Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Alternative Fools: E85"

The Truth About Cars has a critical analysis of the limits of ethanol as an alternative fuel.

As with most alternative fuels, ethanol faces limits to growth. Bush wants ethanol production to double by 2012, but even if gas consumption were to stop growing, it would only be enough to turn U.S. gas supplies to E05. Double again by 2018 and U.S. gas would be E10--the same as the gasahol sold now that any car can use. Furthermore, to be economicly viable gasahol needs to be sold close to the cornfields where it is produced because it has such a low EROEI.

But the Auto industry has jumped on the ethanol craze and will design new E85 capable cars and new E85 pipelines and pumps. A great publicity stunt, but not a real solution.

3 Comments:

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Douglas A. Willinger said...

Ethanol must be sold close by, but not petroleum?

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger Flettner said...

I just read, in the 6/18/06 Sunday Omaha World Herald, that the US is going to have an "Ethanol Glut". To much ethanol that can be used. Do you want the ethanol industry to be sabotaged by the oil companies? This is doing it. The Oil Companies control the gasoline. Ethanol is an additive for gasoline. Oil Companies are the bottleneck for Ethanol Production. The GLUTT is due to the Oil Companies only using a small percentage of ethanol in THEIR product. If Congress will mandate, as they did with emissions and fuel economy, that all new cars will be Flex Fuel Capable by, let's say, 2010/12, the ethanol GLUTT will go away. Then Ethanol will be a fuel, not an additive. The OIL COMPANIES will not only distribute the Ethanol, the Ethanol Companies and farmers will distribute it.

Benefits of Flex Fuel capable automobiles:
1. More than one fuel to choose from.
2. One of the fuels is not tied to the Oil Companies directly.
3. Price competition among fuel suppliers.
4. Many Jobs created in Rural America and beyond.
5. Entrepreneurs will create fueling stations and distribution systems.
6. The automobile will run on pure gas, pure ethanol, or a mix of (E0, E10, E85, E100 or E whatever.
7. Local ethanol production can be used by the local consumer causing lower transportation costs.
8. Local ethanol surplus can be distributed to outside suppliers.
9. Entrepreneurs can create modification kits to convert older automobile models.
10. Farmers can create their own ethanol, for themselves, local communities, state communities, and International communities.
11. Allow pure Ethanol to be sold at Oil Company stations. Just like the telecommunication industries sharing of infrastructure.

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Ethanol has a very low energy return on energy invested, particularly when it is processed from corn. Shipping it long distances eats into that margin even more. Shipping it too far makes it a net energy loser. Ethanol is a limited solution to our energy problems.

 

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