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Old 11-30-2007, 09:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ethanol takes another hit

Ethanol take another hit. The negatives keep adding up. This is actually something I never thought of. Water is already becoming like oil in some parts of the US.

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For biorefineries, the water consumed for the ethanol production process -- although modest compared with the water used growing biofuel crops -- could substantially affect local water supplies, the committee concluded. A biorefinery that produces 100 million gallons of ethanol a year would use the equivalent of the water supply for a town of about 5,000 people

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Old 12-01-2007, 11:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That was news to me. And it's an unfortunate parallel to the water situation in the Canadian tar sands. They consume an enormous amount water to "steam" the bitumen out of the sand.
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ethanol use in this country is a product of farm lobbies. Doesn't make sense economically, carbon footprint wise, and other factors. Efforts should be concentrated on making cars more fuel efficient.
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Efforts should be made to keep political topics/viewpoints off this forum.

You're of course welcome to discuss the science, if you wish.

Thanks.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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But there's no reason in the world why the water has to be an open system. It can easily be recycled if need be, so the ethanol plant would use water in the same way your car's radiator does. Imagine if you just let the cooling water boil away, instead of recycling the same few quarts of coolant for years.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
But there's no reason in the world why the water has to be an open system.
Exactly.
You wouldn't get away with an open system over here if it carries a lot of pollutants.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Humm... Am I the first to notice that the linked press release is from 2007? That's not news, that's olds :-)

But I think it's symptomatic of a lot of the criticism of fuel ethanol (and biofuels in general). The critic pick out the obvious faults of a new technology being bootstrapped into production, and assume they'd extend to a mature system.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euromodder View Post
Exactly.
You wouldn't get away with an open system over here if it carries a lot of pollutants.
I actually remember seeing something about report on the water usage and subsequent quality but I never read the report. I'll look that one up later.

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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Humm... Am I the first to notice that the linked press release is from 2007? That's not news, that's olds :-)

But I think it's symptomatic of a lot of the criticism of fuel ethanol (and biofuels in general). The critic pick out the obvious faults of a new technology being bootstrapped into production, and assume they'd extend to a mature system.
In this case it's something that has been brought up, dealt with, and then regurgitated all over the internet as being a major problem. Water is a huge concern for biofuel production since biofuels tend to be made from agriculture. There should be more concern about what happens to the water not just how much water flows through the facility. Large amounts of water is used for Oil production too.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Okay, I found an article about the water used per gallon of Ethanol.
MinnPost - University report warns water consumption for corn-ethanol on the rise
The rate for Minnesota Ethanol plants is 3.5:1 water:Ethanol. Which is good for their unirrigated land. The irrigated land raises the water consumption to 9 gallons of water per gallon of Ethanol for the state.

These plants produce millions of gallons of Ethanol per year so large amounts of water are used.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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...makes one wonder how much of that water is actually used in "growing" versus how much water is being lost to evaporation.

...in the desert areas (southwest), LOTs of water is lost to evaporation just getting it from the source to the cities...and open-field irrigation is one of the worst offenders.

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