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spike thomas

Ethanol... why!?!

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Ok, this is the general discussion forum so, here it goes. how many people actually thing using Ethanol is helping? from what I can gather, ethanol reduces mileage, is highly corrosive, and costs more than gasoline. so, why are we being forced to use it? I live in the Huntsville Alabama area and have yet to find a gas station not using Ethanol. I thought that I had found one, and then realized that the A$$ HOLES had covered up the stickers with a piece of cardboard. But back to the subject, why are we putting up with this. I'm guessing that my old z won't run on ethanol gas, but I haven't tried it. I drive a 2001 honda accord and I can tell a difference in mileage. My dad on the other hand drives a 2003 chevy impala, he sees a HUGE difference in a mileage. so, if ethanol costs more, reduces mileage, and wears on cars, what's the deal? how can we get rid of this dumbass idea. If this is a precursor of what could happen if Washington starts controlling gas further, we're screwed.

All that is true with E85. All the places that use ethanol, which is so far around 50% of the stations in the US, which by law will be 100% soon, only uses a 10% ethanol mix. 10% mix does nothing. In all of our vehicles, they all run just fine, get the same economy, ect. ect. In my truck, when I took it to emissions, the only difference from last year was the 10% ethanol mix, and my emissions were greatly reduced.

The 10% ethanol mix also keeps a little more of my money inside the United States, and it does actually help to make fuel a couple cents cheaper.

Not, E85 does reduce economy, but is offset with it being cheaper and that is why E85 has its own infrastructure so that current systems don't corrode away.

But it does have advantages. It burns much cooler then regular gasoline, and has an octane rating of 105. Racing fuel is usually like a $1 more then regular and only provides 100 octane. Ethanol is like half the price, burns cooler, and gives you an extra 5 octane. We all know what racing fuel is used for, (you can get it at drag strips), so E85 is all the better

Gives you higher octane for more boost, and burns cooler so keeps the engine and turbo's cooler, for even more boost! There are a few models that really take advantage of E85. There is one sports car that sees a 200hp increase from 91 octane to E85. Then there are a fewer smaller engines that see like a 40hp or 50hp increase.

Even in N/A forum, you could see like a 20hp increase if the engine is ready/designed for it.

The only real negative about ethanol is that it takes away from the food supply, but with the new technology that has been coming out, all that should change hopefully soon.

A lot of racing leagues have been using ethanol for quiet some time because of its extreme benefits over regular gasoline, or even the racing gasoline.

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Please do some research about ethanol before you post a lot of misinformation. Ethanol mixed with petro fuel is not any more coorosive than water. It is a renewable resource and it doesn't emit as much greenhouse gasses. The high food price thing is pure propoganda. 40% of our nation's corn production today goes to cattle feed. The government pays farmers to not grow crops - we all know that. Ethanol farming is a new economic opportunity. World wide. Ethanol / methanol fuels provide 87% of Brazil's energy needs and 95% of new automobiles sold in Brazil run on flex fuel; 85% ethanol. As a result, Brazil fuel prices are far lower than ours. Brazil mandated ethanol / methanol flex fuels ten years ago and they are the world wide model example of energy self suffiency. Currently, ethanol costs around $2.50 a gallon to produce. You may think it is more expensive, but then you say all the gas in Huntsville is ethanol mixed, so more expensive than what? By growing more crops for ethanol, we are planting more green; the primary source of scrubbing CO2 from our atmoshpere - thus reducing global warming. Yes, ethanol blends used in our old cars will result in decreased mileage and there is not much that can be done about it. More and more new vehicles will be equipped for flex fuels and those vehicles won't have the problem.

Sounds like you just got off the ethanol propaganda bus! I think the big push for corn based ethanol in the US has a lot to do with the farming lobbies. Brazil makes ethanol from sugarcane which is a much better source than the corn we're using in the US. The reality in the US is a bit different. Here is a maybe more balanced view of corn based methanol production: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_ethanol

Compared to Brazil's sugarcane:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil

The benefits and drawbacks of alcohol based fuels are exaggerated by both sides in the debate. They will not reduce our dependence on oil, they will not save the environment, they will not destroy your car's fuel system, and they are not a significant contributer to the increase in world food prices.

As far as using food as fuel for cars and expecting that not to raise the cost of food, I'm not buying that argument. It may not be a significant factor yet, but if you have a finite amount of food production and you take some of that away to be used as car fuel, then your supply has gone down and your demand raised. This will lead inexorably to higher prices, the more ethanol is burned in cars, the higher the prices will get. Plus it takes resources to do the farming and the refining, which raises demand for diesel, whatever is used for the production of fertilizer, etc.

Here is a really interesting presentation on alternative energy comparing with "fossil" fuels. It's long, and the speaker has many annoying facial tics, but the info is really interesting: http://nsl.caltech.edu/energy.html

I'm sure you've all already been inundated with the Global Warming alamist stuff, so here is some skeptical Global Warming and CO2 info from two CalTech alumni and an Australian Paleoclimatologist:

http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm

http://wmbriggs.com/blog/2008/01/27/best-statistical-scientific-talk-on-global-warming/

The problem with all of these arguments is that you can't really trust any one report's viewpoint. To me, the alarmist sentiments that come with Global Warming smack of religious armageddon movements, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. The arguments against it seem much more rational and level headed to me.

There is also a really strong taint of socialism in the GW reduction efforts. Cap and trade as an example assumes that 3rd world countries that aren't industrialized won't produce as much CO2, so the polluters PAY them to pollute more. Sounds like economic redistribution to me, and that sounds distinctly like socialism. What's more you have the big brother government coming in to save us from ourselves by taking control of how much energy we use and how much we pollute. Sounds like a bad deal all around to me...

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Ok, this is the general discussion forum so, here it goes. how many people actually thing using Ethanol is helping?

Writing for the New York Times - about as "green" and liberal rag as you can find, OP-ED Columnist Paul Krugman wrote:

"........... Where the effects of bad policy are clearest, however, is in the rise of demon ethanol and other biofuels.

The subsidized conversion of crops into fuel was supposed to promote energy independence and help limit global warming. But this promise was, as Time magazine bluntly put it, a “scam.”

This is especially true of corn ethanol: even on optimistic estimates, producing a gallon of ethanol from corn uses most of the energy the gallon contains. But it turns out that even seemingly “good” biofuel policies, like Brazil’s use of ethanol from sugar cane, accelerate the pace of climate change by promoting deforestation.

And meanwhile, land used to grow biofuel feedstock is land not available to grow food, so subsidies to biofuels are a major factor in the food crisis. You might put it this way: people are starving in Africa so that American politicians can court votes in farm states.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: all the remaining presidential contenders are terrible on this issue.

One more thing: one reason the food crisis has gotten so severe, so fast, is that major players in the grain market grew complacent.

Governments and private grain dealers used to hold large inventories in normal times, just in case a bad harvest created a sudden shortage. Over the years, however, these precautionary inventories were allowed to shrink, mainly because everyone came to believe that countries suffering crop failures could always import the food they needed.

This left the world food balance highly vulnerable to a crisis affecting many countries at once — in much the same way that the marketing of complex financial securities, which was supposed to diversify away risk, left world financial markets highly vulnerable to a systemwide shock.

What should be done? The most immediate need is more aid to people in distress: the U.N.’s World Food Program put out a desperate appeal for more funds.

We also need a pushback against biofuels, which turn out to have been a terrible mistake.

But it’s not clear how much can be done. Cheap food, like cheap oil, may be a thing of the past. "

You can read the entire column at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/07/opinion/07krugman.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

When people like Mr. Krugman start to tell you that bio-fuels are a bad deal - it's time to take notice! This is no Right-wing mouthpiece!!

How About the UN?

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is concerned about the threat of a world food shortage, saying action must be taken quickly, otherwise there will be unrest on an unprecedented scale.

"Prices have soared for a number of reasons - high fuel costs, bad weather in key food producing countries like Australia, the increase in land allocated to bio-fuels, and a surge in demand, much of it from the rising middle classes of China and India."

See:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/30/2231223.htm?section=world

FWIW

Carl B.

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Racing fuel is usually like a $1 more then regular and only provides 100 octane.

Please tell me where you are buying "racing fuel" for $1 more than regular!! I'll take a thousand gallons! Racing Fuel (110 octane) around here is now $8.75 per gallon, and soon to be closer to $10.00. 100 octane aviation fuel is $7.75 and going up - that by the way is not "racing fuel".

Just a little aside....

FWIW

Carl B.

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Fusion? Nuclear power? We might as well have flying cars! :eek: Try cars that run on hydrogen, or no fuel at all, like solar.

A "Fuel Cell" as applied to this discussion - converts a specific fuel, chemically and directly to electrical energy. That electrical energy is then used to drive an electric motor, that drives a vehicle.

It takes more electrical energy to free the hydrogen from H2O, than you can get back out of a hydrogen fuel cell. The use of the fuel cell is simply a way of storing, or carrying a fuel supply with you...

To convert our vehicles to hydrogen fuel cell technology - we would have to generate the original electrical energy from nuclear power plants - that is at present the only clean, efficient method of producing enough electrical energy in the first place.

If we want/need electric cars running on Fuel Cells - the first step is building several hundred additional nuclear power plants here in the US. At present France gets about 80% of their electrical power from nuclear power plants - IMHO if France can do it - so can we.

The second step would be to convert "gasoline filling stations" to "hydrogen refueling stations"... no small task...

FWIW,

Carl B.

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The problem with all of these arguments is that you can't really trust any one report's viewpoint. To me, the alarmist sentiments that come with Global Warming smack of religious armageddon movements, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. The arguments against it seem much more rational and level headed to me.

There is also a really strong taint of socialism in the GW reduction efforts. Cap and trade as an example assumes that 3rd world countries that aren't industrialized won't produce as much CO2, so the polluters PAY them to pollute more. Sounds like economic redistribution to me, and that sounds distinctly like socialism. What's more you have the big brother government coming in to save us from ourselves by taking control of how much energy we use and how much we pollute. Sounds like a bad deal all around to me...

Well, you and Mr Krauthammer are like-minded....

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGI0MDdiZDQ3MGI1ZGYzNWZkZTcwZWM5YzI2MWI5N2U=

"Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher’s England to Deng’s China, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty more rapidly than ever in human history.

Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual Left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but — even better — in the name of Earth itself.

Environmentalists are Gaia’s priests, instructing us in her proper service and casting out those who refuse to genuflect. (See Newsweek above.) And having proclaimed the ultimate commandment — carbon chastity — they are preparing the supporting canonical legislation that will tell you how much you can travel, what kind of light you will read by, and at what temperature you may set your bedroom thermostat.

...There’s no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society"

Fairly well-stated.

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Thanks Steve:

IMHO - Charles Krauthammer is one of the clearest thinking, most rational and most intelligent columnists you will find today. Everyone should read his entire column at the link xray posted. It is significant to also note his reference to Czech President Vaclav Klaus statement; - “The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity, is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”

President Klaus is a man that has seen first hand, the ravages of central government social control.

FWIW,

Carl B.

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OK - so we've talked about some the various "problems"... be they Global Warming, CO2, Political Propaganda, Junk Science, Deforestation, Oil Shortages or not, etc etc. etc.

What could we actually do about them all? What is the solution to our present quandary?

Any system that is thrown out of balance by some outside force, if it keeps running, it seeks to either right itself (re-balance), or it shakes itself to destruction.

At present we Americans are shaking ourselves to destruction. I believe it is past time we re-balanced ourselves.

We have to retake control of our governments at all levels - city, state, federal. We need to retake control from the big money interests, the big government interests, and the big Political Party interests. The three work hand in hand to enhance one anothers positions - at the expense of we the people.

It is quite easy to regain people power - in our Representative form of Democracy. For the next eight or twelve election cycles we all show up at the Poles - and vote the incumbents out of office. Yes, send them home to live under the laws they passed and live with the decisions they made while they were representing US. Simply refuse to accept the Political Propaganda, refuse the rational arguments from the silver tongues of the saviors... Throw the Politicians and their buddies out -

That action alone - throw the incumbents out - time and time again - would quickly negate the effects of huge campaign contributions, negate the effects of paid lobby efforts, negate the effects of politically slanted media. It would destroy the Political Parties "seniority systems" which reward staying in office, more than they reward caring for the citizens of the Nation or the Nation itself.

Wake up Americans - you are daily being sold down stream without a paddle.. while the professional Politicians smile and kiss you good-by. Cloaked as Young/Old, Black/White, Rich/Poor, Liberal/Conservative, Democrat/Republican - the heart and mind of the Professional Politician is the same - the driving need to gain and control Power - and reap the rewards that come with it personally.

Representing your fellow Citizens best interests should again be an Honor of brief duration - it should never be allowed to become a career. When "Politics" is your career - retaining and yielding Political Power is your goal. Money and the Special Interests that contribute the most of it - is the path to the Professional Politicians Personal Goals...

Money to spew Political Propaganda, money to manipulate the media, Power to reward your supporters and punish any decent. We all know that Money and Power is the present game - we are about to find out just how much it is going to cost us to watch the big boys play. Red States/Blue States?? are we all morons?

Today about 30% of the voting population have begun to realize that neither Political Party represents them. They have registered as Independent Voters. We need to get about 60% of the voters to consistently throw the incumbents out of office at every level - for a period of at least several years. That alone would purge most of the corruption, negate the effects of Big Money, negate the Power of the major Political Parties - and put Citizens back in charge of representing their fellow Citizens and our Nation.

Serving your fellow citizens with one term in elected office - should be viewed as the same as serving your fellow citizens with one term in the military, one term in the Peace Corp etc... We can put Statesman, back in our State House, back in our Federal Government... Eliminate the Professional Politicians - and we might get really good minds back to work for us.

At that point - "We the People of the United States of America" - will have some meaning again. Until then, bend over and get the K Y Jelly ready...

Representative Democracy works - only when the Citizens are smart enough make it work.

Just my perspective...

FWIW,

Carl B.

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HEAR HEAR! Essentially everything we believe is due to propaganga from some source or another; something that we have aligned ourselves with by using our propaganda-derived political opinions as guidelines.

This is one of those situations where objective proof is going to be near impossible to find because of all of the muck and rational arguments from either side. At any rate, the most we can do is attempt to find a solution that will make everyone happy (yeah right), or at least elect people that *may* figure something out while not being swayed by any special interest.

In short, we're pretty much screwed no matter what we do because we will never agree on everything, and lobbies are going to pull the political agenda every which way so that no real progress can be made.

mi dos centavos

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For us car guys, its real simple:

1. Repair before replacing.

2. Keep your car in tune.

3. Enjoy what you have because there are people working real hard to take IC engines away from us - for our own good.

I strip away the old debris, that hides a shining car

A brilliant red barchetta, from a better, vanished time

I fire up the willing engine, responding with a roar

Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime...

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You should do some more research. Hydrogen isn't the answer - it still takes more to refine than you get out of it, oil is still better and much more stable. Can't argue the cost as much, since oil is getting increasingly expensive, but Hydrogen ain't cheap. Solar???? Give me a break - that's akin to your flying cars. Photovoltaics aren't small enough and you can't store enough energy to power a vehicle.

There was a great show on Science Friday on NPR where they said we could build a solar array big enough to power ALL the electrical needs of the United States. The array would take up a huge piece of desert, but is possible with the technology available today. In the past the question has always been how do we transmit the power from say California, Arizona or Nevada to the East Coast and all points of the U.S. because of the great transmission loss. However, according to the program and its guest experts, there is only a 10% loss in transmission from the west to the east coast. Not bad if you're getting otherwise nearly-free power. With that electricity you can make all the hydrogen you want to power the clean-car of the future. Yes, building the thing would be hugely expensive, but so is building a nuclear plant.

Cold fusion would be great, let's find a way to do it. Nuclear would work as well to generate electricity to make hydrogen, but as I said in another post, until they get a handle on what to do with the nuclear waste it just doesn't make sense. Living in Washington State, we already have a giant mess of nuclear waste slowly leaking into the Columbia River. We just don't need any more.

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There was a great show on Science Friday on NPR where they said we could build a solar array big enough to power ALL the electrical needs of the United States. The array would take up a huge piece of desert, but is possible with the technology available today. In the past the question has always been how do we transmit the power from say California, Arizona or Nevada to the East Coast and all points of the U.S. because of the great transmission loss. However, according to the program and its guest experts, there is only a 10% loss in transmission from the west to the east coast. Not bad if you're getting otherwise nearly-free power. With that electricity you can make all the hydrogen you want to power the clean-car of the future. Yes, building the thing would be hugely expensive, but so is building a nuclear plant.

The speaker in the video I linked to has a similar diagram of the US with a tiny section right in the middle of the country that he says could provide enough power for everyone. He does cost analysis of different production methods as well. Nuclear is A LOT cheaper than solar at the present. Oh, and forget about putting your solar array in the CA desert. There's undoubtedly some endangered species of something out there that would kill that project before it ever got off the ground. CA is the NIMBY capital of the US, if not the world.

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The speaker in the video I linked to has a similar diagram of the US with a tiny section right in the middle of the country that he says could provide enough power for everyone. He does cost analysis of different production methods as well. Nuclear is A LOT cheaper than solar at the present. Oh, and forget about putting your solar array in the CA desert. There's undoubtedly some endangered species of something out there that would kill that project before it ever got off the ground. CA is the NIMBY capital of the US, if not the world.

Jon, you're probably right about some group in Cali that would oppose it. Maybe Nevada it would be a better bet -- they seem to be a little less stringent on a lot of things. Ironic that something that could produce clean, renewable power -- what should be the Holy Grail to the environmental community -- would actually be opposed because of a kangaroo mouse or something. Of course, many (not all) environmental movements are actually professions nowadays and it is not in the higher ups in these groups' best interest for the problems to actually be resolved. We have the same thing here with the salmon debate. A whole industry of "Save the Salmon" has sprung up -- people getting paid to find ways to make our electric rates in the Northwest go up, take water away from the farmers and just generally try to grab control of our water rights. Even when scientists proved that hatchery salmon and wild salmon are genetically identical the enviros were able to throw out "Best Science" (the standard they expect everyone else to adhere to) and get people to believe they weren't. Funny part is, most wild salmon and steelhead are actually second or third generation offspring of hatchery fish. Go figure. Sorry, just another one of my rants.

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...Nuclear would work as well to generate electricity to make hydrogen, but as I said in another post, until they get a handle on what to do with the nuclear waste it just doesn't make sense. Living in Washington State, we already have a giant mess of nuclear waste slowly leaking into the Columbia River. We just don't need any more.

Thank Jimmy Carter for most of the waste problem with US Nuclear. Reprocessing the spent fuel would solve most (not all) of the waste problem, but it was banned due to worries about plutonium proliferation, the latter being a very solvable problem as well. Security versus technology.

And if you're talking about the Hanford reservation in Washington State and nuclear waste, then you really can't compare that to commercial nuclear. I worked at the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina (the East-coast version of Hanford) for five years. The environmental challenges at both sites are large, but that is because of many years of government weapons production through the 50s and 60s (and some 70s), mostly before the commercial nuclear industry was even online, and totally without the commercial industry's regulations.

So you're right - we have to solve the waste problem to get Nuclear viable in the US; but much of the solution is already available. We just have to use it.

Mark Brandyberry

Ph. D. Nuclear Engineering

But Not working in that industry because it pretty much died in the US...

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Mark, we also have at least one commercial reactor online as far as I know. Wash. state was also a destination for waste from all over the country from other region's reactors. So we are dealing with far more than just what came from Hanford, if that wasn't bad enough. As I said in a different post. I wouldn't mind so much if it was a case of if your state benefits then you keep your share of the waste. My favorite example is: "828 radioactive dead beagles were shipped from California in 55-gallon drums to Hanford, Washington for burial. The cold-war experimental dogs also produced 17.5 tons of radioactive excrement which also must be buried under federal rules governing low-level radioactive waste. Taxpayers can rejoice in the knowledge that they will pay $22 million dollars to have all this crap buried." See: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19901015&slug=1098419

Also, they've spent millions of dollars on waste glassification and have little to show for it.

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Mark, we also have at least one commercial reactor online as far as I know. Wash. state was also a destination for waste from all over the country from other region's reactors. So we are dealing with far more than just what came from Hanford, if that wasn't bad enough. As I said in a different post. I wouldn't mind so much if it was a case of if your state benefits then you keep your share of the waste. My favorite example is: "828 radioactive dead beagles were shipped from California in 55-gallon drums to Hanford, Washington for burial. The cold-war experimental dogs also produced 17.5 tons of radioactive excrement which also must be buried under federal rules governing low-level radioactive waste. Taxpayers can rejoice in the knowledge that they will pay $22 million dollars to have all this crap buried." See: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19901015&slug=1098419

Also, they've spent millions of dollars on waste glassification and have little to show for it.

Well, I certainly won't say that I know about every leak in Washington, but I really expect that any commercial plant is the least of your worries. Even your dog example stems from cold-war, government-sponsored research long before regulations started reigning in what the government could do with impunity at these sites. I'm sure Hanford was the recipient of a whole lot of junk, just like Savannah River was. I worked on the Defense Waste Processing Facility at Savannah River for a while (a glassification plant) too. I don't know what actually happened to it, but that was 15 years ago, and since Yucca Mountain is not yet available, they have no place to put the glass anyway. That's another political fiasco.

Bottom line is the glassification is a band-aid to fix decades of production of millions of gallons of high-level waste that wouldn't now be necessary as a by-product of reprocessing spent commercial-grade fuel (note that commercial reactor fuel is VERY different than what went into the production reactors at both Hanford and Savannah River). So I'm just saying that as a country, we already know how to solve the technical waste problem (mostly) if the politics could be solved.

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the politics can be solved... march on washington with rifles in hand. War of independance II

That can only be done before the liberal gun fearing wussies dearm everyone.

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This was interesting to me, and I haven't seen it here yet...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/te...ofueler&st=nyt

WHAT if you could make fuel for your car in your backyard for less than you pay at the pump? Would you?

The first question has driven Floyd S. Butterfield for more than two decades. Mr. Butterfield, 52, is something of a legend for people who make their own ethanol. In 1982, he won a California Department of Food and Agriculture contest for best design of an ethanol still, albeit one that he could not market profitably at the time.

Now he thinks that he can, thanks to his partnership with the Silicon Valley entrepreneur Thomas J. Quinn. The two have started the E-Fuel Corporation, which soon will announce its home ethanol system, the E-Fuel 100 MicroFueler. It will be about as large as a stackable washer-dryer, sell for $9,995 and ship before year-end.

The net cost to consumers could drop by half after government incentives for alternate fuels, like tax credits, are applied.

The MicroFueler will use sugar as its main fuel source, or feedstock, along with a specially packaged time-release yeast the company has developed. Depending on the cost of sugar, plus water and electricity, the company says it could cost as little as a dollar a gallon to make ethanol. In fact, Mr. Quinn sometimes collects left-over alcohol from bars and restaurants in Los Gatos, Calif., where he lives, and turns it into ethanol; the only cost is for the electricity used in processing.

In general, he says, burning a gallon of ethanol made by his system will produce one-eighth the carbon of the same amount of gasoline.

"It's going to cause havoc in the market and cause great financial stress in the oil industry," Mr. Quinn boasts.

He may well turn out to be right. But brewing ethanol in the backyard isn't as easy as barbecuing hamburgers. Distilling large quantities of ethanol typically has required a lot of equipment, says Daniel M. Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, he says that quality control and efficiency of home brew usually pale compared with those of commercial refineries. "There's a lot of hurdles you have to overcome. It's entirely possible that they've done it, but skepticism is a virtue," Mr. Kammen says.

To be sure, Mr. Quinn, 53, has been involved with successful innovations before. For instance, he patented the motion sensor technology used in Nintendo's wildly popular Wii gaming system.

More to the point, he was the product marketing manager for Alan F. Shugart's pioneering hard disk drive when the personal computer was shifting from a hobbyists' niche to a major industry. "I remember people laughing at us and saying what a stupid idea it was to do that disk drive," Mr. Quinn says.

Mr. Butterfield thinks that the MicroFueler is as much a game changer as the personal computer. He says that working with Mr. Quinn's microelectronics experts - E-Fuel now employs 15 people - has led to breakthroughs that have cut the energy requirements of making ethanol in half. One such advance is a membrane distiller, which, Mr. Quinn says, uses extremely fine filters to separate water from alcohol at lower heat and in fewer steps than in conventional ethanol refining. Using sugar as a feedstock means that there is virtually no smell, and its water byproduct will be drinkable.

E-Fuel has bold plans: It intends to operate internationally from the start, with production of the MicroFueler in China and Britain as well as the United States. And Mr. Butterfield is already at work on a version for commercial use, as well as systems that will use feedstocks other than sugar.

Ethanol has long had home brewers, and permits are available through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. (You must be a property owner and agree to make your ethanol outdoors.) But there are plenty of reasons to question whether personal fueling systems will become the fuel industry's version of the personal computer.

For starters, sugar-based ethanol doesn't look much cheaper than gas. It takes 10 to 14 pounds of sugar to make a gallon of ethanol, and raw sugar sells in the United States for about 20 cents a pound, says Michael E. Salassi, a professor in the department of agricultural economics at Louisiana State University. But Mr. Quinn says that as of January this year, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, he can buy inedible sugar from Mexico for as little as 2.5 cents a pound, which puts the math in his favor. While this type of sugar has not been sold to consumers, E-Fuel says it is developing a distribution network for it.

In addition, it's illegal in the United States to operate a car on 100 percent ethanol, with exceptions for off-road vehicles like Indy cars and farm equipment. Mr. Quinn has a federal permit to make his own fuel, and believes that if MicroFuelers start popping up like swimming pools, regulators will adapt by certifying pure ethanol for cars.

Despite all the hurdles, Mr. Quinn and Mr. Butterfield may be on to something. There are plenty of consumers who want to reduce their carbon footprint and are willing to make an upfront investment to do it - consider the success of the Prius.

And if oil prices continue to rise, the economics of buying a MicroFueler will become only better and better.

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Another article, which I belive is on the mark:

May 23, 2007

The Many Myths of Ethanol

By John Stossel

No doubt about it, if there were a Miss Energy Pageant, Miss Ethanol would win hands down. Everyone loves ethanol.

"Ramp up the availability of ethanol," says Hillary Clinton.

"Ethanol makes a lot of sense," says John McCain.

"The economics of ethanol make more and more sense," says Mitt Romney.

"We've got to get serious about ethanol," says Rudolph Giuliani.

And the media love ethanol. "60 Minutes" called it "the solution."

Clinton, Romney, Barack Obama and John Edwards not only believe ethanol is the elixir that will give us cheap energy, end our dependence on Middle East oil sheiks, and reverse global warming, they also want you and me -- as taxpayers -- to subsidize it.

When everyone in politics jumps on a bandwagon like ethanol, I start to wonder if there's something wrong with it. And there is. Except for that fact that ethanol comes from corn, nothing you're told about it is true. As the Cato Institute's energy expert Jerry Taylor said on a recent "Myths" edition of "20/20," the case for ethanol is based on a baker's dozen myths.

A simple question first. If ethanol's so good, why does it need government subsidies? Shouldn't producers be eager to make it, knowing that thrilled consumers will reward them with profits?

But consumers won't reward them, because without subsidies, ethanol would cost much more than gasoline.

The claim that using ethanol will save energy is another myth. Studies show that the amount of energy ethanol produces and the amount needed to make it are roughly the same. "It takes a lot of fossil fuels to make the fertilizer, to run the tractor, to build the silo, to get that corn to a processing plant, to run the processing plant," Taylor says.

And because ethanol degrades, it can't be moved in pipelines the way that gasoline is. So many more big, polluting trucks will be needed to haul it.

More bad news: The increased push for ethanol has already led to a sharp increase in corn growing -- which means much more land must be plowed. That means much more fertilizer, more water used on farms and more pesticides.

This makes ethanol the "solution"?

But won't it at least get us unhooked from Middle East oil? Wouldn't that be worth the other costs? Another myth. A University of Minnesota study http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/30/11206 shows that even turning all of America's corn into ethanol would meet only 12 percent of our gasoline demand. As Taylor told an energy conference last March, "For corn ethanol to completely displace gasoline consumption in this country, we would need to appropriate all cropland in the United States, turn it completely over to corn-ethanol production, and then find 20 percent more land on top of that for cultivation."

OK, but it will cut down on air pollution, right? Wrong again. Studies indicate that the standard mixture of 90 percent ethanol and 10 percent gasoline pollutes worse than gasoline.

Well, then, the ethanol champs must be right when they say it will reduce greenhouse gases and reverse global warming.

Nope. "Virtually all studies show that the greenhouse gases associated with ethanol are about the same as those associated with conventional gasoline once we examine the entire life cycle of the two fuels," Taylor says.

Surely, ethanol must be good for something. And here we finally have a fact. It is good for something -- or at least someone: corn farmers and processors of ethanol, such as Archer Daniels Midland, the big food processor known for its savvy at getting subsidies out of the taxpayers.

And it's good for vote-hungry presidential hopefuls. Iowa is a key state in the presidential-nomination sweepstakes, and we all know what they grow in Iowa http://www.iowacorn.org. Sen. Clinton voted against ethanol 17 times until she started running for president. Coincidence?

"It's no mystery that people who want to be president support the corn ethanol program," Taylor says. "If you're not willing to sacrifice children to the corn god, you will not get out of the Iowa primary with more than one percent of the vote, Right now the closest thing we have to a state religion in the United States isn't Christianity. It's corn."

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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I believe this one could help!

"If you want to reduce gasoline usage, like I believe we need to do so for national security reasons as well as for environmental concerns, the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice," Bush said. "And so I appreciate very much the fact that American automobile manufacturers recognize the reality of the world in which we live and are using new technologies to give the consumers different options."

The Big Three made their 2012 pledge contingent upon the existence by then of a nationwide infrastructure to deliver the high ethanol blend, called E-85 (a reference to the fact that it is 85 percent ethanol). To date, there are only 1,100 E-85 pumps and 1,000 biodiesel pumps in the United States.

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Maybe it's just me, but I think we should lock all the car manufacturers and oil companies in a room and say "don't come out until you've solved the problem." Right now the manufacturers are going in all different directions for alternatives. Some are gas/hybird, diesel/hybird, bio diesel, hydrogen, electric, E85, etc, etc. They need to narrow it down. Energy companies can not support infrastructure and logistics for all those types. Can you imagine pulling up to the pumps and there are 10 of them!?! You can not have many types of fuel and have it cheaper than gas. This is why you need the oil companies. They have the infrastructure, distribution and of course money to support a change of some sorts.

I don't think ethanol is the permanent fix we need. It's based on agriculture which is just as volatile as oil. Look at the flooding now. Iowa lost 20% of it's corn crop. If you are adding 75% more ethanol as you are now (we already have 10%), you need every last bit of corn/sugar cane/etc. you can produce.

Right now we on top of a bubble. People are panicking. We are in no danger of running out of oil. There is no shortage, you can still buy gas. I think a lot of the problem we have now is good old fashioned american greed. Both on the consumer side with giant SUVs/trucks and gas sucking cars people can't afford and with investors manipulating the markets.

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Did any of you watch the "House Energy and Global Warming Committee" hearings last week on C-Span? The subject was "Oil Supply and Demand".

Every American should be watching these hearings - they are simply AMAZING...

I'll give my recap:

Five panel witnesses... all recognized experts in their fields. From Major Universities, Think Tanks, and even an investment banker. All pretty much either said the same thing, or give testimony that supported one another's facts, statements of facts or positions. The single exception was the representative from the Sierra Club - who did not refute any of the sworn testimony - but simply did not want to drill for oil anywhere, nor build nuclear energy plants anywhere, nor build refineries anywhere, etc etc.

All that testified agreed that:

- we (the USA) have plenty of oil, coal, natural gas etc. etc.

- we can't expect OPEC to drill for more oil, or produce more when we refuse to do so ourselves.

- speculation is driving prices up currently, but it's a bubble that will burst... all agreed that the laws passed during the Clinton Administration, should be reversed - to limit the speculators again.

- about 20% of our imported oil comes from the OPEC producers ... 80% from friendly countries like Canada and Mexico etc. Imported oil accounts for about 45% of our use, so OPEC accounts for about 9% of our import oil.

- all agreed that the US needs no one single answer - we should be doing everything.. building nuclear power plants, using Wind and Solar, drilling our shale oil in Montana, opening up Alaska, drilling off shore (the Cuban's are already 45 miles off the coast of Miami, and so are the Chinese). Using energy more efficiently and conserving where-ever we can.

- all agreed that the US has enough domestic supply of oil, coal and natural gas to supply our current energy demand for about 100 years.

-All agreed that our biggest problem is politics in Washington DC. Two of the witnesses stated that bluntly, openly and honestly to the Representatives on the Committee!! I've never seen that happen as directly in any House or Senate Committee Hearings - IT WAS AMAZING!!

HATS OFF TO: Amy Mayer Jaffe of Rice University and Ms. Hubbert of the 21st Century Energy Committee. They had the BALLS to tell it like it is, in sworn testimony!! They said both Democrat and Republican alike were causing our current PAIN and it MOST STOP!!.

- All agreed that there are NO US OIL COMPANIES... only Global Corporations finding and recovering oil where-ever it is the least expensive for THEM. Our laws, passed for political reasons, make it VERY Expensive to operate in the US. That means a huge outflow of US Dollars to countries around the world... rather than circulating here in the US Economy.

- All seemed aware that while global average temp's had gone up over the past 30 years - they also all knew that the average temps had not gone up at all over the past eight years...

Though-out the hearings - the Chairman of the Committee, seemed to completely ignore all/any sworn testimony related to facts - and every statement out of his mouth simply repeated the Political Propaganda and Slogans his party outlined as talking points...

Presented with fact and figures, compiled by the Countries leading Geologists and Scientists, from the Countries leading Universities and Research Lab.'s - - that proved the Chairman's statements completely wrong - he still kept repeating them - and bashing the "current administration"... Even when told that laws passed during the Clinton Administration were far more favorable to the Oil Companies and Wall Street...

I'm telling you - his performance was absolutely sickening.... Rep. Markey from MA. IMHO if the people that elected him had watched this they would throw him out of office...

The only "Problem" we have is the politicians in D.C. - all of them...

FWIW,

Carl B.

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