Ethanol is great, (but not to popular technology)

Ethanol is great if you’re standing for election  in the US this year, says Popular Technology and then starts a balanced video about that .

The nugget in the middle of this video is from the University of Minnesota: If the US converted all of its corn into ethanol for fuel it would equivalent to 12% of total gasoline consumption.

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4 Responses to Ethanol is great, (but not to popular technology)

  1. Chris McCoy 12 August, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    This is what someone calls balanced?
    Some points are valid, as I believe that corn, alone, is not the long term solution, but the pioneer to new solutions that will compliment corn in future ethanol production just as the panama canal opened a trade route. People could have been saying that we’re not saving time or fuel building the canal, but it has now paid for itself hundreds of times over. As new technologies are used to create ethanol from products native to each region of the earth the efficiencies gained from starting with corn will be recognized. For instance, a fast growing grass can be used in Kansas, wood chips in Georgia, and even trash all around the world can be used in its on region thereby reducing transportation to and from market.
    This is an evolving process and definitely an answer for years to come.

  2. larry hagedon 17 August, 2008 at 11:51 pm #

    Their 12 percent figure is probably long out of date, and is irrelevent in any case.

    The technology is growing daily to squeeze more ethanol out of a bushel of corn using less water, energy and at lower cost.

    The money in corn processing is not in the ethanol any more anyway, it is in the co-products, the brewers grains and hundreds of products being made from them.

    The better managed corn processors are producing the ethanol for under a dollar a gallon and also making bio-diesel and methane from the same bushel of corn, as well as hundreds of people foods, animal feeds. pharaceuticals, plastics and industrial chemicals.

    The petroleum monopoly that brought us 4 dollar gasoline and 7 dollar corn is being broken by a world of new bio fuels. Ethanol, methane, bio-butane, bio-crude oil, bio-gasoline, 4 or 5 flavors of bio-diesels, bio-jet fuel and bio-propeller airplane fuel, all made from literaly any biomass on earth, and human and animal sewage and garbage.

    There are at least three technologies now being used, yeast fermenting, bacterial, and pyrolytic.

    In just a few years all the sewage, garbage, dead livestock, road kill, food processing wastes and industrial waste produced in America will be made into fuel. There will be no more landfills; they will even mine the existing landfills, and there will be no sewage dumping anywhere in America. It will all be made into fuel, and often at a cost of less than one dollar a gallon.

    larry hagedon

  3. Simon Robinson 18 August, 2008 at 10:54 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Corn ethanol is a good starting point in the respect that its disadvantages will drive investment in different technologies. There is a real opportunity for biofuels to offer the developing world high value goods to sell to the developed world, or to use locally for fuel, if that is appropriate. Hopefully, the message about fuel economy will also get through.

  4. Simon Robinson 18 August, 2008 at 11:06 am #

    Hi Larry,

    I like the idea of using all the waste we possibly can to produce fuel. Waste, after all, has no alternative value. Here’s a question for you, how much ethanol could US corn syrup production create. Would that help lead to a healthier population?

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