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Senior Contributor

Can't make enough ethanol

Just saw a report from Purdue about the ethanol business: Wally Tyner and other ag economists there just released a paper that shows "The U.S. doesn't have the infrastructure to meet the federal mandate for renewable fuel use with ethanol, but could meet the standard with significant increases in cellulosic and next-generation biofuels."

 

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"Even if you could produce a whole bunch of E85, there is no way to distribute it," Tyner says in the report. "We would need to install about 2,000 pumps per year through 2022 to do it. You're not going to go from 100 per year to 2,000 per year overnight. It's just not going to happen."


Tyner says advances in the production of thermo-chemical biofuels, which are created by using heat to chemically alter biomass and create fuels, would be necessary to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard. He said those fuels would be similar enough to gasoline to allow unlimited blending and would increase the amount of biofuel that could be used.


"Producing the hydrocarbons directly doesn't have the infrastructure problems of ethanol, and there is no blend wall because you're producing gasoline," Tyner said. "If that comes on and works, then we get there. There is significant potential to produce drop-in hydrocarbons from cellulosic feedstocks."

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If numbers like these keep coming out, do you think the industry will respond and move forward more on cellulosic sources? Or, will that be too heavy a lift? 

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10 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

Seems if we are "short "of crude world wide which should affect the price of gasoline ----use the E-10 -thru E-85 locally and have the populace with the greatest distance from the midwest use a lighter blend---we now haul huge amounts of coal by rail from Gillette Wyoming to Texas-Arkansas-Wisconsin- etc.---hauling crude or semi refined fuel from half way around the world is being done on a daily bases--if "economic logistics" where a major concern check the "fuel bill" of the war in Afghanistan to the American taxpayer ?

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Senior Contributor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

I think it's very difficult to project where we'll be in 2022.  If the world economy takes off, the price of oil willskyrocket.  We're already seeing that as China increases use.  We're projected to be back to $4 gasoline in some parts of the U.S. this summer.

Major changes in use could be effected by 2022 if various governments mandated the use of E85 in their own fleet and installed the pumps.  Lots of cars, few pumps.  Doesn't have to add up to 2,000 per year.  The electronic car fans aren't talking about lack of plug-ins for their cars, perhaps assuming they can all get home to recharge or someone willi nstall a plug and a meter. (Come shop at our mall and get up to 2 hours recharge absolutely free!)

We sometimes forget tha the Renewable Fuels Act ties in with the Clean Air Act and attempts to address the amount of pollutants in the air.  If we don't use ethanol as an oxygenate, what do you use?

An article like Tyner's makes for interesting reading if one accepts straight line projections which ignore the very factors they seem to react to.

 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

It has always been an accepted fact that we cannot both produce enough ethanol to power our domestic automobiles and corm to feed ourselves/our livestock, hasn't it?  I've seen the numbers in presentations several times...it will take biomass of a different kind ot carry off most of the energy demands. 

I would buy an electric car today, if they had one with a reliable 250-mile radius.  I could shorten that distance to say 2/3 if there were infrastructure stops for rapid recharges along the interstates. (Just put one at every Starbucks!) I would truly love to see one that has some solar recharger capacity, but that would take hugely more efficient panels than are presently being produced. 

It will be a hard sell to get Americans to stop and sit still for a recharging period, with their accustomed instant startup and run with gasoline.    Some days, it is hard enough to remember to charge up the cell phone, before I have to hit the road with it again. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

Maybe the answer to the battery recharge is a generic power pak that is removed and inserted in a matter of moments.  Drive 250 miles, stop in and swap for a fully charged power pack (availability guaranteed ia GPS referenced online data base fed to the vehicle).  5 minute swap and down the road you go.  Never buy the pack, just rent it, same as a welder usually doesn't buy his acetylene tank but rents it and swaps it out at every refil.

The M1 main battle tank can swap an entire engine out in 20 minutes.  I don't know what it takes to swap the batteries in a fork lift, but I bet it could be simple.

 

There you go - buy a franchise now and get in on this fledgling industry.  ( I really do need to get out and do something useful today, Smiley Happy )

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Senior Advisor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

And to think we might have to go to China for the exotic mineral deposits to build the battery----I '''STILL" could make my gasoline and spirits too go along with my freezer or ice cave with food supplies----like Jim I need to spend some energy other than key boarding ? ! ? ! 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

You see?  They need to ask a farmer how  to fix this mess!

I am not making excuses...I have been out and doing useful things all day...then came in here and got Mike to help me hang a new set of privacy panets for the office bathroom. 

Am doing some laundry. cleanign out files, and was helping a parent who stopped  by to visit a minute to understand her daughter's science assignment, all while I visit with you...so let us say (just to tick off Kraft-t) that women do multitask better than men. 

I like the concept of this exchange battery thing...sort of like the LP tanks for the grill.  Of course, that presumes a standard design for the entire auto industry, so we will have to go through that  VHS/Betamax crap all over again!

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Senior Advisor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

Must be the girls day to clean out files---wife not at nursing job and on my tail to "organize this office'--I'm getting a break now while she picks up Grand daughter  from school---better close cause she's coming down the drive way !!  Have E-85 in the suburban--works OK--it's a 2006---last purchase was $2.15/gal on 12-28-10

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Senior Contributor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

Hey, some of those ideas were pretty good, Jim.  I think you've done some work already. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Can't make enough ethanol

the battery pack swap is a good idea, or a better one might to have that as an option...that you can either do a swap, or do a quick charge. Stations that handle this should be equiped to check the batteries ability to hold a charge...just like the full service stations would check the engine oil on a fillup.

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