Jump to content

When will the U.S. switch to Ethanol


herpguy
 Share

When will the U.S. switch to using ethanol?  

1 member has voted

  1. 1. When will the U.S. switch to using ethanol?

    • Never
      14
    • Within one year
      0
    • 1-2 years
      0
    • 3-5 years
      3
    • 6-10 years
      4
    • Other (please tell us)
      3


Recommended Posts

I voted other, I'm skeptical of ethanol and I think reduced fuel consumption; and the use of a combination of technologies like thermal depolymerisation and hydrogen fuel cells(a few years down the line) offers the best solution. In fact not just for America but for the world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

New nanostructured electrocatalysts, HYPERMEC™ by ACTA SpA for example may make ethanol fuel cells an attractive option to replace batteries in portable devices. This will, IMHO be the major impact of ethanol as a fuel. This would not be a trivial application as a great deal of hazmat is generated making current batteries and when they are disposed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

New nanostructured electrocatalysts, HYPERMEC™ by ACTA SpA for example may make ethanol fuel cells an attractive option to replace batteries in portable devices. This will, IMHO be the major impact of ethanol as a fuel. This would not be a trivial application as a great deal of hazmat is generated making current batteries and when they are disposed.

Ah...good point. i was thinking of ethanol being used in the simplistic, crude(shamelss pun not intended:D ) sense like it is in Brazil. If as a viable part of fuel cell technology, then ethanol then it represents a feasible avenue. However I think thermal depolymerisation(or depolymerization, I'm not sure) should definitely be pursued. i posted a thread on it in the engineering section a while back but not many ppl took any notice of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If as a viable part of fuel cell technology, then ethanol then it represents a feasible avenue.

 

Still it only will probably make sense for low-power apps. The EROEI on current battery technology is laughable so ethanol will be able to compete there very well if the fuel cells have a decent life expectancy (in cycles). And the fueling infrastructure is already in place to handle the volumes involved "I'll have a Jack Daniels. and a double for my cellphone...":-p

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because of the way the question was worded, I had to answer "never".

 

A switch to ethanol will only ever be partial. Eventually, petroleum based fuels will give way to alternatives. However, there are so many possibilities, and it is so difficult for one (eg ethanol) to cope with all needs, that it is much more likely that a mixture of solutions will be used.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the poll question i put 3-5 years as i believe some kind of ethanol based fuel will be avalible for cars in the US by that time, it is already avalible in brazil and other countries, however for the question he asks in his post the answer is never as the US will always use something else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, I changed the OP's question slightly, so some of you're anwers will probably change.

 

I hope that a transition will be made within the next five years, however the congress won't allow it. Ethanol will benefit the economy because of the extra corn needed. Also, it will be better for the environment as it burns cleaner.

 

I voted 3-5 years, but I am not certain...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trouble with maize is that it kicks the stuffing out of the land and thus you have to use a lot of fertilizer. Fertilizer that you need oil to produce. As a major transportation fuel it just won't cut it in North America or Europe. Works in Brazil because the got a vast jungle to burn (for a while.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trouble with maize is that it kicks the stuffing out of the land and thus you have to use a lot of fertilizer. Fertilizer that you need oil to produce. As a major transportation fuel it just won't cut it in North America or Europe. Works in Brazil because the got a vast jungle to burn (for a while.)

They get it in brazil by fermenting sugar cane what does it have to do with burning jungle, most of the jungle is burned so cattle ranches can be put on it so the western world can get cheap (shitty) burgers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because the arable land taken up by cane production can be made up for by slash-and-burn agriculture to replace displaced food crops. Cane also doesn't need fertilizers like maize does.

 

Ethanol can't travel by pipeline because it picks up too much water.

 

There isn't an industrial strength process for making this fuel from cellulose feed stocks which means there will be a lot of energy trapped in the cornstalk, leaves and cobs, that can't be recycled or used directly like bagasse can.

 

The sugarcane agribusiness sector in Brazil is politically powerful and so far it has successfully defended the program from its critics, the ethanol lobby in North America is also mostly agribusiness looking to push up the price of maize. If maize gets more expensive so does all foodstuffs that depend on it and its eatable oils.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyhow, I live in a potato growing region and they seem to dump a lot of potatoes every no and then. Does it make sense to turn these potatoes into ethanol, or compost them back into the soil?

 

Say I had my own potato field, say 1 acres, enough for 20,000 pounds/year. In addition say I had another acre of coppice for fuelwood at 1 cord/year. What if I ferment and distilled the poatoes into ethanol in my basement during the winter so that I could recover the heat for heating my house and hot water. Then used the ethanol to drive my car, and my tractor. Also, I would eat a lot of potatoes. Love potatoes. I could also do all my urininating in the potato fields. Not all in the same place of course.

 

Would this make any sense?

20,000 pounds potatoes = 4,000 pounds dry = 32,000,000 BTU

Add a cord of wood fuel = 2,000 pounds dry = 16,000,000 BTU

Say I could convert 50% to ethanol and 50% to heat and hot water.

24,000,000 BTU ethanol ~ 1000 litres of ethanol fuel = 20,000 km/yr

24,000,000 BTU heat and hot water = 200 days @ 1500 watts of heat

 

This would be an average production of 5 litres ethanol per day,

using on average 100 pounds of potatoes and 10 pounds (dry) of wood fuel.

The potatoes and wood fuel could be stored in the basement.

Together they would take up a space of about an 8'x8'x8'.

 

I'm not sure how much work this would entail. I'm think a wind turbine producing electricity and hydrogen fuel might be simpler. I could use passive solar to help with heat, and solar hot water in summer. Then the land would only be needed for growing trees and food.

 

10kw x 24h x 365d x 0.25 x 3412 BTU = 75,000,000 BTU

25,000,000 BTU for domestic electricity

25,000,000 BTU for hydrogen transportation fuel

25,000,000 BTU for battery losses and supplemental heating

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would be far better use thethermal depolymerisation process(or thermochemical conversion) to produce a fuel very much like crude oil from the waste potatoes you have mentioned. That's my opinion anyway, what's the point in converting to ethanol, it's definitely not an ideal fuel anyway. In fact any organic waste would be suitable feedstock for the process, even human and medical. In fact, that's where i think the real potential for this technology is. If we could recycle all organic waste this way, we would produce a sizeable amount of fuel. If I've already done a thread on thermal depolymerisation, it's just a shame hardly anyone takes any notice of it...

I know this aint true but sometimes it seems like ppl would rather lament about their impending doom rather than look for ways to prevent it:-( ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never... too expensive to ship (we have to truck it from the midwest, or ship it from Brazil) pipelines are not an option. And it seems to me that it's only efficent when used in conjunction with something else.

 

I want to see car engines that can run fuel with more then the current 10% ethanol, so we can dilute our gasoline even more.

 

I don't see it going much beyond that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have to devote land to the growing of whatever crop you would use, and that will limit how much you can produce. Can we physically produce enough ethanol to switch over? I'd be surprised if the answer was "yes."

 

Moreover, as has been mentioned, the "ethanol burns clean" argument ignores the pollution from growing it, and it's unclear what numbers to use to see what the return on energy is, since the proponents' estimates always seem to ignore certain factors.

 

What is clear is that the economic viability is not yet very good, if you need corn subsidies and ~$0.50 a gallon ethanol subsidies. Finding the point at which ethanol pays for itself (if it can) will go a long way toward seeing who has been fudging the energy estimates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've heard too much about hemp to think it's all in the imagination of stoners. I think hemp methanol may be viable. With the problems with peak oil, whatever we use as a methanol source should be genetically engineered (Aaargh!) to grow fast.

 

Are there any subsidies on oil? As a kid, I'd hear about the "oil depletion allowance", all the time. As the price of gas goes up, methanol will become cheaper than oil. As for having enough land, beef requires 20 pounds of vegitable protein to make one pound of beef protein, 5 pounds of vegitable protein to make one pound of pork, poultry, or dairy protein. So moving towards a vegitarian diet( the price of animal products will go up with peak oil), will free up land.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would be far better use the thermal depolymerisation process(or thermochemical conversion) to produce a fuel very much like crude oil from the waste potatoes you have mentioned. That's my opinion anyway' date=' what's the point in converting to ethanol, it's definitely not an ideal fuel anyway. In fact any organic waste would be suitable feedstock for the process, even human and medical. In fact, that's where i think the real potential for this technology is. If we could recycle all organic waste this way, we would produce a sizeable amount of fuel. If I've already done a thread on thermal depolymerisation, it's just a shame hardly anyone takes any notice of it...

I know this aint true but sometimes it seems like ppl would rather lament about their impending doom rather than look for ways to prevent it:-( ...[/quote']Would I ever be able to do this thermal depolymerisation in my basement? That would be so cool. Is there anyway to include electricity in the process, like from surplus wind power when I don't need the electricity? If I used wind power for both electricity and transportation fuel then I could have a larger wind turbine, and store hydrogen and avoid having so many batteries. I'm thinking about some process combining hydrogen and sewage and other waste to produce heat plus some useful transportation fuel. The gas produced could be stored and burned in a cogen process to produce heat and electricity on windless days. The liquid fuel could be used for transportation. With two vehicles you could have a commuter running on gas (methane and hydrogen) and the other car running on liquid fuel. Bit of a pipe dream, but it is always fun to think of technologies that lend themselves to decentralization.

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.