ETHANOL AND OTHER BIO-FUELS -- MISTAKES OR A RUSE BY ENVIRONMENTALIST/POLITICIANS
ETHANOL AND OTHER BIO-FUELS ARE MISTAKES AT BEST AND RUSES AT WORST
On May 16, 2012, I posted here "Ethanol -- The Worst Mandate Ever Gets Worse" expressing long-held knowledge, from data, known chemistry and personal driving experience, that ethanol has, not only no positive effect, but is negative in efficiency and to the environment. In the news this week, reports of this ineffectiveness is finally being acknowledged. Other bio-fuels are of the same ineffectiveness, a subject on which I have had battles of words with politicians and environmentalists (redundant) for years on this issue, not only ethanol but other bio-fuels. The only bio-fuel that makes sense to me is reclaimed oils, such as cooking oils for diesels. Please search my blog post title above in the search block at top left of the blog page that opens the blog. It is far more informative from knowledge of chemistry, experience using ethanol and observation of the effects of ethanol in N. America.
The 'Unintended Effects' of Government-Mandated Ethanol (from Newsmax, April 27, 2014)
The recent release of a United Nations report on corn ethanol has triggered new discussions on the benefits and drawbacks of the biofuel.
The report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that while biofuels do release smaller amounts of greenhouse gases than gasoline or diesel, "for some biofuels indirect emissions — including from land use change — can lead to greater total emissions than when using petroleum products."
Moreover, the negative consequences of including corn ethanol in the fuel supply are enormous.
In 2000, more than 90 percent of the corn grown in the United States went to feed people and livestock, including many people in undeveloped countries, and less than 5 percent was used to produce ethanol.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 dictated that gasoline contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. By 2013, 40 percent of the corn crop went to produce ethanol, 45 percent fed livestock, and just 15 percent was used for foods and beverages, according to a report from Forbes.
On average, one bushel of corn can produce nearly three gallons of ethanol. This year the United States — which produces 40 percent of the world's corn and accounts for 70 percent of worldwide corn imports — will use nearly 5 billion bushels to produce more than 13 billion gallons of ethanol fuel.
The corn needed to fill a 25-gallon gas tank with ethanol could feed one person for a year, "so the amount of corn used to make that 13 million gallons will not feed the almost 500 million people it was feeding in 2000. This is the entire population of the Western Hemisphere outside the United States," observed Forbes contributor James Conca.
In 2007, the global price of corn doubled due to the increase in ethanol production, leading to increases in the price of milk, cheese, eggs, meat, cereals, and corn-based sweeteners, and world grain reserves dwindled to their lowest level in over 30 years.
Increased corn prices can also impact a surprising array of other products, including toothpaste, cosmetics, shampoo, and adhesives.
"Additional unintended effects from the increase in ethanol production include the dramatic rise in land rents," as well as an increase in the natural gas and chemicals used for fertilizers, over-pumping of aquifers, and clear-cutting of forests to plant corn crops, Forbes reported.
There have also been reports of vehicles' fuel systems being damaged by the use of ethanol, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
As for the rationale to counter all these negative effects, the International Institute for Sustainable Development has estimated that the CO2 and climate benefits from replacing petroleum fuels with biofuels like ethanol are "basically zero."