Why do we have to measure energy in British Thermal Units if we're
(Running for cover)
[mailto:cpf0000-bounces+nelsonp=speakeasy.net@xxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 9:06 PM
To: Open discussion among iSeries Users
Subject: Re: [CPF0000] Bread and Butter Issues
rick baird wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for keeping money at home, and especially,
not sending it to middle east saudi princes.
It's an interesting topic for debate. Since Canada has been right near being our top supplier for a while ( e.g., http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/quickfacts/quickoil.html [or http://tinyurl.com/a5bhs ] and especially http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm
[or http://tinyurl.com/cnurj ] ), and Mexico is close to Saudi Arabia in the #3 spot, we've been doing better in relative terms in diverting funds from the Saudis.
Of course, the rest of the world buys what we don't buy. Major problem there.
I'm just saying there's a lot of cost to turning corn into ethanol,
and it's not even close to being our energy savior.
Not to mention that a lot of cost implies the same amount of income, why not?
We import some 10Mbbl/day of crude plus some 400kbbl/day of refined gasoline (because we can't refine enough to keep up with our own consumption). E85 would start off by making the gasoline imports unnecessary.
Now, you supplied a note that .75BTU results in 1.0BTU for a net gain of .25BTU through ethanol production. Far be it from me even to research that figure, though it doesn't seem right. I'd say that any net energy production cycle should automatically be used to feed back into itself. Wherever the first .75BTU comes from, it ought to be replaced by the first .75BTU that comes out the other end! After only three rounds, you've got free energy! That is an _incredibly_ efficiently energy producer.
In any case, the argument is pointless on its face. Crude oil also takes huge amounts of BTUs to create, as well as taking perhaps a hundred million years or so. Unfortunately, there's no point in following that line because that energy is already invested.
Ethanol doesn't have that advantage.
Further, ethanol gives some 15% less energy when burned, compared to gasoline. E85, being 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, works out closer to 12.75% less output due to the gasoline boost.
But it replaces 85% of the refined gasoline. That not only eliminates _all_ need for gasoline imports; it also drops our gasoline refining requirements by around half.
Nor must it be used only as gasoline. It can be burned simply for heat, if we wish. It can replace a decent chunk of what oil in many of its forms is used for. It can even replace a number of the energy components that are used to get to that .75BTU figure that you started out with in another post.
Assuming we can get enough. Major problem there.
And I've always maintained that until the day comes that the price of
gas is so outrageous that we can't afford to commute from the suburbs,
we'll be petroleum based.
Yeah, I fully agree with that.
Once it really starts hurting, the alternative fuels will start coming
out of the woodwork. Humans (and especially americans) are funny that
And with that.
Regardless, why should that slow down the US DoE? I've long maintained that the USA needs to formulate long-term policy that addresses and focuses on two areas -- basic knowledge and food production. This seems like an ideal starting point.
It isn't corn that we're actually after; it's ethanol (or some as yet undetermined chemical variant). It just happens that corn is the current easiest route for us. Sugar cane seems even better as a source, but not so easy for us.
We need a better route. We need basic knowledge about genetics, for example, so we can manipulate plants, bacteria or whatever works best, into producing higher quantities of the sugars that ferment into ethanol. We know the chemistry; we just don't yet know the genetics that get there.
So, why is it so hard to get the DoE to fund a few $billion projects to get this research done NOW? Build a few super-computer farms, request universities and corporations to form research consortia and to compete in some number of well-funded projects, dangle a few long-term licensing agreements out there for incentive, and let the games begin.
Ethanol by itself is pretty well understood. All we're really missing is the fundamental protein-manipulation techniques that will cause it to be manufactured as we'd like. Maybe it doesn't even need "fermentation".
Why not engineer an organism that produces its own sugars to convert to ethanol? Both processes happen separately in plenty of ways. Cut out the middle man.
I'm hard pressed to think of why competitive projects that are actually well funded, with incentives, wouldn't produce strong results in very few years. Our computing skills have gotten pretty good recently.
We just find it hard to dedicate significant resources on focused areas. Wish I understood why.
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