Wednesday, March 6, 2013
More on the Idiocy of Cellulosic Ethanol
1) According to the American Coalition for Ethanol website, Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues have mandated that U.S. fuel suppliers blend no less than 21 billion gallons (the equivalent of 1.4 million barrels of oil a day - roughly what we got from Venezuela in 2007) of this product into the gasoline pool every year, starting no later than 2022. The problem? Well, the problem is that the product doesn't even really exist yet (at least not in terms of commercial availability) and to say that something that they've been working on for 92 years (and to no avail) is suddenly going to spring up and replace the oil that we get from Venezuela is ludicrous (not to mention that we're probably going to have to subsidize it majorly). And, guess what, Obama seems to be fully on board as well. Oy vey, huh?............2) According to a 2008 study by Jan Kreider (a professor emeritus of engineering at the University of Colorado), the production of cellulosic ethanol requires more than 40 times more water and emits 50% MORE in terms of carbon dioxide per unit than does gasoline. Yeah, real, real green. LOL.............3) According Vaclav Smil's seminal work, "Energy at the Crossroads", cellulosic ethanol and other such biomass energy products continue to be plagued by ridiculously low power density levels (and even the energy density is only 2/3rds that of gas). He cites that, at even the most efficient of farms and plantations, the bang for the buck that you get is only about one watt per square meter. Compare this to an average natural gas well which gets you about 30 watts per square meter and the pitiful nature of it swells even more.............4) The amount of biomass that would be needed to produce those 21 billion gallons of ethanol per year? Try (and this is according to ethanol companies themselves) 485 million tons, an amount that would require approximately 42 million acres (roughly the size of Kansas) to be set aside strictly to grow switchgrass (as opposed to, I don't know, food!). Youza, huh?............5) Yes, ethanol can replace regular gas but it CANNOT replace the myriad of other products that crude oil plentifully provides us; jet fuel, diesel fuel, butane, propane, asphalt, antifreeze, tires, fertilizers, etc., etc., those things, in other words, that are actually growing the most rapidly (the Energy Information Administration is actually projecting that the demand for gasoline will probably be going down and, hence, ethanol will literally be providing us the wrong substance at the wrong time!!). I mean, duh, huh?............6) Another huge problem here is that there doesn't exist the infrastructure and/or equipment to harvest this shit. As Robert Bryce adroitly points out in his book, "Power Hungry", literally NONE of the equipment that John Deere and other companies currently manufacture would be sufficient to handle the ridiculous amounts of biomass that would be needed to produce cellulosic ethanol. None of it, unless of course Nancy Pelosi has something tucked away at one of those vineyards of hers.............7) Oh, and, yeah, let's not forget either here that ethanol is brutal on engines....In review; has extremely low power density, takes up massive amounts of land (land that could be used to grow food instead), wastes massive amounts of water, emits more CO2 than petro-fuel, isn't nearly as adaptable as crude oil, has only 2/3rds the energy density of gasoline, is brutal on engines, insufficient infrastructure exists to produce it, will probably need to be subsidized heavily by the tax-payers, Nancy Pelosi likes it.