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Old 07-30-2012, 11:55 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Economics. Gasoline is currently cheaper than Ethanol. Just like Diesel is cheaper than Gasoline. Americans, are very concerned with the economics of everything. All the other issues are secondary.


@ecomodded, Ethanol has 2/3 the energy density of Gasoline. If you're talking about the 10% Ethanol in Gasoline, that only lowers the energy density by 3%. The "10% less MPG mystery" is not due to the lower energy density.

Let me just look through my files, hmm. There it is. Energy density per gallon (use the Lower heating value for an ICE).
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/pdfs/fueltable.pdf

Hope that helps.

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Old 07-31-2012, 12:15 AM   #22 (permalink)
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There has to be a better idea then growing hybrid corn for energy.
You get more ethanol per lb of cattails than you do per lb of corn.
If we made our sewer systems into hybrid swamp systems, you could use our poop to fertilize the cattails needed to make ethanol. You would also be filtering sewage naturally.
They are already doing this in India.
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:51 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
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you could use our poop to fertilize the cattails needed to make ethanol. You would also be filtering sewage naturally.
They are already doing this in India.
That's pretty rad! What do you suppose they do with the post-distillation material?

I think we use our poop in Phoenix to cool the Palo Verde nuke plant.. or some of our runoff water anyway. No large bodies of water around here to cool it any other way. We eat a lot of burritos, maybe we can do both?
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:55 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Nooooooo! Don't do it! It will use up all our poop and then where will we be???
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:59 AM   #25 (permalink)
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If not ethanol, then what do you suggest?
Already suggested... see my previous post
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:18 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
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That's pretty rad! What do you suppose they do with the post-distillation material?
I would link to an article about it but I'm lazy, and I read it in an actual book (who uses THOSE any more?) so I can't quote it exactly, BUT:
As I recall, the raw sewage first goes through a standard stir-station type holding pond, where bacterium can begin to grow. Then the sewage runs through a series of ponds with lilies in them. The lilies absorb the mercury and other heavy metals, and so are regularly harvested and thrown in the landfill. By the time the sewage water has made its way to the cattails, the bacterium have already broken down most of the actual poop, and so the nitrates and other beneficial chemicals are already free-floating.
The cattail system in question is NOT used to make ethanol, rather to filter sewage water, but it's so effective I see no reason why we couldn't take it a step further.
The water that runs out of the cattails goes into another swampy area with fish (that are regularly caught and eaten), and by the time it leaves that it's 100% drinkable, pure water (none of the waterborne pathogens you would expect from sewage). This then runs into a natural water system. The algae, cattails, lilies and bacterium have already pulled the nitrogen out of the water, so there is none of the algae bloom you often see downstream of such a facility. It's a win-win, in my opinion.
EDIT: Though I would be dubious about eating poop-factory fish.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:58 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Now this is along the right lines, imo

Quote: NachtRitter
Seems like pyrolysis would be the way to go... take all the products we've made from hydrocarbons (primarily plastics) that can't feasibly be recycled any other way and extract usable fuel back out of it.

and this

Quote: Flakbadger

You get more ethanol per lb of cattails than you do per lb of corn.
If we made our sewer systems into hybrid swamp systems, you could use our poop to fertilize the cattails needed to make ethanol. You would also be filtering sewage naturally.
They are already doing this in India.

Taking the ethanol harvest off of our farm fields will return the farms to their intended use, feeding us not our cars.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:17 AM   #28 (permalink)
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We could make biodiesel, bio-ethanol, and biogas out of hemp.
Hemp strands without THC, that is.
Before people get all funny about their biofuel ...

Corn and rapeseed are woefully inefficient crops to produce biodiesel and bio-ethanol from. Should be stopped right away.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:43 AM   #29 (permalink)
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If ethanol was made from an inedible plant, would this still be a point of contention? SH2 grade corns aren't even table edible (shriveled appearance when ripe, very chewy, not tasty) and barely useful for starch because they lack many of the enzymes that produce starches from the early sugars in the kernels. For the most part, SH2 are only useful to make DDG/DDS for the derivatives market and the byproduct of DDG manufacture from SH2 stock happens to be a flammable liquid useable in many automotive engines. Is this still robbing food from your table? If so, how do you figure?
SH2 (shrunken) is a gene that prevents sugar from being converted to starch in the corn kernel and is one of the genes used to produce super sweet corn for table use that will hold its sweetness for over a week after harvest (unlike traditional sweet corn cultivars that lose their sweetness within hours of being picked. SH2 corn is a sweet corn used for human consumption. The corn used for ethanol production, livestock feed, and for conversion into various corn derived chemicals is dent corn, a hard corn that converts all of its sugars into starch.

Even if ethanol was made from an inedible plant, it would still be competing for the limited supply of arable land, land that could otherwise be producing a food crop, so it would still be cutting into the food supply.

The biggest problem with our ethanol program is that it is in the form of a mandate, so they have to produce that no matter what else happens. They are federally mandated to produce 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol in 2012. So to produce that 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol they require about 5 billion bushels of corn to produce it, which was about 40% of the total corn crop in 2011. But since it is a mandate, ethanol is the first at the "trough" for any available corn and any other uses are filled after ethanol has taken its share, which works ok in a normal growing year. But if there is a severe drought (and this is the first really bad growing year since the ethanol program was implemented) then the corn market gets badly skewed by the effects of the mandate.

Say the drought was bad enough that the corn crop is down 50% compared with last year's. That 5 billion bushels that was 40% of last year's corn crop is now 80% of this year's corn crop. After ethanol takes its mandated share, that leaves only 20% of the crop remaining (equal to 10% of last year's) for all of the other uses of dent corn. Guess what that will do to the price of corn and any food, pharmaceutical, and chemical products derived from corn.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:20 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecomodded View Post
Quote: Flakbadger

If we made our sewer systems into hybrid swamp systems, you could use our poop to fertilize the cattails needed to make ethanol.
You missed a step, you first use anerobic bacteria to make methane from it which converts the rest into sterile high quality nitrogen fertalizer then you use cattails.

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