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Will ethanol E85 catch on in the US? Will we Live Green and Go Yellow?

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Comments

  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I'm not advocating uncontrolled fireboxes as in the past but very specific, very conrolled combustion."

    We have that already. It's called the Internal Combustion Engine.

    And the efficiency (BTU's in the fuel converted to forward motion) is SUBSTANTIALLY higher than burning a fuel (whether it is gasoline, wood pulp, paper, or recycled cow farts) in a steam boiler (particularly if you are trying to have a boiler in a closed system driving a generator to produce on-board electricity to drive a motor).

    There's a big reason that locomotives converted from coal-burning steam power to big diesel electrics. It's called progress.
  • The timing of this announcement is interesting indeed. A person has to wonder why now. Were the UL folks asleep at the switch? Ethanol has been around for a long time. The properties of the fuel are well known.

    "Ethanol-only cars were sold in Brazil in significant numbers between 1980 and 1995; between 1983 and 1988, they accounted for over 90% of the sales."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil

    I have worked with another large standardization group called NSF. In general they, like UL, seem to do a decent job. However, I have noticed that as they have gotten larger they become bureaucratic and a bit self serving. Not saying this is the case with UL, but boy, the timing just seems a bit odd.

    In the end, I don't think it is going to make a big difference.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,174
    I think the issue is Ethanol and aluminum. It seems that many fuel nozzles are made from aluminum for lightness. If E85 is going to corrode those parts it would seem they need a different nozzle. I have no idea about the internal parts of a gas pump.

    It does seem strange that they have had E85 for several years. Maybe UL is just slow on the up take. Or maybe the folks at the various fire depts were not doing their job all this time. Just letting it slide. After all it is big business in the midwest. We still only have ONE commercial E85 pump in all of CA. If it gets shut down, who will notice.
  • "t is quite simple. They come in convince the local township to give them land, power and water. In exchange they provide jobs. Then when ethanol goes bust they bail out. Leaving the town with an eyesore and inflated land values to contend with. Maybe the mayor and council got rich. I would like to see a study on the 90+ towns that bought into the last ethanol boom."

    I would agree that towns, local and state governments often roll out the red carpet for businesses. Call centers and auto plants are good examples. Some work, some go bust.

    The big difference this time around is that oil and gasoline prices will remain high enough that ethanol will be able to make it in the long run (E10, not so much of the E85). Demand for the oil from the USA, China, Europe and India will keep prices higher. Supply is still fine but we will pay more.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Oil_Prices_1861_2006.jpg

    I am guessing that most people saw the recent headlines
    "Demand for gasoline surges as prices take a dive"
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2006-10-19-driving-more-usat_x.h- tm
    and the OPEC decision to try and cut output by 1.2 MBD. This should stop oil prices from dropping. We may even see an increase in gasoline prices back up into the $2.50 range.

    On a side note: You mentioned water. In my view, water or lack of, will be the single biggest issue that slows or stops construction of new ethanol plants after the current expansion. Some plants are breaking ground before they have secured water permits - a big problem. In one example I am aware of, a plant assumed the city wells they would inherit had the needed 1,500 gallon per minute capacity. Nope. The wells were only capable of half that rate. The oil sand projects in Canada seem to be running into water issues too.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,174
    You seem to have a practical take on the big picture regarding ethanol. It is not all roses. I agree the ethanol mandate will maintain the need for ethanol. I just would rather they did more research into using sources other than corn before they build all the plants that are only able to accept corn as a feedstock. It looks like we are still several years from using switchgrass or whatever other waste product.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,174
    I was just pricing out a new Ford Crew Cab PU. The price to add flex fuel is $895. They are both 5.4L V8 engines. I guess Ford cannot afford to just give that option to the green buyer. So much for selling many of them. Pay more money to lose money.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,174
    Ethanol shortages have helped push up gas prices and generate huge profits for producers (not farmers). July 12th—National Academy of Science report confirms zFacts' analysis and much more. Bio-diesel has some merit, ethanol is an expensive loser

    http://zfacts.com/p/35.html

    http://zfacts.com/p/60.html
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,174
    Excerpts from the NY Times, June 25, 2006

    Farmers are seeing little of the huge profits ethanol refiners like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) are banking. ... The ethanol explosion began in the 1970's and 1980's, when ADM's chief executive, Dwayne O. Andreas, was a generous campaign contributor and well-known figure in the halls of Congress who helped push the idea of transforming corn into fuel.
    Given the glut in corn, the early strategy of Mr. Andreas was to drum up interest in ethanol on the state level among corn farmers and persuade Washington to provide generous tax incentives. But in 1990, when Congress mandated the use of a supplement in gasoline to help limit emissions, ADM lost out to the oil industry, which won the right to use the cheaper methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, derived from natural gas, to fill the 10 percent fuel requirement.
    Past Scandal
    Adding to its woes, ADM was marred by scandal in 1996 when several company executives, including one of the sons of Mr. Andreas, were convicted of conspiracy to fix lysine markets. The company was fined $100 million. Since then, ADM's direct political clout in Washington may have waned a bit but it still pursues its policy preferences through a series of trade organizations, notably the Renewable Fuels Association. ...
    But ADM has not lost interest in promoting ethanol among farm organizations, politicians and the news media. It is by far the biggest beneficiary of more than $2 billion in government subsidies the ethanol industry receives each year, via a 51-cent-a-gallon tax credit given to refiners and blenders that mix ethanol into their gasoline. ADM will earn an estimated $1.3 billion from ethanol alone in the 2007 fiscal year, up from $556 million this year, said David Driscoll, a food manufacturing analyst at Citigroup. ...
    ADM has huge production facilities that dwarf those of its competitors. With seven big plants, the company controls 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol production, or about 24 percent of the country's capacity. ADM can make more than four times what VeraSun, ADM's closest ethanol rival, can produce.
    Last year, spurred by soaring energy prices, the ethanol lobby broke through in its long campaign to win acceptance outside the corn belt, inserting a provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that calls for the use of 5 billion gallons a year of ethanol by 2007, growing to at least 7.5 billion gallons in 2012. The industry is now expected to produce about 6 billion gallons next year. ...
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,088
    Since we're moving away from these huge discussions, and this one has become a catch-all for anything E85, let's close this one down and start up new discussions as issues arise.

    From scanning the E85 news today, let's start with this one:

    Problems with the Pumps Using E85?

    Please feel free to create new discussions as addtional E85 related issues or questions arise. What we want to avoid is trying to talk about every issue in one discussion.

    Thanks for your help in making this group a great source of information and discussion about E85.

    MODERATOR
    Need some roadside assistance? pf_flyer@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
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