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Old 08-02-2018, 07:25 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Sugar cane gives you molasses and then the sugar cane stocks can be dried and burned for steam to run the process.
In the United States we use corn, the heat that drives the corn to alcohol process is provided by natural gas. For corn alcohol to make any sense you need cheap natural gas, cheap natural gas comes from fracking.

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Old 08-09-2018, 12:47 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Sure the corn-based ethanol leads to a lower energy output than the sugarcane-based one available in Brazil, but it's still a viable option.
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Old 08-09-2018, 01:42 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
Sure the corn-based ethanol leads to a lower energy output than the sugarcane-based one available in Brazil, but it's still a viable option.
Not really. ER/EI of 2 means you would have to waste half your production of fuel to make the next crop of fuel. It's calculated that society will not run on energy ER/EI of less than 7. Way too expensive. Which will eventually even call into question some of the remaining oil reserves in tar sands, marginal shale plays, ect.
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Old 08-09-2018, 01:59 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Basically if ethanol cannot match the price per BTU, or price per mile of range of petrol options, it's a waste. Corn displaces other crops that could be grown.

Corn ethanol is a viable option, just like mowing my lawn with scissors is a viable option. Not going to happen unless someone is artificially paying me way more than it's worth, or otherwise forcing me to do it.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:03 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Basically if ethanol cannot match the price per BTU, or price per mile of range of petrol options, it's a waste. Corn displaces other crops that could be grown.
Even if there was no ethanol mandate, the fields out here would still be entirely corn and soybeans. We decided collectively several decades ago to incentivize the production of those two crops almost exclusively, in the form of subsidies.

Well, by "we" I mean "the government," which is ostensibly "us."
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:21 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Since nuclear power has a ER to EI of at least 50 it can tow the less desirable forms of energy along.

For example pressurized water reactors with low enriched uranium don't like to be throttled. But the peak day time load is 2 to 3 times as much power during the night time base load. There really isn't a good way to make stable power with commercial nuclear power. The nuclear plants want to run at one power level and don't like to be started and stopped unless the fuel pile is new.
This way nuclear covers the base load and wind and solar can cover the peak day time load.
Use the natural advantages and disadvantages of each power source to cover what the other lacks.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:53 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vman455 View Post
Even if there was no ethanol mandate, the fields out here would still be entirely corn and soybeans. We decided collectively several decades ago to incentivize the production of those two crops almost exclusively, in the form of subsidies.

Well, by "we" I mean "the government," which is ostensibly "us."
That's quite similar to what has been done in some states here in Brazil, mostly Mato Grosso. A lot of corn and soybean is also grown in Goiás, even though most of the Brazilian commercial tomato production shifted from the region of Jundiaí in São Paulo state to Goiás due to tax incentives for the industries. When it comes to corn as a feedstock for ethanol, its growth has been mostly due to the usage of distillation-dried grains to feed livestock. And nowadays that other countries such as China are buying some large amount of corn from local farmers only to leave it rotting away as some sort of subsidy, using that as a feedstock for ethanol makes even more sense.

OTOH maybe the corn-based DDG could also be used more frequently as a replacement for soy protein in food items destinated to human consumption, since allergies to corn are less frequently reported.
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:33 PM   #38 (permalink)
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A very concerning study on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, fracking quakes and ground water contamination was released a few weeks ago.
I'm surprised no one else caught it.
I have been through a natural gas shortage, it would appear that the contamination isn't nearly as scary as $15 per MM btu or higher natural gas prices and gas shortages.

Unlike virtually everyone who is complaining about hydraulic fracturing, some having gas service and virtually all of them using natural gas generated electeicsl power, I live in fracturing country and have a very valuable water well.
I was told by a local farmer/rancher that getting my 16 inch agg well serviced and validated should have nearly doubled the value of my land. So if anyone should be freaked out it should be me.

Oh and I don't use natural gas. I know the line runs right next to my house, but I do not partake.
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Old 09-28-2018, 01:39 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I can't get on board with a fracking ban. The evidence is growing that it has more negatives than previously thought, but renewable energy has been somewhat slow to develop into as reliable a source as we need from a system which expects base load generation to be as flexible and available as it is now. Renewables can and should be used to edge out electricity production on the margins, and so far it is doing just that.

In the meantime, base load has to be carried by fossil fuels. Nuclear holds some promise, but barring a coherent policy for disposing of waste and a massive shift in funding guarantees, nuclear power will wane as a percentage of electricity production.

On the transportation front, this is relevant because I believe we are at the real beginning of shifting to EVs. Offloading the energy demand to the electrical grid will have consequences.

Ethanol is troublesome in that it isn't efficiently produced, and uses foodstuffs for energy instead.

Basically, we are going to burn fossil fuels for a good while before we figure out better energy. And in that meantime, I'm all for the ability of fracking to not only lower my bills, but also free up cleaner resources like natural gas. It's a bridge we are walking in, and if the slow pace of renewable expansion is frustrating, I also don't think it will be reversed.
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Old 09-28-2018, 02:01 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Quote:
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In the meantime, base load has to be carried by fossil fuels. Nuclear holds some promise, but barring a coherent policy for disposing of waste and a massive shift in funding guarantees, nuclear power will wane as a percentage of electricity production.

On the transportation front, this is relevant because I believe we are at the real beginning of shifting to EVs. Offloading the energy demand to the electrical grid will have consequences.
The EIA agrees with your assessment exactly. Nuclear is projected to drop from supplying 20% of our electricity currently, to 11% in 2050.



Concerning the consequences of EVs gaining popularity; they are mostly positive. With people charging over night, it will bring the off-peak energy requirements up; which will tend to make energy cheaper. The closer peak and off-peak consumption are, the less expensive the energy due to the lower reliance on peaking generators.

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