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Ethanol from corn


Uccmal
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This is a beauty in the annals of stupid ideas.  In order to grow corn you need to provide fertilizer, primarily nitrogen.  The nitrogen fertilizer - Urea - is produced from methane feedstock.  Methane is of course natural gas. 

 

In the end game the carbon footprint for ethanol from corn turns out to be at least that of gasoline.

 

So we take natural gas and make ethanol through a convoluted process involving planting, harvesting, and sunlight instead of just using the natural gas directly as fuel, or even better, just using the sunlight as fuel. 

 

I came across this little gem in this weeks Businessweek.

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This is a beauty in the annals of stupid ideas.  In order to grow corn you need to provide fertilizer, primarily nitrogen.  The nitrogen fertilizer - Urea - is produced from methane feedstock.  Methane is of course natural gas. 

 

In the end game the carbon footprint for ethanol from corn turns out to be at least that of gasoline.

 

So we take natural gas and make ethanol through a convoluted process involving planting, harvesting, and sunlight instead of just using the natural gas directly as fuel, or even better, just using the sunlight as fuel. 

 

I came across this little gem in this weeks Businessweek.

 

i know munger has sounded off on this same theme more than a few times too

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This is a beauty in the annals of stupid ideas.  In order to grow corn you need to provide fertilizer, primarily nitrogen.  The nitrogen fertilizer - Urea - is produced from methane feedstock.  Methane is of course natural gas. 

 

In the end game the carbon footprint for ethanol from corn turns out to be at least that of gasoline.

 

So we take natural gas and make ethanol through a convoluted process involving planting, harvesting, and sunlight instead of just using the natural gas directly as fuel, or even better, just using the sunlight as fuel. 

 

I came across this little gem in this weeks Businessweek.

 

Don't forget all the diesel burned on the farm and in transporting the corn.  As well as the energy burned in the distilling process.

I've read that the carbon footprint is greater than that of gasoline.  And we know the cost is greater.  So we are spending more to increase our carbon footprint.  And don't forget 10% ethanol at the gas pumps is mandated by law in most (all?) of the U.S.

 

--Eric

 

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Guest Bronco

The good news is that both political parties are in favor of burning food, especially when the process is highly inefficient. 

 

I heard they are looking into burning wheat and tomatoes soon.  Save your apples, they may be next.

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Famous Milton Friedman story:  "At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.” Original source for quote is here.

 

http://tutor2u.net/blog/index.php/economics/comments/fantastic-video-clip-on-the-ideas-of-politicians-vs-economists/

 

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