WSJ: Ethanol in America

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Thread: WSJ: Ethanol in America

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    WSJ: Ethanol in America

    The Big Thirst

    Producers of ethanol have pumped nearly $14 billion into a wide array of businesses, and the resulting economic boost has created more than 40,000 jobs since the corn-based gasoline additive gained popularity two years ago.

    ...

    Ethanol plants currently require about four gallons of water to produce a single gallon of ethanol, Mr. Greene says.... One ethanol plant designer, Delta T Corp., based in Williamsburg, Va., says it has created a system that will reduce consumption to just one-and-a-half gallons of water per gallon of ethanol, down from four gallons of water.

    To further reduce the plants' impact on drinkable water, engineers also can route more low-quality water -- even waste water -- to functions where high purity is unnecessary.

    ...

    The U.S. can currently produce about seven billion gallons of ethanol a year, a little more than the amount required federally. New production to come online by the end of this year, and additions in the years that follow, should increase capacity by about 5.5 billion gallons by 2009.

    But if the energy bill pending in Congress passes, more than 35 billion gallons of alternative fuel production will be mandated. And with ethanol as the most easily available renewable fuel, there could be a dramatic upswing in new cornfields and ethanol-production facilities.

    ...

    The ethanol industry, for its part, is quick to point out that failing to accept the mandate might still result in a drain on water. Canadian oil reserves, seen as a possible source of conventional fuel for the U.S., produce a thick grade of oil that requires just as much -- if not more -- water for refining than ethanol does, says Mr. Hartwig.

    "The water from that [refining] process is so toxic that it has to be put into holding ponds so large they can be seen from space -- and it takes 200 years to separate," he says.

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    by alternative fuel, do they mean only ethanol? or biodeisel as well? hydrogen too?
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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    We need greater production of ethanol and stop paying oil companies the subsidy.

    We need to subsidize the distribution points throughout the united states..

    We should pay a subsidy to the gas stations and producers of ethanol.

    JMO
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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    "Ethanol's Water Shortage

    If the Senate's new "renewable fuels" mandate becomes law, get ready for a giant slurping sound as Midwest water supplies are siphoned off to slake Big Ethanol. House and Senate negotiators are preparing for an energy-bill conference, and if the Senate's language prevails, America's economy will be forced to consume more than five times current ethanol production.
    Heavily subsidized and absurdly inefficient, corn-based ethanol has already driven up food prices. But the Senate's plan to increase production to 36 billion gallons by 2022, from less than seven billion today, will place even greater pressure on farm-belt aquifers.
    Ethanol plants consume roughly four gallons of water to produce each gallon of fuel, but that's only a fraction of ethanol's total water habit. Cornell ecology professor David Pimentel says that when you count the water needed to grow the corn, one gallon of ethanol requires a staggering 1,700 gallons of H2O. Backers of the Senate bill say that less-thirsty technologies are just around the corner, which is what we've been hearing for years."

    "Ethanol's big environmental footprint is not limited to water, because biofuels like ethanol are highly inefficient. In September, the Chairman of the OECD's Roundtable on Sustainable Development released a report entitled, "Biofuels: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease?" Authors Richard Doornbosch and Ronald Steenblik compared the power density of different energy sources, measured in energy production per unit of the earth's area. Oil -- because it requires only a narrow hole in the earth and is extracted as a highly concentrated form of energy -- is up to 1,000 times more efficient than solar energy, which requires large panels collecting a less-concentrated form of energy known as the midday sun.

    But even solar power is roughly 10 times as efficient as biomass-derived fuels like ethanol. In other words, growing the corn to produce ethanol means clearing land and killing animals on a massive scale, or converting land from food production to fuel production. Peter Huber of the Manhattan Institute says that the best-case scenario promoted by ethanol cheerleaders will actually cause the greatest environmental disaster. If people can actually refine cheap, low-maintenance production techniques that don't require huge water supplies, Mr. Huber predicts a world-wide leveling of forestland as farmers turn vegetation into fuel.

    Writing in Science magazine, Renton Righelato and Dominick Spracklen estimate that in order to replace just 10% of gasoline and diesel consumption, the U.S. would need to convert a full 43% of its cropland to ethanol production. The alternative approach -- clearing wilderness -- would mean more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than simply sticking with gasoline, because the CO2-munching trees cut down to make way for King Ethanol absorb more emissions than ethanol saves.

    Slowly but surely, these problems are beginning to alert public opinion to the huge costs of force-feeding corn ethanol as an energy savior. The ethanol lobby is still hoping it can keep all of this under wraps long enough to shove one more big mandate through Congress, but the Members need to know the problems they'll be creating. We hope that House conferees, who did not include a new mandate in their energy bill, insist that any final bill is ethanol-free."

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1192...?mod=sphere_ts

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    Quote Originally Posted by JBsZ06 View Post
    We need greater production of ethanol and stop paying oil companies the subsidy.

    We need to subsidize the distribution points throughout the united states..

    We should pay a subsidy to the gas stations and producers of ethanol.

    JMO
    Subsidy, subsidy,subsidy ......... Where do you think those subsidies come from? Increased taxes of course. We already pay too much in taxes for too little return.

    As far as water is concerned, the western states have a water shortage and the southeast has a drought. Tell the people of Atlanta that we need their water to make ethanol.

    I truely believe that we need alternate fuels and a new source for oil. However, the current ethanol "panic" is not well thought out and is another case of "lets let the government subsidize our ethanol plant" until some one wakes up the Emperor and tells him to put on his clothes.

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    We give money to so many countries and causes around the world.

    Time to give to americans instead..

    Give the subsidies to the growers and producers of enthanol and NOT to the oil companies.

    Thats my point....why are we giving subsidies to the oil companies..?

    Aren't they making enough already.

    Its tidiculous we are subsidizing oil companies..so in a way we are in agreement.
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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    In other words, growing the corn to produce ethanol means clearing land and killing animals on a massive scale, or converting land from food production to fuel production.
    I wonder if Mr. Huber of the Manhattan Institute interviewed any Nebraska farmers to determine how many acres of land the farmers cleared and how many animals the farmers killed.

    Writing in Science magazine, Renton Righelato and Dominick Spracklen estimate that in order to replace just 10% of gasoline and diesel consumption...
    Hmmm... replace diesel consumption with ethanol... now that's a new idea. And if we were to replace all of our milk, orange juice and bath water with corn ethanol, we would have to kill even more animals and cut down more forests.

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    "When oil barons decide there's money in drilling for scarce water in the American West, it's time for Congress to stop subsidizing an inefficient and thirsty energy source that soaks up more of that water. Ethanol has prospered on taxpayer subsidies fed by political panic over oil prices and old-fashioned Congressional log-rolling. It's about time that some in Congress are finally stopping to inspect ethanol's many, and growing, costs."

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1194...?mod=sphere_ts

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    Quote Originally Posted by JBsZ06 View Post
    We give money to so many countries and causes around the world.

    Time to give to americans instead..

    Give the subsidies to the growers and producers of enthanol and NOT to the oil companies.

    Thats my point....why are we giving subsidies to the oil companies..?

    Aren't they making enough already.

    Its tidiculous we are subsidizing oil companies..so in a way we are in agreement.
    Ethanol gets plenty of subsidies. About $7 billion in 2006.

    http://zfacts.com/p/63.html

    "Ethanol Today," (8/'05) states "Five years ago, a US General Accounting Office report showed that ethanol had received $11.6 billion in tax incentives since 1968, while the oil industry had received over $150 billion in tax benefit over the same period.
    Probably true. But the oil industry produced 1068 times more energy so the subsidy rate per unit energy was 54 times higher for ethanol. That's like ethanol gets 54˘ and oil gets 1˘. Now if we had oil subsidies, and we do, and ADM is making more profit than ...
    Plus the Ethanol lobby insists on a 51 cents/gallon tax on cheaper Brazilian ethanol. I don't like Big Oil or terrorists but to pretend that corn ethanol producers are heroes and in business to serve the common good is foolishness. If they can compete with other energy sources on their own, go ahead. Just don't ask for my tax money. And don't pretend that the money isn't going to terrorists. With an energy yield of 1.3:1 at best for corn ethanol the terrorists are still getting their money.

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    If the oil companies are raking in record profits we as consumers are getting ripped off..

    I believe ethanol production with subsidies going to ANYBODY OTHER THAN THE OIL COMPANIES IS A GREAT IDEA TO GET THIS PRODUCT TO THE MARKET>>

    E85 cellosic (sp) ethanol is a great way to go....

    Supposedly according to autoline detroit show within 5 years we should be able to produce cellosic ethanol for 60 cents a gallon compared to todays ethanol for 2.50 a gallon..

    Thats what we need to subsidize as a nation and forget the rest of the world if need be...

    This new technology should be our number one priority as a nation. (even if it includes subsidies for now)

    JMO
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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    Ron, I really am for the causes you're trying to promote (especially the truth issue), but, I'm so sick of seeing misinformation and slandering from the quotes posted, it makes me sick. Heck, this article would make you think that those 4 gallons of water simply disappear! Yeah, disappear! UGH!

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    Quote Originally Posted by shabodah View Post
    Ron, I really am for the causes you're trying to promote (especially the truth issue), but, I'm so sick of seeing misinformation and slandering from the quotes posted, it makes me sick. Heck, this article would make you think that those 4 gallons of water simply disappear! Yeah, disappear! UGH!
    Actually it is turned in to water vapor which is the number one greenhouse gas and almost as dangerous as deadly CO2.

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    Quote Originally Posted by JBsZ06 View Post
    If the oil companies are raking in record profits we as consumers are getting ripped off..

    I believe ethanol production with subsidies going to ANYBODY OTHER THAN THE OIL COMPANIES IS A GREAT IDEA TO GET THIS PRODUCT TO THE MARKET>>

    E85 cellosic (sp) ethanol is a great way to go....

    Supposedly according to autoline detroit show within 5 years we should be able to produce cellosic ethanol for 60 cents a gallon compared to todays ethanol for 2.50 a gallon..

    Thats what we need to subsidize as a nation and forget the rest of the world if need be...

    This new technology should be our number one priority as a nation. (even if it includes subsidies for now)

    JMO
    If they insist on wasting tax dollars there are much better uses than subsidizing corn ethanol so as to win the Iowa primary.
    Ethanol from corn is idiotic and the money could be much better spent elseware.

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    Quote Originally Posted by bluecon View Post
    If they insist on wasting tax dollars there are much better uses than subsidizing corn ethanol so as to win the Iowa primary.
    Ethanol from corn is idiotic and the money could be much better spent elseware.
    Well, the choices are:

    (1) paying farmers to plant soy beans for biodiesel to win the Iowa primary;
    (2) paying farmers not to plant anything to win the Iowa primary; or
    (3) paying staff to plant questions in the audience to win the Iowa primary.

    All things considered, I'd go with the corn ethanol.

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    Re: WSJ: Ethanol in America

    Quote Originally Posted by bluecon View Post
    Actually it is turned in to water vapor which is the number one greenhouse gas and almost as dangerous as deadly CO2.
    First of CO2 is only dangerous in excessive amounts. Secondly, growing any form of plantlife helps balance out the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. Third, water vapor could easily be changed back into.. *gasp* ... liquid water...

    So, really, this just comes down to making sure the proper filtration devices are used to purify the water before it is used elsewhere. I'm all for that.

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