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Old 10-30-2008, 01:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Ethanol Scam: Are ethanol advocates giving slanted mpg numbers?

Final Report: Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols - September 2008

Ptero says: This report from the U.S. Climate Change Program is discussed below by Clyde Novitz. It is very technical but my take is that a group of very intelligent scientists are basically throwing up their hands and saying that they can't figure out what is going on because the mix of pollutants is building and changing too rapidly for them to get a handle on it - and the move to ethanol (although they doin't refer to ethanol, per se, but rather VOCs characteristic of ethanol emissions) has thrown a huge monkeywrench into their ability to take meaningful measurements.

Clyde's interpretation is given here.

Clyde Novitz says: "The highlight of the report is their recommendation that we limit our emissions of volatile organic compound (VOC’s)and carbon monoxide (CO) because they are what is causing our climate change problems here in the US. It’s revolutionary that they’re drawing so much serious attention to what they call short term gases being the cause of the weather pattern changes that we previously have been attributing to a global warming process caused by long lived gases like carbon dioxide. But it’s been known for a long time that VOC’s and methane reacting with water vapor in the suns rays effect regional weather pattern changes, it’s just been more publically popular to talk about carbon dioxide and global warming."


"...the most important part of the report we ought to be paying attention to is about VOC emissions because there is a large volume of them coming from a particular source that we can actually do something about – ethanol being used as fuel and its production. Ethanol increases by a wide margin the amount of VOC’s emitted into the troposphere from the way it’s refined and coming from ignition systems it’s used in when mixed with gasoline. In fact both its production and use produces excessively high nitrogen oxides (Nox) emissions that are premixed with VOC’s while ethanol refinery emissions come already blended with billions of tons of water vapor from distilling corn beer and then re-distilling the resulting hydrous ethanol into anhydrous ethanol."


Ptero says: This blatantly political but nontheless scientificly accurate op-ed piece from an extremely pissed off Clyde Novitz provides a 2x4 upside the head wake-up call to the flowery ethanol talk I keep hearing on Ecomodder. My experience in California, where we are all forced to use trucked-in ethanol from the Midwest (that our state has sued to stop), has been a dramatic loss in mpg - up to 30% less mileage than when I travel in parts of Nevada or Arizona where pure gasoline is still available. People should realize that there are no real gains for the climate or consumers from this federal giveaway program to Midwest agriculture, which is nothing more than a form of robbery of our hard-won cash.

Here it is.
OpEdNews Obama blindly supports anhydrous ethanol

I encourage you to read the entire article, but here are some excerpts. Note that Clyde Novitz explains how Europeans are able to receive actual benefits from ethanol because they us a different type. This explains how europeans can post on Ecomodder about mpg performance gains, but these performance gains are unavailable to North Americans. Please spare me reports from the ethanol industry supporting ethanol. I wasn't born yesterday.

Clyde Novitz says: Right now, ethanol is costing us a 3 percent loss in mileage using E10. That's all the DOE will admit to. But complaints from consumers and independent studies point to much higher losses even as high as 30 percent in some vehicles. But just the admitted 3% is a pretty big cut in our national fuel supply. So now that will be increased to twice as much of a loss if we move to using E20. Then there's the increase in VOC pollutants that come from ethanol blended gasoline that will also increase. A new report from NOAA and NASA titled "Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols" that forms the basis our new climate change policy says VOC's are responsible for the weather pattern changes we've been seeing since ethanol use started in the spring of 2006.

Clyde Novitz says: Ethanol is not just "ethanol." The ethanol we're required to add to our national gasoline supplies is anhydrous ethanol. It's an oxygenate. Oxygenates were mandated by the Clean Air Act of 1990 as the brainstorm of the first Bush president, Ken Lay of Enron, and Phil Gramm, an ex-senator from Texas who now works on Park Avenue for the United Bank of Switzerland, UBS. Phil Gramm was McCain's lead economic advisor before he made comments about how Americans have turned into "a nation of whiners" because we're not happy with the high price of gasoline ripping our economy apart.

Clyde Novitz says: Getting back to my point, anhydrous ethanol is not a fuel, it's an oxygenate that replaced another oxygenate called MTBE. MTBE is an invention of the oil industry that helped them get rid of poisonous byproducts of refining crude oil that the EPA doesn't allow them to legally dump into the atmosphere - isobutylene (anhydrous ether). Enron made its climb to the top of the economic ladder supporting and controlling the logistics of MTBE production and distribution.

Oxygenates were designed to enhance emissions from gasoline engines, not as fuel. They purposely cause mileage losses to increase emissions of VOC's. In 1990, there was bad smog problem nationwide. VOC's mix with smog and dissolve it. The resulting pollution, low level ozone, is much more dangerous than the smog oxygenates get rid of but it's largely invisible so complaints about air quality were marginalized by using them. When it became too widely known that MTBE polluted groundwater nationwide, it was replaced with anhydrous ethanol in 2006.

When the state of California took the EPA to court and proved oxygenates worsen air quality, the president stepped in saying ethanol was now being required under the Clean Air Act to be used as a fuel additive to lessen our dependence of foreign oil. He sited Brazil's use of ethanol to become energy independent to validate his reasoning. For whatever reason, no one challenged him with the fact that Brazil uses hydrous ethanol, not anhydrous ethanol. If you query experts on the issue, they will say that hydrous ethanol has water in it that can't be mixed with gasoline. But if you search the keywords "hydrous ethanol" and "gasoline," you will find countless articles relating how it is being done successfully and has been for a very long time in places that were until recently considered third world countries without causing mileage losses or pollution like anhydrous ethanol does.

MTBE is made from natural gas and toxic byproducts of refining oil. Both are resources we have an overabundance of. Since we started making anhydrous ethanol from our most precious national asset, corn, our economy has fastly been falling apart. In fact the value of the dollar began the steep decline in value that lead to 4 dollar a gallon gasoline just as the EPA oxygenate program switched from MTBE to ethanol. And according to this new report on climate change, VOC emissions from ethanol and the refineries that produce it are causing the extreme weather pattern changes that we're being told are part of a global warming process caused by carbon dioxide. But if we look at how these other countries use ethanol, we find they do it in a way that doesn't cause these problems while none of our leader seem to know the difference between hydrous and anhydrous ethanol.

Ptero says: A final comment. Look at Slide 15 from Stanford's highly-respected atmospheric and environmental health researcher Mark Jacobson.

Note that compared to the real renewable energy alternatives decribed in this presentation, ethanol is a serious threat. It is a threat because it takes money from research and commercialization of these beneficial, climate benign clean technologies and gives it away to farmers. Ethanol clearly provides no benefit to society and serves only to transfer wealth to the Midwest farm states.


Last edited by Ptero; 10-30-2008 at 02:23 PM..
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