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ddtfarm1
Frequent Contributor

Re: the future of ethanol

Ethanol is a bit of a false product from its original growth in the late 90's and early 2000's. We had excess corn carry back then with just under 10B bushels per year production.  CGA, RFA,  and others were desperately looking for a use for the excess. Now, two decades later and nearing 15B/year production, we still have excess bushels or the ability to rapidly over produce, and the ethanol market is still fighting for a foothold.  It was and probably will always be a stop gap product waiting for its demise through improving alternatives. 

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sdholloway56
Senior Advisor

Re: the future of ethanol

I had several specific criticisms of the construction of the legislation, which gained me no friends.

But have also said that once you’ve directed all the capital and resources there it is stupid- and perhaps cruel and unusual-to not hold production near there and utilize it.

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bruce MN
Advisor

Re: the future of ethanol

End nuclear? Where is that coming from?

 

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: the future of ethanol

Education is the best bet....... as too where that came from.... ---- 

Continual flow of irrational nonsense.

keep building those fly fans ................. in Iowa,

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rickgthf
Senior Advisor

Re: Nitrogen fertilizer

  It takes 3/4 of lbs of methane to make 1 lb of ammonia,  o,95 of an lb if you convert it to urea.  Here on the margin, we can grow 150-bushel corn with 120 lbs of nitrogen pretty regular and a lot less if we use a little manure (which we need to dispose of anyhow).  A hundred fifty bushel corn is 2827 lbs of ethanol plus 2550 lbs of distillers grains, and 3000 lbs of concentrated carbon dioxide.  That 2550 lbs of distillers grains easily cancels the carbon cost to grow the 150 bu of corn.

  If every ethanol plant took the trouble to sequester the CO2 generated the carbon footprint of ethanol would drop almost to zero ( correction,  drop way below zero,  you could sell the balance as carbon credits). 

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sdholloway56
Senior Advisor

Re: Nitrogen fertilizer

About 3.4 mcf natural gas in 200# anhydrous ammonia.

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roarintiger1
Honored Advisor

Re: Nitrogen fertilizer

I believe that there are ethanol plants recovering the CO2.

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rickgthf
Senior Advisor

Re: Energy density of ethanol, ....

Li ion batteries have an energy density of 100-265 Wh per kg (0.1-0.265 kWh) per kg, whereas ethanol energy density  is 7.29 kWh per kg, or about 40 times more.  Even with the 25% thermodynamic efficiency of our current gasoline engines ethanol is a better energy carrier than Li ion batteries.  Couple this with the fact that as you burn the ethanol you reduce the vehicle wt, which you don't do with Li batteries, ethanol is more efficient yet.

  If they develop ethanol fueled fuel cell with their 90% thermodynamic efficiency,  ethanol will become a super fuel.

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rickgthf
Senior Advisor

Re: Ethanol plants recovering CO2

Most recover it but few sequester it but rather sell it for industrial uses.

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sdholloway56
Senior Advisor

Re: Ethanol plants recovering CO2

BTW, for the Chicken Littles.

If US oil consumption began falling at 3%/yr by 2025, by 2040* it would be at approximately 1970 levels. No new refineries of consequence have been built in years and nothing but the latest, dumbest capital investments in pipelines etc. will be less than fully amortized by 2050. Although the owners would be glad to keep you paying them if they can manage it.

Renewables and natural gas can easily remove the second half of coal from the power generation mix by then, although modular nukes and maybe thorium would be nice. We believe in American Can Do except when We Don't Wanna.

Moving natural gas out would be next, but not an urgent matter. That probably requires either nuclear or vastly better storage. Probably could also phase tht out over a couple of decades, starting later.

*also not a big deal for ethanol to be 3% less carbon intensive per year in order to maintain the same volume. At all.

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