End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

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Thread: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

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    End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Ethanol damages engines and is not a viable alternative to fossil fuels, but farmers and lobbyists don't want you to know that

    "First-generation [corn] ethanol, I think, was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small." —Al Gore, speaking at a green energy conference on Nov. 22, 2010

    "Ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel. The future of transportation fuels shouldn't involve ethanol." —Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Nov. 29, 2010

    It is now conceivable that the myth of ethanol as the salvation for America's energy problem is coming to an end. And maybe we always should have known it would wind up in italics, underlined, with the real facts of the damage ethanol can do to gas-powered motors laid out for all to see in a court of law. I say that because this past Monday a group calling itself the Engine Products Group, comprising small-engine manufacturers, automakers, and boat manufacturers, filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to vacate the EPA's October ruling that using a 15 percent blend of ethanol in the nation's fuel supplies would not harm 2007 and newer vehicles.

    Each group of plaintiffs in this case has a different reason for objecting to putting more ethanol into America's gasoline. The automakers claim they have no idea whether a higher percentage of ethanol would damage their newer cars—and won't know until their testing is completed next year. The boat manufacturers claim their engines stay in service much longer, and are therefore more likely to be damaged by this fuel. The small-engine manufacturers are positive E15 would severely shorten the life of their products. According to The Washington Post, that's already been happening. The source is Mick Matuskey, co-owner of Power and Lawn Equipment of Gaithersburg, Md., who said, "You're getting half of the life out of the product today [when using E10 ethanol], compared to 30, 40 years ago."

    Ultimately this lawsuit stems from one major issue: Manufacturers have to take legal action to protect their customers from the damage higher blends of ethanol would do to their motors, because their warranties generally don't cover it.

    Of course, no such lawsuit would be complete without the ethanol lobby trying to obfuscate the facts of the case. Reuters quoted Tom Buis, head of lobbying group Growth Energy, as saying of the new proposed fuel, "E15 is safe for all vehicles on the road today."

    That's patently untrue. For years cars nationwide have been damaged when motorists ended up with more than 10 percent ethanol in their fuel. I covered that situation last year in "The Great Ethanol Scam."

    But ethanol's newest public-relations problem actually started in the last eight days of November. Having been fervidly pro-ethanol in the last decade of his political career, former Vice-President Al Gore reversed course and apologized for supporting ethanol. Of course, Gore's reason for taking his original position was perfectly understandable—to a politician. As he told energy conference attendees in Athens, Greece, "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers of Iowa because I was about to run for President."

    Link to entire article:
    http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyl...paign_id=msnbc

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    The source is Mick Matuskey, co-owner of Power and Lawn Equipment of Gaithersburg, Md., who said, "You're getting half of the life out of the product today [when using E10 ethanol], compared to 30, 40 years ago."
    Is that not the case for all consumer products nowadays? Everything is made more cheaply and is relatively disposable. Compare the construction of mowers from today to that of 30-40 years ago.

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by K-1 View Post
    Is that not the case for all consumer products nowadays? Everything is made more cheaply and is relatively disposable. Compare the construction of mowers from today to that of 30-40 years ago.
    They also said the same thing when you could no longer buy leaded gas. If E10 is damaging motors, you had motor problems before the first drop hit the tank. E15, I don't see how that small about could be worse than dropping a bottle of fuel additive in.
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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Yeah, but engines not designed for unleaded fuel did have pretty high levels of valve seat erosion. That's the reason for hardened valves and seats; the lubricating properties of the lead was lost.

    Same applies for ethanol fuel, although it is more detrimental to the ancillary compnents, such as seals and gaskets. The alcohol tends to absorb water, too.

    My big problem with it is that I think it's idiotic to burn food for fuel.

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by prowlerjc View Post
    Yeah, but engines not designed for unleaded fuel did have pretty high levels of valve seat erosion. That's the reason for hardened valves and seats; the lubricating properties of the lead was lost.

    Same applies for ethanol fuel, although it is more detrimental to the ancillary compnents, such as seals and gaskets. The alcohol tends to absorb water, too.

    My big problem with it is that I think it's idiotic to burn food for fuel.
    Funny how some of the same motors are still running today that were designed for leaded fuel and still running. Granted, that number is very small today.

    Once the ethanol process is completed, the corn is returned to feedstock. Corn based is not the best, but you gotta start someplace. I still have hopes for celuose based.
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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Cars can run on pure ethanol for fuel as they do in Brazil. You just need to make the necessary internal changes, software, seals and gaskets and the like. Kinda like E85 on steroids.
    The merits of ethanol aren't as clear. It should play some part, probably to E15 on newer cars, but it's too expensive to retrofit older cars.
    Get the politics out of it and then the true market would emerge.

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by prowlerjc View Post
    Yeah, but engines not designed for unleaded fuel did have pretty high levels of valve seat erosion. That's the reason for hardened valves and seats; the lubricating properties of the lead was lost.

    Same applies for ethanol fuel, although it is more detrimental to the ancillary components, such as seals and gaskets. The alcohol tends to absorb water, too.

    My big problem with it is that I think it's idiotic to burn food for fuel.
    As someone else said there are other ways to produce ethanol than corn and it is not like other by products are not made from this process also. Secondly I don't think anyone really feels it will replace gas it is something to help ease our reliance on gas until we move on to something more permanent.

    What really shocks me is how many people just fight for us to rely on gas and not move forward.
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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by rueben44 View Post
    What really shocks me is how many people just fight for us to rely on gas and not move forward.
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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by solman98 View Post
    Funny how some of the same motors are still running today that were designed for leaded fuel and still running. Granted, that number is very small today.
    Yeah, but I lived through that era, and a LOT of vehicles have to have the heads puled for new valves and seats. And that wasn't cheap.

    Quote Originally Posted by rueben44 View Post
    As someone else said there are other ways to produce ethanol than corn and it is not like other by products are not made from this process also.
    Oh, I agree, but the vast majority of it comes from corn, thanks to agribusiness getting huge gov subsidies.

    Secondly I don't think anyone really feels it will replace gas it is something to help ease our reliance on gas until we move on to something more permanent.
    Well, if it didn't rely on gov subsidies, I could agree with you.

    What really shocks me is how many people just fight for us to rely on gas and not move forward.
    Disagreement with ethanol does not equal fighting to rely on gas. I just think corn based ethanol is an inefficient use of resources.

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    For me, the food to fuel thing isn't the problem. It is the lost economy.

    The higher the ethanol content, the lower your fuel economy, the more you burn, the more you pollute and negate any benefits from the lower amount of fossil fuel used.

    Losing 10% of your fuel economy with E10 is one thing. I am imagining it will be a 15% loss with E15. All the while, the price of fuel will not go down to match the loss in mileage.

    Thus, it is just another hidden tax.

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by prowlerjc View Post
    Oh, I agree, but the vast majority of it comes from corn, thanks to agribusiness getting huge gov subsidies.

    Well, if it didn't rely on gov subsidies, I could agree with you.
    The oil industry receives billions in subsides annually as well.

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by prowlerjc View Post
    Yeah, but I lived through that era, and a LOT of vehicles have to have the heads puled for new valves and seats. And that wasn't cheap.
    I'm 47, I lived it also. Never had any of mine that needed any mayor repairs due to unleaded. The 390 in my ole 66 LTD even ran good. Most just dumped a can of leaded additive in. But I could still buy leaded up until the late 80's in Washington and Montana when I lived there.
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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by rueben44 View Post
    As someone else said there are other ways to produce ethanol than corn and it is not like other by products are not made from this process also. Secondly I don't think anyone really feels it will replace gas it is something to help ease our reliance on gas until we move on to something more permanent.

    What really shocks me is how many people just fight for us to rely on gas and not move forward.
    Ethanol is not moving forward, it is a delusional move backward.

    You will be interested in the facts revealed below:
    Ethanol Fuel from Corn Faulted as ‘Unsustainable Subsidized Food Burning’

    David Pimental, a leading Cornell University agricultural expert, has calculated that powering the average U.S. automobile for one year on ethanol (blended with gasoline) derived from corn would require 11 acres of farmland, the same space needed to grow a year's supply of food for seven people. Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion into ethanol, 131,000 BTUs are needed to make one gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 BTUS. Thus, 70 percent more energy is required to produce ethanol than the energy that actually is in it. Every time you make one gallon of ethanol, there is a net energy loss of 54,000 BTUs.

    Mr. Pimentel concluded that "abusing our precious croplands to grow corn for an energy-inefficient process that yields low-grade automobile fuels amounts to unsustainable subsidized food burning".

    Neither increases in government subsidies to corn-based ethanol fuel nor hikes in the price of petroleum can overcome what Cornell University agricultural scientist, David Pimentel, calls a fundamental input-yield problem: It takes more energy to make ethanol from grain than the combustion of ethanol produces.

    At a time when ethanol-gasoline mixtures (gasohol) are touted as the American answer to fossil fuel shortages by corn producers, food processors and some lawmakers, Cornell’s David Pimentel, one of the world’s leading experts in issues relating to energy and agriculture, takes a longer range view.

    "Abusing our precious croplands to grow corn for an energy-inefficient process that yields low-grade automobile fuel amounts to unsustainable, subsidized food burning", says the Cornell professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Pimentel, who chaired a U.S. Department of Energy panel that investigated the energetics, economics and environmental aspects of ethanol production several years ago, subsequently conducted a detailed analysis of the corn-to-car fuel process. His findings are published in the September, 2001 issue of the Encyclopedia of Physical Sciences and Technology .
    Among his findings are:

    * An acre of U.S. corn yields about 7,110 pounds of corn for processing into 328 gallons of ethanol. But planting, growing and harvesting that much corn requires about 140 gallons of fossil fuels and costs $347 per acre, according to Pimentel’s analysis. Thus, even before corn is converted to ethanol, the feedstock costs $1.05 per gallon of ethanol.

    * The energy economics get worse at the processing plants, where the grain is crushed and fermented. As many as three distillation steps are needed to separate the 8 percent ethanol from the 92 percent water. Additional treatment and energy are required to produce the 99.8 percent pure ethanol for mixing with gasoline.
    * Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion to ethanol, 131,000 BTUs are needed to make 1 gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 BTU. "Put another way", Pimentel says, "about 70 percent more energy is required to produce ethanol than the energy that actually is in ethanol. Every time you make 1 gallon of ethanol, there is a net energy loss of 54,000 BTU".

    * Ethanol from corn costs about $1.74 per gallon to produce, compared with about 95 cents to produce a gallon of gasoline. "That helps explain why fossil fuels-not ethanol-are used to produce ethanol", Pimentel says. "The growers and processors can’t afford to burn ethanol to make ethanol. U.S. drivers couldn’t afford it, either, if it weren’t for government subsidies to artificially lower the price".

    * Most economic analyses of corn-to-ethanol production overlook the costs of environmental damages, which Pimentel says should add another 23 cents per gallon. "Corn production in the U.S. erodes soil about 12 times faster than the soil can be reformed, and irrigating corn mines groundwater 25 percent faster than the natural recharge rate of ground water. The environmental system in which corn is being produced is being rapidly degraded. Corn should not be considered a renewable resource for ethanol energy production, especially when human food is being converted into ethanol".

    * The approximately $1 billion a year in current federal and state subsidies (mainly to large corporations) for ethanol production are not the only costs to consumers, the Cornell scientist observes. Subsidized corn results in higher prices for meat, milk and eggs because about 70 percent of corn grain is fed to livestock and poultry in the United States. Increasing ethanol production would further inflate corn prices, Pimentel says, noting: "In addition to paying tax dollars for ethanol subsidies, consumers would be paying significantly higher food prices in the marketplace".

    * Nickels and dimes aside, some drivers still would rather see their cars fueled by farms in the Midwest than by oil wells in the Middle East, Pimentel acknowledges, so he calculated the amount of corn needed to power an automobile:

    * The average U.S. automobile, traveling 10,000 miles a year on pure ethanol (not a gasoline-ethanol mix) would need about 852 gallons of the corn-based fuel. This would take 11 acres to grow, based on net ethanol production. This is the same amount of cropland required to feed seven Americans.

    * If all the automobiles in the United States were fueled with 100 percent ethanol, a total of about 97 percent of U.S. land area would be needed to grow the corn feedstock. Corn would cover nearly the total land area of the United States.

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Extreme4x4 View Post
    For me, the food to fuel thing isn't the problem. It is the lost economy.

    The higher the ethanol content, the lower your fuel economy, the more you burn, the more you pollute and negate any benefits from the lower amount of fossil fuel used.

    Losing 10% of your fuel economy with E10 is one thing. I am imagining it will be a 15% loss with E15. All the while, the price of fuel will not go down to match the loss in mileage.

    Thus, it is just another hidden tax.
    Once you convert to 100% ethanol, can't you retune the engine so that it becomes more efficient again?

    Yeah, short-term pain is going to suck, but wouldn't that be the goal? I would think it's just like leaded vs unleaded all over again. Which means we can get it done.

    Nuclear power backing up electric cars would be fine too, but you still have the range problem and the engine sounds wouldn't be nearly as fun, considering there's no engine...oh but right the range problem isn't a problem because you're supposed to take high-speed trains, silly dumb Americans.

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    Re: End the Ethanol Insanity!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.w View Post
    Once you convert to 100% ethanol, can't you retune the engine so that it becomes more efficient again?

    .
    No! The inefficiencies are due to the significantly lower heat value (energy content) of ethanol versus gasoline.

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