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Re: takes 1.5 gallons gasoline to produce 1 gallon ethanol in modern agr

Subject: Re: takes 1.5 gallons gasoline to produce 1 gallon ethanol in modern agriculture
Date: 19 Jun 2006 11:30:43 -0700
Newsgroups: sci.agriculture,, sci.chem
Bob Eld wrote:
> <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
> > I am getting annoyed by politicians running for office who tout ethanol
> > as a great new energy source. Iowa and Nebraska are campaigning with
> > ethanol as an issue. This does great harm. For farmers and others may
> > think that ethanol is some sort of solution.
> >
> > Ethanol can be a solution provided the farming of grains is done
> > without using any petroleum products. That means the old way of farming
> > using horses and no tractors.
> >
> > The science is that it takes 1.5 gallons of gasoline/diesel to produce
> > 1 gallon of ethanol.
> Snip......
> That is simply not true, it's old data pushed by David Pimental and others.
> A more modern number shows a net positive energy balance of 167%. This
> includes all inputs and outputs including transportation, fertilizer,
> farming, distilation, etc. It results in a net energy INCREASE  for corn
> ethanol of approxametely 33,000 BTU's per gallon. Source: Hosein, USDA,
> 2001.
> Beyond that, nobody expects corn to be the ultimate source for ethanol in
> the future. Corn is convienient and available at this time but in the
> future, cellulostic ethanol using far more of the biomass will become the
> norm. It's efficiency should be higher because of greater plant utilization
> and lower farming costs.
> Bob

Thanks for the interesting reply and the source Hosein. I suspect
Pimental of Cornell is correct on this issue and that Hosein is wrong.
We have too much trouble with subjective people entering this debate.
Subjective as to the pull of money.

And it is a shame that our bastions of objective research by
Universities are not being objective but rather subjectively pulled by
this debate, funded by ethanol interests and interests that are not
scientific. Universities of Iowa State, Univ of Nebraska and all these
land grant aggie schools should be verifying that ethanol in petrol
based farming is a loss. Not just Cornell University.

I looked at that website of Hosein:

to try to find out where Hosein made his errors.

I am trying to offer a more simplified scientific approach to determine
once and for all the theoretical physics and chemistry underpinning the

I believe that if we convert the grain such as corn into a liquid
state, since gasoline and diesel are liquids would divulge the answer
as to whether ethanol is a positive energy or a negative energy.

Let us take just one corn plant. What is an average number of corn
kernels one corn plant can produce? Let us say it is a 1,268 just to
throw out a number. Now, how much volume of liquid can 1,268 corn
kernels be reduced to as corn-oil? Can one corn plant be reduced to say
1/20 of a liter of corn-oil? Now according to Hosein's Table 1 shows
how many gallons of gasoline and diesel per acre are used.

All I need is a estimation of how many times a piece of machinery
passes by a single corn plant and to convert that passing by as to how
many drops of diesel is spent on that corn plant. I then convert how
much fertilizer and herbicide and pesticide is used per corn plant into
a liquid form.

In the end, I balance out the corn oil liquid with the amount of liquid
costs (diesel, herbicide, etc). Does the cost exceed 1/20 of a liter of
corn-oil that a single corn plant can produce.

By shifting the analysis to a liquid form, I hope to reduce the problem
to a more simplified analysis.

And I hope it shows quite clearly that a single corn plant that is
farmed via petrol machinery in toto cannot possibly come out ahead. If
we become Amish style farmers then the ethanol is 100% a winner. This
is the old formula given by someone at Rutgers University in the 1980s
who said that Primitive Farming for every 1 unit of energy spent by
human and animal labor yields 49 units of grain energy but in Petrol
based farming for every 49 units of petrol energy spent yields only 1
unit of grain energy. I think this Rutgers researcher may have the
equation a little bit exaggerated but on the correct track of truth.

So what I think is happening with reports such as Hosein is that they
are reverting to data that an Amish farmer would produce corn. And in
that table, there are many farm data where farmers do not properly
fertilize or underreport their diesel expenses.

Archimedes Plutonium
whole entire Universe is just one big atom
where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies

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