The E85 & Ethanol mix Farce

The E85 & Ethanol mix Farce

This is a discussion on The E85 & Ethanol mix Farce within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; The production of E-85 fuel is only 20% efficient. This means it takes the equivalent energy of 8 gallons of fuel to obtain 10 gallons ...

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Thread: The E85 & Ethanol mix Farce

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Maverickx50's Avatar
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    The E85 & Ethanol mix Farce

    The production of E-85 fuel is only 20% efficient. This means it takes the equivalent energy of 8 gallons of fuel to obtain 10 gallons for a net gain of 2 gallons. When 85% ethanol is put in your vehicle it will typically get 35% less fuel mileage so there goes the 2 gallons gained. To top it off it takes 420 bushels of corn to produce those two gallons which if turned into food would feed one person in a third world country for a year. So fill up with E85. raise the cost of everything related to corn and beans (bean production is down to make more room to grow corn). And while you’re pumping that gas count the number of hungry people that will go without for a year.
    I carry to protect myself and my loved ones from the BG's. Not to solve societies problems. That said: if more carried the deterrent would only have a positive overall effect on those problems.


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    I dont know much about E85, but my friends who have the "flexfuel" cars say it isnt worth it.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
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    We can produce a whole hell of a lot more corn than we can oil.

    We can eat our corn, we can sell it, or we can convert it into fuel, or some combination of the three.

    The nice folks in the middle east can sell their oil, or convert it into fuel. They cannot, however, eat it.

    I can't help but wonder just how much of the corn we export goes out as foreign aid.

    Personally, I believe that when we use corn to make fuel, we win twice:

    Once, by producing our own fuel.

    ...and twice, by at least reducing the flow of American dollars to our enemies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeant Mac View Post
    We can produce a whole hell of a lot more corn than we can oil.

    We can eat our corn, we can sell it, or we can convert it into fuel, or some combination of the three.

    The nice folks in the middle east can sell their oil, or convert it into fuel. They cannot, however, eat it.

    I can't help but wonder just how much of the corn we export goes out as foreign aid.

    Personally, I believe that when we use corn to make fuel, we win twice:

    Once, by producing our own fuel.

    ...and twice, by at least reducing the flow of American dollars to our enemies.
    Good points... I still think hydrogen is the way to go though.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    There are a lot of factors and different ways to measure the benefits.

    If you look only at the financial aspect at the pump, not usually cost effective (although just last week I noticed a local station that had cheap gas at $3.25 and e85 at $2.59!).

    I however, would rather give $2 to a farmer in iowa than $1 to a country that ultimately gives that money to someone who wants to kill americans. Some may argue that most of our oil doesn't actually come from from the mid-east, but it is a global market. If we increase demand on mexican oil, the value of middle eastern oil goes up too, increasing their profits and buying them RPGs.

    As for efficiency, I have yet to see a good, comprehensive view of the actual energy required to make either e85 or straight gas. You wanna talk subsidies? How about factoring in oil wars that cost $200 Million PER DAY!

    Of course there are some environmental pluses to ethanol especally when made out of waste products (there are plants that make it out of waste beverages, and other garbage).

    Me? I plan to make it out of fruit grown on my property when I get out of the city. Probably not enought to cover all my driving needs, but eenough for a motorcycle and my garden tractor and ATV, plus a stockpile for the backup generator. Fuel I can make myself when SHTF? I love it!

    As for food, I choose to not pretend that we (we=Americans in general) are even out to help starving people. How many starving people could we feed if we all gave up cable or Starbucks? It's easy to attack ethanol, but we refuse to help if it inconveniences us personally.

    Ethanol is not THE answer to get off oil, but we have it right now. I'll put it this way: If you have 10 bullet holes in you bleeding equally, and you can only plug one until someone shows up to plug another one or 2, do you refuse to plug any at all if you can't plug them all? Plug one now and one or 2 tomorrow, and it might buy you enough time until the Paramedics arrive. Refuse to plug any and you increse the odds of dying befor they get there. I must be tired because I think I'm rambling now.
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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Good points... I still think hydrogen is the way to go though.

    Hydrogen is awesome, but the problem is getting it. I can cope with refilling every 150 miles, but right now they make it from natural gas, which of course is gonna run out any day now. Making it from water is wickedly inefficient. If we can find a way to make it, I'm in!
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    Yea Hydrogen seems the way to go... all these scientist running around you would think that it would be simple,just add cash...hell,there is no shortage of that in our government!

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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    I believe the truth is there's not going to be one single answer to our energy woes. The population of the world has become so large that any single resource is not going to be the "answer". One problem to be faced is that of the so called modern western lifestyle. Like it or not we may not be able to live in very large homes with the entire space heated and air conditioned, drive large inefficient vehicles one to a person and water large expanses of grass simply to look at. In the long run it's going to be about the "footprint" of each individual on the available resources. There may be one better answer for each climate and different answers for urban and suburban and rural settings. A big step forward will be when people get it through their heads that they are going to have to start taking individual responsibility for their impact on resources and stop whining and waiting for the government to come up with a miracle.
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELCruisr View Post
    A big step forward will be when people get it through their heads that they are going to have to start taking individual responsibility for their impact on resources and stop whining and waiting for the government to come up with a miracle.
    TAKE PERSONAL RESONSIBILITY??!! Thats crazy talk! as soon as progress becomes inconvenient, we will find reasons why not to take the steps. IE: SUVs are safer, so I need to use 4x as much fuel as necessary to get downtown to work. Coming soon: Huge, 50,000 watt TVs save wear and tear on you eyes.

    Seriously, I agree with you completely.
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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon View Post
    Yea Hydrogen seems the way to go... all these scientist running around you would think that it would be simple,just add cash...hell,there is no shortage of that in our government!
    Why...with gas companies making over $60B per quarter...what is the incentive?

    Rick

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    Sorry guys, but corn is NOT the way to go to fuel an oil driven economy.

    There is not enough acreage available in this country to make anywhere near the amount of energy we need.

    Even if you grow sawgrass instead of corn (sawgrass has more energy per acre than corn), there is a ripple effect that will destroy this economy......

    I buy corn for feed & the price I pay has gone up 62% in the last 18 months! This will affect a lot of other commodities as well:

    -beef prices will increase (costs more to feed them)

    -less corn will be grown as saw grass increases acreage (farmers will plant what will make them the most money)

    -all corn based/fed products will increase in cost (cereals, pet foods, chicken, turkey)

    ....etc....

    Keep in mind corn is THE MAJOR FOOD STUFF on this continent, just like rice is in Asia. When you take it out of the food chain to burn in your tank, you effect a lot of our other necessities in life.

    Even if ethanol was plentiful, it does not have a shelf life even close to oil based fuels. It is harder to transport or store as a result. It is less efficient too.

    No matter how much we wish, our economy is based on oil. There are still a lot of reserves around the world, that we aren't even attempting to tap. Anwar alone would produce what Saudi Arabia produces today! (don't get me started on those reasons.)

    Ethanol also won't be cheaper than gasoline! Ethanol will follow the price of oil. It's simple economics folks & pie-in-sky feel goodism won't help.....We either reduce our use of energy or we go get it!

    There has been some success with sugar beet/ sugar cane based fuels in South America, but that is due to a MUCH SMALLER DEMAND FOR FUEL, than what is required in this country.

    I don't claim to have the answers....but corn isn't it, mainly do to the logistics of it! I also don't think our country should go back to the horse & buggy days just because our politicians won't let us develop feasible alternatives (like nuclear).

    Supply of oil is only part of our high prices today....don't forget the US hasn't built a new oil refinery in 3 decades!....but our use of oil has increased 12 times what it was in the 1970s.
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

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    Member Array Sigearny's Avatar
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    To top it off it takes 420 bushels of corn to produce those two gallons which if turned into food would feed one person in a third world country for a year.
    Where do you get this fact. It's much closer to 2 gal per bushel and getting better. You could make alcohol from the whole plant but the problem with that is long term storage and shipping.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    Also hydrogen power is much more of a farce than ethanol. First off it takes significantly MORE energy to make hydrogen than it provides as a fuel. It sounds all wonderfull until you realize that they're gonna burn twice as much coal to make hydrogen than you get back as hydrogen. Not to mention hydrogen is unstable and no infrastructure for distribution exists. Ethanol is a much better alternative IMO.

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    Here are some hard numbers:

    -Total World Oil Production (2005) 82,532,000 barrels/day
    -US uses 20,687,000 barrels of oil EVERY DAY
    -Number of U.S. Operable Petroleum Refineries=149
    -Gallons of Oil per Barrel=42
    -U.S. Crude Oil Imports 10,118,000 barrels/day
    -U.S. Crude Oil Imports from OPEC 5,517,000 barrels/day
    -Top U.S. Crude Oil Supplier, Canada - 1,802,000 barrels/day
    -U.S. Motor Gasoline Consumption 9,253,000 barrels/day (388.6 million gallons/day)

    -corn price is $3.8775/bushel
    -best corn production is 163 bushels/acre/year (average is 140 bushels/acre/year)


    It currently takes a bushel of corn to make 2.5 gallons of ethanol. (which is equal to 2 gallons of gasoline in energy)

    It would take 194,300,000 bushels of corn per day to supply the US with motor fuel. That's 71 BILLION bushels a year. Currently the entire corn production of the US is 10.5 billion bushels/yr. (the largest state production of corn is IOWA with only 2 billion bushels/year).

    This would require an additional 5 BILLION acres devoted to corn for fuel production. You would have the amount of land equal to take HALF of the ENTIRE STATE OF TEXAS (or the output of 35 Iowa's) & convert it to corn production for fuel, that's how much land it would require!


    To break it down even further:

    Lets say that you drive an average of 12,000 miles a year (my average is closer to 50,000 miles/yr)....at 20 miles per gallon, you would need 600 gallons of fuel/yr. Thats about 300 bushels of corn, which would require a little more than 2 acres of corn producing land FOR JUST YOU! That doesn't include the people who travel more (like me) or truckers who deliver goods & the fuel, home heating oil, motor oil, grease & all the other petro based products!

    So now what do you think of corn as a substitute? It doesn't look to good does it?
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. If I have a gun, what do I have to be paranoid about?" -Clint Smith

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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Again, it's not about replacing oil entirely. Noone thinks that is feasable. But we can get some of our energy from it. That couple with driving more efficient cars can make a dent. Anything to keep a few bucks in the US and out of the hands of Al Qaida.

    I would get behind nuke plants and electric cars in hurry as soon as they become remotely affordable (the cars, that is. Nuke plants already need to be on our short list).

    Before the ethanol boom, (and maybe still, I don't honestly know) we paid farmers to grow crops and let them rot in place. Is it a tragedy that corn farmers are making a profit for the first time in how many years?
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