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Old 12-20-2008, 12:57 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Ethanol turns out to be the worst type of renewable energy





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Maybe it's good that the US will not meet its self-imposed ethanol mandate for 2022. According to a new study by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, ethanol - whether derived from corn or cellulose - is the worst form of renewable energy. Ethanol's numbers were put to the test against "solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology." The energy types were rated on their ability to power "new-technology vehicles" (plug-ins, flex-fuel ICEs and fuel cell vehicles). Ethanol lost. Big.

The study, called "Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security," (read it here) found that wind-powered battery electric vehicles and wind-powered hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the cleanest ways to drive. The big problem, naturally, is that it's awfully expensive to drive a wind-powered BEV today. Still, the study is already having an effect. The Kansas City Star has already said that, "It's time to ban all federal subsidies for this wasteful taxpayer investment in Midwest farmers and this inefficient use of corn to power vehicles across America."
http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/12...ewable-energy/
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Old 12-20-2008, 12:59 PM   #2
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E85 as a fuel is terrible for the common driver.
E85 as a race fuel is a good fuel for the enthusiast driver looking for a cheap "race fuel"
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Prevent View Post
E85 as a fuel is terrible for the common driver.
E85 as a race fuel is a good fuel for the enthusiast driver looking for a cheap "race fuel"
Agreed!
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:37 PM   #4
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ethanol might not be the best in that test, but i'm not about to run my car on nuclear power, or any sort of wave techonology (how the **** would that get in my car in the first place?). I still think ethanol is a great alternative fuel source.
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:46 PM   #5
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ethanol might not be the best in that test, but i'm not about to run my car on nuclear power, or any sort of wave techonology (how the **** would that get in my car in the first place?). I still think ethanol is a great alternative fuel source.
It might be because the method for creating and refining ethanol does not stack up very well against the other methods for generating alternative energy.

If you are an ethanol fan, you should be having high hopes for Algae-derived bio-fuels. Those look much more promising and thrive off of CO2 that a lot of power plants need to desperately mitegate.
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:07 PM   #6
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It might be because the method for creating and refining ethanol does not stack up very well against the other methods for generating alternative energy.

If you are an ethanol fan, you should be having high hopes for Algae-derived bio-fuels. Those look much more promising and thrive off of CO2 that a lot of power plants need to desperately mitegate.
Best point in this thread. There is def a distincion between corn-based ethanol and its overall impact versus the algae-derrived kind.

Not sure since this is a vague article, but it looks like the study compares your regular E85-burning Impala or whatever to an electric car powered by your outlet (ultimately powered by waves or wind or whatnot). I don't think that it proves much beyond the blatantly obvious.
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:43 AM   #7
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E85 is a scam? Really?

NO ****.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:06 AM   #8
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ethanol might not be the best in that test, but i'm not about to run my car on nuclear power, or any sort of wave techonology (how the **** would that get in my car in the first place?). I still think ethanol is a great alternative fuel source.
electric car.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:57 AM   #9
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The only thing driving ethanol... is the Iowa corn lobby. Whether you're a total greenie or a clear-cutter, hopefully the one thing we can all agree on is that the further we keep politics from "environmentalism" the better...
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:05 AM   #10
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The only thing driving ethanol... is the Iowa corn lobby. Whether you're a total greenie or a clear-cutter, hopefully the one thing we can all agree on is that the further we keep politics from "environmentalism" the better...
Agreed, also the same bunch who continues to lobby for farm subsidies.
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:16 PM   #11
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Agreed, also the same bunch who continues to lobby for farm subsidies.
Giddyup!
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:59 AM   #12
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Agreed, also the same bunch who continues to lobby for farm subsidies.
Actually, farmers and E85 lobbyists aren't on the same side. They're not mutually beneficial, even though most people think that's the case.
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:31 AM   #13
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The only thing driving ethanol... is the Iowa corn lobby. Whether you're a total greenie or a clear-cutter, hopefully the one thing we can all agree on is that the further we keep politics from "environmentalism" the better...
The problem is that ethanol has many upsides, just not when you insist upon making it with corn. A replacement liquid fuel for gasoline would be the easiest upgrade path from where we are now. Subsidizing corn-based ethanol is just a good way to kill the technology without an honest effort at developing it.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Scrotus View Post
The problem is that ethanol has many upsides, just not when you insist upon making it with corn. A replacement liquid fuel for gasoline would be the easiest upgrade path from where we are now. Subsidizing corn-based ethanol is just a good way to kill the technology without an honest effort at developing it.
I'm ok with ethanol made from anything, but let's not pass out $.51 a gallon to anyone that makes it and end the Federal mandates. If it's worth it to people they can buy it, just don't ask me to subsidize it for them.

BTW - I've been running e85 almost exclusively for over 3 years now in my EVO and love it. It is $1.19 a gallon race gas.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:22 AM   #15
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The problem is that ethanol has many upsides, just not when you insist upon making it with corn. A replacement liquid fuel for gasoline would be the easiest upgrade path from where we are now.
They're growing an alternative fuel crop here (forget the name) that can fuel a jet engine. They're scheduled to make the first test flight very soon. Edit: found a link: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Montan...-13854093.html

The other major problem with corn is that you're taking a food crop for animals and taking it away from that market to fuel your car. So, corn-based ethanol forces you to choose between eating or driving, as it drives up the cost of all foods not just corn. Any crop will do so to a certain extent, but none directly as corn. (Corn syrup is in pretty much anything you buy that's not in the produce section - it's pretty scary some of the things it's in actually so I try to avoid it as much as possible.)

The best option would be to find some sort of crop that doesn't normally grow where food crops can be grown or cattle can be grazed. Cactus or some sort of grass perhaps...
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:55 AM   #16
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the further we keep politics from "environmentalism" the better...
As an environmentalist, I'll agree with that.

E85 was never a particularly good idea. It has some good benefits, but not for everyday cars. As we've now discovered.

Even electric isn't without its scars. Check out the Top Gear episode with the Tesla Roadster; Clarkson points out that electricity obviously comes from large energy plants. Which aren't exactly clean.

The balance will come some day. For now, though I'm not crazy about gasoline, I think we're doing better than most people would say. Cars burn ridiculously clean, compared to what they used to. Other sources of emissions should be getting government focus, versus strictly automobiles. It is not the 1970s anymore. My complaint is using foreign sources.

If a water-powered car, with today's technology, were possible as a good option, that's what I'd put my money on for a long-term option. But water isn't the kind of substance that can provide energy as we'd need it to. Again, given current technology. In time, who knows.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by snowcat View Post
The only thing driving ethanol... is the Iowa corn lobby. Whether you're a total greenie or a clear-cutter, hopefully the one thing we can all agree on is that the further we keep politics from "environmentalism" the better...
Hmmm.. could the fact that Iowa is the first primary state have anything to do with the politics? lol

Fact is, Ethanol plants are so EXPENSIVE, that there is no way private industry would build a plant alone NO ROI (return on investment). The part that sucks is that as the Ethanol dies away there are all these ethanol plants that the Government (Us Taxpayers) paid for sitting empty.

I agree keep Government out of the process, I believe we are on the brink of a revolution in car power plants whether it is Hydrogen, electric or some other power source. Honda has already made great stride on the Hydrogen portion, but the fuel cell price is the only problem with it so far. Imagine though if fuel cells get cheap, you could power your car, your house all without being on the grid, and with CLEAN energy. Like I said on the edge of a big revolution, just almost there, just keep the government out, except for maybe a tax free status for 3-5 years for these companies developing the technology, but NO MORE handouts
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Old 12-20-2008, 03:49 PM   #18
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they had me until global warming. either way, I hate having even 10% ethanol when it's killing my mpg.

Last edited by choloman05; 12-20-2008 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 12-20-2008, 03:52 PM   #19
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Ha, all this for a sham !
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:48 PM   #20
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Does it really matter that e85 is much less effecient than things you can't use to power your car. I did my own study and found the a water powered cars with zero emmissions is much better.
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by sauuce View Post
ethanol might not be the best in that test, but i'm not about to run my car on nuclear power, or any sort of wave techonology (how the **** would that get in my car in the first place?). I still think ethanol is a great alternative fuel source.
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Does it really matter that e85 is much less effecient than things you can't use to power your car. I did my own study and found the a water powered cars with zero emmissions is much better.
Seriously?

HHHHMMMMM, lets see, maybe a power plant producing electricity to recharge your electric car Future, renewable, 2022 not your Suby

Better to find out now before wasting $$$$ for the next decade. Not to mention I hear with the drop in gas recently ethanol is more expensive, I've read of stations in certain states not even required to mix in the 10% because the law states only when cheaper.
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:02 PM   #22
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Big oil hates ethanol, Sally Struthers hates ethanol and as far as I am concerned, some self-righteous ultra tree-huggers will not be satisfied until automobiles no longer exist.
That article is incredibly vague.

If I didn't wear a tin-foil hat, i'd almost be inclined to wonder if "Big Oil" funds some of these studies that yield Ethanol Hate Headlines.

Did anyone know that prior to prohibition, ethanol and alcohol fuels were much more prevalent in this country? John D. Rockefeller's (of Standard Oil) support of alcohol prohibition helped quash alcohol fuels.
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Old 12-21-2008, 04:04 AM   #23
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Did anyone know that prior to prohibition, ethanol and alcohol fuels were much more prevalent in this country? John D. Rockefeller's (of Standard Oil) support of alcohol prohibition helped quash alcohol fuels.
People used to eat tapeworms to control their weight, and drink mercury as a contraceptive. Just cause it was done in the past doesn't mean it's better.

When it comes down to it, if in the future you are driving an 'alternate fuel' vehicle you're gonna have the least negative impact on the environment and your wallet (assuming the fuel source becomes mainstream) with hydrogen or full electric using an efficient power plant to recharge your cells. Making fuel from food on a global scale is just....silly.

My $0.02
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:04 AM   #24
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We all know hydrogen is the future.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:53 AM   #25
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Gas prices would be around $1.10-$1.20/gal right now without it.

Just sayin'
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