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Veteran Advisor

Ethanol PR

Read any article on ethanol and then read the readers comments.  Wild stuff.

 

Now, keep in mind, that we all have are biases and use 'facts' to our advantage.  But maybe we should start a ad campaign to show the hypocrisy out there from the ethanol bashers.

 

Here is the scene:  A group of ethanol haters discussing how bad ethanol is while they are on the golf course drinking beer.

 

Then it could be pointed out that crop land is used for beer production, that land could be used for food stuff.  Then point out the fact that about 2.5 million acres alone in the US are used for golf courses.  Figuring a 150 acres average per course.  That land could be turned into gardens (already irrigated), so those people could grow their own food and not have to complain about price.

 

There are around 17,000 golf courses in the US.  Breakdown...  7955 Public courses, 995 Resort courses, 4256 Private courses, 3541 Semi-Private courses, and 197 Military courses.

 

A side note.  Congress just spent months on this budget.  They agreed to 'cut' 39 billions from the budget.  Does anyone but me think those are not cuts at all.  But money that was appropriated that wasn't spent...and all they are agreeing to do is not spend it on something else.  I have yet to hear that someone's program has been cut...hope I am wrong.  A couple of days to pass close to a trillion dollar stimulus.  Months to cut less than 1% of the budget that the normal person would have just call regular savings.  It is kind of like I had 40,000 budgeted for repairs, but only spent 39,000 for the fiscal year, so I am agreeing to not spend the last 1000 on a new chrome stack.

 

 

 

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33 Replies

Re: Ethanol PR

Being for or against ethanol is like being for or against electricity.

 

It is essentially an energy carrier, not a primary energy source.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Ethanol PR

Hardnox,

 

All energy is not equal.  The form of the energy matters.  We have enough energy in the form of coal in this country to last hundreds of years.  But that energy won't easily or practically power my car, pickup, truck or tractor.  Likewise, nuclear energy is abundant if we choose to utilize it, but I don't think I will ever have a nuclear powered vehicle.  Ethanol and biodiesel increase the supply of motor fuels--a form of energy we don't have in abundance in this country. 

 

Ethanol allows us to convert the sun's energy along with energy from natural gas, coal, wood chips, etc. into a form of energy that is more scarce, i.e. motor fuels.  

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Ethanol PR

Good points jec,  but if we start a food vs. beer debate, I'm afraid we'll lose that argument worse than food vs. fuel! 

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Re: Ethanol PR

We have plenty of oil if we choose to import it, NG liquids if we choose to convert them.

 

Instead we import nitrogen fertilizer and use NG to make ethanol. Arguably get a bit more beyond that but not much.

 

It simply doesn't do much at all for the energy problem and mostly just serves as a diversion if anyone thinks that it does.

 

Now given the failure of MTBE it can be sold via the environmental argument.

 

Of course none of that matters- like everything else it is a matter of simple minded talking points, political cash and regional politics.

 

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Ethanol PR

Hardnox, agreed on the need to use NG more.

 

On the PR scene, my tongue was pretty much planted in my cheek.  My point.  I just wanted to see if some are willing to put their money where their mouth is.  If they really believe that we need more food for the world, would they be willing to give up something to make it happen.  If it is OK for the farmer to have to follow rules on what he can grow and how he can sell it, is it not also OK to make the same rules for all land? Can you imagine what would happen if we told them their golf courses had to be put into food production?  

 

You are correct, it is a world of spin, spin, spin.  I don't know how you find the facts anymore.

 

Regardless, crude isone of the drivers behind grain prices, and that isn't going change anytime soon.  And that ball can swing either way, just like in 2008.

 

 

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Ethanol PR

Hardnox,

 

You say "we have plenty of oil if we choose to import it"--  Oh, ok, problem solved, we'll just import more of it.  Why didn't anybody think of that before?   I can see why you think ethanol is a nuisance when your premise is more oil can always be imported (at reasonable prices).

 

We import nitrogen fertilizer primarily from the carribean and Canada--which is to say we rely on friendly, stable countries for nitrogen fertilizer while the world imports oil primarily from the Middle East--a violatile part of the world made more stable only with American military might, treasure and lives. 

 

As the old saying goes, "Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good."  Just because ethanol displaces "only" 10 or 15% of our gasoline needs in the US, does not mean it can't be part of our alternative energy strategy.  Excluding ethanol, all the other alternatives to fossil motor fuels displace next to nothing. 

 

I'm curious whether you rail against production of tar sands oil, considering it takes more energy to retrieve the oil than the oil contains.   

 

 

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Re: Ethanol PR

Fertilizer is like oil- a fungible global market. We import most or "our" oil from Canada and Mexico as well. 

 

OK, when we get to 15 bgy ethanol production that will equal about 7% or total transportation fuel. Multiply that by .7 for energy content, multiply it again by .4 for the friendliest net energy estimate you can find and then multiply it by .5 for the percentage of total US energy supply.

 

You end up with a .7% contribution to our energy needs.

 

For the umpteenth time- you can sell ethanol as an environmental additive but not as any form or solution to the US energy problem.

 

Which really doesn't matter- the progam is going to 15 bgy and will stay there. That is unless we have a sharp and severe crop problem, then it might just blow the entire US ag system to smithereens.

 

A lot of risk and external cost for a possible .7% energy boost.

 

BTW, corn does make a very nice  heating fuel. It makes much more sense to encourage people and businesses to put in corn burners and then use the NG, diesel etc. for transportation.  As OBG has said, ethanol is just a vrey inefficient Rube Goldberg way or burning corn.

 

Even the USA can't survive with this tiype of dysfunctional political system forever.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Ethanol PR

So the ethanol bar on the above chart is only = to .7 percent ?

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Re: Ethanol PR

Nice propaganda.

 

Volume means nothing.

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