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Much of the ethanol produced from the corn was exported overseas

When it comes to removing our dependence on foreign oil there are other options than using electricity or hydrogen to power cars. One of the options is using ethanol and other biofuels to replace some of the petroleum used in our gasoline. The big downside is that most of the ethanol produced in the U.S. today is made from corn.
 
Corn is an important food crop that is consumed by humans and used as feed for livestock and other animals. Scientific America reports that for every ten ears of corn grown in the U.S. today, only two are consumed by humans as food. The other ears are used for animal feed and ethanol production.
 
The numbers show that for the year spanning August 2010 to August 2011 the biofuel industry used more corn than farmers used for animal feed and residual demand. This is the first time more corn has been used for ethanol and shows a shifting balance that could spell trouble in the future. Over that year span, farmers used 5 billion bushels of corn and ethanol production used 5.05 billion bushels. Some of that corn did return to the food supply as animal feed and corn oil.
 
The fear is that the shift from food being the largest use for corn and fuel taking the top spot is a concern that could have significant impact on the world grain market. One of the reasons for the shift to ethanol use for corn is the government subsidies and the import tariffs on foreign ethanol. 
 
Steven Rattner said in a piece written for the NYT, “Because of the subsidy, ethanol became cheaper than gasoline, and so we sent 397 million gallons of ethanol overseas last year. America is simultaneously importing costly foreign oil and subsidizing the export of its equivalent.” 
 
That means much of the corn being used for fuel isn't making it into American fuel tanks so we still have to import more foreign oil to meet our fuel needs. Some in Congress are working hard to get the subsidies repealed and to lift the import tariff so that cheaper biofuels made from sugarcane can be imported from Brazil. There is also a lot of research going into making ethanol from other crops like switchgrass.
 
Rattner also wrote, "Even farm advocates like former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman agree that the [ethanol] situation must be fixed. Reports filtering out of the budget talks currently under way suggest that agriculture subsidies sit prominently on the chopping block. The time is ripe."

Source: Scientific American



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RE: What the ****?
By inperfectdarkness on 10/13/2011 3:52:48 PM , Rating: 3
ok, now this is pretty much all bunk. all forms of combustion release "harmful chemicals" into the air. your current engine produces heaps of carbon monoxide. if you don't believe me, i'll invite you to leave your engine running in an enclosed garage while you sit inside.

less efficient is because there are no ethanol-only engines being produced. if you don't follow motorsports, you wouldn't have a clue about anything other than BS "testing" people do with flex-fuel vehicles.

"more harmful manufacturing"? really? care to show some proof of that? cracking plants pollute quite a bit. i'd love to see a shred of proof on this.

the only thing you are correct on is that increasing food prices are due to inflation; not lack of supply.


RE: What the ****?
By Reclaimer77 on 10/13/2011 4:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
Okay whatever lol

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/03/tech/mai...

quote:
your current engine produces heaps of carbon monoxide.


Umm I wouldn't say "heaps" because I have an ultra low emissions vehicle. But the point is ethanol combustion releases even MORE carbon monoxide and other carcinogens than gasoline. At best it's a tie, so again, how is that "better" for the environment. It's neither renewable NOR is it reliable.

quote:
less efficient is because there are no ethanol-only engines being produced.


Exactly, so that's not a valid argument. You can't have a comparison against something that does not even exist! Hello?

quote:
if you don't follow motorsports


Another stupid point because race cars have no emission requirements and have no mandated emissions control equipment. Plus they are tuned completely different than a street legal road car would be, not to mention weight a boatload less! Apples to oranges completely here.

Are you seriously supporting a fuel that requires 30% more energy to produce than it actually puts out though?


RE: What the ****?
By inperfectdarkness on 10/17/2011 1:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
again, where is ANY proof that ethanol require 30% MORE energy to produce than it generates when consumed? please, i'm all ears. last time i checked, ethanol was 80% efficient (compared to 30% efficient for hydrogen).

ethanol IS renewable. it's an annually renewable derivitive of solar energy (from whence all our energy comes, to be honest). even given a wash between pollutants between energy souces, the one that i can grow every year > the one that has a finite quantity available.

motorsports ARE applicable because that is where innovation is happening. of course you and i don't drive racecars; but a lot of what we do have in passenger cars was pioneered in racecars throughout history. (steering, suspension, valve design, etc).

ethanol ran in a dedicated internal-combustion engine can produce the same amount of HP as a larger displacement gasoline engine; because of its octane and burn capabilities. when you decide to start comparing fuel consumption vs. power output on DEDICATED engines, you'll easily see that the famed "30% less fuel economy" is a gigantic load of bunk.


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