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Ethanol from corn...What they're not telling you.

Post in 'The Green Room' started by keyman512us, Mar 31, 2007.

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  1. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Hey all...
    With all the "talk" in the news about ethanol...do you think there is something that is not being brought up? I'll ask this question...then see where it goes:

    Do you think ethanol is a "waste of time and money". Ethanol is "blended" into gasoline for oxygenation purposes. Do you know what the other chemical is? Should it be "banned" from use? The chemical I'm reffering to is MTBE (Methy-Tert.-Butyl-Ether). How much do you know about it? And the hazzards it poses?

    Perhaps the industry is shifting focus to Ethanol...to cover it's tracks?

    What do you think?

    Do "A little research on it" you may be surprised what you find...at the very least you might be a little more cautious with Gasoline "around the homestead"...especially if you have a well.

    Intro:
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1469436&pageindex=1

    Very good article:
    http://2the4.net/mtbe.htm

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  2. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    http://www.efoa.org/mtbe/pdf/appendix6.pdf

    I have no "Concrete proof"..but I was told that MTBE is what makes old gas "Smell"...and "go bad". MTBE is said to smell "like turpentine". Read between the lines...look at everything close. The $$$ issue is going to dictate whether or not MTBE goes "Bye-Bye". The makers of fuel stabilizers? How much you want to bet what their opinion is?

    We got rid of leaded gasoline....only to replace it with something potentially far worse?

    I'm not a chemist...but anyone with that level of inteligence...should have taken into account the damage this chemical can do.

    At current levels...average daily US production of MTBE is 72,000 barrels/day. How much corn do you think it takes to make 72,000 barrels of ethanol?

    If anyone "takes shots at you for burning wood"...saying you damage the enviroment fire back at them with these facts...The car you drive...is putting out a lot more toxins than people realize.
  3. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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  4. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    I can't believe Massachusetts is not one of the states that has banned MTBE!

    Any of my fellow Massachusetts residents...would you support a petition to get MTBE banned in the state of Massachusetts?
  5. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Ethanol is a waste of time and money. Its EROEI is nearly 1:1.

    MTBE was/is being banned because it has a nasty habit of showing up in groundwater supplies.

    Go to theoildrum.com to read about the raging ethanol debate. (Will have to searh for past postings)
  6. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Sandor:
    Thanks for the link. Anyone with other good links please feel free to post em'.
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    So if MTBE is bad (and I think all agree with that) and Ethanol is a waste of time and Money, what is the alternative?

    Don't say electric or hydrogen or any of the other "green" technologies that are not viable yet.

    Seems to me that ethanol is the right answer for now.
  8. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Warren,

    There really is no great substitute fuel (in great quantities) for IC engines.

    Electrification is the answer. (Unless you believe the Olduvai Theory)

    I have been following this closely for the last several years... and the more you know, the more concerned you will be. There is no magic bullit.

    Once you understand how much farmland and corn (plus fertilizer and desiel fuel) you need for ethanol to replace one single 10kbpd oil well in Saudi Arabia (KSA), then it will hit you like a ton bricks.

    Oh, I just read last week. I believe 9 gallons of gasoline is equivelent to about 1 year of human manual labor.

    So, your Suburban can go about 108 miles on 9 gallons. How long would it take you to push that SUV 108 miles?
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    My daughters current job is to kick the asses of the oil companies over this chemical. Turns out that it has polluted thousands of municipal wells all over the country AND THE OIL COMPANIES KNEW IT WAS HAPPENING. And who pays? YOU - because the cities and towns have to BOTH drill new wells and also install expensive equipment to monitor and remove the stuff.

    And, believe it or not, these patriotic oil companies do not want to pay for the mess they created - even with hundreds of billions of dollars profit IN ONE QUARTER. They think you should pay!

    Ethanol - I have to agree with Castro on this one - a dangerous precedent to turn the #1 food crop in the world into Hummer Fuel....I'd rather a super efficient diesel/electric hybrid with the idea of large scale electric from wind, solar and other such sources.

    But try telling this to Archer Daniels Midland or Monsanto......The GOP is screaming about 75 million to peanut farmers, while billions are going to waste on Ethanol....and the reason is - They think you are distracted by this and truly believe they have the renewable energy interests of our country/future in mind.

    Stuff like this makes me want to the government NOT to promote alternative fuel.
  10. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Craig, I agree with you 100%.

    But I also believe that the govt required the use of MTBE to clean up emissions.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The govt wanted "something" added to clean up emissons. The oil companies pushed MTBE because at the time it was a hazardous waste by-product of gasoline production that was costing them a ton of money in disposal costs. Adding it back to reformulated gasoline essentially turned a costly waste disposal by-product into something that could be sold through the gas pump for a couple of bucks a gallon.
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow, BB, what a deal!

    That's like me selling my sewage line contents back to Taco Bell.

    The oil companies could have (and eventually were forced to) upgrade the tanks and systems in the local gas stations to deal with this and other problems....but it look like another example of one step forward and two steps back.

    Cleaner air, and dirtier water......and more $$ in the pockets of oil companies.

    Why am I not surprised? Capitalism DOES NOT WORK when corporate responsibility is taken out of the equation. Think about it - Exxon made what.....was it 75 BILLION in profit for the quarter or the year? And they fight tooth and nail against giving even a percent or two of it back to stop cancer and other problems caused by the leaks!

    Shame on them - and shame on us for allowing them to use our system to enrich themselves without basic responsibility.
  13. Kilted

    Kilted Member

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    BUT I do say electric IS ONE of the answers. I DO NOT say it is the answer for everyone. I currently have 5.2kw of PV solar and I drive a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) Toyota Rav4EV. The solar powers the house, replaces gasoline, fetchs cuts and splits my fire wood. The firewood offsets my use of natural gas.

    I say the answer will be mix of energy sources, choose the one most suitable for your location.

    -- Brandy
  14. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Warren:
    To answer your Question Sir..."I'm not leaning any particular way...or trying to be a 'cheerleader' on the subject...i'm approaching this issue (as I approach any issue and all that respond to it) from a neautral stanpoint". I'm not trying to heat anyone up...and anyone that knows me will tell you...I treat anyone the way I would want to be treated...I don't try to force an opinion on anyone...just try to "point things out and offer a different perspective to help someone make an informed, educated opinion or view"...others (and a lot of 'people here' already do)would be wise to do the same. Having said that:
    Ethanol should be "Pursued" but should thouroughly be put into perspective...If people get involved in the issues...the PT,PR,PC, and other 'cheerleaders' could be kept in check. MTBE/Ethanol for oxygenation purposes is a moot point these days...Industry trends are such that now with cleaner burning engines...oxygenated fuel is, for the most part...no longer required. Many states are now applying for waivers to the CAC of 1990 becuase of this fact. While there still are a "few old relics on the road" their numbers are dwindling to the point that they are not really worth considering in the equation...the biggest of their number have already gone to the scrap heap. Take a really good look at the links I posted above...and it will paint the picture. The People need to get involved...and shape the Energy outlook of the future...based on lessons from the past...MTBE is a lesson we can't afford to forget.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    It is so obvious to anyone who looks that conservation is the ONLY answer which addresses most of these shortcomings...that is, of the cure being worse than the disease!

    The USA could cut our energy use by 50% - over a decade or two - with a minimum effect on quality of life. In fact, we would create entire industries, jobs as well as cleaner air and water, so we might say that quality of life will increase. Of course, this does not mean that the average Sq Ft of a house would increase nor the average size and weight of a car!

    By cutting our energy use, it allows us to use more of our renewables - water, wind, sun......and close down our dirty coal plants, so the savings in pollution would be VASTLY more than 50%. Instead, we are currently BUILDING and updating dirty coal plants....which are still dirty, although less so than before.

    We need a plan. A plan that does not change every 2 years or 4 years with elections. Have we ever had such a thing? Seems as what happens is that some dude gets elected by making a scapegoat of a program that does not work, and next thing you know they thrown the baby out with the bath water.

    I have pretty much given up on this being solved by national policy. There is much more chance of it being solved by economics.......when oil spikes to over $100 and stays there.
  16. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Craig,

    You are 100% correct. Economics will rule this situation. Change happens when the People want change. Right now with gas prices approaching 3.00/gallon people grumble. Its a REALLY soft grumble. When gas gets to $10.00/gallon. Like what they nearly pay in europe the grumble will get louder. When it hits shout level it when the gov't acts. Is it 10.00/gallon for a shout?? Only time will tell. My guess is around that number. I also guess that number comes within the next 10 years. There is a finite # of gallons of fuel on this planet and we are eating up faster and faster everyday. The Industrial revolution is 120 years old, real industry is only maybe 60 years old when the car started hitting everyones doorstep. Rough calulations say over 1/2 the earth's supply of fossil fuels is gone! in 60 years!! We heat with wood here, we help a little but not enough. As many alternatives need to be explored as quickly as possible but it wont get done until we all stand up and shout for it.
  17. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Kilted...Cool!
    I don't know if you have noticed (from some of my posts)....that even though I'm not a "cheerleader(someone dead-set one way on something)"...I'm definately a fan of PV...AND EV technologies. Out of curiousity...if you wouldn't mind sharing a few details I would like to hear about it 'firsthand'(like what state you live in,what that EV lists for,your thoughts performance wise etc.) Check out some of my posts ("How green is your locale" for instance)...The 5.2kw of PV must be SWEET! I've "worked in/on PV houses rated at 2KW(as an electrician)" and I was "very impressed to say the least". Any photos of the PV array/controls? Is it "utility connected" as well...or solely stand alone?
  18. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Craig here. Conservation is key. You have to realize I was attempting to keep the conversation grounded a bit in MTBE vs Ethanol VS some other Oxygenator for gas. PV isn't there for the masses yet. Sure a few here have it, but I certainly can't afford an all PV house and a PV car, nor can I afford to build a home that is truely designed the way I think one should be. Most people in the country fit this mode, so conservation is the cheapest way for now. Purchase a Toyota pickup with a 4 banger instead of the V8 Nissan Opec friend. (by the way according to friends who have trucks, the ones that get the WORST mileage are either the Nissan Titan or Dodge with V8)

    Cars like the diesel Jetta should be sold in all states, and should not cost 2500 (or what ever it is) more than a gas version. Why not subsidise all vehicles that get over 50 mpg? You'd see the car companies start building a lot of them. If VW and toyota can, why not Ford or Chevy?

    Have the "Plan" Craig is looking for add 1 or 2 MPG to that number every year. Add R10 to all home building codes. Mandate that any store that is not open must have all lights off after 11:00 PM including signs. Why not go back to all stores closing after 8pm. and closed on Sundays. (I'm not going for any religious angle here... only conservation. Make it a Wednesday for all I care.) There are a LOT of things we could do. Then do a Manhattan style program (instead of dumping money into Iraq... woops too late) that takes 50billion or large # to put the wind and solar in place. Incent the oil companies to be part of it if your (you being bush) worried about them making money.
  19. Codeman812

    Codeman812 New Member

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    I am the proud neighbor of one of the 1st Ethanol plants in WNY. Well I don't know how proud yet, it isn't finished. I heard we were importing ethanol, at one time last year. I would rather have this in my front yard than import it. It is good for our economy in this area as well, and our economy could definitely use a little budge. I, however agree it the best thing for "right now." I am not worried about the view or being so close as the other pic shows what was there when we moved in. It is safe to say that when I start getting 2 years ahead on my wood then they have nothing to complain about either. :)

    Attached Files:

  20. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    That's the rub Web, what's happening is not capitalism it's mercantilism.

    By following the government "safe" guidelines, they exempt themselves from any responsibility if the product they sell harms others. This is a government induced problem we're facing with MTBE.

    MTBE actually has a negligible effect on newer car emissions with computer controlled engines and modern emissions reduction equipment.
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Seems one technology that is NOT getting mentioned, but which IMHO is far better and has more potential than corn is hemp (aka Marijuana...) At least according to it's proponents (who seem to have numbers to back it up) it is at least as energy efficient to turn hemp into ethanol or other synthetic fuels as corn is, but hemp is FAR less energy intensive to grow, it doesn't need the fertilizer (it enhances soil rather than depleting it, as it is a "nitrogen fixer"), doesn't need as high grade soil (leaving farmland available for other crops?) or as much agricultural handling to harvest - just mow it and bail it...

    Allegedly hemp and hemp products could eliminate much of our energy problems, and some of the other issues...

    1. Hemp can be made into paper - allegedly one reason it was opposed by the Hearst newspaper syndicate was it threatened their profits from the pulpwood industry (which they are still a major owner of)
    2. Hemp can be made into petrochemicals - Supposedly a threat to DOW chemical etc. as it could undercut them
    3. Hemp can be made into cloth that is better, cheaper, and longer lasting than cotton - and less environmentally damaging than cotton farming
    4. Hemp can be made into structural items, sort of like OSB or particle board, but with longer fibers giving it mechanical properties more like plywood, or it can also be made into structural "engineered wood" beams
    5. Hemp can be used as a "fiberglass" substitute - allegedly FORD made a car in the 30's that used hemp based body panels - at a lower cost and lighter weight than steel...
    6. As mentioned earlier, Hemp can be turned into gasoline substitute...
    7. Hemp can be used for NON-recreational pharmaceuticals - before it was outlawed it was actually one of the major ingredients in medicines - however note that hemp grown for agricultural uses is NOT psychoactively useful.

    Lots of other uses as well,

    Gooserider
  22. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    Gald the hemp issue was brought up...never smoked a fatty, probably never will. I don't understand how this government and the majority (I'm assuming) of our population can be so scared of this? Our founding fathers used hemp oil to keep their lamps burning, hemp rope for hoisting the sails on their ships, and hemp paper to write on (isn't the constitution drafted on hemp paper?). And here we are, government leaders pretending to give a crap by promoting the most ineffective or unviable alternative fuels available (ethanol, hydrogen)...legalize it already!!! Potheads will always be potheads whether it's legal or not. Perfect crop for fallow fields.
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    When the GF and I went to Europe a couple years ago, we did a few days in Amsterdam, did inhale, and enjoyed it very much thank you... I don't in the US, but might occaisionally if it were legal in about the same way I use alcohol...

    There is plenty of evidence that the founding fathers knew of it's "recreational" uses, as well as all it's practical applications - There is a letter from the first George instructing his farm manager to grow a certain field at Mt. Vernon in a way consistent with making "good stuff" More recently, and a bit of a mixed blessing, we got the 2nd and 3rd Georges thanks to hemp - when George II bailed out of that perfectly good airplane in WWII, his parachute harness and rigging was made from hemp. (And this isn't to discuss the reputation George III got while he was at Yale... though that was more related to a powdery inhalant)
    The final copies of both the Declaration and the Constitution were written on parchment, but the rough drafts were on hemp - all of the agricultural Founding Fathers grew it, The USS Constitution sailed with tons of it (both the rigging and the sails), etc.

    Gooserider
  24. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    More "great" news from the Ethanol World

    http://online.wsj.com/public/articl...WiWPWox_jaHb4rBiWVpIo_20070528.html?mod=blogs

    Incentives for oil companies, they set records on news that gas prices set records and they get incentives while the farmer putting food on your table is driving a 1992 pickup............
  25. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    Wow, great thread! Goose, your hemp idea has the added benefit of making many people too laid back to want to drive anywhere and then if they did, they'd tend to drive much slower. Think of the energy savings right there! %-P Seriously though, your point about hemp touches on the fact that ethanol can be made from all sorts of different bio-mass materials, including switch grass, sugar cane, poplar, etc. That we choose corn as the source, ironically one of the most energy demanding crops to grow, to me, speaks to all sorts of political protectionist issues, protecting the petro-agrocultural complex of big business. And boy what a marketing propaganda effort there is going on about the wonderful benefits it's giving us! In my mind, its not the product, ethanol, that's the issue, its how we are producing it. And no mattter what, ethanol can never be the solution by itself. I don't believe there is any one solution. I feel our best shot is encouraging polulation stabilization or reduction, conservation, wind, solar, hydro, hydrogen, other bio-mass energy sources (like wood), and probably nuclear :long: It is going to take a combination of everything we can muster. Craig, re the MBTE issue that your daughter is working on, may I say you raised her well!!
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