Originally Posted by meanjoe75fan
It never did,* and it still doesn't.
Every one who makes the "energy-negative" argument is referencing a study by Prof. Pimental, of Cornell U. Some years ago, he put out a deeply-flawed study that said ethanol production was, indeed, energy negative.
Subsequent follow-up studies failed to reach the same conclusion, and closer examination of the data shows several issues, the most glaring of which was no accounting was made for the post-fermentation "distiller's grain" that passed along the majority of the food energy to its original purpose of livestock feed. (Apparently Pimental assumed a hole was dug, and...)
His original paper was co-authored by some others at UCBerkely, who later *had their names removed* from the paper due to the severity of the flaws. Yes, it was THAT bad!
*(Given the first two laws of thermodynamics, it follows that 1) energy cannot be created or destroyed and 2) all real-world energy conversion is <100% efficient at producing the desired result...so ALL energy conversion is "energy-negative." What the argument here is, effectively, "Well, the sun was gonna shine anyways...so we'll spot you the solar input...and it's STILL energy-negative!" All studies (save one notable exception) finds that--discounting solar input--ethanol production is modestly energy-positive.)
I appreciate the correction. I should do more research, but I was under the impression that was the case. Tell a lie long enough and people will believe it is true I suppose.
Just goes to show that even the most OCD of us in researching "why we believe what we believe" can fall into the page one trap of 'big headlines, repeated often', then miss the correction the on page 2 in small font...
I still wish the labeling laws were better in Michigan; I ate crow on that one yesterday. It turns out I have been avoiding a particular gas station since they have labels stating they have E10. I probably have had E5 to E10 all along at all the other stations I frequent, probably for years.
Maybe all states stop at E10, nothing higher, and call it a day, we blindly go about our business as American consumers? No harm, no foul to most cars.
Anything beyond that (E15 etc), and Monsanto and others interested in the ethanol market better have a long term phase in plan with the OEM's and states, and as consumers, we ought to know where our fuel is coming from, and, how it affects our cars perfomance and longevity.
Now a bit off topic, but maybe you know answers or have researched about these questions...
I will start a new thread, if needed, but I want facts to support that Ethanol is a good long term thing, for cars, the environment, for farmers, for food prices, for our land quality, etc. If not, then, well, if it bothers me that much, maybe I will be proactive in the democratic processes of our country...
Here is my belief: My belief is that corn should be food, then feed, and then fuel. Am I misinformed on that? Seriousy, I think that makes sense, but I am willing to stand corrected... Is corn much more complicated in its uses and process by-products than this simplification?
Does ethanol negatively impact availablity, price, and quality of our nations food supply and the soil on where it is grown?
Not being rhetorical, I just know that some people state Monsanto is evil, and that the ethanol push has more to do with what they want, vs. what is best for our crops, food prices, and land quality?
In other words, even if Ethanol is produced as efficient as it can be from food source type foods (barring cellulosic processes), is it still the 'the right thing to do' for the 'greater good' of our country and future generations, assuming my weighting of food first, feed second, fuel last?
That is off topic for ecomodder etc, but if I am going to alter my thinking, and not dissmiss Ethanol as a legitimate fuel source, worthy of our consumption, then those are the questions I might ask...
Petroleum use is not ideal either, neither is coal, CNG, etc. But we do not EAT those things, at least not directly. Right now, my opinion of Ethanol, in its use as a fuel, is using more water and resources that can be used for better, more direct purposes, such as for food and drinking, and let the petroleum do what it does best, burn and create heat in engines...
As the great daox once stated to someone on this very topic, as an ecomodder, we deal with what we have avaialble. So as an ecomodder, I deal with E10.
Just can't help but wonder if we know as a nation what we have gotten ourselves into, that's all... more for a philosophy class I guess than for ecomodder...