Toyota Prius Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,668 Posts
Talk of the Nation, Science Friday (NPR) had a segment today with a guy who has developed a methanol fuel cell. It took him too long to get to the point, so I never did figure out why he thought methanol was the answer. But his design not only used, but also generated methanol, and also consumed CO2. Huh... imagine that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,166 Posts
I have read other reports that include recycling the byproducts of the ethanol production, which offset some of the energy and financial costs this author portrays. Many reports show the energy input to potential energy result to be closer to 1:1, some reports showing slightly for the better, some slightly for the worse.

Looking further through various other links in this website, I tend to question how thorough he was in his research (he has a link on controlling indoor air pressure, but really it is a link in DETECTING, not controlling, indoor air pressure). He also fails to consider other sources of starch to generate the ethanol that may be better used or produced to produce ethanol. Paper waste is such an example.

But it is generally agreed that even with today's high petroleum prices, it is currently the cheapest and most convenient source of energy to date. Soon though as supply gets more scarce, being cheapest and most convenient won't be the case, so finding other alternatives, even if idividually are a partial solution, probably will collectively be the whole solution.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,820 Posts
I got to wondering - if the food industry took even some of all that added high fructose corn syrup that's in most every processed food today:
1. how much collective weight could be lost by us pudgy Americans?
2. how much more Ethanol could be produced for fuel use?
just idle ponderings...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,355 Posts
mrv said:
I got to wondering - if the food industry took even some of all that added high fructose corn syrup that's in most every processed food today:
1. how much collective weight could be lost by us pudgy Americans?
2. how much more Ethanol could be produced for fuel use?
just idle ponderings...
I know there is a liposuction joke here somewhere...
:wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
584 Posts
Hep said:
mrv said:
I got to wondering - if the food industry took even some of all that added high fructose corn syrup that's in most every processed food today:
1. how much collective weight could be lost by us pudgy Americans?
2. how much more Ethanol could be produced for fuel use?
just idle ponderings...
I know there is a liposuction joke here somewhere...
:wink:
Hmmmm,

fat=blubber=oil

render blubber to oil (convert those whaler stations...)

Sounds like Hep may be in to a sideline :eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
Ethanol is not the answer. Paraphrased from Investor's Business Daily article dated today, July 19th:

Even if every available acre of corn were used for the poduction of ethanol, it would replace only 12.3% of the gasoline used in the United States.

And that's not even taking into consideration the lower fuel-value of ethanol (1.5 gallons needed to do the same work as 1 gallon of gasoline), or the energy required for this production.

According to the article, 73 million acres of corn cropland would only supply 3.7% of the US's auto and truck transort needs.

And that's without crop rotation. If you treat the land right and regularly rotate crops and let some land lie fallow, then the 73 million acres of cropland is reduced further.

Ethanol refinement/production is also pollutive. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and pesticide runoffs are produced in the making of corn-based Ethanol. And so are more smog-creating pollutants.

And my own observation: Ethanol production still needs government subsidies to remain sustainable. As an investor, I have learned that if something needs continual "propping up", then there's a major problem with the business model, the market demand, or the product itself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,166 Posts
I keep hearing about the use of corn to produce ethanol. Is corn the most efficient way to make ethanol? Because if there is a better raw product to make ethanol with that doesn't require as much care as corn does, we should be focusing on that.

For example, it may be feasable to make major quantities of fuel oil using agae.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
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...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,166 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
DanMan32 said:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,166 Posts
BIF said:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
DanMan32 said:
BIF said:
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. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,002 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,166 Posts
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.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top