    =============================================================
    I might recommend knowing something about the subject matter before posting a comment. Octane is an 8 carbon, saturated aliphatic hydrocarbon. The “octane rating” is simply a means to compare the ignition temp and combustion pressure of a motor fuel to pure octane. High octane fuels do NOT necessarily contain “more energy”. High octane rated fuels are necessary in high compression engines, they are a complete waste in an ordinary engine. Ethanol does indeed have a higher “octane rating” but it possesses about 67% of the energy of an equal volume of gasoline. It’s all about energy content, not “octane rating.”

  203. Kum Dollison says:

    Dr. Dave, Octane has “Everything” to do with gas mileage. The higher the Octane Rating, the more Compression can be utilized. The More Compression, the more Power.

    That’s why the new turbocharged engines develop between 10% and 15% More power on E85 than on gasoline. As I said, the next step will be Heated Injectors, and Ethanol Sensors in the fuel delivery system, and everything will be in place to utilize turbocharging, Direct Injection, Variable Valve Timing, and Exhaust Gas Recirculation to deliver equivalent fuel mileage with E85 Or gasoline. The E85 Will deliver more power, however.

  204. philincalifornia says:

    Dr. Dave says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm
    Hotrod Larry,

    I would NEVER get in an aircraft fueled with the ethanol slurry you describe (and quote from an ethanol industry propaganda site). My Dad had a Cessna 172 from the time I was 11 until my early 20s. I spent a lot of hours flying. Etc.
    =====================================================

    This is a complex subject isn’t it ? It also reminds me that there is equal complexity relating to regular automobile engines too.

    It’s quite amazing that the EPA has to allow AvGas containing tetraethyl lead, but there is no alternative (other than the banned MTBE and ETBE presumably).

    From both a manufacturing perspective and a fuel chemistry perspective, ethanol’s propensity to cling on to water make it a product with many undesirable properties. In fact, if we humans hadn’t developed yeast strains for thousand of years that make ethanol for alternate purposes, bioethanol would not exist.

    However, since MTBE is effectively banned in the U.S., there’s always going to have to be something like ethanol (or butanol) in gasoline to act as an oxygenate, antiknock agent. So until the advanced oxygenated biofuels come into play, we’re going to be stuck with ethanol at whatever price it commands. So we’re likely to be paying for it anyway, with taxpayer subsidies or at the pump. I’m not an economist/social engineer, but it would seem to me that this would be more of a stealth tax on poorer people, or an initiative to get them off the roads, or an unintended consequence ??

    Not trying to be controversial here. Just pointing out an oxygenate/antiknock fact relating to AvGas and gasoline in light of MTBE being banned.

  205. Kum Dollison says:

    An ex. of what that means in a regular old, garden variety flexfuel engine available today:

    My Flexfuel Impala is not a very advanced engine; however, in hilly areas it does Not downshift as often on E85 as it does with gasoline. As a result, instead of losing 30% mileage, as you would expect from comparing btus, I lose about 20% mileage.

  206. Ironargonaut says:

    Jabra every one of your arguements is based on the premise the US imports oil. Welcome to the new world where we actually drill for oil in the US.

    US is going to be a net exporter for the first time since 1949.

    So, that means using the logic of the site you qouted we get to subtrack the cost of oil and gas exported, plus subtrack the cost of the benefit to economy, subtrack taxes, etc… viola oil now puts money in our pockets.

    Drill baby, drill!!!

    Please note I am using the logic from his post for the third paragraph.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-12-16/us-oil-boom/52053236/1

  207. Kum Dollison says:

    A lot (most?) Brazilian Crop Dusters use E85. And, the American (?) Boat Racing Association requires E10 be used.

    If you get some water in your “gasoline” it settles out to the lowest point. If you get it in your ethanol blend, the ethanol just soaks it up, and you go on about your business. If you get a LOT of water it can settle out, but it would have stopped your gasoline engine, also. It’s, actually, very much a “red herring.”

    There were a couple of boats made back in the sixties that had fuel tanks that would release a resin when subjected to ethanol, which caused, in many cases, engine failure. Tanks like that haven’t been produced since then.

  208. Kum Dollison says:

    The United States still Imports close to 9 million barrels of oil/day.

    We have, recently, become a small net exporter of oil “Products,” gasoline, diesel, etc, (about 200,000 bbl/day, the last I saw.)

  209. 40 Shades of Green says:

    @jabre. I wonder would you be interested in doing an article on the true cost of oil based on the links you have provided. I think it would be fascinating.

    Anthony / Modeators, could I suggest you invite him to do so.

    40 Shades

  210. Kum Dollison says:

    I think I misspoke. I think those Brazilian Cropdusters are using E100, not E85.

  211. DirkH says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm
    “There were a couple of boats made back in the sixties that had fuel tanks that would release a resin when subjected to ethanol, which caused, in many cases, engine failure. Tanks like that haven’t been produced since then.”

    The politically enforced introduction of E10 in 2011 in Germany was de facto cancelled by the widespread boycot of car owners. Car makers published lists of vehicles suited or not suited to the new fuel; the standard VW motors are all suited; but, for instance not all Opel motors (Opel is the German subsidiary of GM). Insecurity led to most people rejecting E10.

    So, you do get problems with modern car engines when they used the wrong material for the seals. The German ADAC tested with an Opel that was not suited to run on E10 according to Opel’s information, and it did break down after a few 1,000 km. Just as promised.

  212. A. Scott says:

    Sal Minella says:
    December 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm
    A. Scotts, Hotrod, et al,

    Until you stop stating the information concerning energy out vs energy in in such an obtuse and misleading way, I will not stop ridiculing you,re inference of perpetual motion. If it is factual that corn ETOH contains more energy than the sum of its energy inputs. it is an energy amplifier.

    Since it doesent matter what the source of the input BTUs in is then corn ETOH could be used as the energy input. Then one BTU of corn ETOH in will give you 1.6 BTU of corn ETOH out. In this case only one BTU of non corn ETOH is needed to prime the corn ETOH pump making all other sources of energy moot and all ETOH energy essentially free.

    Your statement is misleading at best and something that you honestly believe at worst. If ETOH was such a magical fuel. it would need no subsidy and would bring nearly free energy to every citizen of the world.

    I started working on detailed responses to the several people with legitimate honest questions, but as I read thru the thread, the amount of gross ignorance and arrogance here – the purposeful and willful ridicule by some of well known and well understood scientific topics like “net energy balance” – from ignorant people and boorish, uneducated posts like the above – along with the direct personal attacks and refusal to make any attempt to learn and understand the science, and instead blindly attack to promote the political agendas by some – shows it is pretty much a pointless effort here.

    Too many of the people and replies in this thread show exactly why the AGW scientists so despise the skeptics. Outside a strong core group that truly do care about the science, regardless of whichever way it leads them, far too many are vehemently married to their agendas on this topic – damn the facts, full attack speed ahead.

  213. Smokey says:

    Kum Dollison believes that the 20% – 30% loss in fuel economy [his own numbers] is a net positive befefit in return for using an ethanol blend, despite all the problems.

    There is no fuel more “green” and harmless to the environment than 100% pure fossil fuels. The ethanol market only exists due to heavy government subsidies. If ethanol was a good deal, producers wouldn’t need subsidies to sell it. Consumers would buy what is best for them.

  214. Downdraft says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm
    You are confusing power with economy. Small, turbocharged engines get much more power from each cubic inch because they squeeze more air and fuel into the cylinders. They are more efficient because they are smaller and lighter than a big V8, whether running on ethanol or gasoline. Higher octane ratings allow higher compression ratios and earlier spark ignition, which can increase power and also increase fuel efficiency slightly, but only if you have a very light foot. Other tricks are more important than octane, like computerized ignition, variable valve timing, direct injection, more gear ratios, low drag bodies, and engines that shut off while waiting at a stop light.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octane_rating
    Many high-performance engines are designed to operate with a high maximum compression, and thus demand fuels of higher octane. A common misconception is that power output or fuel efficiency can be improved by burning fuel of higher octane than that specified by the engine manufacturer. The power output of an engine depends in part on the energy density of the fuel being burnt. Fuels of different octane ratings may have similar densities, but because switching to a higher octane fuel does not add more hydrocarbon content or oxygen, the engine cannot develop more power.

  215. Downdraft says:

    I noticed a few posts that mentioned ethanol in avgas.
    There are two basic problems.
    In most planes, the ethanol attacks the seals and sealants, resulting in fuel starvation when the lines plug up or start leaking. Not good.
    At high altitudes, the induction air is very cold and the air is very “thin”, therefore containing little heat. Ethanol does not vaporize as readily as avgas and could cause problems. In fact, it takes about 2.5 times as much heat to vaporize an equal weight of ethanol. Liquids entering the cylinders is not acceptable.

    In addition, range would be severely reduced. Premature fuel starvation is also not good.

  216. eyesonu says:

    One point that is missing from the argument with the ethanol advocates is thus.

    Use of E10 will give a mpg of 10 – 35% less mpg (depending on the engine). For the sake of this argument let’s use only a 10% reduction in mpg overall.

    Pour the 10% etanol down the drain and the ‘pure’ gasoline in the tank will deliver 10% greater mpg so you could drive nearly (99%) as far on only 90% volume of fuel (real gas). On many, if not most, engines not designed for the E10 there could be an increase of 25 – 35% greater mpg.

    Consider the EROI of ethanol and only a fool would put in in their tank if given the option. Government mandates at its best?

  217. Smokey says:

    A. Scott says:

    “Too many of the people and replies in this thread show exactly why the AGW scientists so despise the skeptics.”

    Umm-m-m… have you checked out alarmist blogs like Tamino, Pseudo-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, realclimate, climateprogress, etc.? Try to submit a reasonable comment that refutes the alarmist meme at any of those blogs, and see where it gets you. Either you will submit a point of view that can’t be refuted, in which case your comment will never see the light of day, or you will make an easily refuted mistake, in which case every one of the echo chamber true believers will endlessly monkey-pile on you from then on.

    Alarmists despise scientific skeptics for one reason: skeptics hold their feet to the fire, and demand that they “prove it.” Since baseless scare tactics demonizing “carbon” are the staple of the alarmist cult, they hate people who deconstruct their belief system with facts. It’s also why they hide out from open debates.

    So please, continue with your ‘detailed response’. If you make sense, you will eventually convert the majority of readers to your viewpoint. But you can’t be so thin-skinned; this is the internet. If you have the truth on your side, you will eventually prevail. If not, the attacks will naturally follow.

  218. Carl Brannen says:

    An amazing amount of misinformation here. WUWT should invite a post from someone in the ethanol industry. I’d volunteer but I do not have the time to do it right.

    I’m glad that the subsidies are ending. When I worked as VP of a small company working on an ethanol plant we assumed that these subsidies (along with the subsidies for biodiesel) would disappear. We made sure that the process would be profitable without the subsidies. Otherwise it just doesn’t make economic sense to build something that is going to be in operation for 30 years.

    Some of the more extreme posters suggest that turning food into fuel is evil and it should be banned. Every major country that has substantial agriculture and industry grows crops that are turned into ethanol. If we banned the process in the US, the result would be that our field corn would be exported to China which would happily turn it into fuel to reduce some of their own petroleum imports. This would be an economic disaster for us.

    Corn is turned into ethanol (and has been for many decades) because it is an extremely profitable process (assuming historical gasoline, corn and energy prices, a market for the ethanol at prices similar to gasoline, a market for the distiller’s grains at prices comparable to field corn, and assuming you can obtain capital for financing the equipment at reasonable interest rates, and assuming reasonable land costs and regulations, etc., etc., etc..). If you want to see how profitable it is for yourself, do an internet search on how much a bushel of corn costs, how many gallons of ethanol you get from it, how much distiller’s grains, and what these products can be sold for. If you don’t know anything about the industry the results will stun you.

    When people talk about how much energy there is in ethanol as compared to the petroleum that went into it they are avoiding the very simple economics of the process. What you’re doing is taking cheap things and turning them into somewhat less cheap things. Right now you can buy natural gas at a price much cheaper (per BTU) than gasoline so a process that uses up natural gas but saves gasoline is profitable.

    Some “ethanol” companies are not actually intended to make a profit by producing ethanol cheaply. Instead, they are designed to sell shares of stock to the public. A lot of these companies have incredibly high management costs, do a variety of stupid things, and when they lose money it gives the impression that ethanol is not profitable. But the big chemical companies understand the nature of the chemical business which is to produce a product that can only be distinguished from the competition by its price. So they concentrate on low overhead costs. They and the small farmers are quite profitable on ethanol and have been steadily ramping up production.

    The US now exports fuel. What this means is that the 10% ethanol mandates no longer have any major effect. If they were eliminated, our use of ethanol in gasoline would not decrease substantially. From the point of view of the mixers, ethanol is too attractively inexpensive to avoid using it as a fuel. I think that if they eliminated the mandates today, you might be able to buy gasoline without ethanol again, but it would be a boutique fuel and would be quite expensive. As stated in posts above, it would be made from more expensive, higher octane stock.

    I don’t think that the opinions of the general public have much basis in fact in this industry. I think that politicizing this industry is as much a bad idea as would be politicizing any other industry including solar energy. So I’m glad to see the subsidy going away. The argument about “food vs. fuel” is very emotional, but the fact is that people starve because they’re poor, not because American farmers can’t produce enough corn or because corn has uses as an industrial chemical feedstock. If the corn ethanol business were outlawed world-wide tomorrow, the response of farmers would be to quit planting as much corn. Farmers are not in the business of providing food to people who can’t pay for it. Furthermore, the resulting increase in transportation fuel costs would also impact the poor.

    By the way, I used to believe that man-caused global warming was significant (and unavoidable). I had to come around to the belief that it was mostly hype as a result of writing up an analysis of whether there would be subsidies for the biofuels industry based on carbon credits or the like. My conclusion was that these subsidies would disappear. This conclusion was shared by the other engineers but the funny thing was that the investors interested in corn ethanol were true believers.

  219. James Sexton says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    One point that is missing from the argument with the ethanol advocates is thus.

    Use of E10 will give a mpg of 10 – 35% less mpg (depending on the engine). For the sake of this argument let’s use only a 10% reduction in mpg overall…..
    ===========================================================
    On the four vehicles I tested…… none older than 2003 model, pickups and sedans, the average was a 20% reduction in mileage.

    I don’t know why some of the people here were never taught not to play with their food. But, with the ending of the subsidy, we’ll see most of their claims go down in flames. Now, finally, some of us will be able to afford a steak now and again.

  220. James Sexton says:

    Smokey says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    A. Scott says:

    “Too many of the people and replies in this thread show exactly why the AGW scientists so despise the skeptics.”

    Umm-m-m… have you checked out alarmist blogs like Tamino, Pseudo-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, realclimate, climateprogress, etc.?
    ==================================================================
    Thank you Smoke, …..I don’t understand why people don’t expect to be challenged here. That’s why they’re here! If you’re going to state something here, you better bring it, and even if you do, someone will bring up some points you haven’t thought of. Yeh, its a mean lot, but like Smokey says, if you have truth and are willing to take the heat, you’ll prevail. Think of it as real peer-review. To be sure, this ain’t pal review!

  221. A. Scott says:

    david says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:55 am
    C’mon Sal Minella!

    No perpetual motion here!

    The only question here, is if the 1 BTU represents all the costs associated from the moment the corn is planted until it arrives as ethonal at the pump, or as some are questioning here, does it only represent the energy needed at the factory to convert the sugar to ethonal.

    Perhaps A. Scott could clarify that, and while doing so, perhaps he could phrase it so that the “perpetual motion” comments are avoided.

    David – appreciate the support, and honest question …

    The concept of “net energy balance,” or EROEI (Energy Return over Energy Invested), of ethanol (or any fuel product for that matter) is well settled, has reviewed in detail and fairly well understood.

    Regarding ethanol, there have been numerous studies from reputable scientists, institutions and agencies, that clearly show the net energy balance of ethanol production is positive. These energy balance studies take into account all of the various inputs involved in growing, harvesting, and processing corn or other feed stock into fuel. The net energy balance figure of appx 1.6 btu produced for 1 BTU of energy expended is the current best estimate of average energy balance using corn based processes. This is up from 1.2 to 1.3 to 1 a few years back.

    More advanced cellulosic processes are providing net energy balances of 6 and up to 8 to 1 and more.

    There is a single study (or ongoing study’s might be more accurate) by David Pimentel of Cornell and Tad Patzak of Berkeley that claim to show a negative energy balance for corn based ethanol. Their work has repeatedly and thoroughly been debunked by a myriad of scientists, government agencies, and more. For one – they ignored the value of the co-products produced. And attributed all of the energy expense to the ethanol side and little or none to the co-product side.

    If folks like Sal truly cared about educating themselves – about learning the facts – rather than ridiculing those who disagree with their uneducated, unsupported by the facts, views – they could simply type “net energy balance” into google and in a few minutes learn far more than they want to know.

    They could simply read the Wiki info on ethanol, or better yet as someone noted – read the Brazilian Ethanol Wiki entry – which provides a great overview of the facts regarding ethanol and what its taken to build a sustainable successful renewable energy program.

    People like Sal, eyesonu and the like are more interested in attacking those that don’t agree with them than in learning. For the record I have zero problem with being challenged, and responding – provided its civil and from someone who has first, shown they took the time to at least understand the basics of the issue, and second, who makes the request civilly.

    Had ol Sal read even the basic Brazil ethanol Wiki entry he would have answered his own attack – and in doing so maybe looked a lot less silly – a simple quote:

    “One of the main concerns about bioethanol production is the energy balance, the total amount of energy input into the process compared to the energy released by burning the resulting ethanol fuel. This balance considers the full cycle of producing the fuel, as cultivation, transportation and production require energy, including the use of oil and fertilizers. A comprehensive life cycle assessment commissioned by the State of São Paulo found that Brazilian sugarcane based ethanol has a favorable energy balance, varying from 8.3 for average conditions to 10.2 for best practice production.[12]

    Reading further he could have read virtually verbatim what I posted:

    “This means that for average conditions one unit of fossil-fuel energy is required to create 8.3 energy units from the resulting ethanol. These findings have been confirmed by other studies.[81][83][159]“

    Funny, but its almost the same exact thing the USDA says in their recent study as well – it should be noted this is regarding 2008 yields – which it found were in fact higher than I stated for corn based ethanol production:

    USDA Releases Corn-Ethanol Industry Report Showing Improving Energy Efficiency
    WASHINGTON, June 21, 2010 – USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber today announced the publication of a report by the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses that surveyed corn growers for the year 2005 and ethanol plants in 2008, which indicates the net energy gain from converting corn to ethanol is improving in efficiency.

    This report measures all conventional fossil fuel energy used in the production of 1 gallon of corn ethanol. For every British Thermal Unit (BTU) unit of energy required to make ethanol, 2.3 BTUs of energy are produced. The ratio is somewhat higher for some firms that are partially substituting biomass energy in processing energy. Since the last study in 2004, the net energy balance of corn ethanol has increased from 1.76 BTUs to 2.3 BTUs of required energy.

    According to the report, overall, ethanol has made the transition from an energy sink, to a moderate net energy gain in the 1990s, to a substantial net energy gain in the present. And there are still prospects for improvement. Ethanol yields have increased by about 10 percent in the last 20 years, so proportionately less corn is required. In addition to refinements in ethanol technology, corn yields have increased by 39 percent over the last 20 years, requiring less land to produce ethanol.

    The authors of the report are: H. Shapouri, Agricultural Economist, Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA; Paul W. Gallagher, Associate Professor, Economics Department, Iowa State University; Ward Nefstead, Associate Professor, Applied Economics Department, University of Minnesota;

    Rosalie Schwartz, Program and Recruitment Director, Agricultural Economics Department, University of Nebraska (Lincoln); Stacey Noe, Program Coordinator, Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, Iowa State University; and Roger Conway, Former Director, Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA. The report can be found at: http://www.usda.gov/oce/reports/index.htm.”

    Damn, pesky facts … right Sal?

  222. Kum Dollison says:

    E10 will, on average, if blended with 84 SubOctane gasoline give about a 3% loss of fuel economy. If blended with 87 Octane gasoline the reduction in mpg will be about 1.5 to 2%. In either case, it comes out pretty close to a “wash.”

    The important thing is you’re greatly reducing the demand for gasoline. And, reducing the Price of gasoline. We paid a Historical World Record, $3.50 Gallon in 2011. What would we have paid if we would have taken that 2 Million barrels of Ethanol/Day off the market?

  223. Philip Bradley says:

    Pressurized NG tanks are safer than gas tanks? You’ll have to cite some studies to convince me of that.

    There were no fatalities compared with 1.28 deaths per 100 million miles for gasoline fleet
    vehicles The collision rate for NGV fleet vehicles was 31% lower than the rate for gasoline fleet vehicles

    The fleet of 8,331 NGVs was involved in seven fire incidents, only one of which was directly
    attributable to failure of the natural gas fuel system.

    Natural gas vehicles were first commercialized after World War II in Italy. There are now over twelve
    million in use worldwide. Natural gas vehicles have been used in the US since the early 1970s, with
    over 120,000 in use today. Yet there has been only one fatality in the US involving a NGV in all that
    time and it was attributed to human error.

    There were no fatalities compared with 1.28 deaths per 100 million miles for gasoline fleet
    vehicles The collision rate for NGV fleet vehicles was 31% lower than the rate for gasoline fleet vehicles

    http://www.cleanvehicle.org/committee/technical/PDFs/Web-TC-TechBul2-Safety.pdf

    The experience here in Perth is that the rare fires in NG vehicles occur in home converted vehicles, which leave them as petrol/NG hybrids. A petrol fire then cooks the NG tank.

    Petrol/NG hybrids are illegal for this reason.

  224. eyesonu says:

    Per the USDA site referenced regarding cotton:

    US acreage harvested
    year 2006 324K acres
    year 2007 288k acres
    year 2008 169k acres
    year 2009 138k acres
    year 2010 202k acres
    year 2011 288k acres

    Seems that much cotton cropland was converted to corn for ethanol beginning with the ethanol mandate. Shortage of cotton lead to increase prices. Writing on the wall regarding ethanol returning acreage back to cotton?

    Regards to an earlier comment by A. Scott that no cropland was being diverted to grow corn was of course bogus.

  225. JJ says:

    Brilliant!

  226. Luther Wu says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm
    ….
    ___________
    A. Scott,
    Pardon, but you are doing exactly what you accuse others of doing.
    You’ve invited cynical response by your failure to back up your claims.

    Go ahead and take your marbles and go home, secure in your mind that you ‘really told them’.
    Bring some truth to the table, next time.

  227. A. Scott says:

    hotrod (larry L) says:
    December 28, 2011 at 11:19 am
    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I knew the trolls were here and would come to A. Scotts rescue.

    The only troll here is you.

    You magically pop up every time there is a substantive discussion of fuel ethanol or any pro-oil discussion. I have been posting here for years on lots of other topics, but you are a one man band of ad-homonym attacks and misinformation directed at anyone that tries to present the other side of the story that is conveniently ignored by the folks who are against ethanol.

    Your tactics are exactly the same small minded sort of character assassination attacks with no substance as we see from the global warming crowd and simply will not fly here.

    If you have facts or personal observations you wish to contribute to the discussion, please carry on an adult discussion, otherwise please go back into your hole.

    Larry

    Thanks Larry … its really sad people like eyesonu and Sal etc are too blinded by their preconceived and clearly uninformed agendas to actually learn some of the most basic facts about what they are talking about.

    I will repeat – although its clear folks like these really don’t care – I am not in ANY way shape or form involved in, related to, paid by or associated with the industry. I am happy to provide Anthony any documentation privately to prove that point.

    I was an ethanol skeptic, just as I was originally an AGW believer. But as I reviewed the science and learned the facts my positions on both changed 180 degrees.

    I believe we SHOULD be drilling for and using our fossil fuels. I also believe we should be looking for and using all means possible to reduce dependence on the finite supply. Ethanol is a partial solution – and as Brazil has shown a real and sustainable solution.

    Every bit of renewable ethanol we use for fuel is that much finite fossil fuel we save. It also reduces emissions, reduces GHG’s and a number of other benefits. It is not “burning food” – the corn used is virtually all animal feed, and appx half of the corn used is returned as a by product in form of high quality, high energy animal feed that is better for animals than the original corn. We get corn oil and corn meal, in addition to the distillers dried grans animal feed and the ethanol from every bushel of corn.

    Those are facts – no matter how many times some people try to attack and mislead folks otherwise.

  228. philincalifornia says:

    Carl Brannen says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm
    An amazing amount of misinformation here. WUWT should invite a post from someone in the ethanol industry. I’d volunteer but I do not have the time to do it right.
    ======================================
    ……… but you did it anyway. Great post.

    Come on A. Scott, please continue (as Smokey asks of you). Don’t worry about eyesonu, or that guy who thinks ethanol is not an optimal product (oooops that was me, but I was speaking hygroscopically, and I know what’s coming down the pike).

  229. eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    One point that is missing from the argument with the ethanol advocates is thus.

    Use of E10 will give a mpg of 10 – 35% less mpg (depending on the engine). For the sake of this argument let’s use only a 10% reduction in mpg overall.

    This is flat out wrong and far removed from reality.

    Fuel mileage drops due to switching from straight gasoline to E-10 ethanol added fuel, range from 1.5% to 4%. In carefully controlled tests the drop in mileage is so small it is hard to detect without carefully controlled testing.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/ethanol.shtml

    E10 (gasohol)

    E10 (also called “gasohol”) is a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline sold in many parts of the country. All auto manufacturers approve the use of blends of 10% ethanol or less in their gasoline vehicles. However, vehicles will typically go 3–4% fewer miles per gallon on E10 than on straight gasoline.

    MPG. FFVs operating on E85 usually experience a 25–30% drop in miles per gallon due to ethanol’s lower energy content.

    http://www.ethanol.org/pdf/contentmgmt/ACEFuelEconomyStudy_001.pdf
    (yes this study is from a group that advocates ethanol fuels, but read the study and determine if you think the methods are sound before you dismiss it summarily.)

    The above quoted drops in fuel mileage by the original poster are only applicable to FFV (flexible fuel Vehicles from Detroit running on E85) These vehicles are not particularly good adaptations for E85 because the CAFE regulations give Detroit the same credit for alternative fuels regardless of the fuel mileage on E85, so they have no incentive of any kind to optimize them to run on E85. Private party conversions from gasoline to E85 can easily exceed the factory FFV performance and approach normal gasoline fuel mileages.

    For example I got over 90% of my gasoline fuel mileage on straight E85 after my conversion. If driving for economy I could get into the mid 90% range (92%-95% of my gasoline fuel mileage.

    Fuel economy does not track directly with fuel volumetric energy content, but rather with the net useful work extracted from the available fuel energy. High ethanol blends allow higher thermal efficiencies than can be achieved on gasoline (octane only being one reason for this difference). The fuel has wider flammability limits (ie is less prone to lean or rich misfire), it has better performance under load providing both a 5%-15% power increase over gasoline with no other changes, and engines running on E85 tolerate lugging under load much better reducing down shifts under load.

    Many people who assert that E10 causes large fuel economy reductions are actually seeing fuel economy drops due to changes in seasonal fuel blends and cold weather (when these claims seem to peak). The total energy drop for E10 on a volumetric basis is only 3%.

    I have been driving on ethanol added fuel for 30+ years (it was first available in the 1970’s and was required by law in 1989 in Denver to help reduce air pollution.) The drop in fuel mileage was difficult to detect 30 years ago even if you kept careful records of each fuel fill and miles driven, and is no where near as bad as many assert.

    Larry

  230. Kum Dollison says:

    The U.S. is not the major player in the cotton market that it is in the global corn, and soybean markets. We would have only a very small cotton market but for the generous cotton subsidies.

    In the last year, or so, the worldwide cotton prices have Expuhloaded! Weak harvests, globally, and greatly increased demand from the “emerging” countries have led to the Highest Prices, By Far, in History. Thus your increase in planting.

  231. Justa Joe says:

    40 Shades of Green says:
    December 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm
    @jabre. I wonder would you be interested in doing an article on the true cost of oil based on the links you have provided. I think it would be fascinating.
    —————————–

    40, there are tons of studies by green groups created to report the “true” external costs of petroleum. Some of them are really quite creative. There is a report by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), which is an actual branch of the US govt. that reports on energy subsidation. If you read it you’ll be shocked at the levels of real cash subsidation expended on “renewable fuels”. Looking at one chart I notice that Biomass and Biofuels are constitute 73.2% of Subsidies and support to fuels used outside of the electricity sector veresus nat gas & petroleum’s combined 20.7%. Also it would be important to note the type of subsidation as pointed out here the Oil industries “subsidies” generally come in the form of tax “breaks” while much of the renewables benefit from loan supports and cash grants. You’ll be shocked by the level of renewable subsidation versus unit of energy produced.

  232. DirkH says:

    Carl Brannen says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm
    “If the corn ethanol business were outlawed world-wide tomorrow, the response of farmers would be to quit planting as much corn. ”

    Carl, I appreciate your point of view, especially that you see the removal of subsidies as necessary. I have seen [PV] companies from the inside that were quite unprepared for it, and as you say, they have high management costs, high overhead and seem unprepared for the harsh reality of competition. They are currently going belly-up here in Germany [e.g. Solon, Solar Millenium].

    One (big) problem we have here in Germany with the biofuel subsidies – here it’s less ethanol production but more usage of corn as feedstock for biogas reactors – is that the corn planted for this purpose really does crowd out food production, driving up rent for agricultural land and making it next to impossible for e.g. dairy farmers to get the land they need. Political meddling destroys the livelihoods of people who used to have a viable business.That’s the typical ugly side of favoritism.

  233. Mooloo says:

    Sal Minella:

    If I put $1000 in a high interest account, at the end of waiting I will have $100,000,000 dollars.

    There is a lot of difference between being able to turn 1 BTU into 1.6 BTU and being able to do it instantly. Your assessment that this gives free energy assumes instantaneous translation and zero costs for inputs. Like my fool-proof plan for making $100,000,000. Which is, actually, fool-proof if you don’t examine the minor time conditions.

  234. Luther Wu says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    E10 will, on average, if blended with 84 SubOctane gasoline give about a 3% loss of fuel economy. If blended with 87 Octane gasoline the reduction in mpg will be about 1.5 to 2%. In either case, it comes out pretty close to a “wash.”
    _________________________
    That’s the ethanol promoter’s meme, but it doesn’t match my own experience.
    I get measurably less mpg w/ethanol than straight gasoline.
    I get 22-24mpg (varies w/wind speed/direction) on a frequently traveled 300+ mile stretch, burning pure gasoline. With a tank of ethanol, the most I’ve ever recorded was 18.6 mpg and typically less than that.
    I’ve tested this a few times, just to make sure. This result is verified by my ride’s computer and my own calculations.
    My vehicle was apparently designed to function efficiently with the engine making normal horsepower, but is really inefficient with a drop in power… at least, that’s my thinking about the poor performance with E10.
    My vehicle is also touted as being designed to handle ethanol, but I’ve learned to avoid ethanol, if possible.

  235. Presly Phillips says:

    I had my auto repair, due to a problem with ethanol and the lawnmore repaired twice. The repair show told me to go to a mid-grade of gasoline as it would not burn hotter in the lawnmore!

  236. GregO says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    “I started working on detailed responses to the several people with legitimate honest questions…”

    Lots of interesting and detailed discussion of Ethanol since my original question for you: “Can you make a cogent argument for public funding of Ethanol development?”

    I had previously and perhaps tersely compared it to funding for my small manufacturing company; why is Ethanol development funded and I can’t even get an SBA loan? Perhaps a bad analogy.

    Here’s some food for thought – if public funding of Ethanol development is a good idea, then why does our current government dither on approving the Keystone pipeline if the argument for public funding of Ethanol is to assure domestic energy supply. Canada seems like a good bet to me.

    Maybe another bad comparison – I’m reaching for an answer to my original question and I take it that the original motivation for this thread is noting that public funding for Ethanol production is being curtailed by the ending of the farm subsidy for Ethanol. Why was it ever subsidized? I’m sure our elected representatives had something in mind and citing “pork-barrel politics” will not answer the question even if it had something to do with it. Somewhere, somehow, at sometime in the public sphere, subsidies seemed like a good idea, with some goal in mind, to somehow cure some (terrible) ill. What made funding ethanol production with public funds a good idea – despite how it has or has not worked out. Just exactly what problem were we trying to solve?

    As far as WUWT as a blog, I read on another blog here recently where WUWT was referred to as the “Wolfpack at WUWT”. I cracked up. Really – the Wolfpack? How funny.

    Relax. It’s just a fun blog. I have learned a lot here, learned a lot from your original post, and have learned a lot from these comments.

    Have fun, and I look forward to your answer.

  237. DirkH says:

    hotrod (larry L) says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/ethanol.shtml

    E10 (gasohol)

    E10 (also called “gasohol”) is a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline sold in many parts of the country. All auto manufacturers approve the use of blends of 10% ethanol or less in their gasoline vehicles. ”

    Your source is wrong. I’m just repeating this so that nobody gets the idea that he can just try it out without knowing whether his car is suited. MOST new cars are suited, that’s right. Here’s an ultra-comprehensive list; created during this years E10 fiasco in Germany; unfortunately, it’s a lengthy PDF in German. So make of that what you will. But the information in the list comes from the vehicle manufacturers; they list all the models that are capable of running on E10; some manufacturers simply say “all of them”, some say “all of our models except for the following ones”.
    http://www.dat.de/e10liste/e10vertraeglichkeit.pdf

  238. DirkH says:

    And it’s not that the engine won’t work with E10 (it will) but that the seals will be attacked by the E10 over time.

  239. Catcracking says:

    There is a lot of good information on this post but unfortunately there is a lot of mis information mostly from the ethanol trolls
    For example the latest crazy fact re ethanol mandates is contained below
    The ethanol shuffle is between US and Brazil.
    This is even crazier than the original concept of subsidizing and mandating ethanol in the first place. and reveals the insanity that exists in the Washington EPA and California CARB. This is costing the California drivers an additional 16 cents per gal or $ 5.8 million dollars.

    http://www.ethanolrfa.org/exchange/entry/the-ethanol-shuffle/?
    Posted on: December 12, 2011 inBrazil, Engines, Ethanol, Exports

    Some of the facts presented
    1) Ethanol production is falling in Brazil due to various reasons mostly weather related
    2) Brazil is exporting ethanol to California
    3) Brazil is importing corn based ethanol from the US due to a shortage of ethanol. Brazil has reduced the % mandated in gasoloine.
    4)California imports from Brazil because ” … state and Federal fuel regulations that treat Brazilian sugarcane ethanol as if it were the Holy Grail of biofuels. Both the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and U.S. EPA have decided that producing sugarcane ethanol results in fewer lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than producing corn ethanol.
    5) So, under CARB’s Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS), sugarcane ethanol generates far more credits for compliance than corn ethanol. And EPA considers sugarcane ethanol to be an “advanced biofuel,” meaning it is one of only two options available to obligated parties today for compliance with the RFS2 advanced biofuels requirement (biodiesel being the other). In short, the LCFS and RFS2 strongly compel regulated parties (typically oil refiners) to import sugarcane ethanol to meet their regulatory obligations.
    6) But here’s the rub: sugarcane ethanol is in short supply after consecutive disappointing sugar crops in Brazil. Sugarcane yields in 2011 were about 19% below the 30-year trend and on par with average yields from the mid-1980s. Therefore Brazil is purchasing corn based ethanol from the US
    7) So, that’s how the “Ethanol Shuffle” works. California imports sugarcane ethanol from Brazil rather than corn ethanol from Nebraska or Kansas; and in turn, corn ethanol from the Midwest travels to Houston or Galveston via rail, then is shipped to Brazil via tanker to “backfill” the volumes they sent to the U.S
    8) The congress has foolishly mandated an increasing amount of cellulosic ethanol to be used even though technology did not exist. Because corn based ethanol offers minimal carbon credits, the source of the ethanol was required to be from cellulosic sources based on promises that commercial plants would produce significant amounts of cellulosic ethanol by 2010. Commercial plants were built using government subsidies, and government backed loans. These plants failed because the technology was flawed and has fundamental technology problems were not addressed due to the “rush”. Refiners still have to comply with the mandate to mix the added ethanol or pay a fine
    Only government can create such a wasteful system with mandates. One wonders if the shipping carbon consumption is cranked into the system.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204012004577072470158115782.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop#articleTabs%3Darticle
    “To recap: Congress subsidized a product that didn’t exist, mandated its purchase though it still didn’t exist, is punishing oil companies for not buying the product that doesn’t exist, and is now doubling down on the subsidies in the hope that someday it might exist. We’d call this the march of folly, but that’s unfair to fools.”

    Meanwhile the administration is choking of conventional fuel production in the US and the Keystone pipeline that would back out imports from unreliable and unfriendly sources on the misguided belief that biofuels will be plentiful if subsidized.

  240. GeoLurking says:

    I drive on average, about 35 to 38k mile per year. Like most of us, I encountered the mileage hit when E85 was mandated. The only way I can obtain anywhere near the mileage of unadulterated gas, is to follow tractor trailer rigs that are going at about highway speed.

    Ethanol absorbs moisture. Ethanol evaporates. As ethanol evaporates, it leaves behind the moisture. If you don’t use it or treat it, your gas goes stale over time. That is one of the reasons that small engines have an issue with it.

    Ethanol is a boondoggle, plain and simple.

  241. eyesonu says:

    Hotrod, do you understand the relationship that involves the engine control unit (computer), ignition timing, fuel / air mixture, knock sensor, and other sensors in an automobile engine?

    You have called in all the reinforcing trolls here as you have done in the past elsewhere. Seen it before, same game, different thread.

  242. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm
    One point that is missing from the argument with the ethanol advocates is thus.

    Use of E10 will give a mpg of 10 – 35% less mpg (depending on the engine). For the sake of this argument let’s use only a 10% reduction in mpg overall.

    Pour the 10% etanol down the drain and the ‘pure’ gasoline in the tank will deliver 10% greater mpg so you could drive nearly (99%) as far on only 90% volume of fuel (real gas). On many, if not most, engines not designed for the E10 there could be an increase of 25 – 35% greater mpg.

    Consider the EROI of ethanol and only a fool would put in in their tank if given the option. Government mandates at its best?

    Where do you come up with this silly stuff?

    FACTS: Gasoline has appx 124,800 BTU’s per gal. Ethanol has appx 77,000 BTU’s per gal. E10 has appx 120,100 BTU’s per gallon.

    The correct answer to your claim is E10 has appx 3.83% less energy than straight gasoline.

    Every engine with fuel injection and electronic engine management systems9I don’t know but at least back pretty much a decade or more) is virtually unaffected by E10 – the engine management system simply adjusts the mixture for the beneficial higher octane ethanol blend. Exactly as it adjusts when you drive into mountains and higher altitude.

  243. A. Scott says:

    James Sexton says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm
    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    One point that is missing from the argument with the ethanol advocates is thus.

    Use of E10 will give a mpg of 10 – 35% less mpg (depending on the engine). For the sake of this argument let’s use only a 10% reduction in mpg overall…..
    ===========================================================
    On the four vehicles I tested…… none older than 2003 model, pickups and sedans, the average was a 20% reduction in mileage.

    I don’t know why some of the people here were never taught not to play with their food. But, with the ending of the subsidy, we’ll see most of their claims go down in flames. Now, finally, some of us will be able to afford a steak now and again.

    I use E85 at least 75% of the time in a 2003 Tahoe. I record the majority of purchases. My mileage has never dropped more 20%, usually less. I just paid $2.52 for E85 with E10 priced at $3.35, a 25% discount vs a 20% or less drop in mileage.

    Statistically E85 vs E10 is a drop of appx 29% in energy content – which shows the engine management systems in todays cars are making back some of the lost BTU’s of energy by adjusting fuel mixtures.

  244. philincalifornia says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm
    Regarding ethanol, there have been numerous studies from reputable scientists, institutions and agencies, that clearly show the net energy balance of ethanol production is positive.
    ================================================

    I am so pi$$ed off about this. I know somewhere on my computer is a single and wonderful powerpoint slide with all the studies (about 10 or 15 of them) showing exactly what you say, and temporally this shows huge improvements. Hopefully I’ll find it soon, especially as it shows the Pimentel work to be the clownish crap that it is.

    This science (biofuels/chemicals) is not an exercise in English language usage to which the CAGW science/propaganda has degenerated (or always was). Here, there are people on the ground doing experiments, screwing up, acknowledging screw-ups and tossing that data in the garbage but conversely, making discoveries that advance percentage yields of fermentation and feedstock technology on a daily basis. If you think you knew something 2 years ago, forget it, you’re three or four years out of date, because what people in the field know now will probably not make a press release or published patent application until then.

    This field is rocking right now, in this economic environment too. It’s like the early eighties, when big Pharma was telling biotechnology companies they couldn’t afford the plumbing and, of course, now big Pharma does its research by buying companies with marginal plumbing capabilities.

    So there you go. The view from the trenches.

  245. Luther Wu says:

    Despite the welcome news heralded by this thread, I don’t foresee any real changes in the way we deal with ethanol, etc.
    There are just too many powerful players with their hands in our pockets and too many entrenched activists in what is rapidly becoming our politburo.

  246. Smokey says:

    A. Scott says:

    “I just paid $2.52 for E85 with E10 priced at $3.35, a 25% discount vs a 20% or less drop in mileage.”

    I suspect that is due to the heavy ethanol subsidies.

  247. Kum Dollison says:

    GW Bush pushed for the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) because it was obvious that Oil would soon be “Peaking.” And, it did, in 2005. We’ve been on the “Plateau” since then (in fact, oil production (C + C) was slightly less in 2011 than it was in ’05.)

    Meantime, the “emerging” nations, led by China, India, etal, and the oil exporting nations, themselves, are demanding more, and more of a product that is no longer expanding in supply.

    Ethanol was seen as a “mitigating” technology, in that it was compatible with the existing infrastructure, and fleet. At some point, probably in the next few years, we will start to fall off of the current plateau, and the supply of oil will begin to decline in earnest.

    We Will need all the help we can get.

  248. u.k.(us) says:

    Living, as I am, under the most transparent Government (my President told me, it would be so), why are the claims being made not shouted from the rooftops.
    No Jobs involved ?.
    Spell it out so dumb **cks like me can understand.
    How many of the dreaded “millionaires and billionaires” stand to benefit, and how much money will be left to re-distribute after the contributions to various political campaigns has been subtracted.
    Government mandates are slowly, softly, taking over the energy sector. What next ?

  249. DirkH says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm
    Your source is wrong. I’m just repeating this so that nobody gets the idea that he can just try it out without knowing whether his car is suited. MOST new cars are suited, that’s right.

    Yes good point for those who are not critical readers — that report is a U.S government report dealing with cars intended for sale in the U. S. Market, where 10% added ethanol has been required by law in some locations for over 30 years. Obviously German manufactured cars intended for sale in Europe will not necessarily fit that compatibility standard. (even though many of them sell variants in Brazil that run on 100% hydrous ethanol fuel).

    Larry

  250. A. Scott says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm
    E10 will, on average, if blended with 84 SubOctane gasoline give about a 3% loss of fuel economy. If blended with 87 Octane gasoline the reduction in mpg will be about 1.5 to 2%. In either case, it comes out pretty close to a “wash.”

    The important thing is you’re greatly reducing the demand for gasoline. And, reducing the Price of gasoline. We paid a Historical World Record, $3.50 Gallon in 2011. What would we have paid if we would have taken that 2 Million barrels of Ethanol/Day off the market?

    Exactly correct. Ethanol has lowered the overall cost of gasoline for years. And studies clearly show that impact is greater the better availability and distribution is in a region:

    Economists at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin also recently looked at ethanol’s impact on oil refining and the downward pressure ethanol has exerted on wholesale gasoline prices. They concluded that “…from January 2000 to December 2010, the growth in ethanol production reduced wholesale gasoline prices by $0.25 per gallon on average.” Further, they found that, “Based on the 2010 data … the marginal impacts on gasoline prices are found to be substantially higher given the much higher ethanol production and crude oil prices. The average effect increases to $0.89/gallon…Separating the data for each Petroleum Administration for Defense District region shows that the Midwest region has received the greatest benefit from ethanol production. Last year, ethanol reduced gas prices there by $1.37 per gallon, according to the paper’s authors. Ethanol has had the least impact on gas prices on the East Coast. Ethanol production reduced prices in that region by 58 cents per gallon in 2010.”
    http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/dbs/pdffiles/11wp523.pdf

  251. a jones says:

    As I have observed before on this blog.

    Whomsoever can turn cellulosic byproduct economically into fuel or food or plastics will indeed deserve the vast fortune they will make thereby.

    This is not my original observation or words, it dates back to at least the 1920’s if not before.

    And we are no further forward today.

    For all government subsidy and stupidity. Ah well.

    Kindest Regards

  252. Catcracking says:

    Some facts to clarify the claim that 1.6 BTU’s for every external BTU of energy input.

    Technically it would be feasible to realize more energy output than the external energy input (that should include production energy from natural gas, electricity, oil, fertilizer, etc.) because there is energy in the corn crop.
    However the calculations vary considerably depending on the assumptions that go into the model.
    As one my wise relatives once said “figures don’t lie but liers do figure.

    The basis for the 1.6 to 1 uses an assumption that is very controversial which I disagree with:
    The assumption is that the energy input is apportioned according to the mass of the products. Since the ethanol is only a portion of the total mass of the products including waste, all the external energy input is not assigned to the ethanol product. The rational is that the waste can be burned or processed to also produce energy or something else which is a highly questionable assumption. Those who claim there is a net loss require that all the external energy input is assigned to the ethanol. This kind of economics would bankrupt any real company. The EPA realizes this, ergo ethanol from corn is not highly valued versus ethanol from sugar cane. What wisdom one of my elders had without a Phd degree!!
    Of course the only way to resolve the issue is to remove all subsidies and let the market decide. The pro ethanol folks know that ethanol cannot survive this test.

    Re correction on subsidies for oil, the depletion allowance mentioned is allowed for all such activities such as mining where the property purchased or leased looses value as the assets are depleted. That is in the tax code, not a subsidy. This is normal business practice. There is one major exception to this, large oil companies are denied this deletion allowance while small oil exploration companies are still allowed this allowance.
    Another citem claimed in the subsidies to “big oil”is the home heating oil subsidies given to the “poor”.
    No rational person would claim that this is an oil subsidy, but then it reveals the lack of real subsidies to cite.
    The other subsidies included in the outrageous claims are actual drilling expenses, etc that applies to all businesses.

  253. A. Scott says:

    GregO says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm
    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    “I started working on detailed responses to the several people with legitimate honest questions…”

    Lots of interesting and detailed discussion of Ethanol since my original question for you: “Can you make a cogent argument for public funding of Ethanol development?”

    I had previously and perhaps tersely compared it to funding for my small manufacturing company; why is Ethanol development funded and I can’t even get an SBA loan? Perhaps a bad analogy.

    Here’s some food for thought – if public funding of Ethanol development is a good idea, then why does our current government dither on approving the Keystone pipeline if the argument for public funding of Ethanol is to assure domestic energy supply. Canada seems like a good bet to me.

    Maybe another bad comparison – I’m reaching for an answer to my original question and I take it that the original motivation for this thread is noting that public funding for Ethanol production is being curtailed by the ending of the farm subsidy for Ethanol. Why was it ever subsidized? I’m sure our elected representatives had something in mind and citing “pork-barrel politics” will not answer the question even if it had something to do with it. Somewhere, somehow, at sometime in the public sphere, subsidies seemed like a good idea, with some goal in mind, to somehow cure some (terrible) ill. What made funding ethanol production with public funds a good idea – despite how it has or has not worked out. Just exactly what problem were we trying to solve?

    As far as WUWT as a blog, I read on another blog here recently where WUWT was referred to as the “Wolfpack at WUWT”. I cracked up. Really – the Wolfpack? How funny.

    Relax. It’s just a fun blog. I have learned a lot here, learned a lot from your original post, and have learned a lot from these comments.

    Have fun, and I look forward to your answer.

    Greg – While the “Wolfpack” here can be exceeding critical when it comes to AGW – its is largely based on examining the science. When it comes to this topic some people become ignorant snobs and worse, just plain silly fools – ignoring all science, making up ridiculous claims out of thin air and attacking those they disagree with personally. That is a significant difference. They simply do not care about the science – they have made up their minds.

    To answer your question suggest you read the Wiki entry for Brazilian Ethanol – it shows very well the effort required to build and grow a fledgling product into a sustainable fuel source – which they have succeeded at – although taking 40 years to do so.

    Ethanol here needs the same early support. It first needs users – hence the flex fuel vehicles and the subsequent mandate on use. It needs production – both feed stock and processing, hence support for planting and processing plants. Perhaps the most important issue is it needs availability – distribution. Which is perfectly proven by the comment I made above showing that the impact on reducing gas prices was highest in the areas (Minnesota) with the best developed distribution and availability

    Subsidies have accomplished exactly what they intended – support to grow the industry to sufficient mass and momentum that it is sustainable. Exactly as has occurred in Brazil.

    Everyone assumed the subsidies would be phased out. Which is what should happen – emphasis on phased out. There should have been specific goals established by region – production and distribution goals – that when met trigger ending of subsidies. Even supporters of the bill realized this and wanted funds preserved to build out distribution in areas not already served.

    I am in Minnesota – one of the most built out regions – and one benefiting best from ethanol. Yet I still only find E85 at isolated stations, a small fraction of all stations in the area. I would use more E85 – I actually go out of my way to buy it because I save money when I do – if there were more availability. Most areas of country have almost no distribution – and in those there is little benefit to costs and as such people do not use it. .

  254. Camburn says:

    Ok….let’s get real for a change about Ethanol:
    1. We grow the corn, this creates economic activeity in the USA
    2. We sell distillers grain, which is a by product of making ethanol. The distillers grain is a very high value feed for livestock, dairy, etc.
    3. WE don’t need to “protect” anything when produceing ethanol. Home grown.
    4. The benifit of ethanol is lower gasoline prices.

    This is just a few named items. Please research the topic before you think it is so bad.

  255. CommonSenseBill says:

    Lets make this real simple for the people who want Ethanol in their gas tanks. When the alcohol evaporates and leaves water behind, guess what? Water causes corrosion in the fuel systems. Water in the fuel system also has a bad habit of freezing. Fuel systems will need to be built of stainless or similar alloys. Try getting fuel to your engine with frozen fuel lines. Older model vehicles will have corrosion problems and not run properly, gee that makes dirty air hmm? None of the motorcyles in production now are built to run on E85. Motorcycles are the most fuel efficent transport we have. So are you supporters of E85 driving new vehicles? No? Well your screwed too. Not everyone can run out and buy a new/newer vehicle.

    Pull your heads out of sand before its too late. When vehicles are leaking fuel in your garage because of corroded fuel tanks/fuel lines. You can warm your family as the house burns down.

  256. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm
    Hotrod, do you understand the relationship that involves the engine control unit (computer), ignition timing, fuel / air mixture, knock sensor, and other sensors in an automobile engine?

    You have called in all the reinforcing trolls here as you have done in the past elsewhere. Seen it before, same game, different thread.

    More of your ignorance and unsupported mindless, attack.

    You have just pointed out all the reasons vehicles with engine management systems onboard are largely unaffected – and even helped – when using ethanol fuels. Just as the system adjusts for higher altitude when you drive into the mountains it also adjusts for and takes advantage of the higher octane in ethanol fuels.

    You should learn the first rule of holes … when in one, stop digging.

  257. A. Scott says:

    philincalifornia says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm
    Regarding ethanol, there have been numerous studies from reputable scientists, institutions and agencies, that clearly show the net energy balance of ethanol production is positive.
    ================================================

    I am so pi$$ed off about this. I know somewhere on my computer is a single and wonderful powerpoint slide with all the studies (about 10 or 15 of them) showing exactly what you say, and temporally this shows huge improvements. Hopefully I’ll find it soon, especially as it shows the Pimentel work to be the clownish crap that it is.

    This science (biofuels/chemicals) is not an exercise in English language usage to which the CAGW science/propaganda has degenerated (or always was). Here, there are people on the ground doing experiments, screwing up, acknowledging screw-ups and tossing that data in the garbage but conversely, making discoveries that advance percentage yields of fermentation and feedstock technology on a daily basis. If you think you knew something 2 years ago, forget it, you’re three or four years out of date, because what people in the field know now will probably not make a press release or published patent application until then.

    This field is rocking right now, in this economic environment too. It’s like the early eighties, when big Pharma was telling biotechnology companies they couldn’t afford the plumbing and, of course, now big Pharma does its research by buying companies with marginal plumbing capabilities.

    I suspect you’re thinking of this graph or similar:

    http://www.pacificethanol.net/site/_images/media_photos/energy_balance_chart.gif

    And yes the rest of your comments are largely correct … big gains are being made

  258. A. Scott says:

    Smokey says:
    December 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm
    A. Scott says:

    “I just paid $2.52 for E85 with E10 priced at $3.35, a 25% discount vs a 20% or less drop in mileage.”

    I suspect that is due to the heavy ethanol subsidies.

    No its not. As the study I posted above showed it is because of the overall downward price pressure ethanol puts on gasoline the more it is used and competes. If it was solely the subsidies then you would see a similar price benefit across the country – commensurate with/matching the subsidies. You do not. What you do see is the more available and used ethanol is in an area the bigger price reduction – in Minnesota equaling $1.37 while on the East cost with minimal availability a small fraction of that.

    The study shows the clear direct benefit of subsidizing build out of production and delivery infrastructure – that there is a direct payback. Brazil’s experience – which all the naysayers want to ignore – shows ethanol to be a sustainable valuable part of their energy programs. But also that it took considerable years and support to reach sustainable mass.

    Without that support there would be likely be no or minimal ethanol industry there today.

  259. eyesonu says:

    @ A Scott.

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm
    =======
    My response:
    That 20% drop you are experiencing is likely an average w/ ethanol. I believe that one of the primary factors will prove to be a combination of the knock sensor and the ECU (computer). It works like this (simplified version). The knock sensor picks up a ping or knock from the engine and sends a signal to the ECU. The ECU in turn adjusts the ignition timing in a retarded direction (less timing advance) while at the same time enriches the fuel / air mixture to eliminate the ping / knock coming from the combustion chamber.

    Timing and fuel / air mixture ratio is critical with regards to any gasoline internal combustion engine. There is much more to it but you can’t get by this.

    Some of the arguments that have been presented here today will not hold water when anyone driving an automobile prior to ethanol being mandated can easily see for themselves.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm
    ======
    My response:
    Why did you write this only 8 minutes prior to posting the above that I reponded to? Are you having communication issues? I could speculate but I wont.

  260. A. Scott says:

    To clarify to Smokey – it is not entirely or directly the subsidy being seen. I am certain we will see an effect on prices with ending the subsidy – they will go up – but overall there will still be a significant downward pressure on gas prices due to ethanol – which will continue to be magnified in areas with higher ethanol availability.

  261. A. Scott says:

    BTW – if any of those industry people that are supposedly behind us alleged trolls are out there – feel free to look me up – I’d be happy to get paid. Since I get accused of it every time I try to express my personal, educated opinions might as well collect on it ….

    ;-)

  262. cwj says:

    Smokey @ 1:46: “Society does not need a corn ethanol subsidy. Nor does society need a corn ethanol mandate. Do you disagree with Congress eliminating the subsidy?”

    Society does not need a corn ethanol subsidy, Society also does not need an oil depletion allowance, or any subsidy of any industry out of the research stage. The ethanol mandate (it is not restricted to corn ethanol) is an air quality decision that is within the province of Congress to decide. The mandate though is not limited to ethanol. MDPE (??) is also allowed, though Congress in it’s “infinite” wisdom has chosen not to provide liability limits for the groundwater contamination caused by MDPE(??) so the industry has restricted itself to ethonol considering the liability risks.

    And Congress did not eliminate the blender’s credit so much as allowed it to expire. The ethanol industry does not need that advantage to continue on a profitable basis. The oil industry also does not need the depletion allowance to continue. It is not the lack of a tax advantage that is restraining domestic oil production, or rare earths, or any other mined resource.

  263. philincalifornia says:

    a jones says:
    December 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm
    As I have observed before on this blog.

    Whomsoever can turn cellulosic byproduct economically into fuel or food or plastics will indeed deserve the vast fortune they will make thereby.

    This is not my original observation or words, it dates back to at least the 1920′s if not before.

    And we are no further forward today.
    =================================================
    I’m sorry a jones but, respectfully, that last sentence is a completely erroneous statement.

    The science of converting cellulosic waste to the above products is orders of magnitude further forward. You may not see it in the lay press, because it is proprietary. You could probably school up (to some extent) by visiting the USPTO website and searching the patent application database with the keywords of your choice. Of course, anything you find will have been superseded by 18 months, at least.

    As Anthony’s link (to Gevo) describes, the limiting step is the infrastructure development, which is where we find ourselves right now, in a bad economy.

  264. Hotrod, do you understand the relationship that involves the engine control unit (computer), ignition timing, fuel / air mixture, knock sensor, and other sensors in an automobile engine?

    Ummm yes, I’ve built two full E85 conversions and run 3 different cars on E85 fuel blends. I also wrote several FAQ’s on E85 for those who want to do the same, and have assisted a few hundred people (at a minium) understand what is involved in tuning an engine to use E85 successfully.

    You want to follow that opening query up with a legitimate adult question and perhaps I can help you understand how engine management systems work too!

    Larry

  265. Steve from Rockwood says:

    I just lit my peanut butter sandwich on fire.

  266. Smokey says:

    Regarding government subsidies, A. Scott says: “Without that support there would be likely be no or minimal ethanol industry there today.” That is because the market has little use for ethanol in gasoline. You could spend $100K on an econ education and never learn the following:

    1. Government is force

    
2. Good ideas do not have to be forced on others

    
3. Bad ideas should not be forced on others

    
4. The free market is necessary for the difference between good ideas and bad ideas to be revealed

    If adding ethanol to gasoline was a good idea, there would be no need for government subsidies – which primarily only benefit special interests, at the expense of the rest of us.

  267. eyesonu says:

    @ Hotrod, A.Scott just shot you and others out of the water with a 20% drop in mpg in his experience with ethanol( A. Scott says: December 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm)
    His experience is similar to the rest of us. I’m not sure where your experience comes from. Wait, let me guess …..

    If I should decide that I don’t have anything better to do, maybe I will locate some of your posts / comments from the past and present them to you. Would you like that? Would you then retire ‘hotrod larry’?

    Wait, it seems that A.Scott is slipping. You better get back here ASAP. He may have made a truthful comment!

  268. Catcracking says:

    For those who still believe that an abundance of cellulosic ethanol can be commercially produced, below is one of many disappointments for those who believed that spending $$$ will result in the commercial viability of a fuel for which technology did not exist. The hopes for a miracle fuel, pushed by congress and the administration, was the foolish basis for mandating cellulosic ethanol. This is the reason that private investors are scared off, they have been burned!
    This is the direct result of a government policy to push and subsidize commercialization before the fundamental pilot plant research is completed.
    http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2011/12/03/a-cellulosic-ethanol-disappointment/
    “The plug has been pulled on a Georgia plant that was to make ethanol from wood chips, creating another issue of government subsidies for biofuels and also enlarging the question of the future of non-corn ethanol.
    Range Fuels in Soperton, Ga., received $156 million in federal grants during the George W. Bush administration. The facility, also backed by wealthy California environmentalist venture capitalist Vinod Khlosa, was closed on Friday.
    The facility defaulted on the government loan and had failed to produce any fuels.
    Range Fuels received combined grants from the Departments of Energy and Agriculture late in the Bush administration as part of an effort to find new sources of ethanol other than corn.”

  269. Smokey says:

    cwj @7:06 pm,

    You’re thinking of MTBE.

  270. GregO says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks for your carefully considered answer. I have learned a lot today about a subject I was only marginally aware of. In the old days (ha ha) I would read all this in magazines or other print media – nowadays it’s all internet and digital media. I can assure you I tune out as much noise as I can.

    A real problem seems to be distribution as you point out. This is interesting in that any alternative to the energy infrastructure we have will face this problem…even if a product is desired in a market, how to deliver the product to customers is an important element. Also product design of vehicles to work well with the new fuel has to be considered.

    So for the sake of argument, (and I am no authority on this subject), let’s just say that the public investment has had a payoff in the development of corn ethanol as a viable fuel stock.

    As a consumer interested in purchasing this product, and considering the distribution problem you have noted, what do you suggest be done at this time?

  271. Kum Dollison says:

    E10 has been used extensively (mandated in Mn) for many years. I have Never heard of ethanol “Evaporating out.” In fact, your fuel systems are designed in such a way as to make this, basically, impossible.

    I don’t know anything about “Climate Science.” But, I sure hope you folks that expound so authoritatively about it know more about it than you do biofuels, Wind, and Solar (which you, also, expound authoritatively, and incorrectly about.. Because, if you don’t, the Warmists might be right.

    I’m, honestly, starting to get a bit worried about that.

  272. philincalifornia says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm
    philincalifornia says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm
    Regarding ethanol, there have been numerous studies from reputable scientists, institutions and agencies, that clearly show the net energy balance of ethanol production is positive.
    ================================================
    I suspect you’re thinking of this graph or similar:

    http://www.pacificethanol.net/site/_images/media_photos/energy_balance_chart.gif

    And yes the rest of your comments are largely correct … big gains are being made
    ————————-

    Yeah, that’s the slide thanks, although I think I may have picked up one that went through 2009/2010 at some recent conferences.

    i know the rest of my comments are a bit beyond largely correct. I’m living in it.

    Glad you came back

  273. cwj says:

    MarkW @2:40: “In your opinion, everytime someone pays less than 100% of their income to the govt in taxes, they are being subsidized?”

    I favor the elimination of all corporate taxes. In the meantime, no industry should get a tax advantage not available to any other industry. The oil industry gets a depletion allowance that is available only to the extracting industries that exceeds their capital costs. The depletion allowance is not a major factor in the development or lack thereof of the fossil fuels in the US.

    For the record, one of the few stocks I directly own is an oil and gas stock, I have no interest in any ethanol company though I suspect one or another mutual fund I invest in has investments in both. I have also advised a municipal client to not provide tax advantages to an ethanol producer. I find your visceral hatred of the ethanol industry to be disturbing and lacking in facts and analysis. I find the critics of most renewable energy sources to be similarly lacking in analysis, ignoring how the Coal and natural gas plants of Texas proved their reliability last winter.

  274. Pat Moffitt says:

    A. Scott says,
    “If you think you knew something 2 years ago, forget it, you’re three or four years out of date, because what people in the field know now will probably not make a press release or published patent application until then.This field is rocking right now, in this economic environment too.”

    Well then somebody better tell EPA because the new nitrogen limitations (TMDLs) they are trotting out are going to exact phenomenal costs related to removing the nitrogen released into aquatic environments from corn growing. The recent Chesapeake TMDLS for nitrogen are just the first – and will cost MD about $10bn to remove 10M lbs of N. Their proposed 45% N reduction for the Mississippi River basin will make corn ethanol production prohibitive when one understands that 1.5lbs of nitrogen is needed to produce a bushel of corn. Say 30% runoff or 0.5lbs N to the river. Now add in costs as high as tens of thousands of dollars to remove a single pound of nitrogen.
    Looks like a short opportunity to me.

  275. cwj says:

    Smokey @7:06: “You’re thinking of MTBE.”

    Yes. Attribute to either senility or Merlot.

  276. eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    @ Hotrod, A.Scott just shot you and others out of the water with a 20% drop in mpg in his experience with ethanol( A. Scott says: December 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm)
    His experience is similar to the rest of us.

    I use E85 at least 75% of the time in a 2003 Tahoe. I record the majority of purchases. My mileage has never dropped more 20%, usually less.

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    One point that is missing from the argument with the ethanol advocates is thus.

    Use of E10 will give a mpg of 10 – 35% less mpg (depending on the engine). For the sake of this argument let’s use only a 10% reduction in mpg overall.

    ———————————————–
    It helps communication substantially if you actually read the posts before you comment. These comments are referring to two entirely different fuels.

    E10 (10% ethanol in gasoline) suffers a typical mpg loss in modern cars of 1.5% to 4% as documented by the Department of Energy. A. Scott is talking about a Detroit FFV which we all agree sucks as a flexable fuel vehicle and he points out that in his experience he has never seen lower than a 20% decrease in fuel mileage when switching from gasoline to E85 (70%-85% ethanol in gasoline).

    I was talking about (peak fuel mileage while driving for economy) of 92% of long term gasoline fuel mileage running E85 in a home conversion properly tuned for E85 (not the close enough it runs conversions Detroit turns out).

    You are mixing apples and oranges, so please be consistent, or at least qualify your statements so they are at least referring to a specific fuel blend. Otherwise you are just wasting bandwidth.

    Larry

  277. mikelorrey says:

    Those disputing my original comments at the top: I got this information directly from a fellow who owns an algae biodiesel farm in Louisiana who is a business partner of mine in another venture. The “burning up the topsoil in our gas tanks” is a direct quote from him. He recognises the realities of the biofuel business, which parts are scams. He got out of corn ethanol for this reason and went into the algae biodiesel, even tho it would be easier to make a buck given all the subsidies for corn ethanol, cause unlike some, he has principles. And yes, I was talking about the end to end costs to produce a gallon of ethanol, it DOES take a gallon of oil to produce and the ethanol has a LOWER BTU CONTENT. Ethanol scammers remind me of free energy fools who keep thinking up ‘new’ ways to photosynthesize water to get out more energy than they put in.

  278. Carl Brannen says:

    A. Scott wrote: “As the study I posted above showed it is because of the overall downward price pressure ethanol puts on gasoline the more it is used and competes. If it was solely the subsidies then you would see a similar price benefit across the country – commensurate with/matching the subsidies. You do not. What you do see is the more available and used ethanol is in an area the bigger price reduction – in Minnesota equaling $1.37 while on the East cost with minimal availability a small fraction of that.”

    I think I can add some information on this. It’s been some years and I may be hazy on the details, especially recently, but the big problem is that it is extremely expensive to ship ethanol. It’s considered a hazardous chemical (fire) by the railroads and consequently you can’t get them to ship it as “unit” trains, i.e. those very long 100+ trains with all the cars identical. You have to pay a hazard premium and it’s hard to get enough rail cars.

    A solution is to send ethanol down the petroleum pipelines, but those pipelines typically have been placed in relation to how petroleum moves around the country. And the amount of ethanol produced is so much smaller than gasoline that you can’t devote a pipeline to ethanol only. Finally, the mixing typically happens at local areas (rather than at the distillation locations) so it’s not so easy to pipe it around. Hence different parts of the country have very different experiences in ethanol pricing and availability.

    The industry expects that eventually the corn ethanol plants will convert to run on a cellulose process. The conversion is not difficult; basically you need to convert cellulose to sugar (a regular plant converts starch to sugar). As far as infrastructure goes, this is a change to the front end of the process. You still use the same fermentation and distillation facility but the distiller’s grains changes.

    The reason cellulose processes are not currently profitable is the cost of the enzymes. The enzyme that converts starch to sugar is cheap. The primary product of the enzyme industry is the stuff that whitens your clothes in laundry soap, (I was told this by an enzyme sales rep), and they expect that in the long run, the price of the enzyme used for cellulosic ethanol will drop to the same cheap price of the laundry enzyme. At that time cellulosic ethanol will become quite common and some of the corn plants will convert over. It’s supposed to be in the next few years.

    For a celluose plant, the most important thing is arranging for a feedstock whose characteristic does not change with time. In industrial chemical processes, profitability comes from low waste which comes partly from stability.

    One of the hopes of the biofuels industry is to use algae to make biodiesel. This process has a huge theoretical fuel production per acre per year but has not yet been commercialized. Recently, I was unaware of any place you could buy biodiesel made from algae even at the single gallon level. But if this does happen, then eventually you’d expect the US vehicle fleet to shift from gasoline/ethanol to diesel/biodiesel.

    In the event of such a shift (which would take decades), it’s interesting to note that the production of biodiesel from a vegetable or animal oil (such as the oil from algae or corn oil), requires about 10% alcohol by volume. In the US today, they use methanol for tax /subsidy reasons, but ethanol works as well. So in the long run, having 10 to 20% of our fuel needs met by ethanol from corn is unlikely to be a complete boondoggle. The plants will run on corn until the enzyme costs bring celluose into competition, and even a transition to biodiesel will leave the industry with a guaranteed consumption.

  279. Physics Major says:

    I’ll believe that corn ethanol is viable when farmers use nothing but ethanol in their machinery and ethanol stills use ethanol to fuel their entire plant.

  280. cwj says:

    CommonSenseBill @6:32: “When vehicles are leaking fuel in your garage because of corroded fuel tanks/fuel lines. You can warm your family as the house burns down.”

    Since I returned to Iowa from California in 1981, I have owned approximately 15 cars and have used ethanol the whole time. Of those, the only car I have had that had a fuel system problem was the Ford Granada I brought back from California. It needed three quick successive fuel filter replacements as the ethanol cleaned out the gunk from the previous non-ethanol gas. After that there were no fuel system problems. It eventually succumbed to a transmission problem. My autos all have gone over 200,000 miles, except for the one that was the victim of a suicide deer, and one I traded in to get a better financial deal after the trade in. Your assertion of corrosion problems does not ring true.

  281. cwj says:

    CommonSenseBill @ 6:32: “Lets make this real simple for the people who want Ethanol in their gas tanks. When the alcohol evaporates and leaves water behind, guess what? Water causes corrosion in the fuel systems. Water in the fuel system also has a bad habit of freezing”

    Lived in Iowa since 1981. Used ethanol mix the entire time. Gets Cold, Frequently below -20 F. Never had a gasoline line freeze.

  282. MSO says:

    Kum Dollison @ 12/28/2012 – 2:59 Says:

    “And, you have, whether you realize it or not, witnessed an unholy alliance of some “greenie” outfits, and their financiers, the oil companies. None of this is as simple as it might appear.”

    It is much simpler than it appears. Big Oil, Big Business, Big Ag, Big Ethanol, etc. are merely bidders at the auctions held by Big Government. Stop the auctions and the bidders go away.

  283. Carl Brannen says:

    Catcracking wrote: “For those who still believe that an abundance of cellulosic ethanol can be commercially produced, below is one of many disappointments for those who believed that spending $$$ will result in the commercial viability of a fuel for which technology did not exist. The hopes for a miracle fuel, pushed by congress and the administration, was the foolish basis for mandating cellulosic ethanol. This is the reason that private investors are scared off, they have been burned! This is the direct result of a government policy to push and subsidize commercialization before the fundamental pilot plant research is completed.”

    I think you are exactly correct about this, and I thought I’d add some technical comments.

    The plant’s problem apparently was that they were producing methanol instead of ethanol. This makes me wonder what kind of process they were using. The natural cellulose to ethanol process is to convert the celluose to sugar. From there yeast acts on sugar to produce ethanol, not methanol. So this particular screw-up does not apply to the industry as a whole.

    The fact that the government is heavily subsidizing this stuff is the real problem. Wood chips are a nice cheap homogenous feedstock for an ethanol plant. In addition wood chips are cheap and ethanol is expensive so getting this process to work is an attractive proposition. The industry would pursue this in the total absence of government intervention or subsidies. But when the government gets involved you’re going to attract a certain amount of BS.

    The big chemical companies like Dupont, Dow, and the petroleum companies are not generally going to get involved in bad ideas. But for an investor, these are not attractive targets as they have many other (chemical) products. People who are looking for a “pure bio fuel” play are getting burned because the companies they are investing in are largely intended to sell fools instead of fuels. Regardless of this, the technology continues.

    By the way, no one will invest in a biofuel plant before the technology has been proven, so I wonder what exactly happened in this case. One wonders if there was outright fraud involved. You certainly have a situation where there is a large incentive to report exaggerated results.

    And on the other hand, it’s sad that the government hasn’t allowed methanol as well as ethanol in fuels. As far as I know, there’s no significant difference in them in terms of their engine effects.

    Finally, I should mention that one of the interesting properties of biodiesel is that it dissolves rubber at an amazing rate. When you visit an amateur biodiesel plant you will see a lot of leaks because of this. I can imagine that the stuff does the same thing in a lot of older cars.

  284. u.k.(us) says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    “Ethanol here needs the same early support. It first needs users – hence the flex fuel vehicles and the subsequent mandate on use.”………….
    ===========
    Why.
    What catastrophe will it avert ?
    Can you give a cost/ benefit ratio for the next 20 years ?

    If I’m not mistaken, its mandate was given to avoid catastrophe ?
    It would reduce CO2 emissions by how much ?

  285. philincalifornia says:

    Pat Moffitt says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm
    A. Scott says,
    “If you think you knew something 2 years ago, forget it, you’re three or four years out of date, because what people in the field know now will probably not make a press release or published patent application until then.This field is rocking right now, in this economic environment too.”
    ===================

    Pat, that was me who said that.

    Anything I said is regarding processes that are nitrogen neutral.

    Carbon dioxide plus water plus sunlight gives carbon dioxide plus water plus heat is the commonly used equation. Nitrogen, sulfur and the like stay terrestrial and catalytic.

  286. GregO says:

    Carl Brannen says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for further practical insights into biofuels and their distribution. Definitely food for thought.

  287. Catcracking says:

    cwj says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    “Society does not need a corn ethanol subsidy, Society also does not need an oil depletion allowance, or any subsidy of any industry out of the research stage.”
    One needs to stop believing the Pelosi’s and the ethanol advocates on oil subsidies.
    read the following:
    “In 1975, the Depletion Allowance was limited to small producers who do not
    operate a refinery …. That was intended to stop the ‘tax break
    for the rich.”
    And for those who do not understand why there is a depletion allowance in the tax code:
    http://www.mineralweb.com/owners-guide/leased-and-producing/royalty-taxes/depletion-allowance/
    “Depletion is the using up of a natural resource by mining, quarrying, drilling, or felling. Depletion allowance, then, is the allowance available through the IRS code allowing an owner to account for the reduction (production) of reserves as a product is produced and sold. For purposes of this article, the depletion allowance we are concerned with is the depletion allowance associated with the production of oil and/or gas. The depletion allowance, like depreciation, is a form of cost recovery for capital investments. There are two ways of calculating depletion allowance: cost depletion and percentage depletion. Oil and gas royalty owners have the availability of using either, yet for mineral properties you must generally use the method that gives you the larger deduction”

    Any other Pelosi “oil subsidies” need clarification?

  288. johanna says:

    The arguments above about energy inputs for the production of ethanol are a theological, rather than practical dispute. Ethanol is a manufactured product which is used for various purposes. As the poster way above who is actually in the business pointed out, the only thing that matters is whether it can be produced profitably.

    Energy is not the only input to ethanol production, and looking at it in isolation makes no sense. It requires land, equipment, labour etc as well. In the case of fuel ethanol, the only relevant question is whether it can be produced at a price that is competitive with other fuels, on a level playing field.

    We do not judge other manufactured products using the energy inputs alone because it is meaningless. How would batteries rate? Since most things we use do not output any energy at all, should we stop making them? It is just silly. It comes down to what we are prepared to pay for them versus the market price, full stop.

    Incidentally, in the ethanol prices cited in the above discussions, it is not clear to me whether tax breaks for ethanol are included in comparisons with gasoline/petrol prices. I know that in many places gas is heavily taxed at consumer level, while ethanol is exempt. Does that apply in the US?

    Finally, we should all remember that unless ethanol blends are cheaper in real terms (no subsidies or tax breaks) than 100% gasoline, it is making gas more expensive. You need to buy more to get the same mileage, which is a price hike. This is yet another level of extraction from our wallets, which is why mandating is just as pernicious as subsidies. Subsidies at least have the virtue of being transparent ways of taking taxpayers’ money and giving it to special interest groups. Mandating is like watering down your liquor and charging the same for it.

  289. a jones says:

    philincalifornia says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm
    _____________________________

    I disagree with you Sir.

    The first patent I can find as to this is a British patent of 1895.

    There was spate of patents, some British some American in the 1930’s. Presumably they came to nothing.

    I rather miss the Womplex.

    However all the current patents or applications I know of in this respect. US, EU and Japanese, are of dubious validity since they essentially try to rewrite prior knowledge to make it appear new. Which it is not.

    It may be there are secret processes that can do this. I would not know. But if there are then none have become commercial to my knowledge. And if they were commercially viable we would know all about them.

    Kindest Regards

  290. Kum Dollison says:

    Mikelorrey, No One runs an ethanol refinery on Oil. No One. Most are powered by nat gas (in the future most will be powered by lignin, left over from the cellulosic process.)

    How can it require a gallon of oil to produce a gallon of ethanol when no one uses oil?

    If you’re thinking about the farming/harvesting of the corn, it takes approx. 4 1/2 gallons of diesel to farm, and harvest, an acre of corn (that produces 480 gallons of ethanol (actually, once you take the co-products, DDGS, and corn oil into consideration, it comes out to more like 800 gallons/acre.)

    Once you add in the transporting of the corn, and the shipping of the ethanol, you “might,” possibly get up to as high as 9, or maybe 10 gallons of diesel to produce that 800 gallons of ethanol.

    You just absolutely, positively have NO idea what you’re expounding on.

  291. CommonSenseBill says:

    CWJ, Hope you continue with your good luck. I get the impression you drive quite a few miles each year. Some owners do not. I did say water will cause problems in winter. Did you use E10 in your older vehicles. That 1981 had carburetor, surprised it ran well. My Vette did give me 18 mpg+ before E10. Now with E10 and enhanced summer fuel blends here in california, dont ask. Adding more ethanol and decreasing fuel mileage makes no sense to me.

  292. Carl Brannen says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    And on the other hand, it’s sad that the government hasn’t allowed methanol as well as ethanol in fuels. As far as I know, there’s no significant difference in them in terms of their engine effects.

    They tried that already. When high alcohol blends were first tested they tested both M-85 (85% methanol in gasoline) and E-85 (85% ethanol in gasoline).

    Power wise they are very similar, Methanol is however even more difficult to cold start than ethanol, so it was very problematic for consumer use in colder northern climates.

    It also has even higher fuel flow requirements that E85 so the volumetric fuel mileage is horrible.

    More importantly it is horrifically corrosive compared to ethanol. Tests show it is at least 10x more corrosive than ethanol. It also produces formic acid if it is not fully combusted (engine running rich when cold). Due to the higher fuel volumes needed total miles per tank was completely unacceptable, and the high fuel volume during cold start caused serious problems with cylinder wash down, and sludge build up in the oil if the engine did not get up to full operating temperature on a regular basis to cook the fuel and condensate out of the oil.

    Over all it was a very bad choice. Methanol will literally dissolve some light metals used in some cars such as magnesium and zinc and can aggressively attack aluminum. The corrosion problems were insurmountable, where E85 is much easier to deal with and fuel systems can easily be made tolerant of ethanol (it is actually less aggressive than some of the components in normal gasoline as far as some seal and gasket materials are concerned).

    It is for this reason that E85 with ethanol has very strict limits for methanol contamination and trace acid content (mostly sulfur compounds). Small amounts of methanol contamination in E85 greatly increases is potential for corrosion and can over whelm the required corrosion inhibitors it contains.

    Larry

  293. tom says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am
    Another bash ethanol thread – goody :rollseyes:

    Ethanol is a far cleaner fuel overall than oil – reducing emissions and GHG’s in virtually all meaningful areas.

    GREENHOUSE GASSES ARE NOT DIRTY!!! Co2 is NOT DIRTY. I could give a wit about “GHG” as they have very little to with what the climate/weather will ultimately do. This GHG charade sickens me.

  294. Kum Dollison says:

    The Range Fuels, Soperton plant was a much ballyhooed “Gasification” Project. Many folks, including myself, have been very skeptical about “Gasification” to produce ethanol, pretty much from the start. Khosla drummed up a lot of support, and the government, loving BIG projects with Big Payrolls, and Big Votes blew quite a bit of taxpayer money on that particular lash-up; but, that’s just government for you.

    BTW, most ethanol IS transported by “unit train.”

  295. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm
    @ Hotrod, A.Scott just shot you and others out of the water with a 20% drop in mpg in his experience with ethanol( A. Scott says: December 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm)
    His experience is similar to the rest of us. I’m not sure where your experience comes from. Wait, let me guess …..

    If I should decide that I don’t have anything better to do, maybe I will locate some of your posts / comments from the past and present them to you. Would you like that? Would you then retire ‘hotrod larry’?

    Wait, it seems that A.Scott is slipping. You better get back here ASAP. He may have made a truthful comment!

    More ignorant claptrap from you.

    I posted early in the thread the same information:

    A. Scott @ 2:42am:

    “Ethanol does get lower mileage than gas however it also costs less. E85 blend costs me $2.55 vs $3.35 for E10 blend – almost 25% less. My average fuel economy drops appx 15-18% in a 2003 Tahoe flex fuel vehicle – for a net overall saving in fuel with E85.”

    My later comment:

    “I just paid $2.52 for E85 with E10 priced at $3.35, a 25% discount vs a 20% or less drop in mileage.”

    I have never seen more than a 20% drop in fuel mileage – and usually see 15 – 18% – yet I pay 25% less at the pump – for a net fuel savings with E85 in my non-modified flex fuel vehicle. . Exactly in line with the science.

    Larry noted purpose built vehicles specifically adapted to maximum efficiency using ethanol – a big difference.

    You sir are simply a buffoon – making no meaningful, useful or intelligent contribution ot the discussion and purposely flitting about twisting others words to try and make some silly point otherwise unsupported by the facts. .

    [Mods - feel free to delete last - but I think it an accurate representation of this persons actions and contribution to the topic, bother here and in past]

  296. Justthinkin says:

    Kum Dollison….you keep mentioning this 2 Mbpd PRODUCTION of ethonol,but how much of that is being actually USED. I can produce 50 dozen cookies a day, but only use 10. Got a link to actual usage???.
    A. Scott…relax..as somebody said,this is a real PEER-Review site,not a pal-review. If you have the facts and truth,you have nothing to worry about.

  297. jorgekafkazar says:

    I did my first alternate fuels study in 1963. In 1969, I bought a small displacement Coventry-Climax engine with the intent of boosting the compression ratio to 14:1 and converting it to pure ethanol. Unless an engine is designed to use ethanol, it’s a wasteful substitute for gasoline. “Oil subsidies” are a greenie lie, just like “green jobs.” Depletion allowances are a carry-over from the minerals industry and are NOT subsidies. If a fuel has to be subsidized or mandated by government, it’s not a fuel, it’s a money-wasting fraud.

  298. A. Scott says:

    GregO says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm
    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks for your carefully considered answer. I have learned a lot today about a subject I was only marginally aware of. In the old days (ha ha) I would read all this in magazines or other print media – nowadays it’s all internet and digital media. I can assure you I tune out as much noise as I can.

    A real problem seems to be distribution as you point out. This is interesting in that any alternative to the energy infrastructure we have will face this problem…even if a product is desired in a market, how to deliver the product to customers is an important element. Also product design of vehicles to work well with the new fuel has to be considered.

    So for the sake of argument, (and I am no authority on this subject), let’s just say that the public investment has had a payoff in the development of corn ethanol as a viable fuel stock.

    As a consumer interested in purchasing this product, and considering the distribution problem you have noted, what do you suggest be done at this time?

    Follow the Brazil blueprint. They have given us a successful business plan and the road map.

    As noted above create an intelligent plan to phase out the subsidy – based on defined production and distribution goals by area. When an area meets goals – where ethanol is at least generally available (as with Minnesota) the credits phase out.

  299. Two other items with methanol, incomplete combustion produces formaldehyde in sufficient concentration to be a hazard, and methanol is highly toxic and is a skin absorbed poison as well as being absorbed at toxic levels through the lungs if vapor levels are high enough.

    Larry

  300. Carl M says:

    The Iranian navy is currently conducting exercises to practice closing the straits of Hormuz. Their leaders say that they will try to close it if sanctions are imposed to try to keep them from getting nuclear weapons. Doesn’t this remind anyone why we started down the biofuel path 30 years ago? But biofuels will never be the complete answer. We need to drill for gas and oil, conserve all we can, provide natural gas vehicles and infrastructure, and build the Keystone Pipeline.

    And did it escape everyone’s notice that GEVO is doing exactly what ethanol detractors say they want? They will be producing butanol, a common chemical feedstock, less expensively than it can be produced from oil. It does not have a subsidy, is not supported by RFS2, is compatible with current infrastructure, more energy dense than ethanol, and it won’t damage engines, even outboard motors. Isn’t that something we can all celebrate and applaud? And unlike what the article implies, this has been the course for GEVO for the last four years, and not some sudden switch in strategy.

  301. cwj says:

    Catcracking @ 8:17

    Show me that the value of the asset being depleted is reflected on the income statement and balance sheet. Show me where the asset, the pool of oil, is recognized in the accounting. If there is any depletion of an asset that has not been previously shown on the balance sheet having arrived there as income, said depletion amounts to a subsidy.

    If the value of the asset is recognized only as it is pulled from the ground, the entire value of the withdrawal should be taxed (less actual depreciation and production costs) anything less is a subsidy.

    If the value of the asset, the pool of oil underground, has been recognized as income previously and taxed as such, deplete away up to the recognized value of the asset there is no subsidy.

  302. If only there was a big, huge, ball of heat and light in the sky relatively near (like 93 million miles away) and you could harness some of the energy which that massive glowing orb gave off with panels of some kind and then all of the world’s energy problems would be solved. what a world that would be. . .

  303. william wallace says:

    Trying to prevent the destruction of the human race is pointless
    it simply the nature of humanity in bringing their own destruction.

    However coming in parallel to humanities destruction comes that
    of spiritual enlightenment // the two go together as CLEOPATRA
    & ANTHONY ROMEO & JULIET REPUBLICANS & CORRUPTION.

    Thus one should also see the funnier side unto humanity at times
    and allow ones self a smile a laugh // at just how dumb humans are.

    Spiritual enlightenment comes via meditation in turning the senses
    inward where such spiritual experience meditation brings / answers
    ones questions to life its purpose // leaving one with clearer clarity.

    I should make the point (given time) / in allowing the planet an time
    to renew as heal itself. Then human life will return as always having.

    If at presently one not prepared for a growth in spiritual experience
    as understanding // feeling at present there but no immediate need
    then that is OK / not a problem. However if it be one is inclined they
    should start the processs of Spiritual Enlightenment via meditation…
    then on internet search put (words of peace) on site a large selection
    of videos which Prem Rawat talks /explains meditation/ of one turning
    the senses inward in bringing a unfolding of the spiritual self. Not of /
    ideas. Not of beliefs or a heaven beyond the clouds / but having / via
    meditation very practical spiritual experience / answering all questions.

    I should point out that which one gaining in a life in spiritual experience
    & understanding is never lost such experience understanding is added
    to ones spiritual account. Each individual has a spiritual account that be
    carrried life unto life ( such spiritual account can’t be lost /cant be stolen
    but carried life unto life as unto life / on ones journey unto enlightenment.

    I should also point out No Money) involved in learning / starting meditation
    such totally free (note) humans do take to meditation as the duck to water.

    An human forms designed for meditation / meditation iits ultimate purpose.

    At first turning ones attention from the world // in turning the senses inward
    be a bit unusual ( one having lost the practice ). However it mends itself as
    ones focus on the inner experience continues to grow / unto enlightenment.

  304. Carl Brannen says:

    Physics Major wrote: “I’ll believe that corn ethanol is viable when farmers use nothing but ethanol in their machinery and ethanol stills use ethanol to fuel their entire plant.”

    (1) Farm equipment mostly uses diesel and runs fine on biodiesel but (at least when I was in this business) they sell their biodiesel and buy agricultural (i.e. red dyed) diesel in order to capture the subsidies. In the long run, I don’t doubt that farmers would use their own ethanol. In fact, a lot of them drive their passenger cars on E85. (2) The primary power requirement for an ethanol still consists of heat so the financially most advantageous way of making that heat is with the cheapest fuel in terms of BTUs per dollar. So they use natural gas. Hey, do you think that the petroleum plants heat their distillation columns with gasoline? Does that fact make you doubt that gasoline is viable? Of course they don’t use ethanol when there are cheaper fuels available. (3) The third major energy component used in making ethanol is electricity (for pumps, mostly). And it’s a lot cheaper to buy electricity than to make electricity from any vehicle fuel. This should be familiar to you. Do you think that the electricity in a petroleum plant comes from burning gasoline? Of course it doesn’t.

    You might as well argue that no farm is viable unless it makes its own barbed wire.

    johanna wrote: “Finally, we should all remember that unless ethanol blends are cheaper in real terms (no subsidies or tax breaks) than 100% gasoline, it is making gas more expensive.”

    While apparently very logical, this is not true. In fact, you know from experience that whenever fuels are removed from the market the price immediately escalates for other fuels. Remember what happened when gasoline production was reduced by Katrina? Yes, the price of gasoline immediately went up. But what you probably didn’t know is that the price of ethanol also went up. Why? Think about it, people who wanted to buy gasoline now had to buy ethanol because there wasn’t enough gasoline. So the ethanol price went up. Similarly, if the supply of ethanol decreases, the price of gasoline is forced to rise (all other things being equal).

  305. Physics Major says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I’ll believe that corn ethanol is viable when farmers use nothing but ethanol in their machinery and ethanol stills use ethanol to fuel their entire plant.

    That is exactly what happened until on farm fuel ethanol production was killed by prohibition.
    As a result of prohibition local production and sale of fuel ethanol disappeared and the oil industry became a monopoly in motor fuel distribution. It now has a 90 year head start on modern fuel ethanol with a completely built out infrastructure and a captive market of vehicles that no longer (like the early auto mobiles) could run on more than one fuel.

    Modern efforts to encourage fuel ethanol production, distribution and market (ie vehicles that can use either fuel) is simply a move to restore normal market competition that was artificially destroyed in the 1920’s.

    Larry

  306. johanna says:

    cwj says:
    December 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Catcracking @ 8:17

    Show me that the value of the asset being depleted is reflected on the income statement and balance sheet. Show me where the asset, the pool of oil, is recognized in the accounting. If there is any depletion of an asset that has not been previously shown on the balance sheet having arrived there as income, said depletion amounts to a subsidy.

    If the value of the asset is recognized only as it is pulled from the ground, the entire value of the withdrawal should be taxed (less actual depreciation and production costs) anything less is a subsidy.

    If the value of the asset, the pool of oil underground, has been recognized as income previously and taxed as such, deplete away up to the recognized value of the asset there is no subsidy.
    ————————————————————————
    You clearly have no idea of the difference between assets and income. A mineral or oil deposit is an asset, which (a) has a finite quantity of economically viable extraction potential and (b) requires significant capital investment to produce income. Once extraction begins, the infrastructure and the resource diminish in value very day – hence they are able to be depreciated in the tax code. It is exactly the same principle as is used in any other business that has assets that depreciate in value during the course of business.

    You will find that these assets do appear in the accounts of the businesses that own them, in the column marked ‘assets’. If the business is sold, that is a major component of what the buyer is paying for (along with forward sale contracts etc).

    These companies, like everyone else, pay tax on their income. Taxable income comprises gross income minus deductions. Do you think that companies would spend billions up front finding and establishing large mining and energy extraction projects knowing that they would not be able to depreciate their assets like every other business?

    carl brannen said:
    johanna wrote: “Finally, we should all remember that unless ethanol blends are cheaper in real terms (no subsidies or tax breaks) than 100% gasoline, it is making gas more expensive.”

    While apparently very logical, this is not true. In fact, you know from experience that whenever fuels are removed from the market the price immediately escalates for other fuels. Remember what happened when gasoline production was reduced by Katrina? Yes, the price of gasoline immediately went up. But what you probably didn’t know is that the price of ethanol also went up. Why? Think about it, people who wanted to buy gasoline now had to buy ethanol because there wasn’t enough gasoline. So the ethanol price went up. Similarly, if the supply of ethanol decreases, the price of gasoline is forced to rise (all other things being equal).
    ———————————————————————————–
    What a bizarre line of thinking. It is like saying that we should water down everyone’s whisky because it makes it go further. Ethanol is not a substitute for 100% gasoline, it is an artifically imposed dilutant. People do not have the option of switching to 100% ethanol if the price of other fuels go up. Arguing that blended products also rise in price during fuel shortages is irrelevant. Indeed, you shot yourself in the foot because you demonstrated that diluting gas with ethanol did nothing to cushion consumers from fuel shortages, which is supposedly one of the rationales for forcing it on us.

  307. A. Scott says:

    hotrod (larry L) says:
    December 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm
    Carl Brannen says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    And on the other hand, it’s sad that the government hasn’t allowed methanol as well as ethanol in fuels. As far as I know, there’s no significant difference in them in terms of their engine effects.

    They tried that already. When high alcohol blends were first tested they tested both M-85 (85% methanol in gasoline) and E-85 (85% ethanol in gasoline).

    To expound on Larrys comments about methanol – IndyCars ran on methanol for a number of years. They now run on ethanol.

    Positives are both are water soluble – which means fire fighting can be done with regular water, an important consideration in an IndyCar incident. Both are less combustable. Both however do burn with a transparent clear flame and are usually denatured with something like gasoline and an odorant to create a visible flame.

    Methanol is as noted highly corrosive – IndyCar engines had to be “pickled” – methanol drained and gasoline run thru them – when shut down to prevent corrosion. Ethanol is less corrosive.

    Ethanol and methanol are much slower burning as well.

  308. A. Scott says:

    bishopandwarlord says:
    December 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm
    If only there was a big, huge, ball of heat and light in the sky relatively near (like 93 million miles away) and you could harness some of the energy which that massive glowing orb gave off with panels of some kind and then all of the world’s energy problems would be solved. what a world that would be. . .

    Yep – wonderful idea – if only it were feasible. Despite covering vast areas with hugely ugly solar panels – with short life expectancy’s – and huge subsidies – solar has not made any appreciable dent in energy use. And as with wind solar requires on demand traditional back-up generation capacity for all those cloudy days – which basically means you pay twice to get one set of energy.

    Whereas ethanol can be produced over and over from the same lands – is available largely regardless of weather – reduces emissions and GHG’s and can be readily stored for future uae.

    Oh, and it is currently consistently replacing appx 10% of our overall domestic fuel consumption.

    It CAN and is also being shipped – both by rail and pipelines – contrary to old, now false beliefs.

    I think we should continue to work on what I call “personal” solar. Highly efficient, unobtrusive panels for homes, garages, car ports and commercial building roofs. I use nearly 100% solar water heating for example in Hawaii, and IF the cost was remotely reasonable AND there was a rational payback, would readily invest in solar.

  309. Larry in Texas says:

    I approve of what Congress did today. Regardless of the vigorous arguments both for and against ethanol, I do not believe the Federal government should be mandating its use nor should it be providing any kind of tax credits.

    I’m quite aware of the propaganda of the ethanol lobby over the years. They have not needed a tax credit for the development of ethanol, nor do they need a mandate. The fact is that ethanol does not have the energy density of gasoline, so of course they have to trick it up (E10) by blending it in with gasoline so that cars do not cost a person too much mileage. Of course, corn production has shot up, and corn product prices (especially in Texas, where ranchers have bitterly complained here of high feed prices) continue to remain high. Sorry A. Scott, but many of your facts are simply either incorrect or irrelevant. It’s not wise to use your food as fuel in the long run. If the market place finds it worthwhile, ethanol will ultimately become useful. Right now, if it needs mandates and subsidies, that to me smacks of relative uselessness.

    People, don’t force the love! It is never a good idea to force the love!

  310. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm
    Per the USDA site referenced regarding cotton:

    US acreage harvested
    year 2006 324K acres
    year 2007 288k acres
    year 2008 169k acres
    year 2009 138k acres
    year 2010 202k acres
    year 2011 288k acres

    Seems that much cotton cropland was converted to corn for ethanol beginning with the ethanol mandate. Shortage of cotton lead to increase prices. Writing on the wall regarding ethanol returning acreage back to cotton?

    Regards to an earlier comment by A. Scott that no cropland was being diverted to grow corn was of course bogus.

    Its always humorous watching people try to pontificate and pass judgement based on data they do not understand.

    These are the correct numbers for total cotton acres harvested in the US:

    2005 – 13,802,600 acres
    2006 – 12,731,500 acres
    2007 – 10,492,200 acres
    2008 – 7,568,700 acres
    2009 – 7,528,700 acres
    2010 – 10,706,700 acres
    2011 – 9,849,500 acres

    Seems your numbers were a wee bit off eyesonu ….

    Links:
    http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/nass/CropProdSu//2000s/2008/CropProdSu-01-11-2008.txt
    http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/nass/CropProdSu//2010s/2011/CropProdSu-01-12-2011_revision.txt

    More useful comparative numbers are acres planted:

    Corn acres planted:

    2011 – 92,282,000
    2010 – 88,192,000
    2009 – 86,382,000
    2008 – 85,982,000
    2007 – 93,600,000
    2006 – 78,327,000
    2005 – 81,779,000

    Vs Cotton acres planted:

    2011 – 13,725,000
    2010 – 10,973,200
    2009 – 9,148,500
    2008 – 9,471,000
    2007 – 10,830,200
    2006 – 15,274,000
    2005 – 14,245,400

    And total acres planted:

    2011 319,147,000
    2010 316,696,000
    2009 319,250,000
    2008 324,997,000
    2007 319,990,000
    2006 315,960,000
    2005 317,754,000

    Funny thing that eyesonu …. seems that while total acres planted is almost unchanged since 2007 that Corn acres planted – was down 1.4% from peak planted in 2007 while cotton planted is UP 27% from 2007

    A few LESS acres of corn planted in 2011 vs 2007 while 27% more cotton was planted. Corn was 28.92% of total acres planted in 2011 vs 29.25% in 2007 – corns share of total crop acres planted virtually unchanged from 2007

    So much for that claim of yours about corn displacing huge amounts of any crop let alone cotton …

  311. Blade says:

    (MODERATOR: I apologize for the blown BLOCKQUOTE tags in my previous comment!)

    jabre [December 28, 2011 at 7:22 am] says:

    “If you have some time read the Energy Independence act of 2007. In many ways it is shockingly good legislation with respect to renewable fuels.”

    Right. Legislation that attempts to reach into every home, even the bedrooms, to dictate light bulb selection. I thought you leftist drones were against government in the bedrooms! Oh, right, only when it suits your agenda and coincides with your green religious beliefs.

    “If we can do nothing else but redirect the $252 Billion of annual oil import dollars into the local economy it will significantly outweigh the relatively modest subsidy used to develop the industry necessary to support the transition.”

    You green nitwits just don’t get it (or perhaps you do ;-), attempting to redirect the $252 Billion of annual oil import dollars into the local economy means there will be no local economy. Never-mind the fact that your ilk first CAUSED the dependence on foreign oil in the first place by systematically attacking every facet of the energy supply chain, even locking down our own resources. Then you turn around and talk about dependence on foreign oil! This is like a murderer who kills the parents and criticizes the children for being orphans.

    To the normal intelligent people engaging in these energy debates, you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that you are no longer in a academic Scientific or Ecological argument. The enemy is green socialism, period. They are simply modern retreads of past historical luddites and diggers. The new twist is the green eco-nazi component (pioneered by such nutjobs as Paul Ehrlich) in an unholy cabal with modern political socialism. This is what makes them very dangerous to free people anywhere in the world.

    They are fully committed to their sick, pathetic religion. And they will never let up. Look at what the quoted commenter said (presumably with a straight face): redirect the $252 Billion of annual oil import dollars into the local economy. These people are fully prepared to destroy modern industrialized society and send us back into a fairy tale of neo-Agrarianism, and believe me, they are fully prepared to embrace the massive depopulation necessary to achieve this. It matters not that petroleum and its derivatives appear in every single thing we use in our modern, healthy, long lives. In fact, that is the actual point to their obsessive compulsive need to kill off petroleum.

    jabre [December 28, 2011 at 11:23 am] says:

    “Blade – take a valium. I am hardly a greenee. I used a Heritage Foundation reference and that’s what you call me? LOL You quoted me ‘shockingly good legislation with respect to renewable fuels’ then go on a tirade about light bulbs? Really, I agree with most of the comments. End the subsidies. But, make it a level playing field if you’re going to do it. Cut our defense spending in the middle east to zero and let the free market truly define our fuel choices. We’ll start to see Thorium get the attention it deserves. Coal will thrive. Once an alternative infrastructure is in place (regardless of what it is) the price of oil will be back to where it belongs at less than $28/barrel.”

    Heritage Foundation or not (and they are usually pretty good to be sure), stupid is as stupid does. You actually said “If you have some time read the Energy Independence act of 2007. In many ways it is shockingly good legislation with respect to renewable fuels.” and wonder what this has to do with light bulbs? For real? Read through this comment concerning the absolutely idiotic ‘Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007′. Government in our bedrooms, and bathrooms, and everywhere else. Whether or not it addresses biofuels does not mitigate the shockingly bad idea of allowing big brother in the home. If you give a crap about your country and the government that you leave to your kids and grandkids, this should not need to be explained.

    And no, I don’t take drugs. However, I do wonder about those people that try to paint a happy face on the nanny state.

  312. Myrrh says:

    Gail must be on hols – here’s a link she posted earlier on food speculation courtesy of Goldman Sachs:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/27/how_goldman_sachs_created_the_food_crisis?page=0,1

    “What was happening to the grain markets was not the result of “speculation” in the traditional sense of buying low and selling high. Today, along with the cumulative index, the Standard & Poors GSCI provides 219 distinct index “tickers,” so investors can boot up their Bloomberg system and bet on everything from palladium to soybean oil, biofuels to feeder cattle. But the boom in new speculative opportunities in global grain, edible oil, and livestock markets has created a vicious cycle. The more the price of food commodities increases, the more money pours into the sector, and the higher prices rise. Indeed, from 2003 to 2008, the volume of index fund speculation increased by 1,900 percent. “What we are experiencing is a demand shock coming from a new category of participant in the commodities futures markets,” hedge fund Michael Masters testified before Congress in the midst of the 2008 food crisis.

    The result of Wall Street’s venture into grain and feed and livestock has been a shock to the global food production and delivery system. Not only does the world’s food supply have to contend with constricted supply and increased demand for real grain, but investment bankers have engineered an artificial upward pull on the price of grain futures. The result: Imaginary wheat dominates the price of real wheat, as speculators (traditionally one-fifth of the market) now outnumber bona-fide hedgers four-to-one.

    Today, bankers and traders sit at the top of the food chain — the carnivores of the system, devouring everyone and everything below. Near the bottom toils the farmer. For him, the rising price of grain should have been a windfall, but speculation has also created spikes in everything the farmer must buy to grow his grain — from seed to fertilizer to diesel fuel. At the very bottom lies the consumer. The average American, who spends roughly 8 to 12 percent of her weekly paycheck on food, did not immediately feel the crunch of rising costs. But for the roughly 2-billion people across the world who spend more than 50 percent of their income on food, the effects have been staggering: 250 million people joined the ranks of the hungry in 2008, bringing the total of the world’s “food insecure” to a peak of 1 billion — a number never seen before.”

  313. A. Scott says:

    Not only does eyesonu get the numbers grossly wrong he makes wild accusations unsupported as usual by any facts – that “…much cotton cropland was converted to corn for ethanol beginning with the ethanol mandate”

    Yep ….that claim fails as well.

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 placed the first modest requirements on ethanol use – requiring a modest 4.0 billion gallons in 2006, 4.7 in 2007, 5.4 in 2008 gradually increasing to 7.5 in 2012.

    The result – as the above corn planted numbers show acres planted dropped 4.2% in 2006 – the first year of the program.

    In 2007 the program was modified to increase the mandated amounts effective 2008 – the response in 2008 to increased ethanol mandate? Yep 8.14% LESS corn acres planted.

    Another epic fail for eyesonu … in both cases corn acres planted dropped substantially in the years the mandates went into effect – can’t very well take cotton land for ethanol when corn acreage planted decreased in the years of the mandates

  314. enneagram says:

    At $1.50 a gallon, ethanol competes with gasoline without a subsidy when oil costs $70 a barrel or more..
    http://www.energyfuturecoalition.org/biofuels/fact_ethanol.htm

    When buying a fuel “blend” ask for a discount!

  315. MarkW says:

    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm
    Well, that’s just it, Mark. The Subsidy is going away in 3 days, now.

    The subsidies are, but the mandates aren’t.

    Regardless, if your claims regarding ethanol had any basis in reality, then ethanol should easily survive on it’s own, without subsidies or mandates. So why do you demand both?

  316. MarkW says:

    The collision rate for NGV fleet vehicles was 31% lower than the rate for gasoline fleet vehicles

    NG cars get into fewer accidents, so they are safer?

    Geeze? Is that what passes for analysis these days?

  317. MarkW says:

    The oil industry gets a depletion allowance that is available only to the extracting industries that exceeds their capital costs.

    The depletion allowance is the equivalent to depreciation that all industries get.

  318. Catcracking says:

    The oil depletion allowance was terminated in the 70’s for major oil companies that drill and refine.
    Drilling only companies still enjoy oil depletion allowance.
    The claim that the big integrated companies enjoy oil depletion is a lie perpetuated by the Pelosi’s of the world since they know better!!

  319. Rod Everson says:

    Which provides the greatest benefit, a) an unregulated market, or b) a regulated market?

    Until our educational system improves to the point that the majority of high school seniors can confidently state that the answer in nearly all cases is “a,” and understand the reasons why, we will continue along our present path of reducing, sometimes severely, the free market’s amazing benefits to mankind.

    Nearly every market is, of course, regulated in some manner today. In most cases, we would be better off if every single such regulation were tossed out and we were again forced to rely upon our common sense to make market choices. Couple that common sense with sensible tort law and environmental standards and then stand back and watch the country’s economy expand at a heretofore unbelievable rate.

    If someone makes a product that causes injury, even death, let the legal system force change, not the regulators. If a company pollutes (per the environmental standards) then fine them accordingly, but don’t pass regulations dictating how to mitigate the pollution.

    Unfortunately, this would leave politicians with precious little to do, so they will never take this direction. Instead they will continue to regulate, including regulating our schools, ensuring that our high school seniors continue to answer “b” to the question above, so that our politicians can continue on their present path, diminishing the economic status of their constituents, all while enriching themselves via their own regulatory processes.

  320. philincalifornia says:

    a jones says:
    December 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm
    philincalifornia says:
    December 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm
    _____________________________

    I disagree with you Sir.

    The first patent I can find as to this is a British patent of 1895.

    There was spate of patents, some British some American in the 1930′s. Presumably they came to nothing.

    I rather miss the Womplex.

    However all the current patents or applications I know of in this respect. US, EU and Japanese, are of dubious validity since they essentially try to rewrite prior knowledge to make it appear new. Which it is not.

    It may be there are secret processes that can do this. I would not know. But if there are then none have become commercial to my knowledge. And if they were commercially viable we would know all about them.

    Kindest Regards
    ======================================

    To give a thorough response to this would, unfortunately, require more time than I have today. Just in general terms, and consistent with my comments above, I would refer you to this very recent press release from Mascoma and Valero as a) an example of where cellulosic scale-up is on the infrastructure development curve, and b) an example of a cellulosic technology that has undergone substantial due diligence in terms of commercial viability (this can be inferred from the money being spent and the fact that the oil company folks tend to be a conservative bunch):

    http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2011/12/05/daily38-Mascoma-Valero-launch-joint-venture-for-biofuels-plant.html

    There is probably similar information to be found on the Codexis Shell collaboration.

    In terms of patents, you are correct in that depolymerization of cellulose is a pretty boring chemical process, so there is barely any scope for a huge technical breakthrough there. The novelty and inventive steps required for patenting lie in the process technology developments such as recycling of acid (as oppose to just tipping it in the local river 50 years ago), etc. HCl Cleantech has some applications here. Other “Assignee names” to search would be Codexis, Bluefire, Sweetwater, Renmatix (or look at their websites). I’m probably missing some big ones here.

  321. Sal Minella says:

    Amazing, some of you stayed up all night to pimp the big corn position on ETOH production. The bottom line, regardless of all of the hand waving, is that ETOH production from corn is the most egregious waste of fossil fuels currently being practiced by man. It creates more pollution, it is absolutely unsustainable, and it has an extreme negative effect on food availability and cost.

    From the perspective of thermodynamics, it should be obvious without presenting any science, that a unit of energy used directly to power a machine is more efficient than to use that unit of energy to convert another feedstock into a partial unit of energy to power the same machine. Of course, you can always present only the last step in the process to shore up a bogus position, however, If you want a complete overview of the thermodynamics of ETOH production, see: //www.oilcrisis.com/patzek/CRPS416-Patzek-Web.pdf.

  322. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Some website says “At $1.50 a gallon, ethanol competes with gasoline without a subsidy when oil costs $70 a barrel or more..”

    Such statements are not very meaningful since high oil prices raise the cost of producing ethanol. If oil were, say, $500 a barrel, ethanol would cost (very optimistically) $10 per gallon (assuming 100k BTU’s of energy needed to produce a gallon of ethanol). Even at $100 a barrel, ethanol will cost $2 a gallon so it is not “competitive” with anything at that oil price and the stated ethanol price.

  323. John Bronson says:

    Ethanol naysayers should consider supply, demand, and price. Remove ethanol from the market, and gasoline prices will have to spike in order to quash 10% of demand. You could easily see $8/gallon. Increases in liquid fuel supplies since 2005 have been mostly from unconventional sources, e.g. biofuels.

  324. Sal Minella says:
    December 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Amazing, some of you stayed up all night to pimp the big corn position on ETOH production. The bottom line, regardless of all of the hand waving, is that ETOH production from corn is the most egregious waste of fossil fuels currently being practiced by man. It creates more pollution, it is absolutely unsustainable, and it has an extreme negative effect on food availability and cost.

    From the perspective of thermodynamics, it should be obvious without presenting any science, that a unit of energy used directly to power a machine is more efficient than to use that unit of energy to convert another feedstock into a partial unit of energy to power the same machine. Of course, you can always present only the last step in the process to shore up a bogus position, however, If you want a complete overview of the thermodynamics of ETOH production, see: //www.oilcrisis.com/patzek/CRPS416-Patzek-Web.pdf.

    You do realize you live in a 24 hour world and many posters to this forum might be 7-8 hours ahead of behind you in time zone, not to mention be on alternate work cycles, where they do not even get off work until most people are fast asleep?

    Thanks for posting a link to the single most discredited author of outlier studies regarding ethanol.
    Patzek has been turning out this trash for years, and his studies have been repeatedly shown to be riddled with bad assumptions, old out of date data, and citing his own work as an authoritative source. Not to mention it is a very old study with regard to the rapidly changing ethanol production technology. In 1994 the energy balance was found to be approximately 1.24 in the ratio of process energy invested vs energy value produced in the full ethanol production cycle,

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aer721/AER721.PDF

    By 2002 the studies were placing the balance at 1.34

    http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/AF/265.pdf

    By 2008 the studies of modern plant operations specified returns that were much higher yet.

    http://www.usda.gov/oce/reports/energy/2008Ethanol_June_final.pdf

    Conclusion
    A dry grind ethanol plant that produces and sells dry distiller’s grains and uses conventional fossil fuel power for thermal energy and electricity produces nearly two times more energy in the form of ethanol delivered to customers than it uses for corn, processing, and transportation. The ratio is about 2.3 BTU of ethanol for 1 BTU of energy in inputs, when a more generous means of removing byproduct energy is employed.
    Some dry mills are already using up to 50 percent biomass power. The energy output for these
    plants is near 2.8 times energy inputs, even using the conservative byproduct allowance. As
    processors master the logistics of handling bulky biomass, the energy balance ratio could reach 26 BTUs of ethanol per BTU of inputs used.
    Overall then, ethanol has made the transition from an energy sink, to a moderate net energy gain in the 1990s, to a substantial net energy gain in the present. And there are still prospects for improvement.

    Recycling process energy by careful plant design to use waste heat in one area to pre-heat another process. Changes in water handling for plants that produce wet distillers grains and selling the co-products locally without drying to save energy etc. have fundamentally changed the energy balance of production for fuel ethanol.

    Larry

  325. cwj says:

    John Bronson @11:48:”Ethanol naysayers should consider supply, demand, and price. Remove ethanol from the market, and gasoline prices will have to spike in order to quash 10% of demand. You could easily see $8/gallon.”

    I think a better estimate, which I base on the $0.70 spike in prices after the Libyan war started, is an increase of about $0.54 per gallon increase in the US price of gasoline. Other estimates I’ve seen estimate increases ranging from $0.34 per gallon (cited by the national corn growers association.) to $1.00 per gallon (the latter number from a paper linked to earlier this thread.)

  326. A. Scott says:

    Larry in Texas says:
    December 29, 2011 at 12:56 am
    I approve of what Congress did today. Regardless of the vigorous arguments both for and against ethanol, I do not believe the Federal government should be mandating its use nor should it be providing any kind of tax credits.

    I’m quite aware of the propaganda of the ethanol lobby over the years. They have not needed a tax credit for the development of ethanol, nor do they need a mandate. The fact is that ethanol does not have the energy density of gasoline, so of course they have to trick it up (E10) by blending it in with gasoline so that cars do not cost a person too much mileage. Of course, corn production has shot up, and corn product prices (especially in Texas, where ranchers have bitterly complained here of high feed prices) continue to remain high. Sorry A. Scott, but many of your facts are simply either incorrect or irrelevant. It’s not wise to use your food as fuel in the long run. If the market place finds it worthwhile, ethanol will ultimately become useful. Right now, if it needs mandates and subsidies, that to me smacks of relative uselessness.

    People, don’t force the love! It is never a good idea to force the love!

    That may be your personal opinion but is not supported by facts. Tax credits are appropriate for and necessary to bring new technology to a sustainable level. Exactly as has occurred in Brazil.

    The difference in energy between ethanol and gasoline is well known – there is no “trick” involved. Gasoline was already blended – with now banned MTBE – an oxygenate to raise the octane number. Ethanol replaced MTBE and serves the same purpose – as a required oxygenate.

    I also showed your claim that corn production “shot up” is false. Acres planted increased significantly in only one year, 2007, since 2005. Then fell substantially following year, and have inched back up since.

    As far as ranchers complaining about feed prices they must not be looking in the right places. There were 58 billion pounds of distillers dried grains produced in 2009 with 39% was used in dairy rations, 38% in beef cattle rations, 15% in swine production, 7% by poultry, and 1% by other livestock species. Costs for distillers dried grains are less than corn for a superior product – as an example:

    “On a per pound basis, Nebraska prices of WDGS have trended from a high of 26% of corn prices in early April 2007 down to 7‐8% in early September 2009, before recovering to consistently be in the 12‐14% range since October 2009.
    http://www.agmanager.info/livestock/budgets/production/beef/LivestockRations_OBrien_04-23-10.pdf

    Higher quality, higher nutritional value, cheaper price … better feed. The real problem affecting Texas cattle ranchers is the drought and lack of hay.

    If you are going to make claims like this, again, it helps to actually know what you are talking about.

    As to my facts being wrong or irrelevant – how about you actually back up that claim with some facts of your own then?

    As to subsidies – I again encourage you to read the simple Wiki page on Brazilian ethanol. Itr will show you how ethanol has become a strong sustainable part of their energy program – and that it would not have happened without government support. I understand its inconvenient to your, and similar others, rants – but it is fact none the less. It took 40 years and significant government support but Brazil has a successful, sustainable, ethanol program providing significant benefit and impact on their energy needs.

  327. A. Scott says:

    Larry in Texas says:
    December 29, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Of course, corn production has shot up, and corn product prices (especially in Texas, where ranchers have bitterly complained here of high feed prices) continue to remain high.

    Yes – lets look in more detail at your claim about the Texas ranchers … first as I noted the far more significant issue is drought. And the lack of hay/grazing for feed.

    Texas A&M did a study on exactly that – Ethanol and Texas Food and Feed.
    http://www.afpc.tamu.edu/pubs/2/515/RR-08-01.pdf

    Here are key conclusions – note they found the underlying issue is overall increase in energy costs. They also found that reducing required amounts of ethanol would not significantly lower corn prices (or price of corn for feed):

    • The underlying force driving changes in the agricultural industry, along with the economy as a whole, is overall higher energy costs, evidenced by $100 per barrel oil.

    • With rising energy costs, corn and other commodity prices would have to increase. Rising fertilizer costs [due to increased energy prices] led to a 3 million acre reduction in planted corn acres in the 2006-07 crop year. Higher production costs will continue to pressure acres.

    • This research supports the hypothesis that corn prices have had little to do with rising food costs. Higher corn prices do have a small effect on some food items.

    Important food items like bread, eggs, and milk have high prices that are largely unrelated to ethanol or corn prices, but correspond to fundamental supply/demand relationships in the world.

    Speculative fund activities in futures markets have led to more money in the markets and more volatility. Increased price volatility has encouraged wider trading limits. The end result has been the loss of the ability to use futures markets for price risk management due to the inability to finance margin requirements.

    • The potential exists for even higher corn prices based on historical yield variability. Fewer corn acres planted in 2008 leave production susceptible to weather risks. Small yield reductions will result in even higher prices.

    • The livestock industry has borne the costs of higher corn prices. The structure of the industry has made it unable to pass costs on, either up or down the supply chain.

    • The livestock industry is in the middle of this transition, and prices don’t yet reflect the impact of higher costs.

    • The net balance to the Texas agricultural economy is negative. While corn and grain sorghum producers benefit from high prices, the livestock industry faces increasing costs. Because the livestock industry is bigger than the crop industry, the net balance is negative.

    Relaxing the RFS does not result in significantly lower corn prices. This is due to the ethanol infrastructure already in place and the generally positive economics for the industry. The ethanol industry has grown in excess of the RFS, indicating that relaxing the standard would not cause a contraction in the industry.

    The study also found distillers dried grains offer a number of advantages as feed:

    There are some advantages to distiller’s
    grains, as well:

    • Distiller’s grains provide an additional feed for livestock producers to help
    offset higher corn prices and reduced availability as corn is sent to ethanol
    plants.

    • Research indicatesthat distiller’s grains typically have higher protein and energy content than corn.

    • Research indicates that inclusion of distiller’s grains in feedlot cattle rations can lead to increased gain per day and reduced costs of gain.

    • Clearly, over time – or at least since about mid-1985 – the price of DDG as a
    percentage of the corn price for the same period has trended lower. This supports the
    notion that by-products have become relatively cheaper with increased availability.

    • The evaluation of DDG and corn prices presented here suggests that DDG prices have become somewhat less expensive relative to corn over time.

    Most all of this report by a leading Texas institution and about the effect of ethanol on Texas food and feed, found little or no direct effect – that it was primarily the overall increase in cost of energy causing the issues – not ethanol.

    And they found distillers dried grains WERE a lower cost and higher value option for animal feed.

    They DID have to find something wrong though – and that was their claim that producer will incur significant transportation costs to get distillers dried grain. To get to this position they have to perform a torturous dance twisting facts.

    They first claim:

    “… a well-developed infrastructure for storing and moving corn efficiently around the country currently exists.”

    Followed by this:

    “DDG production is still largely concentrated in the Corn Belt. Getting DDG to other parts of the
    country involves considerable transportation expense that, for producers in many parts of the country, will quickly erode any relative price advantage of DDG compared with corn.”

    Basically an outright lie – even on its face. They admit corn for feed must be transported to Texas. Which is a fact as Texas normally produces just 2% of the US corn crop. This year is far worse coming in at appx 0.9% due to the severe weather conditions.

    It is no more difficult to transport distillers dried grain animal feed than corn. They are both coming from the same areas – the larger corn producing regions. Which they are forced to admit in the report, even while downplaying it:

    “The ability to feed DDGS does confer some benefit in terms of profitability”

    So Larry in Texas – seen Texas A&M admits ethanol is not the cause, and that in actuality distillers dried grains are a cost effective and beneficial replacement for corn as feed. Keep in mind this was a 2008 report, and all of the metrics have improved since then – with over 60 billion pounds of distillers grains available as a co-product of ethanol production.

    Another incorrect statement and claim. Texas cattle ranchers are suffering because of severe drought and high overall energy costs – ethanol, as Texas A&M agrees, is simply a convenient scapegoat.

  328. A. Scott says:

    MarkW says:
    December 29, 2011 at 6:17 am
    Kum Dollison says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm
    Well, that’s just it, Mark. The Subsidy is going away in 3 days, now.

    The subsidies are, but the mandates aren’t.

    Regardless, if your claims regarding ethanol had any basis in reality, then ethanol should easily survive on it’s own, without subsidies or mandates. So why do you demand both?

    Please read the Wiki entry on Brazil’s Ethanol program. You will find all of your answers there.

    They have a successful and sustainable ethanol program that is highly beneficial to their energy program. But it took 40 years and strong government support to get it to that point.

    Their ethanol program is “reality” – it is a road map to the “reality” – the processes and time required to create a new sustainable energy program.

    Or would you argue their ethanol program is worthless as well?

  329. A. Scott says:

    Sal Minella says:
    December 29, 2011 at 9:05 am
    Amazing, some of you stayed up all night to pimp the big corn position on ETOH production. The bottom line, regardless of all of the hand waving, is that ETOH production from corn is the most egregious waste of fossil fuels currently being practiced by man. It creates more pollution, it is absolutely unsustainable, and it has an extreme negative effect on food availability and cost.

    From the perspective of thermodynamics, it should be obvious without presenting any science, that a unit of energy used directly to power a machine is more efficient than to use that unit of energy to convert another feedstock into a partial unit of energy to power the same machine. Of course, you can always present only the last step in the process to shore up a bogus position, however, If you want a complete overview of the thermodynamics of ETOH production, see: //www.oilcrisis.com/patzek/CRPS416-Patzek-Web.pdf.

    Sorry Sal – no other way to put this … what an ignorant uninformed and outright false load of claptrap that is.

    And to quote Patzek, who has been completely and thoroughly debunked, by a myriad of agencies, institutions, and almost every reputable scientist in the field shows your complete lack of knowledge on the subject.

    None of the MANY detailed study’s – including all those refuting Patzak and Pimentel – “only present the last step” – just more outright lies and uninformed garbage from you. Unlike Patzek and Pimentel, who ignore any part of the science that does not support their agenda, and then purposely cook the books and manipulate the data to place all the negative assumption on ethanol, the rest of those involved make significant effort to fairly and properly account for all parts of the process.

    Unlike Patzek and Pimental – the Jones & Mann of the “ethanol haters” brigade, the rest of those studying the issue do NOT purposely ignore the proven considerable value of co-products like distillers dried grains, corn meal, corn oil and the like. Even Wiki will show you, in an old study at that, the value of co-products increases net energy balance by a significant amount – from memory from appx 1.2 to 1 to over 1.6 to 1 at the time.

    You clearly haven’t the remotest clue, nor do you show any care at all to even try and learn. It is people like you and their refusal to even try to learn some of the real facts – as opposed to just regurgitating tired old rhetoric un-supported by facts – that, IMO, is why we are where we are at in the world today.

  330. MarkW says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    More disinformation from the master of it.

    1) Brazil’s ethanol program is from sugar cane, which is much, much more efficient than doing the same from corn.
    2 As many others have pointed out, Brazil’s ethanol progaram is nowhere near as successful as you have been claiming.
    3) If it took 40 years of govt support in order to finally break even, assuming your claims of breaking even are correct, then the program is by definition a failure. You have to count the billions of dollars sunk into the program before you can even begin to calculate a ROI on that investment.

  331. MarkW says:

    “Tax credits are appropriate for and necessary to bring new technology to a sustainable level. ”

    Complete and utter bovine droppings.

    Tax credits are only usefull for lining the pockets of the politically well connected. If a product is capabale of turning a profit in any reasonable time line, you will have no problem finding private investors. What you have left is people like you who are willing to spend other people’s money to make their dreams come true. Parasites like you are one of the reasons why are taxes are ruinously high.

  332. Thank God!

    Another Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI<1) scam bites the dust.

  333. A. Scott says:

    Here ya go Sal – you don’t have to do a bunch of that pesky hard reading and the like – here is a clear picture of the credibility of Patzek and Pimentel’s work.

    http://www.pacificethanol.net/site/_images/media_photos/energy_balance_chart.gif

    Here is Businessweeks take:

    There is perhaps no one more hostile to ethanol than Tad W. Patzek, a geo-engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley. A former Shell petroleum engineer, Patzek co-founded the UC Oil Consortium, which studies engineering methods for getting oil out of the ground. It counts BP (BP ), Chevron USA, (CVX ) Mobil USA, and Shell (RDS ) among its funders. A widely cited 2005 paper by Patzek and Cornell University professor David Pimentel concluded that ethanol takes 29% more energy to produce than it supplies—the most severe indictment of the biofuel. Michael Wang, vehicle and fuel-systems analyst at the Energy Dept.’s Argonne National Laboratory, says among several flaws in the study is the use of old data and the overestimation of corn farm energy use by 34%. Pimentel defends the study. In a recent update, he and Patzek hiked the estimate of ethanol’s energy deficit to 43%. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_40/b4052052.htm

    David Patzek works directly for, and is funded by, the oil and gas industry. That is for real – not some made up claim as with the AGW issue. UC Berkely has received huge sums from the oil companies – hundreds of millions. The base fee to belong the the UC Oil group he set up was $60k/yr … http://web.archive.org/web/20090617202512/http://petroleum.berkeley.edu/UCOil/structure.htm

  334. A. Scott says:

    Patzek job is to help oil companies extract oil. Which personally I hope he is very good at we need all the help we can get at accessing OUR oil reserves.

    But it makes him a terrible person to even consider believing when it comes to ethanol, which is well proven by the complete outlier status of his work – by his alleged “studies” being soundly refuted by a myriad of instituitions, agencies and a large group of scientists. .

  335. Dr. Dave says:

    A. Scott,

    When do you give up? After 40 comments? 50? Your last lengthy comment (replete with cut & paste talking points from the ethanol industry propaganda sites) was cute but alas, it was rife with…uhh…let’s say “inaccuracies”. First let me caution you about using Texas A&M as a fount of wisdom. Texas A&M is the home of Andrew Dessler for crying out loud! Distiller’s grains (i.e. ethanol waste product) can not possibly be higher in nutritional value than the raw grains. We don’t need much ethanol in gasoline to serve as an oxygenator. Actually, there is little need for oxygenators (MTBE or ethanol) in gasoline anymore because most vehicles today have computer controlled fuel injection. Oxygenators were necessary for older vehicles with carburetors in cold weather.

    The bottom line is there is no good reason for ethanol as a motor fuel. Hell, I don’t care if people want to make it or people want to buy it. I just don’t want to be forced to buy it or subsidize it. Even you would probably agree that the ethanol industry is now “well developed” (e.g. billions of gallons a year and 40% of our annual corn crop). So why not end the mandates and subsidies? If this is such a whiz bang technology it should survive on its own, right? But I’ll gladly bet you a month’s salary that if the mandated use, the subsidies and the tariffs were removed, the industry would collapse within a year (possibly two because some idiots like E85).

  336. A. Scott says:

    Myrrh says:
    December 29, 2011 at 4:20 am
    Gail must be on hols – here’s a link she posted earlier on food speculation courtesy of Goldman Sachs:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/27/how_goldman_sachs_created_the_food_crisis?page=0,1

    Thanks Myrrh … pretty much what I said … speculators ran up the costs of commodities – just another playground for them.

    And as noted above in doing so they’ve largely eliminated the ability of the people who need it to hedge, as the speculators and Wall Street’s douchebaggery – and resultant collapse of markets – because of resultant new margin requirements – has made it increasing difficult to access benefits of the commodities markets.

  337. Catcracking says:

    A.Scott,
    Your reference to Wiki is really a laugh.
    Do you know or just ignore the fact that Brazil’s economy has turned around because they have discovered significant oil offshore, and are exploiting it to the fullest with support from Our President via loans to Brazil for the development of their offshore oil exploration ,while throttling back offshore exploration in the US.
    Are you ignoring the difference of manufacturing ethanol from sugar cane versus from wood chips, etc.? Ethanol from sugar cane makes sense especially if one has cheap labor to gather the feedstock.
    Did you know that their ethanol production has recently significantly fallen off and that they have reduced the mandated % required?
    Did you know that they are importing ethanol from the US made from corn to make up the loss in production?
    Did you know that a military dictatorship forced the country on ethanol and their economy was in severe difficulty for years. Is that what you want the administration to do to make ethanol successful?

  338. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am
    This was your first post on this thread.

    ————-

    A. Scott says:
    December 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm
    This was the latest post on this thread.

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

    You must be getting paid double-time-and-a-half. You are certainly motivated to pitch your views.

    How long were you awake in your world prior entering this thread. I gotta get me some of those vitamins if they’re legal.

  339. A. Scott says:

    Dr. Dave says:
    December 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm
    A. Scott,

    When do you give up? After 40 comments? 50? Your last lengthy comment (replete with cut & paste talking points from the ethanol industry propaganda sites) was cute but alas, it was rife with…uhh…let’s say “inaccuracies”. First let me caution you about using Texas A&M as a fount of wisdom. Texas A&M is the home of Andrew Dessler for crying out loud! Distiller’s grains (i.e. ethanol waste product) can not possibly be higher in nutritional value than the raw grains. We don’t need much ethanol in gasoline to serve as an oxygenator. Actually, there is little need for oxygenators (MTBE or ethanol) in gasoline anymore because most vehicles today have computer controlled fuel injection. Oxygenators were necessary for older vehicles with carburetors in cold weather.

    The bottom line is there is no good reason for ethanol as a motor fuel. Hell, I don’t care if people want to make it or people want to buy it. I just don’t want to be forced to buy it or subsidize it. Even you would probably agree that the ethanol industry is now “well developed” (e.g. billions of gallons a year and 40% of our annual corn crop). So why not end the mandates and subsidies? If this is such a whiz bang technology it should survive on its own, right? But I’ll gladly bet you a month’s salary that if the mandated use, the subsidies and the tariffs were removed, the industry would collapse within a year (possibly two because some idiots like E85).

    I presented a study done by a Texas institution and directly relevant to the discussion regarding Texas cattle feed. Instead of actually reading it – you simply ridicule.

    And then you make claims about the nutritional value of distillers dried grains that are flat out wrong. Yet again, instead of a few minutes of research to verify if you are right or wrong – you pass broad judgement based on your uninformed opinion. The information on the increased nutritional value of distillers dried grains is easy to find – and benefits are clear – a few simple excerpts:

    Because of the near complete fermentation of starch, the remaining amino acids, fat, minerals and vitamins increase approximately three-fold in concentration compared to levels found in corn.

    In addition to protein, distiller’s grains contain highly digestible fiber and fat, resulting in a similar to slightly higher energy value than corn. By providing energy as highly digestible fiber, we can avoid negative associative effects (reduced forage intake and digestibility) associated with feeding starchy (high starch) feeds. Furthermore, the fiber contained in distiller’s grains may help prevent digestive disturbances in feedlot cattle.

    Distiller’s grains are low in calcium (Ca) but high in phosphorus (P). Feeding distiller’s grains may provide enough P to allow supplemental P sources to be removed from mineral packages for cattle consuming forage-based diets.

    Distiller’s co-products offer beef producers an opportunity to decrease their unit cost of production while maintaining similar levels of performance.
    http://www.ddgs.umn.edu/articles-beef/2002-Tjardes-%20ExEx2036.pdf

    Nutritionally, DDGS is solid. The University of Minnesota’s Shurson said cows in particular thrive on DDGS as the fiber in the feed is actually a more efficient energy source than the starch in corn. Costs run about 20 percent below corn and up to 50 percent below soy [2007]. That’s especially important considering corn prices have recouped just about all the losses seen right after the government reported a big jump in this year’s expected corn crop.

    Not that I expect you really care about learning judging by your attitude and comments – but as to you comments about the viability and benefits of ethanol I suggest you too read the simple Wiki info on Brazils ethanol program. It provides the road map, along with a clear example of the pitfals, and benefits – but most importantly that ethanol can be and is a valuable, sustainable and beneficial part of Brazils energy program.

    And no – I do not believe we should arbitrarily end all subsidies and support just because ill-informed people like you don’t like it. It took Brazil 40 years to reach a sustainable stable program. In the US we are closer in some areas – largely the upper midwest corn belt – but even there ethanol is not easily and readily available.

    The benefits are clear – in a study I linked above the use of ethanol is helping hold gas costs down – anywhere from 25 cents to near $1.50 per gallon. The proof of the benefit of increased availability is clear – in the more developed ethanol areas like Minnesota the cost savings on gas as a result are far higher.

  340. eyesonu says:

    A.Scott , read my source of info regarding the acreage of corn harvested.

    You and yours are feeling the heat. You need some sleep.

    Take a break, a double dose of reality, a long nap, and come back when you feel better. And remember that the truth will set you free.

  341. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm
    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am
    This was your first post on this thread.

    ————-

    A. Scott says:
    December 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm
    This was the latest post on this thread.

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

    You must be getting paid double-time-and-a-half. You are certainly motivated to pitch your views.

    How long were you awake in your world prior entering this thread. I gotta get me some of those vitamins if they’re legal.

    In other words you have absolutely no intelligent response or rebuttal to any of the facts presented that refute your specious and false claims, and can only resort to weak and pathetic ad hominem attack.

    We get it … you have nothing to support any of your claims, and no desire to even try to present truthful, correct or factual information on the issue – not even to support your own silly claims.

    Pretty sad when people like you attack, and then can’t be bothered to even try and understand what you are posting … harvested cotton acreage for example. Not remotely accurate – off by orders of magnitude, when the correct information was right in front of you on the same page.

    Let us know when you wish to have an intelligent debate and support your attacks and claims with actual facts and data.

  342. RBremel says:

    It looks like the markets don’t expect this to have any effect. Any wiff of a change in a report from USDA will cause substantial changes in price at CBOT. Today — not much of anything happened and it is doubtful that the market was asleep.

    The Chicago Board closed today with virtually no change in price of Dec 12 corn. Graphic at…

    http://www.cmegroup.com/popup/mdq2.html?code=ZCZ2&title=December_2012_Corn&type=p#year=2

  343. eyesonu says:

    A.Scott, everything that you have written has been debunked.

    It has been quite clearly shown that you are a troll. Time for you to get some sleep.

  344. CommonSenseBill says:

    I have been reading this thread for 2 days. No one can solve the problem NOW. Thirty years ago they were demanding big oil get out of california. There was no alternative then and I see none now. The idiot in the White House is supporting loser solar companies and stalling the Keystone Pipe line. Anything to get relected. Now as already mentioned here, the iranians are threatening to close the shipping lanes. All I can say is. Why after 30 years we are still energy dependent on foriegn oil supplies? We should have first made ourselves energy/oil independent. Then, THEN get alternative means developed, proven and ready to use. This willy nilly running amuck plans are a waste of time and money. Get the Federal Govt. out of the way, let AMERICAN Inginuity prevail.
    So much so called high tech talk on this thread, where were you guys before this all came apart???

  345. Myrrh says:

    I think ethanol has been unfairly lumped in with windmills and pvc, it should, imho, be looked at in its own right. I think one of the same reasons hemp was considered such a threat plays a part in the antagonism propagandised about ethanol, here it is direct competition with oil as fuel for transport, but hemp more so as production can be very local, it doesn’t need the resources that corn growing needs.

    What interests me is personal production – how big a field will I need to grow enough hemp to fuel my diesel car (hypothetical, I no longer have diesel), say 600 miles a month? Will my oil-fired central heating system run on it, or ethanol?

    I really need something now, can’t wait for the personal thorium in a suitcase generator to come on line.

    http://www.ffhboo.com/hemp.html
    http://www.sustainablehemp.net/

  346. A. Scott says:

    Catcracking says:
    December 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm
    A.Scott,
    Your reference to Wiki is really a laugh.

    Do you know or just ignore the fact that Brazil’s economy has turned around because they have discovered significant oil offshore, and are exploiting it to the fullest with support from Our President via loans to Brazil for the development of their offshore oil exploration ,while throttling back offshore exploration in the US.

    Are you ignoring the difference of manufacturing ethanol from sugar cane versus from wood chips, etc.? Ethanol from sugar cane makes sense especially if one has cheap labor to gather the feedstock.

    Did you know that their ethanol production has recently significantly fallen off and that they have reduced the mandated % required?

    Did you know that they are importing ethanol from the US made from corn to make up the loss in production?

    Did you know that a military dictatorship forced the country on ethanol and their economy was in severe difficulty for years. Is that what you want the administration to do to make ethanol successful?

    The Wiki page on Brazil ethanol program does exactly what I suggested it was good for – provide people a simple overview of a successful sustainable alternative/renewable energy program and the path taken to get there. The laugh, albeit a sad one, is people who refuse to educate themselves before passing judgment.

    I know Brazil quite well – am friends with a Consul for Brazil, have looked extensively at development property and have another friend who recently purchased a mile of undeveloped shoreline there. Their economy is I believe 6th largest in the world – and has done quite well for some time. It did not “turn around” because of discovery of oil.

    And yes I’m well aware of, and find despicable, Obama’s duplicity in restricting drilling in our country – to pander to the liberal whacko tree hugger Nimby votes – while paying Brazil and others to drill there – thus INCREASING our reliance on foreign oil. At least Brazil is mostly a “friend” not enemy of the US.

    Your comments on Brazil’s ethanol are silly – for them sugar cane is a very similar crop to our corn – it is however more mature industry and gets higher yields – something we have been steadily improving on.

    They process sugar cain much the same we we do corn – it is not a cellulosic process … they DO get higher yields by using the bagasse – the stalk of the sugar cane – but they use that to burn and provide the energy to run the processing plants – which means even less energy expended to make a gallon of ethanol.

    And to say they do better because they have low cost labor to pick up the feedstock is equally laughable. We have mechanized collection of feedstock in the US. Mechanized beats manual every time. Which is why the majority of harvesting in Brazil is ALSO mechanical and will virtually all be mechanical in next several years by agreement with growers.

    And contrary to your claim, Brazil’s workers are not poor backwoods hicks working for pennies – just another uneducated falsehood promoted as alleged fact:

    “Salaries for sugarcane industry workers are among the highest in Brazil’s agriculture, second only to wages in the soybean industry. On average, a sugarcane cutter makes more than Brazil’s per capita income, as measured by the World Bank’s World Development Indicators. Moreover, all workers in the sugarcane industry are represented in collective bargaining negotiations irrespective of their decision to join a labor union. Among UNICA member companies, 98% of all workers are fully documented. By way of comparison, 13% of all U.S. agricultural workers are undocumented immigrants, according to a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center.

    The São Paulo state sugarcane industry (about two-thirds of Brazil’s cane production) has signed an agreement with the state government to end sugarcane burning by 2014. Burning is a centuries-old practice that eliminates the straw around the cane and makes the manual harvest possible. Collective agreements between workers and companies state that cane cutters will not harvest manually without removal of the straw through the use of fire. No burning means sugarcane must be harvested mechanically. With mechanization advancing and rapidly replacing the manual harvest, the industry has focused on retraining workers involved in manual planting and harvesting for new activities. In 2009, UNICA joined forces with John Deere, Case New Holland and Syngenta, key players in the sugarcane industry supply chain, to create the largest training and requalification program for sugarcane industry workers in the world, with added financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank.”

    http://www.unica.com.br/download.asp?mmdCode=4F346327-C37A-49F7-B239-BBA337F412BE

    Not only are sugar cane workers well represented and well paid, the government and industry have joined forces to retrain as many as possible to minimize the effects of mechanization.

    Another complete falsehood refuted.

    I’m also well acquainted with Brazils sugarcane harvest. It IS down – due to weather primarily – flooding, frost and flowering. And I was the one that first noted that Brazil was not exporting much if any ethanol to the US – rather was importing from us. This is a result in part of the poor crop but also of the success of the Brazil ethanol program. Their domestic needs continue to increase – a clear mark of the success of their sustainable energy program.

    Their mandate was only reduced because of the shortage of ethanol due to supply constraints. Another clear example of the success of the system.

    And your theories about the military dictatorship forcing ethanol on Brazil are outright laughable. You can get more details at UNICA and other sources but if you had even read the Wiki I suggested you’d know Brazil has been using ethanol since the 1930’s and earlier – with as much 50% use mandatory during WWII.

    It was the oil crisis of the 70’s, not the military, that prompted the government to start promoting ethanol to minimize dependence of fossil fuels.

    So in answer to your question – yes I do think we should follow the model; re: ethanol that Brazil has established. They have repeatedly proven that government support is both necessary and worthwhile. That the investment in ethanol industry was for a greater public good.

  347. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm
    A.Scott , read my source of info regarding the acreage of corn harvested.

    You and yours are feeling the heat. You need some sleep.

    Take a break, a double dose of reality, a long nap, and come back when you feel better. And remember that the truth will set you free.

    Another attack – and another non-response.

    No “heat” felt here … just laughter …

    Please – by all means provide the link to your “source” for your numbers for cotton acreage harvested.

    I stand ready to reply.

  348. CommonSenseBill says:

    A.Scott
    I do not care what Brazil does. Dummy in the White House gave them BILLION$ and said he wants the United States to be Brazils best customer. Get a grip solve AMERICAS issues. Brazil should be our customer.

  349. A. Scott says:

    MarkW says:
    December 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm
    A. Scott says:
    December 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    More disinformation from the master of it.

    1) Brazil’s ethanol program is from sugar cane, which is much, much more efficient than doing the same from corn.
    2 As many others have pointed out, Brazil’s ethanol progaram is nowhere near as successful as you have been claiming.
    3) If it took 40 years of govt support in order to finally break even, assuming your claims of breaking even are correct, then the program is by definition a failure. You have to count the billions of dollars sunk into the program before you can even begin to calculate a ROI on that investment.

    Funny – we never see a source for claims from these folks …

    1.) Brazils sugar cane – as noted above – is processed largely similar to corn. It is NOT a cellulosic process – it uses the sugar in sugar cane just as the starch is used from the corn. The reason sugar cane has a higher net energy balance is because they also use the bagasse – the stalks, to burn to provide energy to run the processing plants.

    2.) What are you talking about? Every light vehicle in Brazil uses at least an E20 (20% ethanol) blend. Earlier this year that was temporarily reduced to E18 due to supply shortages. Almost every new light vehicle sold since 2003 is a flex fuel vehicle. They normally produce and use all domestic ethanol, and still have capacity to export. Due to very poor weather conditions, they have a temporary shortage at present, and have actually been importing small amounts.

    What part of Brazil’s ethanol program do you deem unsuccessful?

    3.) The current expiring ethanol credit reportedly costs appx. $6 billion dollars per year.

    A 2010 study conducted by economists at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin found the increased use of ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $0.89 per gallon in 2010, ranging from $0.58/gallon in the East Coast to $1.37/gallon in the Midwest.

    It also found that the growth in ethanol production reduced gasoline prices by an average of $0.25, or 16 percent, over the entire decade of 2000-2010.

    Further, the study determined that gas prices could double if ethanol production came to an immediate halt.
    http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/synopsis.aspx?id=1160

    We use appx 9.12 million barrels of gasoline per day, just under 140 million gallons per year. At an average price of $3.56 in fall 2011, that is almost $490 billion a year.

    If we save .89 cents per gal on gas due to the current ethanol production and use the savings is $124 billion dollars per year. Even if we only use the .25 cents average saving over the last decade, we save $35 billion per year on gas because of the ethanol produced and used.

    Department of Energy data shows U.S. gasoline use averaged 138 billion gallons per year from 2000 to 2010, meaning annual savings due to ethanol during the decade averaged $34.5 billion.

    Federal Highway Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Energy that show the average household consumed 900 gallons of gasoline at an average price of $2.74 per gallon in 2010. That means the average family’s annual gasoline bill was $2,470, but it would have been closer to $3,270 without ethanol. In 2010 alone, ethanol reduced the average American household’s gasoline bill by more than $800.

    Even if we use a 2008 study by US Dept of Energy they found a .17 cents per gal gas savings, nearly $24 billion in 2010 at that rate, or .14 cents without the subsidy, or just under $20 billion in savings. http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/pdfs/44517.pdf

    A $6 billion annual investment that generates at minimum, using years old data, $20 billion, but more realistically with current data, $35 billion a year savings.

    Yep – that is a terrible waste. Certainly bad money thrown after good.

  350. Dr. Dave says:
    December 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm
    Distiller’s grains (i.e. ethanol waste product) can not possibly be higher in nutritional value than the raw grains.

    Yes it can you forget that the distillers grain is the final product following yeast growth. The yeast as it grows augments the protein content and nutrition of the distillers grain. That is why nutrition fanatics often use yeast products as part of their nutritional supplements

    There are lots of sources that document this increase in both nutritional content and improved digestibility of distillers grain compared to the conventional feeds it replaces. If you can’t find them you are not looking.

    Larry.

  351. A. Scott says:


    CommonSenseBill says:
    December 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm
    A.Scott
    I do not care what Brazil does. Dummy in the White House gave them BILLION$ and said he wants the United States to be Brazils best customer. Get a grip solve AMERICAS issues. Brazil should be our customer.

    Nice xenophobia there Bill – I LIKE the Brazilians – especially some of their mighty fine ladies ;-)

    That said if you read my comments – I AGREE with you – Obama is a pompous and duplicitous fool.

    Spend money drilling HERE and we don’t have to be anyone’s customer. He is too busy trying to be liked – playing a President on TV – to actually DO the hard work and make hard decisions the job requires.

    Put American’s to work, extracting OUR oil, and then he can use those savings to go play at being every other country’s little buddy.

    Just because I support domestic drilling does not mean we should not do whatever we reasonably can to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Maybe we will never run out, but that is unlikely. And every gallon of gas we replace with renewable fuel gets us that much more time before we do run out.

    And just because I’m a warming – an AGW – sceptic, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to reduce emissions, reduce GHG’s and reduce use of fossil fuels where we can. No matter what we do the next ice age is overdue and inevitable. A little cleaner air is a good thing.

    And just maybe, when we do tip back into the next ice age, having some fossil fuel left to burn will certainly make it more tolerable.

  352. A. Scott says:

    By the way – I jsut noticed those gas price savings because of ethanol use were at the wholesale level – in reality they would be higher if compared to retail prices.

    Another very interesting aspect of the study was their finding about a complete shutdown in ethanol. If the removal of the susbsidy cused ethanol to no longer be profitable the result could be a huge increase in gas prices:


    “In addition, we now report on a related analysis that asks what would happen to US gasoline prices if ethanol production came to an immediate halt.

    [T]he ethanol industry now provides approximately 10% of the gasoline used in automobiles, an amount that exceeds the spare capacity of US oil refineries. This “missing” fuel would have to be imported in the short run, and the required volume would be large relative to available import supplies.

    The only way to solve this short-term supply problem would be to use high gasoline prices to ration demand.

    The size of the required gasoline price increase cannot be calculated with any certainty because key parameters are not known with certainty. However, we can say that under a very wide range of parameters, the gasoline price increase would be of historic proportions, ranging from 41% to 92%.

    Perhaps that is a good sign – ethanol has become too big to fail ;-)

  353. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Try this. Click crops. Cotton stats by state and US. :-)
    http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/US.htm.

  354. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm
    A.Scott, everything that you have written has been debunked.

    It has been quite clearly shown that you are a troll. Time for you to get some sleep.

    Really? Where? Certainly not by you and your petty and childish attacks.

    Still waiting for that link from you supporting your claims on the cotton acreage harvested …

  355. A. Scott says:

    CommonSenseBill says:
    December 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I have been reading this thread for 2 days. No one can solve the problem NOW. Thirty years ago they were demanding big oil get out of california. There was no alternative then and I see none now. The idiot in the White House is supporting loser solar companies and stalling the Keystone Pipe line. Anything to get relected. Now as already mentioned here, the iranians are threatening to close the shipping lanes.

    All I can say is. Why after 30 years we are still energy dependent on foriegn oil supplies? We should have first made ourselves energy/oil independent. Then, THEN get alternative means developed, proven and ready to use. This willy nilly running amuck plans are a waste of time and money. Get the Federal Govt. out of the way, let AMERICAN Inginuity prevail.

    So much so called high tech talk on this thread, where were you guys before this all came apart???

    I’ve been there all along. And I agree with you – we should be drilling – putting our people to work drilling our oil – and increasing our energy independence.

    But we should also be making every reasonable – and that is key – effort to find alternative/renewable fuel options. Ethanol is doing exactly that. Despite the viscous attacks and lack of support today it supplies appx 10% of our transportation energy needs. In doing so it is saving us billions by helping keep cost of gas down. It is cleaner for environment and saves a fossil fuel as well.

    Unlike wind, unlike solar it actually works and at a reasonable cost. It does not need a whole second back up grid for when the sun ain’t out or the wind isn’t blowing. It can be stored and stockpiled, which neither wind or solar can realistically do.

    It is reliable, clean, and sustainable.

    There is clear proof (see the gas price reports above) that the more available ethanol is the higher the saving on gas in those areas. A clear indication of success – and that we should be trying to achieve those higher availability levels across the country – to increase the benefit.

    It is pretty clear the return on investment – on the subsidies – is, unlike solar or wind etc, truly positive. We are saving a bunch on gasoline because of ethanol. And reducing consumption of fossil fuels at same time.

    We are a greed self-centered society these days. We want all the benefits but want no part in sharing the costs. I personally would pay an affordable amount more to use ethanol, simply because its renewable/sustainable, cleaner, and reduces fossil fuel consumption.

    I think its worth it long term even if it was increasing food costs slightly today (which I disagree it is by any significant amount.) Long term energy independence and stability is far more valuable than a short term minor food price impact.

    But then I’m also one of the few that will still shop local instead of at WalMart. I pay more but I get more value as well. Just as with ethanol – provided you care about things like the environment, costs, renewable and sustainable fuels, reduction in fossil fuel use and the like.

    Far too many people just don’t care. They want what they want and don’t care about the rest. The heck with it, I’ll be dead and gone – let THEM deal with it.

  356. A. Scott says:

    Myrrh says:
    December 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
    I think ethanol has been unfairly lumped in with windmills and pvc, it should, imho, be looked at in its own right. I think one of the same reasons hemp was considered such a threat plays a part in the antagonism propagandised about ethanol, here it is direct competition with oil as fuel for transport, but hemp more so as production can be very local, it doesn’t need the resources that corn growing needs.

    What interests me is personal production – how big a field will I need to grow enough hemp to fuel my diesel car (hypothetical, I no longer have diesel), say 600 miles a month? Will my oil-fired central heating system run on it, or ethanol?

    With ethanol:

    150 appx bushels corn/acre
    2.77 appx gals ethanol per bushel
    416 appx gal ethanol per acre

    1 acre of corn = 416 gal ethanol
    @ 20 mpg = 8,310 appx miles a year, 700 miles/month, 160 miles per week, 23 miles per day …

  357. Galane says:

    Nobody has mentioned isobutanol. It has an energy density much closer to gasoline than ethanol. Some people have achieved better MPG with it than with gasoline. A gasoline engine needs no alterations to run on straight isobutanol like it must to run on E15 or higher percentages of ethanol.

    Perhaps with the ending of the ethanol subsidies and other single-purpose subsidies that are targeted specifically at corn and grain derived ethanol, cellulosic derived isobutanol will gain traction.

    The ethanol industry and everyone who has dumped huge amounts of money into flex-fuel technology won’t be happy, too bad. Let the market choose a gasoline compatible biofuel that’s superior to ethanol.

    As for MTBE and similar oxidants that were supposed to reduce pollution and near ground level ozone (curious how the Gas Of UV Protection in the ozone layer is pollution in the troposphere) but in reality caused harm to people with breathing problems, groundwater pollution and damage to millions of vehicles while doing squat to combat air pollution – the EPA mandated the junk then had the cojones to sue oil companies for the pollution the EPA mandated MTBE caused.

  358. johanna says:

    A. Scott, your tedious spamming doesn’t change the cold hard facts. They are:

    – replacing cheap energy with more expensive energy makes everyone poorer
    – you claim that a mere 40 years of support is needed, while also claiming that ethanol makes economic sense in its own right. Please make up your mind.
    – in a similar vein, if ethanol is saving everyone so much money, why does it need to be mandated?
    – you must have missed the illuminating post above about the ‘ethanol shuffle’ between the US and Brazil, where each exports it to the other to satisfy artificial mandates and game the subsidy system. Sheer, sheer, lunacy.

    I don’t care whether companies manufacture ethanol or not – but I do care (we have similar nutty policies in Australia) that taxpayers and consumers are being slugged to pay for the hobbyhorses of interest groups.

    In the case of the US, as PPs have pointed out, the only thing standing in the way of plenty of cheap gasoline is the ideological opposition to oil extraction that has caused money to rain down on inefficient substitutes like ethanol and electric cars. No conflict of interest there, huh?

  359. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm
    A. Scott says:
    December 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Try this. Click crops. Cotton stats by state and US. :-)
    http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/US.htm.

    Nope – sorry, another miss … wonder why you didn’t just provide the link to the actual page?

  360. A. Scott says:

    johanna says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:41 pm
    A. Scott, your tedious spamming doesn’t change the cold hard facts. They are:

    – replacing cheap energy with more expensive energy makes everyone poorer
    – you claim that a mere 40 years of support is needed, while also claiming that ethanol makes economic sense in its own right. Please make up your mind.
    – in a similar vein, if ethanol is saving everyone so much money, why does it need to be mandated?
    – you must have missed the illuminating post above about the ‘ethanol shuffle’ between the US and Brazil, where each exports it to the other to satisfy artificial mandates and game the subsidy system. Sheer, sheer, lunacy.

    I don’t care whether companies manufacture ethanol or not – but I do care (we have similar nutty policies in Australia) that taxpayers and consumers are being slugged to pay for the hobbyhorses of interest groups.

    In the case of the US, as PPs have pointed out, the only thing standing in the way of plenty of cheap gasoline is the ideological opposition to oil extraction that has caused money to rain down on inefficient substitutes like ethanol and electric cars. No conflict of interest there, huh?

    Sorry – I see no hard facts in your post. And I would point out I believe I brought up the ethanol “shuffle” as you call it – at beginning of this thread … that Brazil is currentlyexporting only a tiny amount to the US at same time the US is exporting more significant amounts to Brazil.

    I do claim ethanol is close to being able to stand on its own – but you failed to read the whole comment … in the limited parts of the US that already have significant distribution and availability. The rest of the country does not have sufficient availability to stand on its own yet. And I also noted that even in the better areas more needs to be done – while you can find ethanol it is far from readily available.

    I presented factual support for my positions. None of you naysayers seem to ever have anything more than your opinion. For example I provided two different studies and data on the cost savings on gasoline provided by availability of ethanol … one from 2008 by US Dept of Energy and one from 2010 (which was updating an earlier report) by economists at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin, which found the increased use of ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $0.89 per gallon in 2010, ranging from $0.58/gallon in the East Coast to $1.37/gallon in the Midwest, and that also found the growth in ethanol production has reduced gasoline prices by an average of $0.25, or 16 percent, over the entire decade of 2000-2010.

    I provided data that showed this savings on gas costs – using the .25 cents per gal average they found for the 10 year period from 2000- 2010, amounted to $35 billion a year. And that even if we used the lowest gas savings numbers from 2008 report – of .17 cents per gallon, that the savings was still almost $20 billion annually.

    Seems to me that is a heckuva deal – $6 billion in subsidies saves consumers $20 to $35 billion a year … and it does it by using cleaner, renewable ethanol fuel.

    Please explain the problem you have with that?

  361. Myrrh says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for those figures. I’ve been trying to find how much an acre of hemp produces for comparison , but keep getting distracted by the the fascinating information about it and its history!

    Here’s some I’m just reading:
    http://hemp-ethanol.blogspot.com/2008/01/economics-history-and-politics-of-hemp.html

    “The historian had worked in American Universities and said he would consult his network. Three weeks later he called me to confirm absolutely that Prohibition was to stop people making their own car fuel. He said that records showed that up to 90% of all the illegal alcohol made up to that time, was for the fueling of cars. … This historian did not go public.”

    I attempted to verify this information, and found out that Henry Ford originally designed his “Model A” car to run on either alcohol or gasoline, whichever was available to the driver – and that John D. Rockefeller, owner of Standard Oil (now Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, American BP and a dozen other oil companies), put 4 million dollars into alcohol prohibition.(46) After alcohol prohibition began, Ford proposed that the dead capacity of shutting down distilleries might be used to produce denatured alcohol – “a cleaner, nicer, better fuel for automobiles than gasoline”. (47) Veteran hemp activist Chris Conrad writes that Ford’s dream of a nation of plant-powered vehicles was “thwarted first by alcohol prohibition, then by hemp prohibition”. (48)
    The plan to shut down alcohol fuel through alcohol prohibition may have backfired. The number of illegal alcohol stills increased during alcohol prohibition.(49) Thus, in a celebrated 1932 letter, subsequently printed on the front page of The New York Times, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a lifelong teetotaler, argued against the continuation of alcohol prohibition due to the “increase in disrespect for the law”. This letter became the singular event that pushed the nation to repeal alcohol prohibition.(50) This concern of John D. Jr. may be considered suspect, for as any good Rockefeller historian will point out, the Rockefellers themselves had been known to disrespect the law from time to time.(51) Perhaps John D was really concerned that people would become less dependent on his oil if they had their own stills, and he adopted the “disrespect for the law” concern to hide the self-interested motive behind his change of opinion. And then I stumbled on this bit of information:” Fifty years ago it was a corporate alliance between DuPont (which controlled GM) and Standard Oil (now Exxon) which suppressed Henry Ford’s alcohol gasoline engine and committed the continent to using lead as an additive.” (52) DuPont and Standard Oil … hmmmm “

    Hmmm indeed… :)

    I’m really getting very keen on the idea of hemp production for fuel as its so much easier to grow than corn – doesn’t need the pesticides and herbicides, drought tolerant, grows in poorer land, faster cropping and so on, and more besides. The only problem I see with it is being spoiled for choice in uses.. Levi jeans used to be made from it, it softens with age and remains very hard wearing, much better than cotton, but, as a food source it’s also pretty amazing.

    It’s way past the time that governments got out of micro managing our lives, not government business to dictate prohibitions on growing any plant for whatever use – and certainly big business interests shouldn’t be allowed to dictate government policy to screw the markets in their favour. Stuff needing permits..

    ..I’ve got a bit of land.. :)

  362. johanna says:

    Seems to me that is a heckuva deal – $6 billion in subsidies saves consumers $20 to $35 billion a year … and it does it by using cleaner, renewable ethanol fuel.

    Please explain the problem you have with that?
    ——————————————————–
    Sport, 150 years ago you would have been in a travelling tent show selling snake oil.

    The proposition that, if I give you $6bn, you will save consumers $20 to $35bn (what’s a measly $15bn difference in savings among friends, anyway? We’re giving away taxpayers’ money to help people here!) would make P T Barnum proud.

    Why not just pay the $6bn yourself and save consumers ‘only’ $14bn to $29bn? Since you care so deeply about them and all? I assume that you are not making any profit off the $6bn, so what’s the difference?

    It’s called ‘rent seeking’ in the modern vernacular of snake oil sales. It means getting money or commercial advantage from the government through subsidies and/or regulation rather than paying your own way. All rent-seekers claim that giving them an edge over their competitors will reap rich rewards, and they are right. What they misrepresent is to whom those rewards will accrue, and at whose expense.

    Your spam is unreadable and I suspect, unread. Do you really think that posting every one of the eleventy million links on Google saying how great ethanol is will change anyone’s mind or add anything to the discussion?

  363. Smokey says:

    Johanna,

    Excellent answer. We always hear about all the $billions “saved”. But where are those ‘billions’? And who does the accounting?

  364. cwj says:

    Myrrh: You should read those historical accounts of prohibition with great suspicion. The first successes for states prohibiting alcohol were as early as the 1850’s, well preceding the internal combustion engine. Prohibition of alcohol was an issue constantly churning through the late 1800’s in the US. Before the imposition of nationwide prohibition in 1920, many states had already adopted it within their borders with the last wave of stringent prohibition laws starting in approx 1905. All this was before automobiles became common. Even during the height of prohibition in the 1920’s alcohol was illegal as a beverage, but not as an industrial product.

    In none of my readings have I found any indication that it was part of some conspiracy to prevent people from making their own fuel alcohol, though most of my interest is previous to 1920.

  365. philincalifornia says:

    Myrrh says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:31 am

    I’m really getting very keen on the idea of hemp production for fuel as its so much easier to grow than corn – doesn’t need the pesticides and herbicides, drought tolerant, grows in poorer land, faster cropping and so on, and more besides. The only problem I see with it is being spoiled for choice in uses.. Levi jeans used to be made from it, it softens with age and remains very hard wearing, much better than cotton, but, as a food source it’s also pretty amazing.
    ———————————————————-
    Myrrh, hemp isn’t the only fast growing plant around. Other cellulosic sources, to name just a couple, include switch grass and poplar. Corn has the big advantage of producing a high percentage of easily extractable starch that is then saccharified prior to fermentation.

  366. philincalifornia says:

    Why not just pay the $6bn yourself and save consumers ‘only’ $14bn to $29bn? Since you care so deeply about them and all? I assume that you are not making any profit off the $6bn, so what’s the difference?
    ———————————–
    Smokey, Johanna,
    According to this, that’s exactly what’s going to happen come Sunday or Monday:

    http://farmfutures.com/story.aspx/looking-life-without-ethanol-subsidy-17/55977

    5 cents times 125 billion gallons is $6.25 billion.

    Many of the subsidies and grants allowed the building of an infrastructure that led to further private capital and corporate cash infusion. The net result is actually a huge asset value for the U.S., particularly if you look at it this way:

    http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2011/11/29/renewable-reserve-accounting-building-the-biofuels-balance-sheet/

    Look at slide 13 of the linked presentation, to see the asset value when compared with oil reserves (and this is based on a 21 year contract).

    http://www.ascension-publishing.com/BIZ/Ceres-ABM.pdf

    The above probably does not take into account any bad harvest years, so fingers crossed on that. It is kinda ironic though that we can capitalize on China and India’s waste CO2 blowing its way over here to be sequestered in Iowa and Nebraska etc.

    Also, one other really good thing that has come out of all this (as I’ve mentioned before up there somewhere), is a realization that synthetic biologic microorganisms can make additional higher value (sometimes much higher value) chemical products, and the markets for these are in the $ trillions.

  367. johanna says:

    philincalifornia, what you have cited is just the standard hokum peddled by every rent seeker. Give us free money, and more things will happen in our sector than if you had not given us free money. Well, I’ll be blowed – what a revelation.

    The point is that the ‘free money’ is taken by force from consumers and/or taxpayers and spent on things that would otherwise not be viable. It is therefore a net drag on the economy, as it would otherwise have been spent on the things that the contributors actually wanted to spend their money on, including viable businesses who have now to forgo that income.

    Not only that, even though the money tap has been turned off and lucky recipients have infrastructure which they didn’t have to pay for, people are still forced to buy their products.

    It’s the perfect scam – first taxpayers and consumers give them stuff for nothing, and then they are forced to buy the products. It’s just old fashioned State imposed socialism, in the guise of being ‘green’, and it redirects scarce capital and cash flow from more productive parts of the economy to the scammers.

  368. Catcracking says:

    A.Scott says [T]he ethanol industry now provides approximately 10% of the gasoline used in automobiles, an amount that exceeds the spare capacity of US oil refineries. This “missing” fuel would have to be imported in the short run, and the required volume would be large relative to available import supplies.

    More inaccurate information re refining capacity, since several major companies have just shut down two large refineries on the Delaware river, One at Marcus Hook and another at Trainor. Yet another large complex in Phila is scheduled for shutdown in 2012 unless a buyer is found.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/company-news-story.aspx?storyid=201112211505dowjonesdjonline000601&title=update-pbf-plans-1-billion-upgrade-to-delaware-refinery
    The reason for shutdown is probably complex but the expensive EPA requirements are probably a significant factor, possibly including significant investment for producing low sulfur diesel. One of the operating refineries (Delaware City) on the Delaware River announced plans to upgrade the product to satisfy the ultra low diesel specs per the EPA at a cost of up to $1 Billion Dollars. It is not clear that the Delaware “EPA” or the US EPA will ever approve this expansion.

    Where is the shortage of refining??

  369. Catcracking says:

    For those who underestimate or misrepresent the importance of offshore oil in Brazil. and it’s impact on their economy.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=201112291225dowjonesdjonline000367&title=anadarko-gets-419-million-from-statoil-for-peregrino-oilfield-stake

    “Chinese state-run oil companies have made a big push into Latin America over the past two years and Brazil has been a prime target because of recently discovered deep-water offshore oil deposits, which some analysts said could hold as much as 100 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Last year, state-run Sinochem Group acquired a 40% stake in Statoil’s Peregrino offshore oil field for $3.07 billion. “

  370. A. Scott says:

    ohanna says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:58 am
    Seems to me that is a heckuva deal – $6 billion in subsidies saves consumers $20 to $35 billion a year … and it does it by using cleaner, renewable ethanol fuel.

    Please explain the problem you have with that?
    ——————————————————–
    Sport, 150 years ago you would have been in a travelling tent show selling snake oil.

    The proposition that, if I give you $6bn, you will save consumers $20 to $35bn (what’s a measly $15bn difference in savings among friends, anyway? We’re giving away taxpayers’ money to help people here!) would make P T Barnum proud.

    Why not just pay the $6bn yourself and save consumers ‘only’ $14bn to $29bn? Since you care so deeply about them and all? I assume that you are not making any profit off the $6bn, so what’s the difference?

    It’s called ‘rent seeking’ in the modern vernacular of snake oil sales. It means getting money or commercial advantage from the government through subsidies and/or regulation rather than paying your own way. All rent-seekers claim that giving them an edge over their competitors will reap rich rewards, and they are right. What they misrepresent is to whom those rewards will accrue, and at whose expense.

    Your spam is unreadable and I suspect, unread. Do you really think that posting every one of the eleventy million links on Google saying how great ethanol is will change anyone’s mind or add anything to the discussion?

    I posted links to the studies – it is up to you whether you care about educating yourself or not. Clearly you seem to prefer ignorance, and make no effort to prove or support your position.

    I presented facts – and I studiously avoid wherever possible “industry” documentation – going instead to the sources – the actual reports and studies themselves.

    I cannot as you note make you or anyone else read them.

    Those that do may still believe as they did before reading, but they will at least be able to make an informed and educated judgement and comment if they do.

    Its really quite interesting and funny that those who whine and attack the loudest – like you – are always the ones that never offer any meaningful, intelligent rebuttal – and rarely if ever offer documentation to support their attacks.

    If you disagree with my comments then get off your whiny lazy arse and rebut my comments and claims – and support that rebuttal with documents and facts. We both might even learn something.

  371. Catcracking says:

    Yesterday the EPA finalized the 2012 mandate for blending biofuels into our nation’s transportation fuel supply:
    http://www.linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=&articleID=1016064273&gid=1773692&type=member&item=87112882&articleURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eglobalwarming%2Eorg%2F2011%2F12%2F28%2Fepa-sets-2012-biofuel-requirements%2F&urlhash=Aoae&goback=%2Egde_1773692_member_87112882

    In a nod to how hard it is to predict the future, the EPA has lowered the cellulosic biofuel mandate from 500 billion gallons to a less ambitious 8.65 million gallons, which is 1.7% of the original planned requirement. Of course, they have done the same in previous years and as of October no qualifying cellulosic ethanol had been sold to refiners. Naturally, refiners are not pleased that in 2012 they will possibly be spending up to $8 million in credits depending upon actual production levels of cellulosic ethanol: The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:

    Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91 percent)
    Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21 percent)
    Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006 percent)
    Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.23 percent)

    “500 billion gallons to a less ambitious 8.65 million gallons, which is 1.7% of the original planned requirement”
    How could any honest person consider that cellulosic ethanol is a success. Keep in mind that this was mandated because the EPA established that corn ethanol does little to knowthing to reduce the carbon footprint!! Ergo the blenders are screwed as follows
    “The credits cost about $1.20 per gallon, according to Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association. “Once again, refiners are being ordered to use a substance that is not being produced in commercial quantities—cellulosic ethanol—and are being required to pay millions of dollars for failing to use this nonexistent substance. This makes no sense,” he said.

    How can anyone justify this insane policy??
    After years of subsidies and nothing but failures, it’s time to stop wasting taxpayers $$$ and misleading investors on the near term promise of commercial ethanol production. Stick to basic research.

  372. A. Scott says:

    Smokey says:
    December 30, 2011 at 8:15 am
    Johanna,

    Excellent answer. We always hear about all the $billions “saved”. But where are those ‘billions’? And who does the accounting?

    Its right there in my post. Did you read the linked published report?

    Here – I’ll help you again:

    A 2010 study conducted by economists at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin found the increased use of ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $0.89 per gallon in 2010, ranging from $0.58/gallon in the East Coast to $1.37/gallon in the Midwest.

    It also found that the growth in ethanol production reduced gasoline prices by an average of $0.25, or 16 percent, over the entire decade of 2000-2010.

    Further, the study determined that gas prices could double if ethanol production came to an immediate halt.
    http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/synopsis.aspx?id=1160

    We use appx 9.12 million barrels of gasoline per day, just under 140 million gallons per year. At an average price of $3.56 in fall 2011, that is almost $490 billion a year.

    If we save .89 cents per gal on gas due to the current ethanol production and use the savings is $124 billion dollars per year. Even if we only use the .25 cents average saving over the last decade, we save $35 billion per year on gas because of the ethanol produced and used.

    Department of Energy data shows U.S. gasoline use averaged 138 billion gallons per year from 2000 to 2010, meaning annual savings due to ethanol during the decade averaged $34.5 billion.

    Federal Highway Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Energy that show the average household consumed 900 gallons of gasoline at an average price of $2.74 per gallon in 2010. That means the average family’s annual gasoline bill was $2,470, but it would have been closer to $3,270 without ethanol. In 2010 alone, ethanol reduced the average American household’s gasoline bill by more than $800.

    Even if we use a 2008 study by US Dept of Energy they found a .17 cents per gal gas savings, nearly $24 billion in 2010 at that rate, or .14 cents without the subsidy, or just under $20 billion in savings. http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/pdfs/44517.pdf

    You can read the above quote – or go direct to either the links. You can choose either the 2008 US Dept of Energy study, or the economists at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin’s 2010 study.

    The answers and info is all right there.

    Unless of course you think the US Dept of Energy, and the Iowa and Wisconsin universities are publishing “snake oil” like johanna ….

  373. A. Scott says:

    johanna says:
    December 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    [SNIP: Sorry, but this is just a tad too confrontational. Please follow your own advice. -REP]

  374. A. Scott says:

    Catcracking says:
    December 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm
    A.Scott says [T]he ethanol industry now provides approximately 10% of the gasoline used in automobiles, an amount that exceeds the spare capacity of US oil refineries. This “missing” fuel would have to be imported in the short run, and the required volume would be large relative to available import supplies.

    More inaccurate information re refining capacity, since several major companies have just shut down two large refineries on the Delaware river, One at Marcus Hook and another at Trainor. Yet another large complex in Phila is scheduled for shutdown in 2012 unless a buyer is found.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/company-news-story.aspx?storyid=201112211505dowjonesdjonline000601&title=update-pbf-plans-1-billion-upgrade-to-delaware-refinery
    The reason for shutdown is probably complex but the expensive EPA requirements are probably a significant factor, possibly including significant investment for producing low sulfur diesel. One of the operating refineries (Delaware City) on the Delaware River announced plans to upgrade the product to satisfy the ultra low diesel specs per the EPA at a cost of up to $1 Billion Dollars. It is not clear that the Delaware “EPA” or the US EPA will ever approve this expansion.

    Where is the shortage of refining??

    First, you should note I was quoting a published report.

    Second, your claim seems to agree with the authors – you show additional refineries shut down – which reduces refining capacity and reduces the ability to react to a loss of ethanol, as the authors of the study note – yet, after showing a reduction in refining capacity, then ask where is the shortage of refining?

    Not sure I follow what you are trying to say.

    The study found that if ethanol was no longer available, that the existing gas refining capacity would be unable to meet the demand to replace that ethanol product. You seem to show evidence supporting their claims?

  375. A. Scott says:

    Catcracking says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm
    For those who underestimate or misrepresent the importance of offshore oil in Brazil. and it’s impact on their economy.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=201112291225dowjonesdjonline000367&title=anadarko-gets-419-million-from-statoil-for-peregrino-oilfield-stake

    “Chinese state-run oil companies have made a big push into Latin America over the past two years and Brazil has been a prime target because of recently discovered deep-water offshore oil deposits, which some analysts said could hold as much as 100 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Last year, state-run Sinochem Group acquired a 40% stake in Statoil’s Peregrino offshore oil field for $3.07 billion. “

    I don’t, and I don’t think any intelligent person would, disagree that the offshore oil find is a great and beneficial windfall to the Brazilian people and economy. I objected to the false claim that ethanol was forced on the Brazilians by the military and that they suffered as a result, and that somehow the of shore oil find dragged them out of the terrible position they were allegedly in.

    There’s not a shred of truth IMO to any of that. Brazil has the 6th best economy in the world. And ethanol has been a significant and important part of that. Even without the off shore oil they have a sustainable renewable energy program.

    Something johanna apparently thinks is evil.

    I don’t think the Brazilians would agree with her.

    Ethanol has done a lot of very good things for them. I think they would find her(?) close-minded, boorish and unwilling to see the benefit in some small common sacrifice for a greater good. And Brazil is a crystal clear example ethanol does work. And that some government involvement is an important and worthwhile part of growing the industry to a sustainable status.

  376. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:38 am

    ===========

    Cotton acreage planted and/or harvested.
    http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/ers/89004/Table-08.xls

    That should make you happy (or not).

  377. CommonSenseBill says:

    A.Scott Iam very happy we agree on the current soon to be former house sitter in the White House. Nero would have been a better choice. The Communist Chinese are also drilling in the Carribean without any regard for safety or the enviorment. While American/European companies are hobbled with unbeliveable restrictions including meddling by the annoited one. An by the way I have nothing against the Brazilian people. But if some of the bikini clad ladies were to lean on me, I would be totally supportive.

  378. A. Scott says:

    Catcracking says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Yesterday the EPA finalized the 2012 mandate for blending biofuels into our nation’s transportation fuel supply:

    In a nod to how hard it is to predict the future, the EPA has lowered the cellulosic biofuel mandate from 500 billion gallons to a less ambitious 8.65 million gallons, which is 1.7% of the original planned requirement. Of course, they have done the same in previous years and as of October no qualifying cellulosic ethanol had been sold to refiners. Naturally, refiners are not pleased that in 2012 they will possibly be spending up to $8 million in credits depending upon actual production levels of cellulosic ethanol: The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:

    Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91 percent)
    Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21 percent)
    Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006 percent)
    Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.23 percent)

    “500 billion gallons to a less ambitious 8.65 million gallons, which is 1.7% of the original planned requirement”
    How could any honest person consider that cellulosic ethanol is a success. Keep in mind that this was mandated because the EPA established that corn ethanol does little to knowthing to reduce the carbon footprint!! Ergo the blenders are screwed as follows
    “The credits cost about $1.20 per gallon, according to Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association. “Once again, refiners are being ordered to use a substance that is not being produced in commercial quantities—cellulosic ethanol—and are being required to pay millions of dollars for failing to use this nonexistent substance. This makes no sense,” he said.

    How can anyone justify this insane policy??
    After years of subsidies and nothing but failures, it’s time to stop wasting taxpayers $$$ and misleading investors on the near term promise of commercial ethanol production. Stick to basic research.

    Whoah … you need to slow down and verify before you run off shouting the sky is falling. A few minutes of reading, and a little perspective, can save a lot of silliness.

    This story is a mess of shoddy story-telling- with their blatant outright mistake at the core of the story’s very premise, along with their complete lack of perspective and context. They do not remotely tell the true story of the report they quote.

    Lets start here – this is the link to the EPA press release itself referenced in your story:

    http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/A7CE72844710BE0A85257973006A20F3

    Not a thing there to support the story’s 500 billion claims.

    This is the link to the actual final 2012 rule:

    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/documents/rfs-2012-standards-final-rule.pdf

    I don’t like the EPA one little bit – but the story you posted doesn’t remotely portray the reality.

    The EPA, as they do every year, are required pursuant to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) to:

    … determine and publish the applicable annual percentage standards for each compliance year by November 30 of the previous year. As part of this effort, EPA must determine the projected volume of cellulosic biofuel production for the following year. If the projected volume of cellulosic biofuel production is less than the applicable volume specified in section 211(o)(2)(B)(i)(III) of the statute, EPA must lower the applicable volume used to set the annual cellulosic biofuel percentage standard to the projected volume of production.

    By law the EPA must establish how much renewable fuels are available and establish how much will be required to be used. Same thing they do every year. You carefully left out that they have reduced the cellulosic number in prior years as well, as production of cellulosic ethanol has not met the early expected timetable and goals.

    Their review found that cellulosic plants producing appx 10.45 million ethanol equivalent biomass gals annually were online or under construction and would come online in 2012.

    The statute allows them to “… reduce the applicable volume of advanced biofuel and
    total renewable fuel if we determine that the projected volume of cellulosic biofuel production
    for 2012 falls short of the statutory volume of 500 million gallons.”

    Read that carefully as the people who wrote the story you quoted did not.

    Note that the original approved statutory volume for cellulosic biofuels was 500 million gallons – not 500 billion gallons as the story claimed.

    The EPA found there was 10.45 million ethanol equivalent gals (8.65 million actual gals) of cellulosic production (ethanol and diesel) available for 2012 and properly set that as the goal.

    Still terrible I’m sure you’ll say … still a huge failure.

    Only absent context and perspective.

    The same story, and the EPA report, show the total ethanol equivalent volume of renewable fuel required under the rules for 2012 to be 15.2 billion gals. There the “b” is correct – billion.

    So – the truth is the cellulosic portion of the overall ethanol equivalent renewable fuel requirement was reduced from a whopping 3% (500 million out of 15.2 billion) to 0.1% (10.45 million out of 15.2 billion)

    Yes I guess that is earth shattering news. Not.

    It is a horrible failure that a new technology is only able to deliver part of its already minuscule projected share of the overall renewable fuel requirement. Not.

    While cellulosic technology has been around for some time so has basic ethanol production. Large scale use of both is new. Commercial cellulosic production has been developed and proven in small scale commercial plants and is currently being deployed into large commercial scale plants under construction.

    The most significant reason this has not already occurred is simple. It takes huge amounts of capital to build and start up new plants like this. That lack of capital coupled with the sharp drop in consumer travel, oil prices (and subsequently gas prices) due to the massive collapse of the financial markets put development of cellulosic plants on hold the last 4 years.

    Many of the corn ethanol businesses also suffered a similar fate – some going bankrupt – not because the technology was bad, but in their cases often because they had committed to huge contracts for corn and hedges and when things collapsed could not survive.

    Most of those assets are now in new owners hands – usually for a fraction of their original costs – yet another strong positive for the renewable fuels industry.

    Let me repeat – large scale commercial cellulosic production, even at the 500 million (with an “m”) gallons number was a small scale startup phase portion of the overall 15.2 billion (with a “b”) renewable fuels requirement. That this brand new technology is behind on meeting its tiny share goal of the overall renewable fuels requirement is completely unsurprising, with or without the massive financial market meltdown.

    Oh – and by the way – I think the EPA’s position on waiver credits is silly. If you reduce the overall cellulosic requirement – that should be the same requirement for obligated parties.

  379. philincalifornia says:

    johanna says:
    December 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm
    philincalifornia, what you have cited is just the standard hokum peddled by every rent seeker. Give us free money, and more things will happen in our sector than if you had not given us free money. Well, I’ll be blowed – what a revelation.
    ————————————————————————–

    Johanna, you are wrong on so many levels. First, of the three links that I posted, none of them are more than a month old, and if you care to read the Richard Hamilton stuff closely, you will see that this was first described about six weeks ago at the Advanced Biofuels Markets conference in San Francisco, so can’t be exactly “standard hokum” can it now.

    The other link on gas going up on Monday, I dunno, it’s so new that I have no idea what’s going to happen, do you. Standard hokum – I don’t think so.

    To add further insult to injury on your theories, Mr. Hamilton could not present on his company (so chose to give this presentation) because his company was in the process of going public and he wasn’t allowed to talk up his own company because of SEC requirements. Going public, you know, an IPO, where public investors vote on board members and kick CEOs asses out the door if they don’t produce. So that would be the people he is “seeking rent” from currently.

    Check out other IPOs from Codexis, Amyris, Solazyme, etc etc.

    And then lastly, you do understand that in your last paragraph, you were essentially calling George W. Bush a ‘green’ Socialist ??

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/05/news/bush_ethanol/index.htm

    I think you’re the one with the “standard hokum” problem.

  380. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm
    A. Scott says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:38 am

    ===========

    Cotton acreage planted and/or harvested.
    http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/ers/89004/Table-08.xls

    That should make you happy (or not).

    I’ll gladly increase your grade for effort from a “D” to a “B-” … ;-)

    However, still a “not” ….

    You’ll be happy to hear I agree it is one of the correct sources for the numbers you posted, and I don’t argue that your posted numbers are different from your source.

    They are not however the harvested acres of cotton numbers.

    Rather than tell you the error, I’ll give another clue. Not to be a jerk, but in the hopes that you’ll find that the research you’re actually doing now is of some value – maybe even interesting and fun – in the future. And to demonstrate the benefit of spending enough time when you do research to understand what you present.

    Table-01 is the correct table for what you are trying to express – the cotton acreage. But a better research resource to help find the answer you need might be found here:

    http://www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS/TODAYRPT/acrg0611.pdf

    Read the first page and then look at the cotton section starting on page 19. Compare the data you find there with Table-01 and the acres harvested data you posted from Table-08. My detailed reply to you earlier will help give you more clues – look at the cotton acres data I posted and compare.

    That will give you your answer – why what you posted is not correct – is not the cotton data you think it is.

    I suspect it won’t change your mind – and there is actually at least some evidence you could try to use to support your claim and position. But you have to understand the data and have the correct data to do so.

    Good luck in your hunt … I honestly hope you find the answer and find the search and gathering knowledge and data interesting as well.

  381. A. Scott says:

    Some further reference data that some may find beneficial regarding my 8:15pm post was provided by jabra earlier – the actual original requirements from the 2007 Rule – note particularly the “cellulosic” vs the overall “Renewable Fuel” requirements (both in billions of gals):

    (http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=IssueItems.Detail&IssueItem_ID=f10ca3dd-fabd-4900-aa9d-c19de47df2da&Month=12&Year=2007). Read sec 201 for more details on the definition of advanced.

    Since most folks just want to argue and aren’t willing to spend the time to review links in detail:

    HR: 6-31

    (2) APPLICABLE VOLUMES OF RENEWABLE FUEL.—Subparagraph (B) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘‘(B) APPLICABLE VOLUMES.—

    ‘‘(i) CALENDAR YEARS AFTER 2005.—

    ‘‘(I) RENEWABLE FUEL.—For the purpose of subparagraph (A), the applicable volume of renew-able fuel for the calendar years 2006 through 2022 shall be determined in accordance with the following table:

    Applicable volume of renewable fuel ‘‘Calendar year: (in billions of gallons):
    2006 …………………………………………………………………… 4.0
    2007 …………………………………………………………………… 4.7
    2008 …………………………………………………………………… 9.0
    2009 …………………………………………………………………… 11.1
    2010 …………………………………………………………………… 12.95
    2011 …………………………………………………………………… 13.95
    2012 …………………………………………………………………… 15.2
    2013 …………………………………………………………………… 16.55
    2014 …………………………………………………………………… 18.15
    2015 …………………………………………………………………… 20.5
    2016 …………………………………………………………………… 22.25
    2017 …………………………………………………………………… 24.0
    2018 …………………………………………………………………… 26.0
    2019 …………………………………………………………………… 28.0
    2020 …………………………………………………………………… 30.0
    2021 …………………………………………………………………… 33.0
    2022 …………………………………………………………………… 36.0

    ‘‘(II) ADVANCED BIOFUEL.—For the purpose of subparagraph (A), of the volume of renewable fuel required under subclause (I), the applicable volume of advanced biofuel for the calendar years 2009 through 2022 shall be determined in accordance with the following table:

    Applicable volume of advanced biofuel ‘‘Calendar year: (in billions of gallons):
    2009 …………………………………………………………………… 0.6
    2010 …………………………………………………………………… 0.95
    2011 …………………………………………………………………… 1.35
    2012 …………………………………………………………………… 2.0
    2013 …………………………………………………………………… 2.75
    2014 …………………………………………………………………… 3.75
    2015 …………………………………………………………………… 5.5
    2016 …………………………………………………………………… 7.25
    2017 …………………………………………………………………… 9.0
    2018 …………………………………………………………………… 11.0
    2019 …………………………………………………………………… 13.0
    2020 …………………………………………………………………… 15.0
    2021 …………………………………………………………………… 18.0
    2022 …………………………………………………………………… 21.0

    ‘‘(III) CELLULOSIC BIOFUEL.—For the purpose of subparagraph (A), of the volume of advanced biofuel required under subclause (II), the applicable volume of cellulosic biofuel for the calendar years 2010 through 2022 shall be determined in accordance with the following table:

    Applicable volume of cellulosic biofuel ‘‘Calendar year: (in billions of gallons):
    2010 …………………………………………………………………… 0.1
    2011 …………………………………………………………………… 0.25
    2012 …………………………………………………………………… 0.5
    2013 …………………………………………………………………… 1.0
    2014 …………………………………………………………………… 1.75
    2015 …………………………………………………………………… 3.0
    2016 …………………………………………………………………… 4.25
    2017 …………………………………………………………………… 5.5
    2018 …………………………………………………………………… 7.0
    2019 …………………………………………………………………… 8.5
    2020 …………………………………………………………………… 10.5
    2021 …………………………………………………………………… 13.5
    2022 …………………………………………………………………… 16.0

    ‘‘(IV) BIOMASS-BASED DIESEL.—For the purpose of subparagraph (A), of the volume of advanced biofuel required under subclause (II), the applicable volume of biomass-based diesel for the calendar years 2009 through 2012 shall be deter-
    mined in accordance with the following table: Applicable volume of biomass based diesel

    ‘‘Calendar year: (in billions of gallons):
    2009 …………………………………………………………………… 0.5
    2010 …………………………………………………………………… 0.65
    2011 …………………………………………………………………… 0.80
    2012 …………………………………………………………………… 1.0

  382. Catcracking says:

    A. Scott
    My point was that there is an abundance of unused refining capacity that is being idled for various reasons including the administrations goal of phasing out fossil fuels via EPA regulations, etc. If we did not require ethanol, these refineries would be needed and profitable to replace the ethanol, The article you quote is intentially indicating that we are adicted to ethanol and cannot stop.That is not true

    Re the “great” claims for ethanol. I am not opposed to Brazil using it since it contributes and sugar makes sense, but as I have already noted they are experiencing a decline in production and have reduced the % required , and this cannot be ignored!. The % if required ethanol has dramatically reduced over the years since they got rid of the military dictators. Without their exploitation of oil I seriously doubt that they would have achieved their economic success. Brazil clearly acknowledges that oil drilling is an important part of the picture. Unfortunately the US currently believes that ethanol can back out oil. Glowing projections have already fooled the current administration, and to continue on that path witout caution can only harm the US economy in my opinion. It is scarry for one who has worked in the energy business for over 40 years.
    More info for your reading
    http://www.soyatech.com/news_story.php?id=22743

    “Washington Times (DC) — RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — March 21, 2011 — In 2007, former President George W. Bush punctuated a trip to Brazil with a visit to a biofuels plant, highlighting the country’s new energy independence and expanding ethanol market as a model for the U.S. to kick its addiction to oil.”

    This was the hope of the Congress and two administrations, producing cellulosic ethanol that has failed. Subsidizing the same thing over and over is not going to correct the technical problems that cellulosic ethanol has encountered. A full audit should be performed to identify the weak points that were shoved under the rug during the premature attempts to commercialize. It clearly is not more funding from a DOE that lacks technical expertise. No commercial cellulosic ethanol has been produced and the EPA has dramatically lowered the mandated cellulosic ethanol, but leaving the blenders holding the bag. From my Industry experience no project would go to commercialization without a comprehensive review by technical experts and all bugs workrd out.

    “Four years later, though, Brazil has made major oil discoveries and drilling advocates say the Latin American nation should be a model for more drilling in the U.S. at a time when oil costs have surged beyond $100 a barrel.”

    The US is ignoring the part of the model that includes drilling and to deny the facts is foolish.

    “That Brazil is now awash in oil is somewhat ironic given the fact that the military dictatorship in charge in 1975 instituted an ambitious ethanol program out of fear that the country was too dependent on foreign oil, doling out subsidies to sugar-cane farmers and requiring gas stations to install ethanol pumps. Decades later, 40 percent of the nation’s fuel supply comes from ethanol.”
    I think it is more like 15 -20 %today

    Pretending that these oil discoveries have not significantly contributed to Brazil’s economy is intellectually dishonest.
    If the US were to follow the current Brazil energy model we would also be exploiting our oil and gas resources to the max instead of looking for ways to constrain fossil fuel production, not lying about how great ethanol is in Brazil. Also to create a false hope that ethanol et. al. can replace fossil fuels near term in the US is not realistic as any sensible policy must include fossil fuels. This is not being implemented by the administration and the challenges of sugar vs corn is ignored out of ignorance or deception by many of our politicians .

    “Together, Libra and other recent oil finds could eclipse123 billion barrels, according to some researchers, and catapult Brazil from the world’s 15th-largest oil producer to a member of the coveted top 10.”

    Some documentation on the Military dictatorship from the current leader, there is a lot more including claims of human rights violations :
    “A former student activist who was tortured while jailed by Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, Rousseff criticized Iran’s human-rights record after Lula hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 and visited Tehran in 2010”

    For the record, I have consulted on a number of PDU biofuels projects, not on the process side, but as a designer of special equipment ; therefore I would like to see biofuels succeed and be economically competitive. The failed promises over 4 plus years from a number of companies and University professors combined with the method of doling out $$$ leave me pessimistic that cellulosic ethanol will contribute to our energy needs for decades at best. I think a new course is essential if we are going to succeed. Stopping fracking (rather than fixing any issues), stopping the Keystone pipeline, shutting down drilling everywhere, etc is not going to lead to jobs or a strong economy. Research in Biofuels is OK if reviewed by someone with technical expertise rather than a zealot.
    And BTW
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09556t.pdf
    In fiscal year 2008, the Department of the Interior (Interior) collected over
    $22 billion in royalties for oil and gas produced on federal lands and
    waters, purchase bids for new oil and gas leases, and annual rents on
    existing leases, making revenues from federal oil and gas one of the largest
    nontax sources of federal government funds.
    In 2008 lease sales brought in $20M dollars, Zero in 2011.

  383. johanna says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    ohanna says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:58 am
    Seems to me that is a heckuva deal – $6 billion in subsidies saves consumers $20 to $35 billion a year … and it does it by using cleaner, renewable ethanol fuel.

    Please explain the problem you have with that?
    ——————————————————–
    Sport, 150 years ago you would have been in a travelling tent show selling snake oil.

    The proposition that, if I give you $6bn, you will save consumers $20 to $35bn (what’s a measly $15bn difference in savings among friends, anyway? We’re giving away taxpayers’ money to help people here!) would make P T Barnum proud.

    Why not just pay the $6bn yourself and save consumers ‘only’ $14bn to $29bn? Since you care so deeply about them and all? I assume that you are not making any profit off the $6bn, so what’s the difference?

    It’s called ‘rent seeking’ in the modern vernacular of snake oil sales. It means getting money or commercial advantage from the government through subsidies and/or regulation rather than paying your own way. All rent-seekers claim that giving them an edge over their competitors will reap rich rewards, and they are right. What they misrepresent is to whom those rewards will accrue, and at whose expense.

    Your spam is unreadable and I suspect, unread. Do you really think that posting every one of the eleventy million links on Google saying how great ethanol is will change anyone’s mind or add anything to the discussion?

    I posted links to the studies – it is up to you whether you care about educating yourself or not. Clearly you seem to prefer ignorance, and make no effort to prove or support your position.

    I presented facts – and I studiously avoid wherever possible “industry” documentation – going instead to the sources – the actual reports and studies themselves.

    I cannot as you note make you or anyone else read them.

    Those that do may still believe as they did before reading, but they will at least be able to make an informed and educated judgement and comment if they do.

    Its really quite interesting and funny that those who whine and attack the loudest – like you – are always the ones that never offer any meaningful, intelligent rebuttal – and rarely if ever offer documentation to support their attacks.

    If you disagree with my comments then get off your whiny lazy arse and rebut my comments and claims – and support that rebuttal with documents and facts. We both might even learn something.
    —————————————————————————
    Here we go again. Are you new here? It is not up to me to disprove the validity of your demand that people contribute money to your hobbyhorse, and then be forced to buy it. It is up to you to demonstrate that we should do this. I don’t have to rebut the proposition that your lobby group deserves cash forcibly extracted from consumers and taxpayers, and protection from competition. It is self evident that any lobby group that asks for these things is simply looking for an easy way to avoid the realities of the marketplace by rent seeking.

    If you want to know why the policies you advocate are (at best) smoke and mirrors, have a look at East Germany, where they did the kind of thing you support, vs West Germany. Command and control economic models simply don’t work. They just waste resources and reward inefficiency. The bosses always do well, but the general populace are impoverished.

    I repeat, when your whole case is based on using other people’s money (minus their consent) and forcing them to buy your product, I don’t have to prove a damn thing.

  384. A. Scott says:

    Catcracking says:
    December 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm
    A. Scott

    My point was that there is an abundance of unused refining capacity that is being idled for various reasons including the administrations goal of phasing out fossil fuels via EPA regulations, etc. If we did not require ethanol, these refineries would be needed and profitable to replace the ethanol, The article you quote is intentially indicating that we are adicted to ethanol and cannot stop.That is not true

    First – I appreciate you’ve chosen to respond civilly and with support for your position. I’ll try to respond similarly.

    Second, the article did not “intentionally say” anything. let alone that we are “addicted to ethanol”. They studied an issue, looked at the data, and came to a conclusion based on what they found. That conclusion was that ethanol availability does reduce gas prices, and the benefit in lower gas prices is greater the more available ethanol is in a market.

    They also found, that because there is not sufficient refinery capacity to replace ethanol, that the loss of ethanol would cause a severe supply vs demand constraint and would cause gas prices to increase – a lot.

    I researched refinery capacity in detail a while back, due to the belief that the oil companies were purposely holding back capacity and production and not building new capacity so as to decrease supply thus increasing price.

    I went back and re-looked at the data and came up with the following – these are my calculations and comments from the data, not quotes:

    From 1982 to 2011 total # of OPERABLE refineries dropped from 301 to 148 … the current 148 pretty much match the avg number from 2001 to 2011 of 149.

    From 1982 to 2011 total # of OPERATING refineries dropped from 254 to 137 … the current 137 are appx 4.5% lower than avg number from 2001 to 2011 of 143.

    From 1982 to 2011 the average % of OPERABLE refineries in OPERATION was 93% with an average of 7% idle. From 2006 to 2011 the average % of OPERABLE refineries in OPERATION was 95% with an average of 5% idle.

    From 2006 to 2001 the average OPERABLE REFINERY CAPACITY was 17,561,311 barrels per calendar day. The CURRENT OPERABLE REFINERY CAPACITY is 17,736,370 barrels per calendar day.

    From 2006 to 2001 the average OPERATING REFINERY CAPACITY was 16,957,545 barrels per calendar day. The CURRENT OPERATING REFINERY CAPACITY is 16,937,024 barrels per calendar day.

    Over the last 30 years traditionally on average appx 7% of refinery capacity is non-operable at any given time. These are plants shut down permanently and those out of service and non-operable for repairs, maintenance, upgrades etc. These 7% of non-operable plants are generally NOT available for production even if needed.

    The current OPERABLE capacity is 17,736,370 barrels per calendar day and the current OPERATING capacity is 16,937,024 barrels per calendar day, almost exactly the same as the 2006 to 2011 averages – so current capacity is almost exactly the same as the last 5 years averages. This leaves 799,346 barrels per calendar day that is OPERABLE but NOT OPERATING. This capacity is OPERABLE and could be used if needed.

    However, there is yet another important statistic “Percent UTILIZATION of OPERATING Refineries.” This is the percent of the capacity of operating refineries actually being used.

    The average UTILIZATION of OPERATING Refineries (the percent of the capacity of operating refineries being used) averaged 90% for the 1990 to 2011 period.

    This number reflects that refineries are not able to run at 100% of capacity – they must be offline for more minor repairs, routine maintenance, weather issues and similar. The long term average utilization – 90% average from 1990 to 2011 – represents the “norm” … that operating plants can consistently run at appx 90% of total capacity.

    In 2011 it is 85%, 86% average for 2006 to 2011 period and 88% average for 2001-2011 period. This in part reflects the hurricane Katrina and other weather disruptions including flooding. Some may in part reflect aging equipment needed more frequent repairs as most of the refineries are quite old.

    It also likely reflects the decreased demand – both after 9/11 and then the financial market collapse and effect on the economy as miles driven plummeted. Some of this decrease – most likely the portion between current 85% and the 2001 to 2011 average 88% might be recoverable for additional production if needed.

    So with that background and data how does it apply to your claim about idled/excess refinery capacity being able to take up slack if ethanol was not available?

    2012 ethanol use is 15.2 billion gallons annually. That works out to 1,005,291 barrels per calendar day.

    We know there is appx 799,346 barrels per calendar day that is OPERABLE but NOT OPERATING. This capacity could be used if needed – if ethanol was no longer available, but would be subject to normal “utilization” percentages. Lets assume we can get utilization back up to 88% avg utilization seen for 2001-2011.

    This would give us an additional 707,566 bbls/day of available production. Which would leave us short just under 298,000 barrels per day, of the 1,005,291 bbls per day we need to replace ethanol.

    Of the 15.2 billion gallons of ethanol we need annually – we are short 4.5 billion gallons even if we use all of the operable but not currently operating capacity, and if we get the utilization rate up to 90% from the current 85% average.

    We currently have 148 OPERABLE plants with 137 OPERATING. Even assuming all 11 operable but not operating plants could be brought quickly back online their total production would only cover appx 70% of the current ethanol demand. We would still be short 4.5 billion of the 15.2 billion gals of ethanol needed in 2012.

    Again, the above calcs are based on my own independent review of the data downloaded from links below. I believe them to be correct, but feel free to proof and point out errors.

    The calculations above show the study I listed earlier was correct – that we do not have anywhere near sufficient refining capacity to make up for the loss of ethanol fuel.

    That really was not the biggest point however – their study showed that the availability of ethanol is currently keeping gas prices lower by an average 89 cents per gallon wholesale across country and by as much as $1.37 a gallon in higher availability areas like Minnesota. They also found even over a longer term the average savings were average .25 cents per gallon.

    These savings are in part due to the availability of ethanol, and in part due to the lower price of ethanol. They found – and the refinery capacity shows this well – that without ethanol we would see significantly higher gas prices.

    The study’s economists found that the average family saved almost $900 annually on gas whether they used ethanol or not. And that that savings increased the more available ethanol was in their area.

    Everyone who uses gasoline benefits – and significantly – in just gas price savings alone, let alone the other ethanol benefits. The authors found that overall the country saved appx $34.5 billion on gasoline due to availability of ethanol – whether they used it or not.

    No snake oil – just facts.

    To me the $6 billion in subsidies is a pretty cheap price to pay for $34.5 billion in savings – savings every driver who buys gasoline gets.

    I just don’t know how anyone can argue that a renewable fuel, that reduces emissions, and that saves every person who buys gasoline (whether they ever use ethanol or not) considerable money on their gas, is a bad thing.

    I also cannot understand how anyone can argue that even if we kept the subsidies – how a $6 billion annual investment that saves all gasoline purchasers money, a total of appx $34 billion in savings per year as a direct result of the availability of ethanol, is possibly a bad deal.

    I think the production side, at least the corn based side, is stable enough it can survive without the blender credits. That said the economic benefit study clearly showed that increased availability further lower gas prices and increased gas cost savings. As most of the country has minimal or no distribution I think keeping some or all of the existing subsidy, but re purposing it where it does direct benefit to consumers thru lower gas prices, is the smart thing to do.

    EIA Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries

    Weekly U.S. Percent Utilization of Refinery Operable Capacity

    I’ll try to address your other comments when I have time ;-)

  385. A. Scott says:

    johanna says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:33 am

    ——————————————————–
    Sport, 150 years ago you would have been in a travelling tent show selling snake oil.

    The proposition that, if I give you $6bn, you will save consumers $20 to $35bn (what’s a measly $15bn difference in savings among friends, anyway? We’re giving away taxpayers’ money to help people here!) would make P T Barnum proud.

    Why not just pay the $6bn yourself and save consumers ‘only’ $14bn to $29bn? Since you care so deeply about them and all? I assume that you are not making any profit off the $6bn, so what’s the difference?

    It’s called ‘rent seeking’ in the modern vernacular of snake oil sales. It means getting money or commercial advantage from the government through subsidies and/or regulation rather than paying your own way. All rent-seekers claim that giving them an edge over their competitors will reap rich rewards, and they are right. What they misrepresent is to whom those rewards will accrue, and at whose expense.

    Your spam is unreadable and I suspect, unread. Do you really think that posting every one of the eleventy million links on Google saying how great ethanol is will change anyone’s mind or add anything to the discussion?

    —————————————————————————
    Here we go again. Are you new here? It is not up to me to disprove the validity of your demand that people contribute money to your hobbyhorse, and then be forced to buy it. It is up to you to demonstrate that we should do this. I don’t have to rebut the proposition that your lobby group deserves cash forcibly extracted from consumers and taxpayers, and protection from competition. It is self evident that any lobby group that asks for these things is simply looking for an easy way to avoid the realities of the marketplace by rent seeking.

    If you want to know why the policies you advocate are (at best) smoke and mirrors, have a look at East Germany, where they did the kind of thing you support, vs West Germany. Command and control economic models simply don’t work. They just waste resources and reward inefficiency. The bosses always do well, but the general populace are impoverished.

    I repeat, when your whole case is based on using other people’s money (minus their consent) and forcing them to buy your product, I don’t have to prove a damn thing.

    More denigration and ad hominem personal attack while making zero effort to offer any meaningful, intelligent, civil response.

    It is clear you are completely close-minded and refuse to even consider any position but your own – and will be rude, arrogant, demeaning and condescending to anyone who dares think differently than you. Rather than engage in reasoned debate, you simply denigrate and attack.

    The policies I advocate are that people should educate themselves, learn the facts and engage in critical informed thought, before passing judgment and jumping to conclusions. You seemingly are incapable, or simply refuse, to even consider and review facts that do not follow your own agenda and beliefs. That is truly sad.

    Do you believe renewable, cleaner fuels are a bad thing?

    Do you believe reducing dependance on fossil fuels, and on foreign oil is a good thing?

    Do you believe Brazil’s ethanol based, renewable, sustainable energy program is a success, and beneficial to the Brazilian people?

    You strangely and inexplicably apparently do NOT believe that all gasoline buying Americans saving considerable money on the gasoline they purchase, thanks to the availability of ethanol as a competitive fuel, is beneficial.

    By extension one could take your seeming hatred for public support, regardless of the benefit, and make a case you believe no one should get food stamps, or housing assistance or medical care, regardless of the benefit or result. I don’t much like how overboard entitlements have become but I still recognize the real need to provide help to achieve a greater good, benefit and goal.

    You apparently believe that any assistance, regardless of benefit or public purpose, is “snake oil” – and any who would dare suggest it are charlatans and worse.

    As you can see – if you actually took the time to read my comments, I have no problem at all with legitimate criticism, and honest debate. I have no misbelief that anyone gets “pal review” here, its a tough room and I don’t mind that – its why I came here … but no one should be subject to rude, arrogant “punk review” either.

    If you disagree then stand up and make an intelligent, civil response and/or rebuttal, supported with reasoned opinion and hopefully data and facts.

    [REP - hopefully that was at least nominally better - feel free to edit as appropriate ;-)]

    [REPLY: Still kinda harsh, but better. I'd like to ask ALL commenters in 2012 to think twice before hitting the send button. Happy New Year. -REP]

  386. Myrrh says:

    philincalifornia says:
    December 30, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Myrrh, hemp isn’t the only fast growing plant around. Other cellulosic sources, to name just a couple, include switch grass and poplar. Corn has the big advantage of producing a high percentage of easily extractable starch that is then saccharified prior to fermentation.
    =======

    Haven’t read anything about poplar, but switch grass I’ve seen mentioned. Difficult to get established but once established fine, and perennial, but, it has the drawback as with corn that it needs more water and fertiliser than hemp – also hemp is the great weed suppressor, so another plus for it. Read something about fungal problems with switch grass which was also a big drawback with flax.

    What I like about hemp is that like corn it also produces a super feed product, I’ve taken an interest because my local health shop has just got in hemp protein and oil, locally produced, and I’ve been trying it out. Hemp is also faster growing than corn but don’t know how either compares with poplar pound for pound.

    Poplar, I’m imagining, would be field poplar? Very fast growing but does require a lot of water. Don’t plant it anywhere near your house or near drainage pipes – its roots will drive through anything to get its water fix. :)

    Anyway, I think biofuels a definite benefit to us in the fuel wars, not least because it can sensibly take this back to local and even personal production – for example, I’m surrounded in farmland but the fields not good enough for arable production, on a mountain flank (well, not a mountain by some countries’ standards..), but soil fine for cattle, sheep, goats and horses, hemp could be grown here. Not beyond the bounds of imagination to see some of the farmers get together and rotate their fields for biofuel production shared among them. Ah, maybe some of the bad press it is getting has been instigated by some who are very anti cheap energy for all… ?

    And warming to that subject… hemp’s production world wide was also nobbled by the vested interests of the time originating in the US, through the UN it got all hemp tarred with the ‘marijuana’ brush, but it surely makes more sense to promote this as fuel alternatives in places such as Africa than the pvc which even in the great african sunshine just about manage to keep a fridge going.. Even burned direct for heat, cooking. And it’s a great food source.

  387. Myrrh says:

    Myrrh: You should read those historical accounts of prohibition with great suspicion. The first successes for states prohibiting alcohol were as early as the 1850′s, well preceding the internal combustion engine. Prohibition of alcohol was an issue constantly churning through the late 1800′s in the US. Before the imposition of nationwide prohibition in 1920, many states had already adopted it within their borders with the last wave of stringent prohibition laws starting in approx 1905. All this was before automobiles became common. Even during the height of prohibition in the 1920′s alcohol was illegal as a beverage, but not as an industrial product.

    In none of my readings have I found any indication that it was part of some conspiracy to prevent people from making their own fuel alcohol, though most of my interest is previous to 1920
    =======
    As with all this history, it took a while to play out, but those antognistic to home distilled competition in fuel production just as they were investing in oil makes sense, by calling for a lifting of prohibition it immediately would have the effect of making still technology of little interest to the majority. There certainly was a concerted attack on Ford and here’s more background.

    William (Billy) Hale and Wheeler McMillan were two men who noticed a contradiction between federal programs that on the one hand were improving yields, while on the other encouraging farmers not to plant their full acreage. They found a resolution of the dilemma in the new science of chemurgy, a term Hale coined for the bringing together of agricultural production and the organic chemical industry.
    Hale, a biochemist, recognized the possibility of using agriculture carbohydrates, fats and proteins as the raw material for the rapidly expanding chemical industry. He was with Dow Chemical Company and the Dow family had its roots in agriculture. The catch-phrase was “Anything that can be made from a hydrocarbon, could be made from a carbohydrate. ” Hale and McMillan joined forces to promote the vision of farm products replacing imported oil, for fuels, lubricants and fiber. They quickly added powerful allies to their cause: Henry Ford and Francis Patrick Garvan.
    In 1919, Garvan had the unique position of Alien Property Custodian. It was his job to deal with the patents of the German chemical industry seized after WW1. With backing from DuPont, Garvan formed an organization called the Chemical Foundation, Inc. which he headed and to which he sold the patents. Objections to this transfer went to the Supreme Court which upheld Garvan in 1926. The ideas of Hale and McMillan appealed to Garvan who used royalties from the patents to support the growing movement. Support also came from the Grange and the American Farm Bureau Federation, headed by Edward O’Neal. Hale’s book, The Farm Chemurgic, was sent to every Grange office.

    Hale’s vision of chemurgy extended beyond the technical into all aspects of social organization. Among his proposals was a call for stronger tariffs, taxes on the wealthy, and a repeal of property taxes, which he saw as burdensome to agriculture. He aggressively attacked the oil industry, precociously pointing to the damaging effect of air pollution on lungs, and referred to the financial moguls of the day as “boobs” and “Antichrist.” Hale recognized that the chemical industry was taking markets from agriculture—as in the cotton and wool examples—but cotton lint and wood were the prime sources of cellulose used in the manufacture of rayon. He felt the neglect of farms by a government controlled by bankers was at the root of the nation’s problems.
    The cause celebre of the Chemurgy Movement was ethanol fuels made from the fermentation of grain. In his analysis of the their initial interaction, David Wright described the reception of the chemurgists by the USDA as enthusiastic.98 But heavy pressure was brought to bear through the agency of the American Petroleum Institute and mandates for ethanol mixes were defeated. As the New Deal took shape, the subsidy solution was favored as quicker and more expedient by Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace, and the government acquiesced to the lobbying pressure of the petrochemical industry.

    And there we have in a nutshell the same problem as today. I for one am getting really annoyed with the big pharmas interference which has already had some herbal medicines banned from general sale and is now trying to get vitamins off the shelves! I don’t care how big companies get, or how much money they make, but lobbying to give themselves unfair advantage in the market place by putting restrictions on others trading is unconscionable – anyone in government who has ever voted in such restrictions has a lot to answer for.. Government anyway has no right to restrict our personal production or use of anything – who made them God?

    Prohibition was utterly stupid. But any legislation that is tyrannical as this was is of the same ilk. What makes bullying unacceptable in schools but suddenly OK when someone puts on a uniform or ‘passes legislation’?

    Have we lost the rationality even children have to see that this is wrong?

    The above extract comes from chapter 7, but this particular aspect of the story begins here:
    http://www.gametec.com/hemp/fiberwars/chp6fr.html

  388. Myrrh says:

    Here’s background on switchgrass: http://www.switchgrass.nl/pdf/Paper-Elbersenetal2000.pdf

    “Many reasons are given for using switchgrass as a biomass
    crop for energy and fibre production, including the high net
    energy production per ha, low production costs, low
    nutrient requirement, low ash content, high water use
    efficiency, large range of geographic adaptation, ease of
    establishment by seed, adaptation to marginal soils, and
    potential for carbon storage in soil, (Christian and
    Elbersen, 1998; Samson and Omielan, 1992, Sanderson et
    al., 1996).”

    Says it has good establishment from seed, not what I read from tests on this. Perhaps some strains better than others.

  389. greg holmes says:

    The biggest user of fuel in the USA is the railroad. Lets look at Throium reactors and the electrification of the rail lines, jobs kept in the USA, massive import savings, leader in the technology, reduced freight charges for long haul. No brainer really, bet the Canadians do it first.

  390. Sal Minella says:

    Taking into account ALL energy inputs, it takes about 4BTUs input to get 1BTU output of ETOH. Granted ONE of the energy inputs is solar energy, however, it is nearly inconsequential. The generally accepted efficiency of ETOH production from corn (including growing the corn (ETOH hacks leave this out)) is a range of between 24% and 34%. So, in fact, it is not a magical perpetual motion machine. Expending 4 BTUs of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 BTU of ETOH energy all the while driving up food costs, polluting the environment, damaging internal combustion engines, and starving the poor is just plain foolish. Even ALGORE knows this

  391. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Likewise, using corn for ethanol has NOT caused any widespread shift in plantings to corn and away from other crops – simply read the USDA crop reports.

    Ethanol does get lower mileage than gas however it also costs less. E85 blend costs me $2.55 vs $3.35 for E10 blend – almost 25% less. My average fuel economy drops appx 15-18% in a 2003 Tahoe flex fuel vehicle – for a net overall saving in fuel with E85.

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

    A couple of points above quoted from your first comment of the very very many that you have posted on this thread. You / yours have contradicted yourselves too many times to begin to list and have been debunked repeatedly.

    A major drop in cotton crops planted / harvested to about half with the ethanol mandate and related subsidies, that acreage is now recovering due to rapid rise in cotton prices and the reality of the ethanol boondoggle setting in. Your arguments have avoided the the fact that you were wrong with regards to shifting crop plantings. But that is the nature of your trolling.

    Want me to point out the comments posted by you / yours stating that ethanol only causes a very minimal drop of 2-3% in mpg? I bet ‘hotrod’ scolded you good for that one.

    How many posts have you made here. Include ‘hotrod’ as he usually works with a team when hijacking a thread to spout the ethanol agenda.

  392. Resourceguy says:

    Re: A Scott
    Your bargain is not such a good deal if you broaden your horizon to the grocery bill driven up in the process of maintaining this market distortion as official policy. And there is not a nice neat data package to pick up and play with because it involves everything from livestock farmers hurt by corn prices (zero profit margins) to unemployment benefits paid out to dismissed food procession line workers. There is also an inter-temporal effect as livestock herds are culled and not replaced and processing plants do not re-open.

  393. Sal Minella says:

    Mr. A. Scott,

    A simple question that requires a simple answer: Taking into account all of the energy inputs including the growing of corn from seed, does the production of ETOH have a thermodymnamic gain of unity or greater, is it more than 100% efficient? If it is, it breaks the first law of thermodynamics and it is truly a perpetual motion machine. If the gain is unity or less, then it is an exercise in stupidity or a waste of fossil fuel energy at a time when conservation is in order.

    So which is it, a perpetual motion machine or an exercise in stupidity? No hand-waving please, just an answer to the question.

  394. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Likewise, using corn for ethanol has NOT caused any widespread shift in plantings to corn and away from other crops – simply read the USDA crop reports.

    ==================
    Your schooling and grading of me tends to make you look well… very misinformed to say the least. I doubt that your being misinformed is really the case here.

    From USDA crop reports:

    I have shown the reduction of the cotton acreage planted that plumented a few years ago with the ethanol mandate that is now showing signs of recovery of acreage planted. Read the link again: http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/ers/89004/Table-08.xls

    ———-

    Now for a link to the USDA covering corn, oats, barley, sorghum : http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/feedgrains/Table.asp?t=01

    From the data set I will compare 2004/2005 with 2011/2012 for simplicity in reading the charts. Also was about the time the government got involved in a bigtime way with ethanol. Read the charts. The numbers are in ‘million acres’ planted.

    Corn planting (acreage) from 80.93 to 91.9 for an INCREASE of 13.6% and a price INCREASE from $2.06 to $5.90 – $6.90 per bushel (286% – 335% increase).

    Sorghum planting (acreage) from 7.49 to 5.47 for a DECREASE of 27% and a price INCREASE from $1.79 to $5.70 – $6.70 per bushel (318% – 374% increase).

    Barley planting (acreage) from 4.53 to 2.56 for a DECREASE of 43.5% and a price INCREASE from $2.48 to $5.20 – $5.80 per bushel (210% – 234% increase).

    Oats planting (acreage) from 4.09 to 2.50 for a DECREASE of 38.9% and a price INCREASE from $1.48 to $3.20 – $3.60 per bushel (216% – 243% increase).

    The above 2011/2012 prices likely reflect the range of prices being paid for harvested crops and data has not yet been compiled for a final figure.

  395. Myrrh says:

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Gasification

    History

    The process of producing energy using the gasification method has been in use for more than 180 years. During that time coalCoalCoal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock normally occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure…
    and peatPeatPeat, or turf, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world…
    were used to power these plants. Initially developed to produce town gas for lighting & cooking in 1800s, this was replaced by electricity and natural gasNatural gasNatural gas is a gas consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0-20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural gas is created by two…
    , it was also used in blast furnaces but the bigger role was played in the production of syntheticChemical synthesisIn chemistry, chemical synthesis is purposeful execution of chemical reactions to get a product, or several products. This happens by physical and chemical manipulations usually involving one or more reactions…
    chemicals where it has been in use since the 1920s.

    During both world wars especially the Second World War the need of gasification produced fuel reemerged due to the shortage of petroleum. Wood gas generatorWood gas generatorA wood gas generator is a gasification unit which converts timber or charcoal into wood gas, a syngas consisting of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, traces of methane, and other gases, which – after cooling and filtering – can then be used to power an internal combustion engine or for other purposes…
    s, called GasogeneWood gas generatorA wood gas generator is a gasification unit which converts timber or charcoal into wood gas, a syngas consisting of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, traces of methane, and other gases, which – after cooling and filtering – can then be used to power an internal combustion engine or for other purposes…
    or Gazogène, were used to power motor vehicles in EuropeEuropeEurope is, by convention, one of the world’s seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally ‘divided’ from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting…
    . By 1945 there were trucks, buses and agricultural machines that were powered by gasification. It is estimated that there were close to 9,000,000 vehicles running on producer gas all over the world.

    &

    Gasification is also used industrially in the production of electricity, ammonia and liquid fuels (oil) using Integrated Gasification Combined Cycles (IGCCIntegrated Gasification Combined CycleAn integrated gasification combined cycle is a technology that turns coal into gas—synthesis gas . It then removes impurities from the coal gas before it is combusted and attempts to turn any pollutants into re-usable byproducts. This results in lower emissions of sulfur dioxide, particulates and…
    ), with the possibility of producing methaneMethaneMethane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, and the principal component of natural gas. Methane’s bond angles are 109.5 degrees. Burning methane in the presence of oxygen produces carbon dioxide and water. The relative abundance of methane makes it an…
    and hydrogen for fuel cells. IGCC is also a more efficient method of CO2 capture as compared to conventional technologies. IGCC demonstration plants have been operating since the early 1970s and some of the plants constructed in the 1990s are now entering commercial service.

    Gasification technologies have been developed in recent years that use plastic-rich waste as a feed.

    Syngas can be used for heat production and for generation of mechanical and electrical power. Like other gaseous fuels, producer gas gives greater control over power levels when compared to solid fuels, leading to more efficient and cleaner operation.

    Gasifiers offer a flexible option for thermal applications, as they can be retrofitted into existing gas fueled devices such as ovens, furnaces, boilers, etc., where syngas may replace fossil fuels. Heating values of syngas are generally around 4-10 MJ/m3.

    Diesel engineDiesel engineA diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber during the final stage of compression…
    s can be operated on dual fuel mode using producer gas. Diesel substitution of over 80% at high loads and 70-80% under normal load variations can easily be achieved. Spark ignition engines and SOFC fuel cells can operate on 100% gasification gas. Mechanical energy from the engines may be used for e.g. driving water pumps for irrigation or for coupling with an alternator for electrical power generation.

    In 2009 21stCenturyMotorworks was reported on mass media to have developed gasification technology in a prototype pickup truck that could use any biomass materials for fuel. The vehicle was displayed at multiple events including the 2009 Boston Greenfest.

  396. Myrrh says:

    But what’s really going on here with so much antagonism?

    Resourceguy says:
    December 31, 2011 at 8:09 am
    Re: A Scott
    Your bargain is not such a good deal if you broaden your horizon to the grocery bill driven up in the process of maintaining this market distortion as official policy. And there is not a nice neat data package to pick up and play with because it involves everything from livestock farmers hurt by corn prices (zero profit margins) to unemployment benefits paid out to dismissed food procession line workers. There is also an inter-temporal effect as livestock herds are culled and not replaced and processing plants do not re-open.

    Did you miss this link I posted earlier?

    Hale – He felt the neglect of farms by a government controlled by bankers was at the root of the nation’s problems.

    It still is. It’s the neglect of all of us dupes to the banking cartels creating money out of nothing, driving booms and busts and now from Goldman Sacks the great idea of starving millions by the creation of an artificial market to play out their pyramid gambling scam as they did with the housing market.

    of Goldman Sachs:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/27/how_goldman_sachs_created_the_food_crisis?page=0,1

    “What was happening to the grain markets was not the result of “speculation” in the traditional sense of buying low and selling high. …“What we are experiencing is a demand shock coming from a new category of participant in the commodities futures markets,” hedge fund Michael Masters testified before Congress in the midst of the 2008 food crisis.

    The result of Wall Street’s venture into grain and feed and livestock has been a shock to the global food production and delivery system. Not only does the world’s food supply have to contend with constricted supply and increased demand for real grain, but investment bankers have engineered an artificial upward pull on the price of grain futures. The result: Imaginary wheat dominates the price of real wheat, as speculators (traditionally one-fifth of the market) now outnumber bona-fide hedgers four-to-one.

    Today, bankers and traders sit at the top of the food chain — the carnivores of the system, devouring everyone and everything below. Near the bottom toils the farmer. For him, the rising price of grain should have been a windfall, but speculation has also created spikes in everything the farmer must buy to grow his grain — from seed to fertilizer to diesel fuel. At the very bottom lies the consumer. The average American, who spends roughly 8 to 12 percent of her weekly paycheck on food, did not immediately feel the crunch of rising costs. But for the roughly 2-billion people across the world who spend more than 50 percent of their income on food, the effects have been staggering: 250 million people joined the ranks of the hungry in 2008, bringing the total of the world’s “food insecure” to a peak of 1 billion — a number never seen before.”

    Got it? Biofuels is real renewable energy and big oil doesn’t like it now any more than it liked it in the early days.

    Because, it is a genuine threat to their monopoly – and in main part the reason for the AGW scam in the first place – which was against the coal industry, and they’re still ranting on about ‘death trains’ to destroy the accessability to a cheap fuel resource abundantly available by demonising carbon dioxide as they demonised hemp – keeping Africans in poverty and raising the prices of fuel for us oiks in the developed countries until it becomes a choice of heating or food..

    Get real here. Wind power and photovoltaic are an expensive joke on us, biofuels put into the same category is the same expensive joke on us – the object is monopoly and control in a mix of cartel business practices and perverse ideologies.

    This and the following post on the EPA discussion worth reading –

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/26/shutting-down-power-plants-imaginary-benefits-extensive-harm/#comment-847464

    In that mix is the real reason behind the villification of biofuels just as it’s getting going.

  397. A. Scott says:

    Sal Minella says:
    December 31, 2011 at 7:11 am
    Taking into account ALL energy inputs, it takes about 4BTUs input to get 1BTU output of ETOH. Granted ONE of the energy inputs is solar energy, however, it is nearly inconsequential.

    The generally accepted efficiency of ETOH production from corn (including growing the corn (ETOH hacks leave this out)) is a range of between 24% and 34%. So, in fact, it is not a magical perpetual motion machine. Expending 4 BTUs of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 BTU of ETOH energy all the while driving up food costs, polluting the environment, damaging internal combustion engines, and starving the poor is just plain foolish. Even ALGORE knows this

    Sorry Sal … those numbers aren’t remotely accurate according to all published materials. Please provide documentation for your claims.

    Saying the “solar” value (by which I assume you mean the sun that helped grow the corn) is inconsequential is just plain silly. The corn is the primary source of the energy that creates ethanol and without sun we don’t grow much of anything.

    You also incorrectly describe the “generally accepted” net energy balance.

    First, it is not 24% to 34% – it is 1.24 to 1 to 1.34 to 1 … 124% to 134% – that it takes 1 BTU of energy to manufacture 1.24 to 1.34 BTU’s of finished ethanol product. The correct statement, using these older net energy balance numbers, is that 24% to 34% more energy is produced than is expended in the production. Second – those are very old numbers – current yields are 1.6 to over 2 to 1 for corn ethanol, and much high than that for cellulosic.

    Your next claim is false as well – all other studies include growing the corn as part of the net energy balance. From The Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol: An Update / AER-814 -Shapouri, Duffield & Wang 2002:

    Estimating the energy input for determining the NEV of corn-ethanol involves adding up all the nonrenewable energy required to grow corn and to process it into ethanol.

    For the most part only a single study – Patzek and Pimentel – any longer claims negative net energy balance. And their work has been thoroughly refuted by many other reports from a myriad of institutions, government agencies and other scientists.

    Among other fatal flaws Patzek and Pimentel gave no value or credit to the high quality, high value co-products, and assessed none of the costs of production (either of the corn or of the energy used to produce the ethanol) to the valuable co-products like distillers dried grans, corn meal, corn oil and the like produced from every bushel of corn used for ethanol.

    The real value of these co-products is substantial: DDGS replaces 7.6 million acres corn, 5.86 million acres soy

    Patzek & Pimental also used well below average corn crop yields and much higher than average nitrogen fertilizer use than reality at the time of their reports to further bias their numbers.

    Why would Patzek and Pimentel be such an outlier? In this case, unlike the inaccurate claims made in the AGW debate, Patzek IS not only paid by the oil industry – that is his direct field of expertise and work. Feel free to read my earlier notes above for the documentation. Or here is he recent C.V. – a few excerpts from it might well explain why he would cook the books when it comes to competitors to oil:

    [Patzek will be] chair of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin … will make the nation’s top-ranked petroleum engineering department even better … before joining UC-Berkeley in 1990, Patzek spent seven years at Shell Development in Houston … was selected as a visiting fellow at the Statoil Research Center … Patzek believes creating new efficiencies in extracting oil from the ground offers more promise for providing affordable fuel in the short term than biofuels

    Patzek & Pimnetels work is of little or no real value to any intelligent conversation of ethanol energy yields.

    I’d also be interested in your sources for the other claims such as “polluting the environment” etc. …

    Sorry Sal – but another swing and a miss. Your statements simply are not accurate. If you have do some support for them please post it – I’ll be happy to be corrected, if true.

  398. Resourceguy says:

    By not renewing the US ethanol subsidy (for now) and dropping the import tariff, we get a free ride off the Brazilian subsidy. At least we can catch a breather from supporting a special interest group while watching the Brazilians debate the issue with their taxpayer resources. The food for fuel scam was stopped before it metastasized into publicly funded ethanol pipelines and cellulosic du jour subsidies. Hopefully this will be an exercise of wondering how the dinosaurs might have evolved without the meteor hit. Normally I would say do not underestimate the farm lobby in bringing this back, but then again there are many more ag entities hit by distorted corn markets than there are corn and ethanol lobbyists. If all of these ag-related sector groups were doing well it would be a different story. But the point is many of them are not doing well and that was bound to happen sooner or later. timing.

  399. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 31, 2011 at 7:52 am
    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Likewise, using corn for ethanol has NOT caused any widespread shift in plantings to corn and away from other crops – simply read the USDA crop reports.

    Ethanol does get lower mileage than gas however it also costs less. E85 blend costs me $2.55 vs $3.35 for E10 blend – almost 25% less. My average fuel economy drops appx 15-18% in a 2003 Tahoe flex fuel vehicle – for a net overall saving in fuel with E85.

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

    A couple of points above quoted from your first comment of the very very many that you have posted on this thread. You / yours have contradicted yourselves too many times to begin to list and have been debunked repeatedly.

    A major drop in cotton crops planted / harvested to about half with the ethanol mandate and related subsidies, that acreage is now recovering due to rapid rise in cotton prices and the reality of the ethanol boondoggle setting in. Your arguments have avoided the the fact that you were wrong with regards to shifting crop plantings. But that is the nature of your trolling.

    Want me to point out the comments posted by you / yours stating that ethanol only causes a very minimal drop of 2-3% in mpg? I bet ‘hotrod’ scolded you good for that one. How many posts have you made here. Include ‘hotrod’ as he usually works with a team when hijacking a thread to spout the ethanol agenda.

    I see you’ve again abandoned civility and any attempt to support your position and attacks with data or proof.

    Despite my giving you a clear road map to allow you to find the error in your data presented re: your cotton crops, you either refuse to take the few minutes to find out where you are wrong, or … I’m guessing more likely, you DID follow it and found out you did not provide meaningful correct overall US cotton crop data.

    And now – since the data you provided to support your position is provably wrong, you resort back to unsupported, ad hominem attacks.

    You cannot or just wont make the effort to refute or rebut my comments with any factual support or documentation. Even after I gave you a tip on data that might help support your case.

    Just when it seemed you were making progress ;-)

    None of your attacks change the fact that the data you presented to support your cotton crop plantings claims is incorrect. By an order of magnitude.

    The cotton crop in the US is not in the thousands of acres as you posted – in 2010 there were 10,974,200 acres planted acres and 10,698,700 harvested acres.

    Here is the annual acreage planted and change for the 4 main crops in the US, including the correct cotton crop numbers – the information link is at the top – quoted directly from the annual USDA reports:

    http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1000

    6/30/2011
    Corn planted area for all purposes in 2011 is estimated at 92.3 million acres, up 5 percent from last year
    All cotton planted area for 2011 is estimated at 13.7 million acres, 25 percent above last year
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 56.4 million acres, up 5 percent from 2010
    Soybean planted area for 2011 is estimated at 75.2 million acres, down 3 percent from last year

    6/30/2010
    Corn planted area for all purposes in 2010 is estimated at 87.9 million acres, up 2 percent from last year
    All Cotton plantings for 2010 are estimated at 10.9 million acres, 19 percent above last year
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 54.3 million acres, down 8 percent from 2009.
    Soybean planted area for 2010 is estimated at a record high 78.9 million acres, up 2 percent from last year.

    6/30/2009
    Corn planted area for all purposes in 2009 is estimated at 87.0 million acres, up 1 percent from last year
    All Cotton plantings for 2009 are estimated at 9.05 million acres, 4 percent below last year.
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 59.8 million acres, down 5 percent from 2008.
    All Cotton plantings for 2009 are estimated at 9.05 million acres, 4 percent below last year.

    6/30/2008
    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 87.3 million acres, down 7 percent from last year.
    All Cotton plantings for 2008 are estimated at 9.25 million acres, 15 percent below last year
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 63.5 million acres, up 5 percent from 2007
    Soybean planted area for 2008 is estimated at 74.5 million acres, up 17 percent from last year

    6/30/2007
    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 92.9 million acres in 2007, up 19 percent from 2006
    All Cotton plantings for 2007 are estimated at 11.1 million acres, 28 percent below last year
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 60.5 million acres, up 6 percent from 2006.
    The 2007 soybean planted area is estimated at 64.1 million acres, down 15 percent from last year

    6/30/2006
    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 79.4 million acres, down 3 percent from 2005
    All cotton plantings for 2006 are expected to total 15.3 million acres, 7 percent above last year
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 57.9 million acres, up 1 percent from 2005.
    The 2006 soybean planted area is estimated at 74.9 million acres, up 4 percent from last year.

    6/30/2005
    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 81.6 million acres, up 1 percent from 2004
    All cotton plantings for 2005 are expected to total 14.0 million acres, 3 percent above last year.
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 58.1 million acres, down 3 percent from 2004.
    The 2005 soybean planted area is estimated at 73.3 million acres, down 3 percent from last year

    6/30/2004
    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 81.0 million acres, up 3 percent from both 2002 and 2003.
    All Cotton plantings for 2004 are expected to total 13.9 million acres, 3 percent above 2003.
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 59.9 million acres, down 3 percent from 2003.
    The 2004 soybean planted area is estimated at 74.8 million acres, up 2 percent from last year.

    6/30/2003
    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 79.1 million acres, virtually unchanged from 2002
    All cotton plantings for 2003 are expected to total 13.9 million acres, down fractionally from last year.
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 60.9 million acres, up 1 percent from 2002
    The 2003 soybean planted area is estimated at 73.7 million acres, essentially unchanged from last year

    6/30/2002
    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 78.9 million acres, up 4 percent from 2001
    All Cotton plantings for 2002 are expected to total 14.4 million acres, 9 percent below last year.
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 60.1 million acres, up 1 percent from 2001
    The soybean planted area is estimated at 73.0 million acres, down 2 percent from 2001

    6/30/2001
    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 76.1 million acres, down 4 percent from last year.
    All Cotton plantings for 2001 are expected to total 16.3 million acres, 5 percent above last year.
    All wheat planted area is estimated at 59.6 million acres, down 5 percent from 2000.
    The soybean planted area is estimated at 75.4 million acres, 1 percent above last year’s acreage.

    Cotton plantings did drop off in 2007 And here is why the cotton crop plantings were down in 2007 – lack of demand and resultant low prices – NOT because of ethanol edging out cotton:

    Consumption Slows, Supply Adequate for 2007/08 Crop
    Carl G. Anderson
    Professor Emeritus

    The latest USDA report indicates there is plenty of cotton to meet world consumption needs for the 2007/08 crop. Thus, a sluggish market is expected. With the December ’07 futures expiring under 60 cents, the March ’08 contract will likely continue trading in the low to mid-sixty cent range. Equities offered for cotton placed in the CCC loan are expected to be only a few cents, if any. Market prices appear just high enough to pay storage costs.

    World ending stocks were increased slightly, mainly because of weakening consumer demand. Foreign economies are slowing a little because of economic and policy reasons.

    The big question is how much cotton acreage will be planted in the U.S. next season. Alternative crops continue to offer favorable prices compared to cotton. Cotton acreage might slip below 10 million acres. Texas is the only state where 2008/09 acreage may remain stable. The Delta states have the greatest flexibility to reduce cotton acreage. The Southeast and Western regions will also reduce cotton plantings. Two seasons of sharp cuts in cotton acres will tighten U.S. carryover stocks substantially for the 2008/09 crop.

    With foreign acreage expected to remain stable next year, the key to the U.S. price is how much cotton foreign countries will import from the U.S. to fill the USDA 2007/08 projected 24 million bale deficit gap between production and consumption.

    If the U.S. acreage is 10 million or less next season, production of 16.3 million bales would be a good crop. However, only 4.5 million is needed for domestic use. That leaves about 11.8 million bales plus, say, 7.7 million carried over from the 2007/08 crop. The total available 2008/09 exportable supply would be around 19.5.

    A carryover of 4 million bales is fully adequate to fill specific quality orders.

    Total US Cotton did not drop “by half” or anywhere near that as you claim. The acres PLANTED (acres “harvested” is an inaccurate measure as it is significantly affected by weather, not market forces) at lowest point – 9.150 million in 2009 – were just 27% below the 1965-2011 average of 12.648 million. And as noted the fall of in plantings in 2007-2008 was due to slowing world economy, lower prices and lower demand. NOT to ethanol.

    On top of the lower acreage of cotton planted in 2008 and 2009, the crop was low due to weather etc – just 81% of planted acres harvested vs. the average 91% typical. This lost production caused a shortage and increase in prices, at same time the economy improved and demand picked up. 2010 saw 10.827 million cotton acres planted, and 2011 14.72 million acres planted.

    One more time eyesonu … the changes in the cotton crop are driven by COTTON demand and pricing, not by ethanol crowding out cotton.

    As for your ranting again about fuel economy – I and others responded a couple of time already and pointed out, as with most of your claims, you are wrong – and are not even fraudulently portraying the comments made by others.

    You’ve shown you are uninterested, and unwilling to engage in civil debate – even when handed a road map to the data you need to correct your inaccurate data. You’ve pretty much shown – since you refuse to invest the smallest effort at presenting support for your positions, and no apparent desire to insure you’re using correct data when you do – seems there is little point in anyone taking your comments seriously here.

  400. A. Scott says:

    Sal Minella says:
    December 31, 2011 at 8:47 am
    Mr. A. Scott,

    A simple question that requires a simple answer: Taking into account all of the energy inputs including the growing of corn from seed, does the production of ETOH have a thermodymnamic gain of unity or greater, is it more than 100% efficient? If it is, it breaks the first law of thermodynamics and it is truly a perpetual motion machine. If the gain is unity or less, then it is an exercise in stupidity or a waste of fossil fuel energy at a time when conservation is in order.

    So which is it, a perpetual motion machine or an exercise in stupidity? No hand-waving please, just an answer to the question.

    No matter how many times you try to make this inaccurate and nonsensical claim it will not change the answer.

    Producing ANY fuel requires a “feedstock” and energy to process it. With gasoline it requires OIL and the energy to run the process. With ethanol it requires corn (or other feedstock) and the energy to process it.

    Without the feedstock, from which energy is extracted in the refining process, there is no end product.

    In determining net energy yield the cost of the feedstock – in the case of corn the costs of growing it (including fertilization costs and similar) – is factored into the overall energy expended, along with the energy in processing – if the energy to grow plus the energy to process is less than the energy created then you have a positive net energy balance.

    Corn ethanol produced appx 1.6 BTU’s of finished product for ever 1 BTU total energy expended. That is a positive net energy balance.

    Becasue it requires FEEDSTOCK to create that energy it is not your mythical perpetual energy machine.

    You can use ethanol as the energy to process corn (or other feedstocks) into more ethanol, but you cannot use ethanol as the feedstock.

    It really is quite simple. If you honestly did not understand that, hope my explanation helped you understand now.

    If as I suspect you did understand that and were simply attacking anyway – well shame on you.

    I’ll repeat – if you have some data or other support for your position then present it and it can be discussed and debated.

  401. A. Scott says:

    NOTE: hadn’t seen your post below when I made the reply above – you will find more clues in the above reply that should direct you to the correct total US Cotton Plantings data.

    Also – please pick a persona, it would be so much easier and better if it was the one that makes the effort to find answers and provide support for your position, than to have to deal with the one that just flings poo and makes ad hominem attacks ;-)

    eyesonu says:
    December 31, 2011 at 10:33 am
    A. Scott says:
    December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Likewise, using corn for ethanol has NOT caused any widespread shift in plantings to corn and away from other crops – simply read the USDA crop reports.

    ==================
    Your schooling and grading of me tends to make you look well… very misinformed to say the least. I doubt that your being misinformed is really the case here.

    From USDA crop reports:

    I have shown the reduction of the cotton acreage planted that plumented a few years ago with the ethanol mandate that is now showing signs of recovery of acreage planted. Read the link again: http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/ers/89004/Table-08.xls

    ———-

    Now for a link to the USDA covering corn, oats, barley, sorghum : http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/feedgrains/Table.asp?t=01

    From the data set I will compare 2004/2005 with 2011/2012 for simplicity in reading the charts. Also was about the time the government got involved in a bigtime way with ethanol. Read the charts. The numbers are in ‘million acres’ planted.

    Corn planting (acreage) from 80.93 to 91.9 for an INCREASE of 13.6% and a price INCREASE from $2.06 to $5.90 – $6.90 per bushel (286% – 335% increase).

    Sorghum planting (acreage) from 7.49 to 5.47 for a DECREASE of 27% and a price INCREASE from $1.79 to $5.70 – $6.70 per bushel (318% – 374% increase).

    Barley planting (acreage) from 4.53 to 2.56 for a DECREASE of 43.5% and a price INCREASE from $2.48 to $5.20 – $5.80 per bushel (210% – 234% increase).

    Oats planting (acreage) from 4.09 to 2.50 for a DECREASE of 38.9% and a price INCREASE from $1.48 to $3.20 – $3.60 per bushel (216% – 243% increase).

    The above 2011/2012 prices likely reflect the range of prices being paid for harvested crops and data has not yet been compiled for a final figure.

    Sorry … still a “NOT” …

    Before you can do anything else you have to be using the correct data. You are not. You need to go back to my prior post to you and follow the instructions I gave you …that will lead you to the correct data for the total US cotton crop – which is in the millions of acres – not the per “1000 acres” amounts you posted, and as is in the Table-08 you keep referencing.

    Eyesnou says: From USDA crop reports: I have shown the reduction of the cotton acreage planted that plumented a few years ago with the ethanol mandate that is now showing signs of recovery of acreage planted. Read the link again: http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/ers/89004/Table-08.xls

    I’m not going to give you the answer outright. That’d simply be giving you a fish – when you really need to properly and accurately learn the rewards and benefits of fishing for yourself.

    Once again I’ll give you credit for at least making an effort, but that does no good if you do not have the correct information to start. I’ll be first to admit that the information is, while easy once you know it, a challenge to properly understand to start.

    Figure out where you’re wrong – get correct information first – and then we can debate what it says. Not “schooling” you – trying to educate.

  402. A. Scott says:

    Eyesonu … here it is again so you don’t have to dig thru the thread:

    A. Scott says: Table-01 is the correct table for what you are trying to express – the cotton acreage. But a better research resource to help find the answer you need might be found here:

    http://www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS/TODAYRPT/acrg0611.pdf

    Read the first page and then look at the cotton section starting on page 19. Compare the data you find there with Table-01 and the acres harvested data you posted from Table-08. My detailed reply to you earlier will help give you more clues – look at the cotton acres data I posted and compare.

    That will give you your answer – why what you posted is not correct – is not the cotton data you think it is.

    Take your acreages planted from Table 08 and find the 2010 and 2011 planted acreage in middle of page 19 of the other link noted. Note the numbers don’t exactly match but are very close. Look at them compared to rest of cotton data there. Read all of the page and you will find the answer to what you are actually reporting vs what the correct overall number is.

    Your posted cotton plantings (from Table 8)

    Year --- Ac/Planted (1,000's)

    2004 --- 248
    2005 --- 269
    2006 --- 324
    2007 --- 288
    2008 --- 169
    2009 --- 138
    2010 --- 202
    2011 1/ --- 288

  403. eyesonu says:

    @ A.Scott

    You continue to be obscure in your responses to the facts that have been presented to you with supporting links, not just from myself, but many others.

    Planted acreage of crops over the past several years. The key word is ‘planted’ that clearly shows intent of the market. You try to divert attention from a yearly trend beginning with the ethanol agenda by trying to use previous single year comparasions and cite crop harvest figures. But I will give you credit, you make a very good attempt at obscurity but the facts are just not on your side.

    As I said before, you clearly have an agenda rather than simply being misinformed. You have been debunked on every claim that you made in your opening comment / post as well as your many follow-up comments. You are a ‘one man show’ and I feel certain that you haven’t even convinced yourself. That said, I’m going to leave so you can ramble on with whoever may wish to waste their time with you.

  404. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    December 31, 2011 at 7:08 pm
    @ A.Scott

    You continue to be obscure in your responses to the facts that have been presented to you with supporting links, not just from myself, but many others.

    Planted acreage of crops over the past several years. The key word is ‘planted’ that clearly shows intent of the market.

    You try to divert attention from a yearly trend beginning with the ethanol agenda by trying to use previous single year comparasions and cite crop harvest figures. But I will give you credit, you make a very good attempt at obscurity but the facts are just not on your side.

    As I said before, you clearly have an agenda rather than simply being misinformed. You have been debunked on every claim that you made in your opening comment / post as well as your many follow-up comments. You are a ‘one man show’ and I feel certain that you haven’t even convinced yourself. That said, I’m going to leave so you can ramble on with whoever may wish to waste their time with you.

    What is so hard about actually following the information I gave you and digging yourself out of the hole you’ve dug with incorrect data.

    There is nothing obscure in what I’ve posted – period. I post the links – especially for you – directly to the underlying data and or studies – not to PR or news pieces about them. The direct sources that support my comments. Not sure how you get “obscure” outta that one – but you have been dancing awfully hard around giving direct answers.

    In your case I’ve given you a clear and simple road map – with direct links to the data – and explicit easy directions on how to figure out where you are wrong.

    You seemingly refuse to even look.

    And now you’re posting the OPPOSITE of what you did originally … now you want us to use “planted” acreage – becasue as you say that shows the intent of the market. Whioch is exactly waht I said if you’d read my comments.

    It is NOT what your original claim was – reposted here:

    eyesonu says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm
    Per the USDA site referenced regarding cotton:

    US acreage harvested
    year 2006 324K acres
    year 2007 288k acres
    year 2008 169k acres
    year 2009 138k acres
    year 2010 202k acres
    year 2011 288k acres

    Seems that much cotton cropland was converted to corn for ethanol beginning with the ethanol mandate. Shortage of cotton lead to increase prices. Writing on the wall regarding ethanol returning acreage back to cotton?

    Again – NOW you ARE correct – PLANTED acres are the important indicator … harvested acres factor weather etc and show only result, not intent.

    Funnier yet – you claim I was comparing to a single year to somehow “obscure” something or other. Not even remotely true.

    In the recent posts I gave you the planted acres data and THE YEARLY TREND – percent up or down, for the top crops; corn, wheat cotton and soybeans … for every year from 2001 to 2011. Direct quotes from the acreage report for each year.

    And for cotton I gave you the comparison for 20009 – the lowest cotton crop planted recent – compared to the statistical AVERAGE cotton acres planted from 1965-2011.

    Once again it was YOU who was doing what you accuse me of – using a single year for comparison:

    eyesonu says: From the data set I will compare 2004/2005 with 2011/2012 for simplicity in reading the charts.

    And then there is the best part … Its worth its own post, to make sure it doesn’t get lost …

  405. Catcracking says:

    A Scott
    Any comments on the following: http://www.linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=&articleID=1002061334&gid=1773692&type=member&item=86412972&articleURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Etechnologyreview%2Ecom%2Fenergy%2F39371%2F%3Fmod%3Dchfeatured&urlhash=zYtr&goback=%2Egde_1773692_member_86412972
    “Gevo, a prominent advanced-biofuels company that has received millions in U.S. government funding to develop fuels made from cellulosic sources such as grass and wood chips, is finding that it can’t use these materials if it hopes to survive. Instead, it’s going to use corn, a common source for conventional biofuels. What’s more, most of the product from its first facility will be used for chemicals rather than fuel.”

    “As the difficulty of producing cellulosic biofuels cheaply becomes apparent, a growing number of advanced-biofuels companies are finding it necessary to take creative approaches to their business, even though that means abandoning some of their green credentials, at least temporarily, and focusing on markets that won’t have a major impact on oil imports. This is hardly the outcome the government hoped for when it announced cellulosic-biofuels mandates, R&D funding, and other incentives in recent years.”

    “Cellulosic biofuels still cost much more to produce than either corn ethanol or gasoline”
    While cellulosic ethanol was touted in the past as the technology that would provide massive amounts of ethanol, it has been a total failure.
    Unfortunately I have additional experience that confirms that cellulosic ethanol is a failure and we should stop misleading the public. It only destroys the credibility of the industry to deny the facts.
    Time to move on
    Do you agree?

  406. Sal Minella says:

    A. Scott,

    Hand waving again. The feedstock in the corn-ETOH cycle must be planted, fertilized, watered, harvested, and transported to the ETOH processing plant. Once there it must be dried, ground, fermented, and distilled. You continue to quote the same efficiency (the distillation step) as the overall efficiency of the system, as do all other ethanol hacks.
    Some folks take into account the cost of fertilizer production as well as the cost of environmental cleanup caused by fertilizer runoff and air pollution during the manufacturing process. They also include the extra cost of trucking ETOH to the retail point-of-sale as it cannot be piped.

    Just taking these inputs into account (there are many others). the thermodynamic efficiency of the corn-ETOH cycle is somewhere between 24% and 34%. (%efficiency = (sum of outputs/sum of inputs) * 100).

    Your claims don’t hold water. You are linking, cutting, and pasting ETOH lobby lies.

    If ETOH provided more energy than it used then, there would be no need for government subsidies.

    If ETOH provided more energy than it used then, there wouldn’t be the wholesale failure of ETOH companies.

    If ETOH provided more energy than it used then, The whole corn-ETOH cycle would use ETOH for all of its inputs completely eliminating its heavy dependence on fossil fuels.

    When all is said and done, when the great ETOH scam is completely dead, you will move on to blogging for plug-in electric cars and windmills and solar panels while I just sit and shake my head wondering: How did such a huge waste of tax dollars and precious fossil fuels ever get sold in the first place? I guess it illustrates the failure of our education system to teach even basic math and science.

    See ya at the next plug-in electric car discussion and have a happy new year.

    PS Don’t bother responding unless you have specific non-ETOH-lobby answers.

  407. Smokey says:

    A. Scott says:

    “Unless of course you think the US Dept of Energy, and the Iowa and Wisconsin universities are publishing ‘snake oil’…”

    They know where their bread is buttered. Only the credulous believe what they publish isn’t influenced by the $billions in federal grant money shoveled out every year, or that big agriculture doesn’t have a vested interest in promoting self-serving schemes like using food for fuel.

  408. A. Scott says:

    Sal Minella says:
    January 1, 2012 at 9:57 am
    A. Scott,

    Hand waving again. The feedstock in the corn-ETOH cycle must be planted, fertilized, watered, harvested, and transported to the ETOH processing plant. Once there it must be dried, ground, fermented, and distilled. You continue to quote the same efficiency (the distillation step) as the overall efficiency of the system, as do all other ethanol hacks.

    Some folks take into account the cost of fertilizer production as well as the cost of environmental cleanup caused by fertilizer runoff and air pollution during the manufacturing process. They also include the extra cost of trucking ETOH to the retail point-of-sale as it cannot be piped.

    Hey Sal … you are so far out in the twilight zone on your claims it is simply funny now. Especially considering you have not once provided a link to support any of your absurdly inaccurate claims. And refuse to make the slightest effort to look at anything anyone provides you as rebuttal.

    One more time … please read slowly this time ;-)

    Each of the many ethanol Net Energy Balance studies DO take into account the energy costs of GROWING AND the PROCESSING. That includes seed costs, fertilizer costs, feedstock transport to the plant and all the rest, and all parts of the production of finished product as well. Just because you refuse to acknowledge or apparently read any of the MANY reports and studies doesn’t change the facts. Your continued wild claims are so far off it just makes you look silly.

    Ethanol CAN be transported by pipeline, and is – but much of it is transported directly from plant to local distribution – that is one of the benefits of ethanol – much of it is used where it is grown.

    Your “fertilizer runoff” statement is simply ludicrous. It shows exactly the mentality of people who are married to ideas and not facts. It is a great sound bite but ignores reality. The reality is folks like you claim we shouldn’t be growing corn for fuel – we should be growing it for corn instead.

    What is the constant there? You grow corn for either. And when you grow corn it doesn’t make any meaningful difference what its used for – corn for food takes fertilizer and causes same runoff as well.

    The Gulf “dead zone” has existed since long before ethanol. It is caused by excessive farm runoff, which then goes into the Mississippi and on to the Gulf. If you TRULY want a REAL cause to attack – attack the sedimentation and soil runoff problems.

    But to claim there is fertilizer runoff – and attack ethanol with it is simply put … ridiculous.

    Please tell us about this alleged air pollution of yours as well. Exactly how does the production of ethanol cause air pollution? And assuming you had some facts to support that claim – does the study also take into account the substantial clean air benefits of ethanol?

    Or is it like the ethanol study that found using ethanol could cause something like 12 more deaths a year – which was trumpeted from the rooftops by guys like you – except when you actually researched it you find that ethanol potentially saves huge numbers of lives comparatively by its greatly reduced emissions. Cherry picking is a wonderful thing Sal – isn’t it?

    As far as failure of ethanol company’s – to use your metaphor – “if you had” … ever bothered to look around you, you’d find we had this big old financial meltdown in this country. Been goin’ on nigh on 4 years now. You know, the one that tipped over most major banks and has made a mess of life for most of us. The same one that caused a dramatic drop in miles driven and resultant drop in oil prices. Also caused a similar drop in ethanol prices -17% in 2007 and -25% in 2009.

    Building ethanol plants takes capital – lots of it. And when the financial markets went away so did the capital. On top of that with the big corn price run-up caused by speculators many of those new plants bought futures contracts for corn at then current prices – worried about having corn available. When the speculators bailed corn prices dropped dramatically – and the ethanol folks were stuck with corn contracts at prices that no longer made any sense, and no capital available to pay for them anyway.

    The failures of these plants were driven by the extreme conditions in the business world thanks to the Wall Street idiots. Most of those plants are being bought as they work through the system – for a steal in most cases. Which will be good for the industry on the whole – and for ethanol prices.

    Again, “if you had” made the effort to check you could have found that plants CAN use ethanol – and some do – for processing. Others, much like Brazil does, use the waste, stalks etc, and burn for energy. You’d also find though that there are lower cost energy sources – that the ethanol is often a more valuable product. And most rational folks, when they have a choice, sell the more expensive stuff and buy the cheaper.

    And you show you haven’t bothered to read a bit of what I’ve said with your comments about solar, windmills and the like. I have stated I think they are all silly. Where does all that electricity come from for plug in cars? COAL fired electric mostly. Yeah – that’s smart.

    Solar and windmills are both massive boondoggles in my book. They require huge physical area to generate a relatively tiny amount of electricity. They are both huge eyesores – even the tree hugging liberals don’t want em in their back yards. Windmills are dangerous to anything that flies, including aircraft, as they actually create disturbances on radar.

    And worst of all – wind and solar require an almost equal amount of conventional generating capacity – that must be held offline – in expensive hot start mode – for whenever the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow. It doesn’t get any dumber than that – building a highly inefficient alternative energy system that requires a whole conventional generating system as back up – that you can’t use unless the alternative crap isn’t working. Another smart idea. Not.

    You could have found that out if you took off the blinders Sal – and bothered to read my comments, instead of blindly attacking.

    As to the cut and paste claim and the industry shill garbage – all I can tell you is you’re chock full of compostable material there too. Never been part of the industry in any way shape or form, and only wish I was getting paid to post.

    I’ve found its usually the folks that have nothing to stand on – no factual support behind their attacks – that are the ones that use the “shill” moniker, and worse, so easily.

    Instead of intelligent rebuttal backed up by facts or documentation, those folks usually can’t do much more than insult and attack others.

    I’m fine with that. I post about ethanol because I took the time to educate myself on what was true and what wasn’t. And in doing so I found the benefits far outweigh any bad.

    I don’t say or believe ethanol – especially corn ethanol – is ever going to be a replacement for fossil fuels. But it IS a clean, renewable viable start – it does reduce our fossil fuel use – currently about 10%. And it is sustainable at that level as Brazil has shown.

    Had you taken time to read my comments – instead of slamming those blinders on, you’d also have found I’m a big proponent of drill here, drill now as well. They are NOT mutually exclusive.

    I originally thought like you when I first looked at ethanol. I went out to find the facts to support my opinion it was bad – a waste of money and subsidies. In doing that research – just as I experienced with the whole AGW deal – I learned differently. Ethanol isn’t without its issues, but again as Brazil has proven, it can be successful and sustainable, and can be an important part of our overall energy program.

    I’m gonna keep studying it and the industry and encouraging others to educate themselves as well.

    I’ve pretty much learned folks like you are not much worth arguing with – I think most people can see through the bombast – that the emperor’s a little light on clothes. I’ve learned that most reasonable folks, even if they disagree, if you give them rational thought and some facts and/or data they can look at themselves, do want to educate themselves and learn about the issues. May not change their mind but at least they make their decisions based on more than hot air and inaccurate rhetoric.

    If you want to post some facts or support for your claims I’ll be happy to look at it – I spend as much time looking at the opposition side in most of my research. Most of the time it simply reinforces your own educated beliefs, but sometimes you learn a bit along the way. And even on occasion, that you were pure and simple wrong.

  409. A. Scott says:

    Smokey says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm
    A. Scott says:

    “Unless of course you think the US Dept of Energy, and the Iowa and Wisconsin universities are publishing ‘snake oil’…”

    They know where their bread is buttered. Only the credulous believe what they publish isn’t influenced by the $billions in federal grant money shoveled out every year, or that big agriculture doesn’t have a vested interest in promoting self-serving schemes like using food for fuel.

    Hmmm … I got the impression you were better than that smokey – you indicated you wanted to hear more early on i the thread – that I shouldn’t give up just because of a few jerks.

    If you think every scientist, institution, agency and the people in them are shills because they get funding or promote a particular position, then I don’t know how you can believe anything.

    There certainly are some bad actors – some of the “cabal” on the AGW side, Patzek and Pimentel on the ethanol front, etc. but to paint all with that brush is silly.

    I believe nothing. I go to the root data and actually read the reports. I go to their sources and wherever possible try understand, and where able do some simple replications. I often go to multiple sources and build my own data sets and see how they compare.

    Ethanol is primarily a numbers, not a science, game. Sure there’s science involved – but at it’s most basic level its pretty settled. As Patzek and Pimentel showed, you can’t get away with crap “science” – with cooking the books – when most of the work is math and data.

    Figuring if ethanol makes sense is about gathering data, understanding and visualizing how it all fits and interacts, and then crunching it. Something I’m pretty decent at. Its usually not terribly hard to do and numbers rarely lie – they usually will lead you to a credible answer.

    Take our buddy eyesonu … he’s been harping on that same ‘ol ethanol is terrible because corn for ethanol has forced out cotton crops thing since start of this thread. Notwithstanding that he still hasn’t figured out or understood he is using the wrong data, the data does give an answer for his claim.

    The short story is the old supply and demand thing. Cotton supply and demand – not ethanol or corn. If the plant too much prices go down. Pretty soon with less supply prices go up. So they all speculate and get on the “boom” wagon and plant a bunch more – cause everyone wants their piece of the pie. And then supply exceeds demand and prices go down.

    Eyesonu says it was ethanol and the resultant demand for corn – that caused cotton crops planting to drop. And on surface there looks like support for that claim – 2007 cotton acreage planted decreased 20.21% from the 2000-2011 average, and corn crops increased 12.26% from same average. This after both cotton and corn acreage planted was relatively unchanged from 1996 to 2006.

    Dig a bit deeper though and you find out more. From 1996 to 2006 cotton prices gradually dropped from $80 to $58 per pound – while planted acreage stayed roughly the same.

    There was a reason – nothing to do with ethanol or corn – Cotton plantings did drop off in 2007 And here is why the cotton crop plantings were down in 2007 – lack of demand and resultant low prices – NOT because of ethanol edging out cotton:

    Consumption Slows, Supply Adequate for 2007/08 Crop
    http://www.cottoninc.com/CottonMarketComments/Consumption-Slows-Supply-Adequate/
    Carl G. Anderson
    Professor Emeritus

    The latest USDA report indicates there is plenty of cotton to meet world consumption needs for the 2007/08 crop. Thus, a sluggish market is expected. With the December ’07 futures expiring under 60 cents, the March ’08 contract will likely continue trading in the low to mid-sixty cent range. Equities offered for cotton placed in the CCC loan are expected to be only a few cents, if any. Market prices appear just high enough to pay storage costs.

    World ending stocks were increased slightly, mainly because of weakening consumer demand. Foreign economies are slowing a little because of economic and policy reasons.

    Two seasons of sharp cuts in cotton acres will tighten U.S. carryover stocks substantially for the 2008/09 crop.

    With foreign acreage expected to remain stable next year, the key to the U.S. price is how much cotton foreign countries will import from the U.S. to fill the USDA 2007/08 projected 24 million bale deficit gap between production and consumption.

    If the U.S. acreage is 10 million or less next season, production of 16.3 million bales would be a good crop. However, only 4.5 million is needed for domestic use. That leaves about 11.8 million bales plus, say, 7.7 million carried over from the 2007/08 crop. The total available 2008/09 exportable supply would be around 19.5.

    A carryover of 4 million bales is fully adequate to fill specific quality orders.

    Too much cotton, sluggish market and weakening demand die to economic and issues. Add the resultant low prices. THAT is why cotton acreage dropped sharply in 2007. The deepening financial crisis is why they dropped in 2008 and 2009 although by increasingly smaller amounts.

    Planted corn acres did increase in 2007 up 12.26% compared to the 200-2011 average, before dropping, -8% for the next several years as the economy sputtered.

    Cotton plantings remained at that low mark from 2007 thru 2009, but the strategy worked – prices recovered from 58 cents a pound to 64 cents. With the economy a little better and some pent up demand from 3 low crop years – plantings of cotton increased 20% from 2009 to 2010 and price increased to $1.12. Chasing the dragon plantings were up 34% from 2010 to 2011.

    A KEY NOTE: while corn acreage increased in 2007, as the cotton acres planted increased 61% from low of 9.15 million in 2009 to 14.72 in 2011 corn acres also increased. Corn did not “take” cotton acreage.

    As always happens there may trouble ahead again for cotton. After investor exuberance jacked the price up to well over over $1.30 per pound it has crashed and hard – now down to 87 cents. Demand unexpected sagged at the same time all the cotton investor planted is coming to market.

    Likely only the terrible crop in the US due to weather and flooding has kept prices from heading back down to the 55 cents range.

    Next year we’ll very likely see a BIG drop in acres planted. Sadly the same uninformed people will be screaming the same uninformed inaccurate garbage about corn and ethanol stealing those acres away from corn.

    The fact that they aren’t remotely correct won’t bother them at all. Hopefully some will see thru their uniformed charades.

    Trading Trends: Soft Spot For Cotton
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/313792-commodity-trading-trends-soft-spot-for-cotton

    Cotton, the fluffy commodity, was one of the most talked about investments of 2010. With a number of factors combining, cotton prices spiked to historic highs last year and led to a number of investors jumping in on the trend, only to get burned when cotton tanked midway through 2011. Global consumption for this year was expected to surge, but unfortunately, the expected 120 million tons of cotton use was revised down to 113 million after issues in China and Pakistan led to lower demand. As the need for cotton began to cool down, supplies ramped up all over the world, putting downward pressure on prices [see also Inside Cotton’s Epic Crash].

    Last year saw the Dow Jones-UBS Cotton Total Return Sub-Index ETN (BAL) surge by 96%; this year that very same fund is down over 22%. Cotton prices continued their winning ways for the first few months of the year, climbing all the way to just above the 130 cents/pound level in early April. With prices now sitting at 87.42 cents/pound, cotton has been mauled by a decrease of nearly 35% from its mid-year highs. Not only that, but prices are now sitting at a 15-month low, as euro drama and shaky markets have combined with high stockpiles to bring this commodity back down to earth.

  410. A. Scott says:

    Catcracking … sorry, not a lotta time for a response for you here, gotta get a little sleep and the comments above were more important and useful ;-)

    In my opinion the quick answer is what I said to ‘ol Sal above. Everything, especially new technology, takes time and money to develop.

    The last 4 years have been the worst financial climate in most of our lifetimes. There is little capital out there, and almost nothing for anything with any risk.

    There have been small commercial scale demonstration projects that have been successful. But the cubic yards of capital needed to finance large scale application – to pay for the time necessary to tune and refine the processes, while generating no revenue on hundreds of millions in capital invested – simply aren’t there right now.

    R&D and early stage development requires speculative investors – and they are all vacationing in warm places preserving assets the next several (and past) years.

    There is some gubbermint $ still around but even our lil buddy Obama has to be getting at least a tad bit scared after Solyndra and now the government paid for electric cars (made in Finland) that are exploding or whatever. Its an election year as well – and with the exception of some voter bribes, errr, economic stimulous dollar in key voter states I think its slim pickin’s to count on Obama to fund cellulosic much more this year.

    With no capital companies like Gevo must generate revenue or die. Switching to the proven corn process accomplishes that. They have a chance to live to try again when things are better.

    The other problem is – as a start up new technology, even if cellulosic is working it is likely at a big price disadvantage I think.

    So I don’t think what we see here is necessarily a failure of the technology – if you have light to shed be interested to hear it – but more just the realities of the economic crapstorm we’re in the middle of thanks to the scumbags on Wall Street and the current President who seems intent on giving them the rest of the country not already owned by them or China.

  411. A. Scott says:

    Oh, and sorry eyesonu … your reply from me was usurped by the response above to smokey. You’ll just have to read it and fill in the blanks. Its very clear that cotton acreage planted was reduced because of prices, supply and demand for cotton, not because corn for ethanol production stole away those acres.

    Market conditions and price caused fewer acres to be planted, and those fewer acres would have planted regardless of whether ethanol existed. A simple fact.

    Like how and where you are still wrong on the cotton acreages planted. Its millions of acres for the total US cotton crop. Not “thousands” of acres as you insisted.

    If you had bothered to read any of the many attempts I made to point you in the right direction instead of mostly attack, denigrate and insult – you would have learned that you were reporting the American Pima cotton sub-segment of the total US crop. A tiny portion – a few hundred thousand acres – compared to the 14.72 million acres of total US cotton planted in 2011.

    Had you not been so stubborn and pig-headed you could have followed the instructions, figured it out for yourself, and could have made accurate, educated comments on the topic.

  412. A. Scott says:

    One last thing – for Sal, eyesonu or any of the rest that claim those of us simply interested in the facts are just cutting and pasting industry garbage here’s a link for you – this is a small part of one of my spreadsheets (one tab out of 14 in this sheet alone) that shows a compilation of data I collected regarding this topic over the past week.

    http://goo.gl/Qt6zt

    The interesting thing is I can find almost every piece of data used by the ethanol positive folks – unlike the AGW cabal. And I can find other cool stuff, easily – like the mathematical model Iowa State uses to calculate profitability and costs for a corn ethanol plant, along with all the data.

    I was, for example, able to easily figure out the appx capital cost per gallon of ethanol porduced for the plant and infrastructure – appx .12 to .14 cents a gallon for a 100mgpy ethanol plant. I also have a full set – contrary to Sals repeated silly assertions – of all the crop production costs – shown 3 ways – for a land owner farmer, a cash rent farmer and combined version. And yes it included all the costs Sal whined about including fertilizer, irrigation, and yes, even a prorated equipment cost and similar detail.

    What I’ve done isn’t dissimilar – although far, far, less detailed – as to what M & M did with the hockey stick. You try to fin the data and the formulas used and see if they make sense when you do them.

    Seems like those of us with a different opinion here are treated by a few here exactly like M & M and others at the warmists sites – ridiculed and attacked regardless of the amount of effort, information and data presented.

    Its a bit sad to see the intolerance and attacks, unsupported by any documentation or fact, from some here. As I noted before – you expect a tough crowd here – but also a fair one. Thats why I – and I think many – like the site.

    Some folks just don’t seem to get that message – you can see a few in this thread. Hopefully all can do better in this new year.

  413. Sal Minella says:

    Dear A. Scott,

    I hope they’re paying you overtime over there at the White House Troll Room. Problem with paid trolls is that they are only taught to cut and paste and link. There is no requirement that they read and understand the arguments that they present.

    You provided a link to the Pacific Ethanol Institutes web site that supposedly debunks Paztek and Pimintel. That link points to a scatter plot, entitled “Comparative Results of Ethanol Energy Balance Studies 1995-2005″, that simply plots Paztek and Pimintel and five other authors on a scale that compares claimed energy balances. Paztek and Pimintel claim a less than unity gain in the process and the others show a greater than unity gain. There is no associated text, no debunking, only a visual comparason of results. In fact, Paztek and Pimintel take on each of these studies and show how they, individually, violate the first law of thermodynamics by not conserving either mass or energy. I would say that the link that you provided debunks the studies that you reference in your arguments.

    You point out that Paztek works as an oil company consultant yet you reference contrasting studies from such notable objective commenters as “Agri-Foods Canada”. This is a bad-faith and ameteurish argument. Objective scientists and engineers are not tainted by the interests of their clients but, Agri-Foods Canada is hardly objective. It has an agenda that can be seen with the naked eye from Alpha Centauri.

    Paxtek and Pimintel give full potential energy to all of the outputs including DDGS, corn oil, and isobutanol contrary to your claim. Note that I said potential energy as opposed to actual energy as the actual energy that may be realized depends on how the materials are used but, will always be less than the potential value. In this case Paxtek and Pimintel are painting a more positive picture of ETOH from corn than it deserves.

    Paxtek and Pimintel include no input energy term to account for the energy costs involved with the environmental treatment of wastewater and air pollution involved in the corn processing plant. They don’t account for the energy required to reverse the environmental damage done by nitrogen runoff from corn fields or the cost of air pollution mitigation for the fertilizer and pesticide production. Inclusion of these input energy terms would make corn-ETOH look really bad putting it in the 7:1 ballpark.

    My biggest argument with Paxtek and Pimintel is that they use the energy in fertilizer and pesticides as inputs where they should use the actual fossil-fuel energy that was used to create them. Now we are at about 11:1.

    Before you respond, please read the various papers and be ready to name specific Paztek and Pimintel inputs that are bogus including a science-based reason as to why they should be excluded. Please show where they exclude outputs. Not as you did before because, I can reference the inclusion of the products that you claim are not included.

    Earn your troll money and make this a real discussion

  414. Pat Moffitt says:

    A. Scott says:
    “Your “fertilizer runoff” statement is simply ludicrous. It shows exactly the mentality of people who
    are married to ideas and not facts. It is a great sound bite but ignores reality. The reality is folks like you claim we shouldn’t be growing corn for fuel – we should be growing it for corn instead.
    What is the constant there? You grow corn for either. And when you grow corn it doesn’t make any meaningful difference what its used for – corn for food takes fertilizer and causes same runoff as well.

    What a ridiculous statement. Corn is perhaps the largest user of of nitrogen on a per acre basis requiring about 1.5Lbs of N per bushel of corn. The demand for ethanol and the associated price pressures has increased the acreage planted as corn.
    While I agree with you about the hypoxia in the Gulf the sad fact is that EPA is moving towards strict Nitrogen regulations suing models that assume massive N loss from corn production. The way the regulations are being enforced the costs of N will not necessarily come from the corn producers but will hit the local governments in the costs of building advanced N removal facilities for both sewage and storm water. The costs for Maryland to remove the N produced in ethanol production are estimated at $10bn which will be picked up by the tax payer.

    Until the ethanol lobby reigns in EPA’s nitrogen madness – the tax payer is going to find they are increasingly being asked to pay for ag subsidies, ethanol subsidies, higher food costs, higher fuel cost, higher maintenance costs and additional hundreds of billions$ to remove the nitrogen.

  415. Sal Minella says:

    Should be Patzek and Pimentel.

  416. Sal Minella says:

    Let me try again. That is Pimentel and Patzek 2005 as a reference

  417. eyesonu says:

    Noticed that you harped on the cotton issue. I haven’t checked back to see if the acreage was in millions or thousands but would make no difference as the mathmatical relationship was still the same. The percent change would be the same.

    You have conviently sidestepped the USDA publication as noted showing the increase in corn planted 2006 thru 2011 and the drop in other grains planted (sorghum, oats, barley) and the huge price increases in all. Earlier in one of your very many posts you stated that corn had not affected other grains.

    You are very motivated in your ethanol agenda. Why would that be?

  418. pk says:

    @A. Scott:

    give it up man , i have the the time and until now the inclination to read your stuff with interest.

    but on this one my eyes glazed over about 40 or so of your posts ago. now when i see your name i just whizz right on by.

    if you really need the money i here tell that the mitchell brothers up in san fernando always need a good fluffer. you should do well at that.

    Z

  419. Catcracking says:

    A.Scott.
    Please read the URL below. If you cannot conclude that cellulosic ethanol is a total failure , there is nothing more that I can add to convince you. This is the situation we are in after billions have been spent without any intelligent analysis by the DOE to determine if cellulosic ethanol is technically viable. We all knew that cellulosic ethanol did not make economic sense in the first place. It’s time to pull the plug, end the ethanol mandate, stop misleading potential investors, and stop wasting taxpayers money. Also the average person driving his car to work,etc will have to ultimately pay the cost for the failed policy via biofuel waiver credits. More $$$ is not going to solve the technical problems let alone the economics.

    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2011/08/15/cellulosic-ethanol-targets-mandating-the-nonexistent/
    Meanwhile spokesmen from the petroleum industry said optimistic production goals create financial hardships for their industry. Greg Scott, executive vice president and general counsel for the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, pointed to this year’s 6 million gallon volume requirement for cellulosic biofuels as proof that optimistic expectations lead to real-world implications for refiners obligated to comply with the mandate. “If the EPA is wrong or if a biodiesel trade group representative or a cellulosic ethanol spokesperson is wrong in his or her rosy predictions for production, it is our members that will experience the economic and regulatory pain,” he stated. No cellulosic biofuel RINs (renewable identification numbers) were generated between July 2010 and May 2011 and the only facility registered to generate cellulosic biofuel RINs—Range Fuels Inc.—is not operating, he said, adding that the EPA should take that into consideration when determining next year’s cellulosic volume. “Obligated parties will be required to buy up to 6 million cellulosic biofuel waiver credits at a $1.13 per gallon RIN in 2011. This is, in essence, a $6.78 million tax that NPRA’s members must pay to EPA due to the agency’s misguided optimism regarding production this year.”

    “OK, so the industry is falling short. But how much of the 350 million total gallons of cellulosic ethanol that was originally scheduled to be produced by the end of 2011 has actually been produced? Actual qualifying production of cellulosic ethanol through June 2011 is zero gallons. ZERO.”

  420. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    January 2, 2012 at 10:08 am
    Noticed that you harped on the cotton issue. I haven’t checked back to see if the acreage was in millions or thousands but would make no difference as the mathmatical relationship was still the same. The percent change would be the same.

    You have conviently sidestepped the USDA publication as noted showing the increase in corn planted 2006 thru 2011 and the drop in other grains planted (sorghum, oats, barley) and the huge price increases in all. Earlier in one of your very many posts you stated that corn had not affected other grains.

    You are very motivated in your ethanol agenda. Why would that be?

    The expected non-response response ;-)

    Thousand vs millions make a huge difference when it comes to acreage planted. Especially when you still don’t understand unit of measure wasn’t the important difference. You CORRECTLY posted the cotton data you did – thousands of acres was correct.

    But the TOTAL US cotton crop was 10.97 million acres in 2010 and 14.71 million ares in 2011.

    It was NOT a unit of measure error — you read the wrong data – you used the American Pima cotton crop, a tiny subset – 202 thousand acres in 2010, and 288 thousand acres in 2011 – of the overall US cotton acreage planted. There is no meaningful data usable regarding your claims. Neither the “mathematical relationship” or the percent change, is the same.

    On top of using the wrong data – you posted HARVESTED ACRES data. As you admitted, harvested acres are of little or no value to the discussion as they represent the effects of weather, rains, floods and the like.

    I didn’t sidestep anything either – I addressed your original claim – which was regarding cotton and corn acreage. I addressed that in detail showing exactly why cotton p[rices and resultant planted acreages moved as they did – and showed that the cotton acres planted were a direct result of supply, demand and price. There is little point in continuing with you. You simply ignored that like you’ve ignored everything else here.

    Its kinda like arguing with a rock. A rock can be a very good listener, but about the only thing intelligent it can tell you one thing for sure.. When the rock is wet it tells you its raining. Well, that – or I guess maybe that you’re peein’ on it … ;-)

  421. A. Scott says:

    catcracking …

    I read the article and agree with pretty much all of it. I have said the same in the answer to you above.

    It is clear Cellulosic has not delivered.

    But I see nothing in that article – or others – that show cellulosic is a failed technology. The primary issue is scaling – the basic technology has been around and worked for years.

    And I think its entirely fair to cut some slack, as I noted above, considering the unprecedented financial collapse this country experience the last 4 years.

    New technology, especially when you’re still do a lot of R&D type stuff as you roll out commercialization – is very capital intensive. And there is very very little capital out there – with almost all going to safe investments like warehouses and office buildings and other boring stuff with steady existing cash flow.

    And what is the perspective on the cellulosic amounts? Yeah, 500 million gallons sounds like a huge amount – but its not. Less than the output of 5 existing corn ethanol plants.

    The better perspective is that 500 million gals is just a couple percent of the existing ethanol production in the US. It is not like they are missing some huge target – at this point they were simply supposed to be in earliest stages of getting started.

    Once again I also agree with you and the author – as I did above – that penalizing anyone for failure to blend cellulosic when its not available is ridiculous. I don’t think even the industry supports that. It is just more of the imbecilic over-reach of the EPA under this silly administration.

    I agree with the ethanol proponents that maintaining the RFS goals is worthwhile even if they cannot deliver today. It does exactly what they say – the stability of demand helps encourage investment. But again penalizing for non-use is about as stupid as it gets – simply waive the requirement until there is cellulosic available. And then scale the requirement to the production available plus an “incentive” cushion. .

    We are a year or more out at least from any semblance of our economy and the financial markets getting back to operating. I say give ethanol 3-5 years – once access to capital and that type stuff is available again, and then if they have not made big progress reevaluate.

    Brazil took 40 years to get to sustainability they have today. They do not NEED oil – although I know from my friend the Brazilian Consul they are thrilled to have it. They can sell oil or ethanol whichever makes more money. Something that certainly would hurt use either.

    If you have some info about the viability of the process I’d be interested in reviewing.

  422. A. Scott says:

    Sal Minella says:
    January 2, 2012 at 8:13 am
    Dear A. Scott,

    I hope they’re paying you overtime over there at the White House Troll Room. Problem with paid trolls is that they are only taught to cut and paste and link. There is no requirement that they read and understand the arguments that they present.

    Sal – still up to same ol tricks I see. Pretty funny stuff too. Clearly you have read anything I’ve said – if you think I would have anything to do with this corrupt administration or the “I like playing the President on TV, but the real job is too hard” occupant of the White House you are even more wrong than you’ve been on everything else.

    Tell you what – for a change YOU post a cogent list of questions, and or claims WITH supporting documentation. If you think the energy balance is negative – prove it – step by step – with some facts and real data. I’ll be glad to debate any meaningful post from you. Won’t even hold you to the “civil” standard since you’ve shown you’re hard pressed to handle that one.

    If you think Patzek & Pimentel have the answers – show us exactly how.

  423. Dr. Dave says: “When do you give up? After 40 comments? 50? Your last lengthy comment (replete with cut & paste talking points from the ethanol industry propaganda sites) was cute but alas, it was rife with…uhh…let’s say “inaccuracies”. First let me caution you about using Texas A&M as a fount of wisdom. Texas A&M is the home of Andrew Dessler for crying out loud! Distiller’s grains (i.e. ethanol waste product) can not possibly be higher in nutritional value than the raw grains. We don’t need much ethanol in gasoline to serve as an oxygenator. Actually, there is little need for oxygenators (MTBE or ethanol) in gasoline anymore because most vehicles today have computer controlled fuel injection. Oxygenators were necessary for older vehicles with carburetors in cold weather.

    The bottom line is there is no good reason for ethanol as a motor fuel. Hell, I don’t care if people want to make it or people want to buy it. I just don’t want to be forced to buy it or subsidize it. Even you would probably agree that the ethanol industry is now “well developed” (e.g. billions of gallons a year and 40% of our annual corn crop). So why not end the mandates and subsidies? If this is such a whiz bang technology it should survive on its own, right? But I’ll gladly bet you a month’s salary that if the mandated use, the subsidies and the tariffs were removed, the industry would collapse within a year (possibly two because some idiots like E85).”

    1) My understanding is that distiller’s grains are higher in nutritive value for cattle (per pound) because the starch has been removed. My understanding is that cattle do not digest starch efficiently. 2) That ethanol acts as an oxygenator has to do with reducing pollution, a subject about which I know little. But the primary reason large amounts of ethanol are useful in gasoline production is because it increases the octane rating. 3) The subsidy is gone now and I think that’s a good idea. The mandates will probably remain in some parts of the country at least, but even if all government rules were eliminated you’d still see large amounts of ethanol added to gasoline as it makes money for the blender. It’s basically too late to go back to a pre-ethanol world. It’s also too late to go back to a world without cell phones. The reason is the same. In both cases the items are useful to humans.

    And there’s another side to the “mandates”; the government also regulates the maximum amount of ethanol that can be added to gasoline. If this restriction were eliminated, you’d see blends available with higher than 10% (as in Brazil’s typical 20%). As US production of ethanol continues to increase (without a subsidy), I expect to see the 10% cap lifted to 20%. This will happen probably over the next two or three years no matter who gets elected. Otherwise it will cause us to unnecessarily ship ethanol abroad in return for an increase in crude oil imports.

    These kinds of changes mean that some older vehicles will require either modification to run with modern fuels, or will require higher cost fuels. The place where this is most noticeable now is probably with avgas, that is very high octane gasoline. I read somewhere that most of the lead put into the air in the US nowadays (from transportation) is due to avgas which is 0.14% of US gasoline consumption.

    Various things become obsolete with time. For example, I wonder if it’s still possible to use a phone that uses clicks instead of beeps (like the old rotary phones that you “dialed”)? I’m sure there’s a lot of lighting equipment that became obsolete when kerosene replaced whale oil, and replacement components for TRS-80 computers are probably hard to find. Technology moves on.

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