ethanol?

Submitted by Susan Miller on Wed, 12/16/2009 - 09:03.

photo courtesy morguefile by Jusben

I used to think that someone would come up with a solution for living life the way I always have - with abundant energy, water and air. I used to think that there would be a solution that would make it possible for me to not feel guilt when I heat my home, turn on a light, drive my car.

Well, this recent news shoots a hole in one such plan (not that it is already not riddled with holes). Ethanol is not the answer to our transportation fuels problem. We already knew that it did not make sense to use corn and sugar (food products) to produce ethanol, but what about ethanol recovery as is happening at this plant in Medina? Isn't that green? Uh, turns out - no it isn't. Here's why:

Ethanol-Powered Vehicles Generate More Ozone Than Gas-Powered Ones

So while world leaders chew the issues in Copenhagen, scientists are busy closing the loop on ethanol.

They've been at it for a while:

Rising Surface Ozone Reduces Plant Growth And Adds To Global Warming (remember plants - it's what we eat)

Ozone Depletion Reduces Ocean Carbon Uptake (it's getting hot in here)

Meanwhile, Production of ethanol up 41 percent in 2008 - "In 2008, 9.2 billion gallons of ethanol were produced in the United States – an increase of 41 percent, as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. There are now 193 refineries nationwide and increases are still expected, despite the downtrodden economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting 15 percent of the ethanol industry’s capacity will go unused this year. Farm Bureau supports the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which gives a solid foundation for grain-derived ethanol to grow upon, while encouraging investment in second-generation biofuels including cellulosic ethanol and biomass-based diesel."

And this news is striking, too: EPA is considering allowing more ethanol in our gasoline.

Oh, dear... walk more, bike more, ride a horse - live in a place where you can walk or bike more or ride a horse to the store. Of course that doesn't help with shipping all those things you need to your local vendor, does it? OK, James Howard Kunstler, you're right - we're fucked!

I wouldn't put my investments in the ethanol industry just now. EPA will catch up to the research soon enough.

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