Unsustainable cow manure

Since we are watching the plight of the Thompsons in Australia over cow manure, this submission titled “Unsustainable cow manure” on sustainable energy sent to me by Paul Driessen seemed appropriate. I put solar on my own home and a school in my school district. Without “OPM”, they would not have been viable, so he has a point- Anthony

Image: Tiny Farm Blog - click for more

Sustainable, affordable, eco-friendly renewable energy, my eye

Paul Driessen

Seek a sustainable future! Wind, solar and biofuels will ensure an eco-friendly, climate-protecting, planet-saving, sustainable inheritance for our children. Or so we are told by activists and politicians intent on enacting new renewable energy standards, mandates and subsidies during a lame duck session. It may be useful to address some basic issues, before going further down the road to Renewable Utopia.

First, when exactly is something not sustainable? When known deposits (proven reserves) may be depleted in ten years? 50? 100? What if looming depletion results from government policies that forbid access to lands that might contain new deposits – as with US onshore and offshore prospects for oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earth minerals and other vital resources?

Rising prices, new theories about mineral formation, and improved discovery and extraction technologies and techniques typically expand energy and mineral reserves – postponing depletion by years or decades, as in the case of oil and natural gas. But legislation, regulation, taxation and litigation prevent these processes from working properly, hasten depletion, and make “sustainability” an even more politicized, manipulated and meaningless concept.

Second, should the quest for mandated “sustainable” technologies be based on real, immediate threats – or will imaginary or exaggerated crises suffice? Dangerous manmade global cooling morphed into dangerous manmade global warming, then into “global climate disruption” – driven by computer models and disaster scenarios, doctored temperature data, manipulated peer reviews, and bogus claims about melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Shouldn’t policies that replace reliable, affordable energy with expensive, intermittent, land-intensive, subsidized sources be based on solid, replicable science?

Third, shouldn’t inconvenient sustainability issues be resolved before we proceed any further, by applying the same guidelines to renewable energy as courts, regulators and eco-activists apply to petroleum?

Most oil, gas, coal and uranium operations impact limited acreage for limited times – and affected areas must be restored to natural conditions when production ends. Effects on air and water quality, habitats and protected species are addressed through regulations, lease restrictions and fines. The operations generate vast amounts of affordable, reliable energy from relatively small tracts of land, and substantial revenues.

Wind turbines generate small amounts of expensive, unreliable electricity from gargantuan installations on thousands of acres. Turbines and their associated transmission lines dominate scenic vistas, disrupt habitats and migratory routes, affect water drainage patterns, impede crop dusting and other activities, and kill bats, raptors and other birds, including endangered species that would bring major fines if the corporate killers were oil or mining companies. And yet, wind operators receive exemptions from environmental review, biodiversity and endangered species laws that traditional energy companies must follow – on the ground that such rules would raise costs and delay construction of “eco-friendly” projects.

Kentucky’s Cardinal coal mine alone produces 75% of the Btu energy generated by all the wind turbines and solar panels in the USA, Power Hungry author Robert Bryce calculates. Unspoiled vistas, rural and maritime tranquility, and bald eagles will all be endangered if 20% wind power mandates are enacted.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Power Station near Phoenix generates nearly 900 times more electricity than Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base photovoltaic panels, on less land, for 1/15 the cost per kWh – and does it 90% of the time, versus 30% of the time for the Nellis array. Generating Palo Verde’s electrical output via Nellis technology would require solar arrays across an area ten times larger than Washington, DC.

Building enough photovoltaic arrays to power Los Angeles would mean blanketing thousands of square miles of desert habitat. Once built, solar and wind systems will be there just this side of forever, since there will be no energy production if we let them decay, after shutting down whatever hydrocarbon operations aren’t needed to fuel backup generators that keep wind and solar facilities operational.

Wind and solar power also mean there is a sudden demand for tons of rare earth elements that weren’t terribly important a decade ago. They exist in very low concentrations, require mining and milling massive amounts of rock and ore to get the needed minerals, and thus impose huge ecological impacts.

If mountaintop removal to extract high quality coal at reduced risk to miners is unacceptable and unsustainable – how is it eco-friendly and sustainable to clear-cut mountain vistas for wind turbines? Blanket thousands of square miles with habitat-suffocating solar panels? Or remove mountains of rock to mine low-grade rare earth mineral deposits for solar panel films, hybrid batteries and turbine magnets?

Since any undiscovered US rare earth deposits are likely locked up in wilderness and other restricted land use areas, virtually no exploration or development will take place here. We will thus be dependent on foreign suppliers, like China, which are using them in their own manufacturing operations – and selling us finished wind turbines, solar panels and hybrid car batteries. The United States will thus be dependent on foreign suppliers for renewable energy, just as we rely on foreign countries for oil and uranium.

To claim any of this is ecologically or economically sustainable strains credulity.

Green jobs will mostly be overseas, subsidized by US tax and energy dollars – other people’s money (OPM). Indeed, Americans have already spent over $20 billion in stimulus money on “green” energy projects. However, 80% of the funding for some of them went to China, India, South Korea and Spain, and three-fourth of the turbines for eleven US wind projects were made overseas. This is intolerable, indefensible and unsustainable. But it gets worse.

Denver’s Nature and Science Museum used $720,000 in stimulus money to install photovoltaic panels and reduce its electricity bills by 20 percent. The panels may last 25 years, whereas it will take 110 years to save enough on those bills to pay for the panels – and by then four more sets of panels will be needed.

As to biofuels, the US Navy recently waxed ecstatic over its success with camellia-based eco-fuel in fighter jets. But the PC biofuel costs $67.50 per gallon, versus $5.00 per gallon for commercial jet fuel.

To meet the 36-billion-gallons-a-year-by-2022 federal ethanol diktat, we would have to grow corn on cropland and wildlife habitat the size of Georgia, to get 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol – plus switchgrass on farmlands and habitats the size of South Carolina, to produce 21 billion gallons of “advanced biofuel.” By contrast, we could produce 670 billion gallons of oil from frozen tundra equal to 1/20 of Washington, DC, if the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge weren’t off limits.

OPM-subsidized ethanol also means a few corn growers and ethanol refiners make hefty profits. But chicken and beef producers, manufacturers that need corn syrup, and families of all stripes get pounded by soaring costs, to generate a fuel that gets one-third less mileage per tank than gasoline.

Hydrocarbons fueled the most amazing and sustained progress in human history. Rejecting further progress – in the name of sustainability or climate protection – requires solid evidence that we face catastrophes if we don’t switch to “sustainable” alternatives. Computer-generated disaster scenarios and bald assertions by Al Gore, Harry Reid, John Holdren and President Obama just don’t make the grade.

We need to improve energy efficiency and conserve resources. Science and technology will continue the great strides we have made in that regard. Politically motivated mandates will impose huge costs for few benefits. Sustainability claims will simply redistribute smaller shares of a shrinking economic pie.

“Renewable” energy subsidies may sustain the jobs of lobbyists, activists, politicians, bureaucrats and politically connected companies. But they will kill millions of other people’s jobs.

Let’s be sure to remind our elected officials of this along their campaign trails – and on November 2.

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Henry chance

Animal manure is excellent recycling. It is organic.

hell_is_like_newark

The “green fees” to pay for these stupid solar panels is one of the reasons electrical rates in my area went up from $0.12 to over $0.18 per kWh (the rest being upgrades to the PJM grid). I have tenants that can barely pay their utility bills this summer. I already upgraded the insulation, windows, and doors so there are no other energy efficiency improvements that I can do that will have any meaningful effect.
Energy costs impacts directly the health, welfare, and wealth of a nation. The greens are making us poor.

Jay Davis

I’m an advocate of “drill here, drill now”. Although I like pristine environments and wild places, I also like the light to come on when I flip the switch. I also like to be able to put gasoline in my car. The country is currently suffering a recession (or depression) due almost entirely to all the artificial restraints on business, energy exploration and energy production imposed by the government. The sooner we get rid of the idiots in Washington the better off we will be.

pedex

not often you see an article full of so many straw men
oil fields deplete, so do coal seams, get over it
US oil production peaked back in the 70’s, nothing can be done to stop it no matter how much territory you open up that has not been available previously
coal is also basically in the same predicament, it is depleting and there is no replacement

Nolo Contendere

A somewhat off topic quibble with the article, nobody actually needs corn syrup. It’s more like a byproduct that someone has conned manufacturers into dumping in everything for unknown reasons, even produicts that don’t need sweetening. Adds junk carbs at best and research is starting to link it to medical conditions. Personally I won’t buy anything that includes “high fructose corn syrup” in the ingredients list.

James Sexton

Well stated Paul. It is well past time this short-sighted lunacy end.

Steve Schaper

In amidst all the truth in this article are also numerous falsehoods:
Wind generators are built on the prairie, not mountain tops
They don’ t endanger the bald eagle.
They surround the family farm an all horizons – I can’t hear them.
There is already several times that much corn being grown.
It is grown for lower pollution and as being better than certain artificial additives not so much as a replacement for petroleum
It doesn’t raise the price of feed – the spent mash is excellent livestock feed.
We are probably better without the corn syrup.
We over produce corn massively. Ethanol production only uses a small percentage of the over-production
Yes, we are better off with thorium and boron-deuterium fusion reactors and petroleum. But that doesn’t make the errors in the article ‘sustainable’.

Jeff

11 billions barrels in ANWAR = 214.5 billion gallons of gasoline/fuel oil and jet fuel (ignoring the other products of a barrel of oil) divided by 20 years = 17.6 billion gallons of fuel per year. 1 acre of corn produces a net of 188 gallons of ethanol with the 80% fuel concentration of gasoline.
To replace the ANWAR oil we would need a farm the size of 182,845 square miles.
Plow under the following states to get that much land:
Indiana
Maine
South Carolina
West Virginia
Maryland
Vermont
New Hampshire
Massachusetts
New Jersey
Hawaii
Connecticut
Delaware
Rhode Island
or just use 117% of California … or 70% of Texas …
yea, riiiiight, that’s possible …

The Green Lobby should own up to the public.
Confess this sustainable dream won’t work unless they cull about 80% of the worlds human population.
Anything less is disingenuous.

PRD

Excellent article!
Feedlot manure’s are purchased by eco-nuts in towns and subdivisions if its processed (deep stacked for a few weeks to kill pathogens, etc.). When I’ve found myself a suburbanite, yes I paid money for poo myself.
On the farm manure is generally handled by God’s poo processors (dung beetles, worms, etc.). If the ranchers can avoid the use of insecticides then the manure reprocessing by these critters will keep the piles reduced to a bare minimum, especially in high stocking rate pastures. The general rule of thumb is 1 cow will cover 1/13 of an acre in the course of a year. If the piles were permanent then 13 cows would cover an acre in manure in one year.
The dung spread by the green-eco-nutjobs will cover how much? Can we put that to an equation?

Jeff

pedex …
nice strawmen yourself sir … try citing and linking some actual stats instead of that drivel …

Lady Life Grows

This one was worth printing out, as it contains facts I can use in my efforts to save the Earth from the Environmentalists.
AGW is not merely factually incorrect, nor merely expensive. It leads to actions that reduce the carrying capacity of the Earth. For example, manure is accused of generating methane, several times “worse” than CO2. So the recent post of low-tech garbage heap proposes that manures and organic matter be piled too deeply to decompose. That reduces soil fertility and biodiversity. Plenty of references exist on that, from Organic advocacy sites, to books such as those of Joel Salatin (who would love the Thompsons’ manure) to the reality that China feeds four times US population on the same amount of land.
Wind farms kill birds and may cause extinctions. At the least, they take up so much space that they must reduce the carrying capacity of the planet at least a little bit. This article shows that solar and wind energies also require destructive mining.
Yet one kind of energy–fossil fuels–actually increases the carrying capacity of the Earth. This fact is third grade science: photosythesis is CO2 + H2O –> sugar plus oxygen in green plants.

Enneagram

Cows will consume more energy per capita in its food than the energy you could reclaim from its manure. It is an axioma.

Enneagram

This is a sure way to end eating manure “a la Haiti”.

hell_is_like_newark

Steve Schaper says:
It is grown for lower pollution and as being better than certain artificial additives not so much as a replacement for petroleum
10%+ additive in gasoline is marketed as a replacement for petroleum in addition to being a replacement for MTBE. Ethanol, with hits high affinity for water is NOT good for automobiles and is pure hell on marine engines.

George E. Smith

Sometimes those sustainable energy programs aren’t too sustainable.
Just a few weeks ago, we had a school here in the Bay Area installing a PV solar array on their roof. I’m not sure; but I think it was some sort of doantion or similar sort of situation.
So the locals watched in interested fashion on the weekend, when the “workers” came in and started installing those paqnels on the roof. Nobody had said much about the project; so the locals were still watching on the following weekend when the “workers re-appeared on the roof to finish the job.
It wasn’t discovered till later, that the installation had been completed the first weekend; but it was sure noticed that the entire installation disappeared off the roof the second weekend; while the interested locals watched the process.
You know what they say; “Easy come; easy go. ”
I don’t know if they have figured out yet who the thieves were; but you can make some reasonable guesses.

GM

So you listed a lot of the problems with wind a solar and why we won’t be able to replace fossil fuels with them on anything approaching the scale we’re using fossil fuels today.
Then you concluded that the sustainable thing is to continue using fossil fuels. Which basically means that you never stopped to think about what the word “fossil” is doing in “fossil fuels” so you win absolutely no points for basic intelligence and scientific literacy.
I have seen this many times now not only here, but in numerous other cornucopian articles. It is absolutely amazing how people will list pretty much the same reasons that I and other people worried about sustainability would list for why renewables aren’t up to the task of powering the global economy in its present size (and it’s expected to grow several times in size in the next decades), usually omitting the absolutely crucial discussion of EROEI (after all, in order for you to start talking about EROEI, some basic literacy is needed) and then will turn around and say “Therefore we should keep BAU with fossil fuels and nuclear”. And what is even more amazing, I would go to a so called “environmental” blog and explain to people why renewables can’t power the economy and they will accuse me of promoting the interests of fossil fuel companies. Which tells you what the level of understanding of the situation is on both sides – they both have mostly no clue about reality, it is just that one side is simply further into denial than the other.
In short, if you can’t power the economy with renewables, and if the renewable in their current form depend on fossil fuels and on rare earth elements in short supply, this means that the economy is TOO BIG TO BE SUSTAINABLE and has to SHRINK until it’s safely within the carrying capacity of the planet. It shouldn’t take much brain power to figure that out, yet for most people it seems to be an impossible feat of logical reasoning.
Like this one, for example:

Yet one kind of energy–fossil fuels–actually increases the carrying capacity of the Earth.

Yes, for how long?

James Sexton

Steve Schaper says:
September 21, 2010 at 10:40 am
“In amidst all the truth in this article are also numerous falsehoods:……”
=========================================================
Said the corn farmer…………..
Wind turbines go anywhere they can catch wind.(prairies are only one of the many places ideal for wind generation.)
They endanger any birds in the area they are planted.
Are you stating the skyrocket the price of corn took with they started ethanol was coincidental? In the area I live in, yes, production of corn is up. Look at the price to understand why. Is the cost going down? No? Someone must be buying up the supply. I’m really hoping somewhere in this country they still grow wheat, because all of the farmers went to corn this year. I won’t even start on the nutritional value of spent spent mash…..
Regardless of the reasoning, ethanol is being used as a replacement to petroleum.
While, you are correct, presently, the planning is to move us of off petroleum, so the percentage of corn used for ethanol will continue to increase.

Most of the talk about “renewable energy resources” is based on the idea that the existing reserves of oil and gas would be depleted sometime “soon” (how soon exactly, nobody really is sure any more, because all the deadlines of many previous predictions have passed, and oil keeps pumping).
The main pillar of this “sustainability” and “renewable energy” propaganda is the theory of the biological origin of oil. Which is a lie: a bigger, and even more fiercely protected lie than the odious AGW theory.
In fact, oil (petroleum) is a substance of mineral origin that formed when Earth was cooling, many billions of years ago. There is literally an ocean of oil just under the crust in most regions of the Earth (proven numerous times by deep drilling), with the exception of volcanically active regions where magma (molten rock, which is heavier than oil) rises very close to the surface.
Old wells of Azerbaijan and Texas, supposedly “exhausted” back in the 1930s, are filling up and producing again, because oil seeps up from its huge underlying basins.
Add nuclear energy, and any hint of energy problem disappears. It is no more than a hobgoblin used by our puppet masters to scare the ignorant, to make them feel guilty, and thus to acquire more and more power and money.
The liar rides the fool while the coward looks away; that’s how our “progressive” society pretends to work.

DEEBEE

Yes GM, can your non-illiterate self explain to us, the uneducated how long we can sustain ourselves. Please keep your formulae simple so we can follow your brilliance.

George E. Smith

“”” Steve Schaper says:
September 21, 2010 at 10:40 am
“””” In amidst all the truth in this article are also numerous falsehoods: “””
“””” Wind generators are built on the prairie, not mountain tops “””” I know of three wind farms in California; all three are on mountain tops; none on prairies.
“”” They don’ t endanger the bald eagle. “”” One of the three is considered to be one of the biggest Golden Eagle habitats in the USA; which is probably why it is only Golden Eagles they find dead around there; not Bald Eagles.
………………………
………………………
“”””” It is grown for lower pollution and as being better than certain artificial additives not so much as a replacement for petroleum “”” In California it replaces MTBE as a compulsory fuel additive. MTBE wasn’t needed in fuel either; well the companies did have to get rid of it somehow; so It took us a while to get it banned. The Ethanol additive isn’t needed either; but It may take us longer to get it banned too, since so many people have a vested interest in making it compulsory. The fuel companies say they can meet ALL California fuel Standards with ordinary gasoline; and NO OXYGENATES; which only decrease fuel mileage.
“”” It doesn’t raise the price of feed – the spent mash is excellent livestock feed. “”” So I guess the part of corn that is converted to ethanol is inedible to livestock; or esle there would be that much more feed, and even lower prices.
“”” We are probably better without the corn syrup. “”” So besides the Vermont Maple Syrup industry; sugar from corn syrup is a threat to whom ? Starbucks Coffee shops advertise that they do everything green; and they stress they use no high fructose corn syrup. So you buy a coffee there, and over at the “fixins” stand, they have every phony plastic sugar substitute known to man; but no perfectly natural good sugar from the corn belt.
“”” We over produce corn massively. Ethanol production only uses a small percentage of the over-production. “””
So why don’t we cut the massive overproduction, and save even more farmland from depletion; and save more water and energy. Then we can put that excess farmland back to more natural habitat.
Just because you could grow artificial genetically engineered crops on arable land; doesn’t mean it is a good idea to do so.
REPLY: What I find most hilarious about Starbucks is that despite the green bent, “Ethos water”, and “fair trade” coffee, they don’t have a simple recycling bin in any store. Just try to dispose of any plastic or paper recyclable container at a Starbucks (like an “Ethos water” bottle) and ask them where the recycle container is. They don’t have one. What angers me is that as a citizen of my town I’m required to recycle and pay extra for it. These corporate weasels get off scot-free mixing garbage and recycle together. – Anthony

BT

Wind turbines are planned for building on hills where I live. Hundreds of them. They’ll be visible for 30-40 kilometers stretching from horizon to horizon, plus the flashing nightlight on top. Before you ask why the locals agreed – they didn’t. In the brave new green world, the peasants don’t get a vote.
Some lucky folks will see just whirling steel from horizon to horizon.
Same in Maine and Vermont, and New Zealand.
It’s nice that you can’t hear them, but some people aren’t that lucky. Within about 1- 1.5 km the incessant noise can be intolerable.
Also – it’s pretty well known that turbines are lethal to raptor populations. Raptors use the thermals near the hills to gain height. Sooner or later they are going to fall foul of miles of steel blades. Then the next eagle pairs move in to the territory, and same result.

Paul Deacon, Christchurch, New Zealand

Here in New Zealand, we have an Emissions Trading Scheme. As part of this scheme, the price of all power has gone up, including mains electricity, which in New Zealand is 70% hydro and 10% geothermal. The electricity supplied to my home is 100% hydro, but its price has gone up too, in order to pay for carbon dioxide emissions.
Work that one out.

P Walker

Steve Schaper – Wind turbines work on the prairies , but if you don’t happen to have a prairie convenient you use the windiest spots available . Those are usually mountain tops .

ROLAND S HAILE

After revieving a email from Joanne Nova, I now have no qualms about having sent money. She explained the problem/smell very well. Thank you.

Bruce Cobb

So GM, I assume you would probably agree with what John Holdren, aka Dr. Doom once said:
“Only one rational path is open to us—simultaneous de-development of the [overdeveloped countries] and semi-development of the underdeveloped countries (UDC’s), in order to approach a decent and ecologically sustainable standard of living for all in between. By de-development we mean lower per-capita energy consumption, fewer gadgets, and the abolition of planned obsolescence.”
You’re essentially a Malthusian at heart right? What a whacko he turned out to be.

stuart

‘Like this one, for example:
Yet one kind of energy–fossil fuels–actually increases the carrying capacity of the Earth.
Yes, for how long?’
More than long enough to develop better fission reactors (Thorium, breeders etc) and/or fusion power.

GM

[snip. Calling people here the d-word is against site Policy. ~dbs, mod.]

GM

DEEBEE says:
September 21, 2010 at 11:43 am
Yes GM, can your non-illiterate self explain to us, the uneducated how long we can sustain ourselves. Please keep your formulae simple so we can follow your brilliance.

[Snip, now now. ~ ctm] Anyway, the answer to your question is not for long at our present numbers and per capita consumption

GM

Bruce Cobb says:
September 21, 2010 at 11:58 am
So GM, I assume you would probably agree with what John Holdren, aka Dr. Doom once said:
“Only one rational path is open to us—simultaneous de-development of the [overdeveloped countries] and semi-development of the underdeveloped countries (UDC’s), in order to approach a decent and ecologically sustainable standard of living for all in between. By de-development we mean lower per-capita energy consumption, fewer gadgets, and the abolition of planned obsolescence.”

So according to you, planned obsolescence is good, is that correct?
There is no need for lowering per capita energy consumption if you lower the number of people in the right proportion. Of course, there is absolutely no need for the current levels of per capita consumption of energy and resources either, people in Europe already live better lives on half the energy that Americans use and if you get rid of planned obsolescence and other such wasteful practices whose only purpose is to keep growth going at all costs, it can be reduced much further with no negative consequences for standard of living. But you can’t have 9 billion people living a Western lifestyle and that’s not because Holdren or me don’t like it, it’s because it’s a biophysical impossibility, the denial of which can only result in much much fewer than 9 billion people absolutely none of which will ever live a Western lifestyle again. That’s what we’re trying to prevent (or would be if we were a tiny fraction as smart as we think we are)

Kum Dollison

You get about 495 gallons of ethanol from an acre of corn. Plus you get over 40% of your “feed energy” back in the form of Distillers Grains, Plus you retain the Corn Oil.
Once Distillers Grains are included in the equation you get 800 Gallons of Ethanol for every Extra Acre of corn you plant.
We pay farmers Not to plant 34 Million Acres of fertile land (in the U.S., alone.)
34,000,000 X 800 = 27,200,000,000 (27 Billion, 200 Million.)
That’s 27 Billion Gallons of Ethanol from just planting the land that we’re Paying Farmers NOT to Plant.

mkelly

I find it odd that there has been no mention of the methane hydrates that exist off shore. When we figure out how to extract it we will have thousands of years of energy at present day useage. Running out of energy is not our problem staving off an ice age the real issue.

Alberta Slim

GM says:
September 21, 2010 at 11:20 am
…..Yes, for how long?
Maybe a long time if the Russians are right about abiotic petroeum.

DesertYote

The green agenda really is all about enslaving mankind so that we can be driven back to the stone age as a first step in the ultimate goal of eliminating humans all together. Any solution to the lefties talking-point problems that are proposed by these people will not be workable, and workable solution, that comes to light will be attacked.
It is pretty obvious from the writings of the greenies that come here to troll, that they are beyond reason. and the only concepts there minds can contain are the one they have been programed to think with.

DesertYote

GM,
You lefty looneys have been screaming the same nonsense for 150 years, shut up already. Peak coal, my shiny metal …

Justa Joe

“…this means that the economy is TOO BIG TO BE SUSTAINABLE and has to SHRINK until it’s safely within the carrying capacity of the planet.” -GM
Who exactly is going to take the hit in your quest for “sustainability” since we know it won’t be you?

Kum Dollison

We’re presently using about 13 Billion Gallons of Corn Ethanol. The Cut-off is 15 Billion. We’re building out enough refineries to get to 14.6 Billion (about 12% more than we’re using at present.) And, That’s It. From there on out it’s Municipal Solid Waste, switchgrass, corn cobs, and other cellulosic feedstocks.
Here’s where we could go fairly easily.
10 Billion Gallons from MSW (municipal solid waste.)
25 Billion Gallons from Switchgrass on CRP Acres.
10 Billion Gallons from Corn Cobs/Corn Stover.
15 Billion Gallons from Corn.
Cars like the new Buick Regal that utilize TDI Engines to attain equal efficiency (MPG) on Ethanol as Gasoline.
60 Billion Gallons/Yr replaces 4 Million Barrels of Foreign Oil Every Day.
That’s $300 Million Every Day (over $100 Billion Every Year) NOT going to the Royal Families of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and The UAE, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Russia.) That is $300 Million/Day staying home, and working here.

Justa Joe

wow… It never fails. Keep one of these “sustainability” types talking long enough, and the malthusian ghoulishness come pouring out.

Chris B

A “Green Scheme” to get your greenbacks.

Larry Geiger

GW:
“people in Europe already live better lives on half the energy that Americans use”
A lot of verbiage being thrown around above, but I just don’t believe this one. I have no hard evidence and I have never been there, but I just plain don’t believe it.

Don Shaw

The DOE plan to meet the Congressional mandate for significantly increased ethanol depended heavily this year on cellulosic ethanol dispite the fact that even today there are still no operating commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants.
The summary given below is not intended to knock one particular project but to expose the naive (incompetent, or dishonest ?) folks we have in the DOE and the EPA. They like to believe or claim or want us to believe that there are near term viable alternatives to our conventional fuels and are investing tax dollars heavily toward that end.
The URL below describes fairly well how that is working out not just for the particular company mentioned but typically the entire effort.
Maybe it is time to reset the goal/targets for “renewable” liquid fuels especially mandated ethanol.
From the URL
“Let’s recap the highlights:
February 2007 – Range Fuels announced that they would build their first “cellulosic ethanol” plant in Georgia. In a story at Green Car Congress, the capacity was announced at “more than 1 billion gallons of ethanol per year.”
March 2007 – Range Fuels announced a $76 million grant from the Department of Energy.
July 2007 – In a story in USA Today, the Phase 1 capacity was announced at 20 million gallons. The full scale would be 100 million gallons at a cost of $150 million.
November 2007 – Range broke ground on the plant; announced they would be finished with Phase 1 (still 20 million gallons) by the end of 2008.
April 2008 – Range announced a $6 million grant from the state of Georgia.
January 2009 – Range received another $80 million, this time from the USDA, and announced receipt of $158 million in venture capital funding for 2008.
October 2009 – Range asked for more money. This time they were told no.
February 2010 – After investments that have been publicly announced at $320 million, the EPA announced that Range would initially produce 4 million gallons, and it would be methanol. Further, there would be no ethanol produced before mid-2012.
February 2010 – I write an article wondering why the mainstream media has completely missed this story.
In summary, we were given numbers of $150 million to build 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol capacity. What we are being told now is > $320 million to build 4 million gallons of methanol capacity. Of course they intend to do so much more, but I have a very big problem giving more taxpayer money to an organization with this history.”
http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/59543

Curiousgeorge

@ Kum Dollison says:
September 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm
How about “the rest of the story” for those extra acres? The extra fertilizer, water, fuel, manpower, etc. to plant, grow, harvest, and transp0rt that corn to turn it into ethanol. And then there’s the nitrogen runoff to deal with. And that doesn’t count the 45 cents per gallon subsidy we as fuel users have to pay. Fact is that without that subsidy ethanol is a net loss. Just as biodiesel has gone belly up without their subsidy, so will ethanol. TANSTAAFL.

Murray Duffin

Codswallop and strawmen. Example – birdkill by wind turbines would be less than 0.1% of all birdkill causes in the USA if we had enough turbines to supply all of our electricity. Wind turbines in west Texas improve the appearance of a more than semi-desert moonscape, and they look pretty good along the crest of the Poconos, without forest clearing. Try PV on rooftops for peaking power to avoid covering the desert, and LA wouldn’t use “1000s of sq. mi.” anyway. Like it or not we are at peak oil, we will be past peak NG by 2050, and if we use coal to compensate, will be past peak coal by 2050 also. Maybe we can wait a few more years, but we do have to develop the renewables, and do so in this century, or as the energy doomers suggest it will be “back to Olduvai”. Murray

Jason Hoerner

PV solar panels aren’t the only type of solar installation possible. There’s concentrating solar thermal, which has the advantage of potentially allowing for storage, meaning it could provide continuous energy in areas with sufficient sunlight, unlike solar panels or wind. It’s also cheaper than solar panels. PV solar panels only make sense in off-grid applications, in my opinion. Also, there is geothermal to consider.

Murray Duffin

Larry Geiger says: “people in Europe already live better lives on half the energy that Americans use”
A lot of verbiage being thrown around above, but I just don’t believe this one. I have no hard evidence and I have never been there, but I just plain don’t believe it.
Larry, the “1/2 the energy” is largely true. One can debate the “better lives”, but I did live there for 24 years total, in England, Scotland, France, Italy and Switzerland, and have now been back in the USA in SC, Calif., and Florida, and for me the quality of life is at least as good in Europe as in the USA, and in some ways better. Murray

Kum Dollison

The fact is, the world, basically, has flatlined at about 73 Million Barrels/Day of Crude + Condensate since 2005. To accomplish this we’ve added over 4 Million Barrels of “New” Production every year (this makes up for the declining flow from producing wells.)
This year we are slipping down to 3 Million Barrels/Day. Next year will, also, be 3 mbd. 2012 IIRC will be about 2.5 mbd. We know this because it takes several years of a step by step process to bring a new field online. 2013 is looking even weaker than 2012.
Saudi Arabia, and the chums, overproduced for several months after the “crash.” That brought about a glut that was stored on tankers all around the world. The last couple of months have seen the remainder of that overproduction come ashore. That is giving the impression of “all is well, there is a glut of oil.” That’s Not the way it is. It will take us, maybe, 5, or 6 months to work off the excess inventory, and maybe another year to work off a “possible” 1.5 to 2.0 Million bpd Spare Capacity in Saudi Arabia (includes just a little bit in UAE, and Kuwait.)
Most of the experts are getting very nervous about the time frame around the end of 2012. 2013 looks like the latest that we will roll off the plateau. Jes Sayin.

Murray Duffin

DesertYote says:
September 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm
The green agenda really is all about enslaving mankind so that we can be driven back to the stone age as a first step in the ultimate goal of eliminating humans all together.
Talk about “looney”. Murray

Doug

DEEBEE says: September 21, 2010 at 11:43 am
Yes GM, can your non-illiterate self explain to us, the uneducated how long we can sustain ourselves. Please keep your formulae simple so we can follow your brilliance.
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Deebee: Don’t worry about our dear friend GM he is really Sheldon Cooper (of the Big Bang Theory) in drag on this blog.
Here is a bio note for you: Sheldon is distinctive for his overtly intellectual personality: he is calculating and cynical, he exhibits a strict adherence to routine, a lack of understanding of irony, sarcasm and humor, a habit of constantly expressing admiration for his superior intellect (which is sometimes found offensive by the other characters), and a complete lack of humility. So just sit back and enjoy.
Doug

P Walker

That’s odd , I haven’t noticed that Europeans live “better” lives than we Americans . But that might depend on your definition of “better”.

dragineez

The frightening thing about GM’s post is how close the the edge he got with the position paper and statement demanded by the Discovery Channel eco-terrorist.