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Author Topic: Are there more economical ways to make ethanol than from maize (corn)?  (Read 2666 times)

Offline Atomic-S

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Given that corn-based ethanol used for fuel gobbles up agricultural production and creates higher food prices, would it not be nice to find another way to make ethanol. I wonder what the chances would be to make it from water and coal.
« Last Edit: 09/05/2008 13:32:08 by chris »


Offline techmind

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But if you're making it from coal, then it's still fossil-fuel, a finite resource, and releasing CO2 which has been safely stored for millions of years.

"But there's a hole in my bucket!"

Offline JimBob

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YES YES YES YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brazil is using sugar cane to make ethanol and they are already energy independent. The use of corn is an egregious waste of food. It could be used much more productively as cattle, pig and chicken feed, and as products for our own consumption.

In Brazil, the sugar cane is squeezed and fermented in cookers using the squeezed stalks as fuel. What no one realizes is that for the distillation process of ethanol in the US, normally natural gas or (to a much lesser extent) bunker oil, both fossil fuels, are used to heat the sour mash for fermentation and to boil it, once fermented, to distill the ethanol. This puts way more energy into the production than is ever realized on the other end.

And lastly, ethanol when burned in the internal combustion engine, produces more greenhouse gas than gasoline. Being more efficiently consumed, the ethanol produces not only carbon mono- and di- oxide, it also produces water molecules. Water vapor is a more efficient greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.


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