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Old 10-01-2008, 03:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Unforgiven View Post
Corn ethanol production is what the government is wanting America to subscribe in, yet facts from various articles I could find suggested that corn ethanol was 9 times more costly in terms of development and production than petroleum gasoline.
As mentioned, you can juggle the figures to come up with whatever answer you want. Assume the worst case: that farmers will use the most energy-intensive techniques for growing & processing the corn, and you get more energy going in than coming out. Make different assumptions, and you get different answers. For example, if you're distilling the alcohol with oil-fired heaters, that obviously uses lots of oil. If you use waste heat from your local power plant, you get an entirely different answer.

As for why corn ethanol, maybe because we already have lots of farmers growing corn (so much that there was a surplus), plus practical experience of converting that corn into ethanol. So you start with what you have and know to create a market at least risk. Once that market exists - you know people will buy large amounts of ethanol at $2/gal or whatever - it becomes much less of a risk to invest in developing a cheaper feedstock or more efficient production methods.

PS- and a last tidbit... why does the government want to make such a big deal out of a fuel that you have to use more of in order to get where you are going? Using more of it simply means more waste of energy in the first place.
Not sure quite what you mean there. Are you complaining that you get fewer miles from a gallon of ethanol than from a gallon of gasoline? But those are miles that didn't put fossil CO2 into the atmosphere or money in the jihadists' coffers. And they're miles that you can keep on driving even after all the oil wells are pumped dry :-)
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