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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-19-2006, 03:36 PM
 
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Corn is too important a commodity to let it be ignored in favor of other crops more suitable for ethanol production. The US spends plenty of money on it, even if it gets plowed under.

Maybe if sugar cane grew well on the same land there'd be a switch, but I don't think that's going to be the case...
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-19-2006, 03:40 PM
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A commodity is only as valueable as we make it. If gold and diamonds weren't pretty to look at, they wouldn't be valuable.

If a crop is better suited to make ethanol, and ethanol demand goes up, that crop value will go up.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-19-2006, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by DanMan32
A commodity is only as valueable as we make it. If gold and diamonds weren't pretty to look at, they wouldn't be valuable.

If a crop is better suited to make ethanol, and ethanol demand goes up, that crop value will go up.
Gold and diamonds are used for more than just to look at.

Gold is still used extensively in electonics manufacture.

Notwithstanding the hip-hop generation's fascination with "bling", gold is very nearly an ideal material for the replacement of tooth cutting surfaces. I know some folks with gold dental onlays that have lasted 20-25 years or longer. It will outlast ceramic.

And of course, diamonds are still used for cutting tools.


You make good points of course, but market forces still govern even the price of gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, rubies, and other precious metals and gemstones.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-19-2006, 03:57 PM
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You make good points of course, but market forces still govern even the price of gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, rubies, and other precious metals and gemstones.
Exactly, we make the value of the commodity.
Yes, those products are used for industrial purposes, but lets face it, the high value is because of its use in vanity.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-05-2006, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
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You make good points of course, but market forces still govern even the price of gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, rubies, and other precious metals and gemstones.
Exactly, we make the value of the commodity.
Yes, those products are used for industrial purposes, but lets face it, the high value is because of its use in vanity.
Ummm...I must respectfully disagree with your agreement with me. Er..yeah. Really, it's only a partial disagreement. Or maybe just a clarification.

The high cost, indicative of high value, is so because demand is higher than supply. When demand falls, or when supply rises, then prices will fall.

When demand rises or when supply shrinks, then prices will rise. This in turn will slow demand and prevent shortages.

It works same as the oil and natural gas markets.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-05-2006, 02:04 AM
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According to the Science Friday guy, it was if all food crops in the U.S. were converted to ethanol production, it could replace about 12% of our gasoline.

One comparison he used is that to produce 25 gallons of ethanol (the amount to fill up a small SUV,) it would take enough grain that could feed a person for a year.

He mentions that corn is a horrible crop to turn into ethanol. Sugarcane is better (hence why Brazil is becoming the biggest producer of ethanol; because they are the biggest producer of sugarcane,) but some kind of Willow, and 'Switchgrass' are even better yet. The variety of Willow takes 3 years to reach harvest stage, but produces a lot of ethanol compared to energy put in. Switchgrass (apparently a common native 'weed' in the Midwest,) is good because it grows with essentially no effort, and can be harvested multiple times per year. Maybe not the best on a 'per acre' basis, but by far the easiest to grow in the U.S.

Owner of 'Eeyore', a 2004 Prius. Only took 2 days from start of search to delivery.

8 years of ownership, 115,000 miles, about 40 MPG average at present.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-05-2006, 12:46 PM
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Well, the goal is max ethanol per acre. I am glad someone else also pointed out that corn may not be the most efficient method of producing ethanol when comparing gallons of ethanol made per acre of crop. I guess we also have to include time into the equation.

Gallons of ethanol per year per acre of crop.
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