T Nation

Energy Independence

Is it just me or do you think that politicians need to stop talking about abortion and gay marriage and start taking serious steps to set goals toward achieving energy indepedence.

your thoughts please

Love,

buffballswell

[quote]buffballswell wrote:
Is it just me or do you think that politicians need to stop talking about abortion and gay marriage and start taking serious steps to set goals toward achieving energy indepedence.

your thoughts please

Love,

buffballswell[/quote]

Abortion and gay marriage only require litigation. Energy independence requires more research, projection, fiscal organization, and litigation.

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” -E.B. White

[quote]buffballswell wrote:
Is it just me or do you think that politicians need to stop talking about abortion and gay marriage and start taking serious steps to set goals toward achieving energy indepedence.

your thoughts please[/quote]

It might well be enough if the government would just stop tilting the table toward energy dependence. The next step beyond that would be a stiff tax on gasoline. The Congress, as presently constituted, will not get far with either proposition, in my opinion.

If you want the Congress to help with energy independence, go organize mass protests or something.

[quote]buffballswell wrote:
Is it just me or do you think that politicians need to stop talking about abortion and gay marriage and start taking serious steps to set goals toward achieving energy indepedence.

your thoughts please

Love,

buffballswell[/quote]

energy independence isn’t the kind of thing to inspire your “base”. Talking about homosexuals, the “sanctity of marriage” (such a joke in this day and age), and abortion gets people all emotional and riled up.

Energy independence is a real and viable option for this country. The problem right now is that the market that determines the level of viability for renewable energy is holding it back with cheap oil prices. Yes, cheap oil.

The cost of R&D for energy is much more expensive and until it becomes cheaper in relation to oil renewable sources will remain on the fringes. The unfortunate thing is that only energy companies are willing to make the investment on energy research which means we will still have to deal with energy monopolies if one happens to obtain a patent for some process or product.

From my point of view this alone should be reason enough to dump money into research because the pay-off will undoubtedly be quite large in terms of what it means for humanity verses the profit it may bring some energy company.

All in all one should be satisfied that at least this dialog is happening in the first place. Twenty years ago it most assuredly was not.

I don’t know if anyone saw the special on Brazil and it’s ability to run the countries vehicles on ethanol?

Heck, combo engines are readily available today, here, even if the fuel isn’t widely available.

If I recall, they discussed E85, 85% ethanol. Strange that I’ve read how impossible it is to use ethanol while the nation of Brazil is already doing it…

[quote]vroom wrote:
I don’t know if anyone saw the special on Brazil and it’s ability to run the countries vehicles on ethanol?

Heck, combo engines are readily available today, here, even if the fuel isn’t widely available.

If I recall, they discussed E85, 85% ethanol. Strange that I’ve read how impossible it is to use ethanol while the nation of Brazil is already doing it…[/quote]

Key difference, Brazil has mostly fuel-flex cars, and creates ethanol from sugar cane, which is something to the order of 11 times more efficient than ethanol from corn. Guess what we want to make our ethanol from?

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” -E.B. White[/quote]

How do you prejudge abortion and gay marriage? I’d submit that it is you who are prejudging those who disagree with those ideas. You are prejudging their motivations. What you need to understand is that people can be perfectly earnest in their reasons for not believing in things that you believe in. So it’s a two way street here. You can’t behave as if all those who disagree with you are unreasonable and uneducated.

But that is exactly what American liberals most often do. Cry foul. Throw a tantrum. Call people names like racist, bigot, liar, and so on.

I can be against abortion and gay marriage without having a problem with women or homosexuals. My interests might be in the protection of unborn children and the preservation of the instituion of marriage.

[quote]Ren wrote:
vroom wrote:
I don’t know if anyone saw the special on Brazil and it’s ability to run the countries vehicles on ethanol?

Heck, combo engines are readily available today, here, even if the fuel isn’t widely available.

If I recall, they discussed E85, 85% ethanol. Strange that I’ve read how impossible it is to use ethanol while the nation of Brazil is already doing it…

Key difference, Brazil has mostly fuel-flex cars, and creates ethanol from sugar cane, which is something to the order of 11 times more efficient than ethanol from corn. Guess what we want to make our ethanol from?[/quote]

The crop most suited to our climate?

[quote]vroom wrote:
I don’t know if anyone saw the special on Brazil and it’s ability to run the countries vehicles on ethanol?

Heck, combo engines are readily available today, here, even if the fuel isn’t widely available.

If I recall, they discussed E85, 85% ethanol. Strange that I’ve read how impossible it is to use ethanol while the nation of Brazil is already doing it…[/quote]

In addition to more favorable agriculture, when you live in a nation whose economy collapsed less than two decades ago it’s easy to take advantage of low costs to make some less conventional ideas work. But more tangentially, I agree with you, between combustion engine/electric motor hybrids, biodiesel, ethanol, and solar I have trouble reconciling the inability to deal with this issue (except to say politics as usual).

[quote]vroom wrote:
If I recall, they discussed E85, 85% ethanol. Strange that I’ve read how impossible it is to use ethanol while the nation of Brazil is already doing it…
[/quote]

Its not that it is impossible it is that it is real expensive for us to produce it. Currently the crops we use in this country are not as convertible. Corn and soy are not the most efficient to use. I think in Brazil they are using sugar cane which is easily grown there and is more efficient in terms of conversion.

Just to give you an idea of what it takes to make ethanol:

  1. Easily convertible source of sugar

  2. Fuel source to distil alcohols into ethanol. With sugar cane the left-over woody material could be used as a fuel source for the distilling process. Soy and corn are not so easily burned and not as much leftover material. This is where conversion efficiency is determined.

Personally I think bio-diesel is better in terms of cost and efficiency–not to mention wear-and-tear on vehicles is minimized and it require no conversion or tweaking in the fuel injectors. The downside is that it would require thinners in colder climates because it becomes way too viscous below 5C.

Automobile fuel is the first and easiest step toward energy independence we could take as a country; people should realize that it will be more expensive than conventional fuels until they become commonplace. This is the real test for energy independence.

The next step would be to develop alternatives like wind and geothermal which is the most abundant energy on the globe.

[quote]Ren wrote:
Key difference, Brazil has mostly fuel-flex cars, and creates ethanol from sugar cane, which is something to the order of 11 times more efficient than ethanol from corn. Guess what we want to make our ethanol from?[/quote]

The flex-fuel cars are easy to make, or adjust our current cars to.

Unless you mean “price” when you say efficiency, because they aren’t the same thing, then be careful with your assumptions. Do we simply have to dedicate 11 times more land?

Anyway, some questions:

How much cheaper is it to grow non-food grade produce, when you don’t have to even consider pesticides and so forth? Are we using food grade farming costs to do our efficiency and price estimates?

Are farmers still be subsidized to grow stuff?

How many barrels (equivalent) per acre can be achieved?

Those ethanol producing plants looked pretty low-tech. If you don’t listen to studies done by big oil, what is the true breakeven price point for the farmers?

Finally, is one real problem that this can all be done completely outside of big oil (small low-tech ethanol plants), cutting them out of the loop?

Just some thoughts/questions…

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

  1. Easily convertible source of sugar
    [/quote]

So, what is THE most sugar bearing crops that we can raise up here at cheapest cost? Is it in fact corn?

There are many types of fast growing trees (such as poplar?) or other fibrous plants that could also be utilized. We don’t have to use the sugar source as fuel as well if we didn’t want to.

[quote]
Personally I think bio-diesel is better in terms of cost and efficiency–not to mention wear-and-tear on vehicles is minimized and it require no conversion or tweaking in the fuel injectors. The downside is that it would require thinners in colder climates because it becomes way too viscous below 5C.

Automobile fuel is the first and easiest step toward energy independence we could take as a country; people should realize that it will be more expensive than conventional fuels until they become commonplace. This is the real test for energy independence.

The next step would be to develop alternatives like wind and geothermal which is the most abundant energy on the globe.[/quote]

Yeah. It would be great, especially in a geopolotical sense, to stop pumping money into shithole regions of the planet where they simply resent us anyway.

If you factor the cost of the current war into the real cost for automobile fuel, it’s not looking as expensive as it once did to find alternatives…

[quote]vroom wrote:
Unless you mean “price” when you say efficiency, because they aren’t the same thing, then be careful with your assumptions. Do we simply have to dedicate 11 times more land?

[/quote]
Price is the biggest factor. The next biggest is convertibility. This is how much as percentage of the plant is converted to fuel. Corn is less than 10%.

At the current rate of conversion it takes one bushel of corn to produce about 2 gallons of ethanol fuel. Two gallons of ethanol equate to 1.4 gallons of conventional gasoline in a mile-to-mile comparison.

Current statistics state that at maximum efficiency one acre of land can grow 40 bushels of corn. This equates to 56 gallons of conventional fuel per acre per growing cycle. The tractor used to grow this corn uses about 10% of this fuel/acre farmed.

This means per acre we can net up to 50 conventional gallons of gasoline per growing cycle.

At a bare minimum to become self sufficient we would need to grow 1 acre/ 50 gallons of conventional fuel consumed/year. Keep in mind this will also affect the price of food.

[quote]vroom wrote:
So, what is THE most sugar bearing crops that we can raise up here at cheapest cost? Is it in fact corn?

[/quote]

Actually, there have been some studies with unconventional crops. There is a type of algae that is over 90% convertible. I am not sure of the statistics for this crop.

Certainly, corn is the easiest as our climate is perfect for it and many farms already grow it. The problem with introducing new crops is the learning curve involved with raising them.

Ideally, we need a crop with high turnover, that doesn’t require photosynthesis, has a low nutrient uptake, and is highly convertible. This will be the holy-grail of ethanol crops.

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=6817

Just some articles on the efficiency of corn ethanol and how Brazil’s ethanol production got started for those interested in reading a bit more.

[quote]DS 007 wrote:
I can be against abortion and gay marriage without having a problem with women or homosexuals. My interests might be in the protection of unborn children and the preservation of the instituion of marriage.

[/quote]

Ummm…no you can’t. Go tell your homosexual friends( I mean you’ve got some right, you’re not against them after all) that you are ok with them but just not them getting married. I’m sure they’ll understand.

[quote]storey420 wrote:
DS 007 wrote:
I can be against abortion and gay marriage without having a problem with women or homosexuals. My interests might be in the protection of unborn children and the preservation of the instituion of marriage.

Ummm…no you can’t. Go tell your homosexual friends( I mean you’ve got some right, you’re not against them after all) that you are ok with them but just not them getting married. I’m sure they’ll understand.[/quote]

Settle down, champ. You’ve got some flawed logic here. But let’s go slow, okay? I can see you rode the short bus. Seems in your world if you don’t have gay friends you are “against” them. If you don’t have black friends you are a bigot? That about right?

Do I favor civil unions? Do I favor gay couples having death benetifts akin to those of married couples? Do think that gay couples should be allowed to adopt children, or even have children (by whatever means) of their own?

I’m asking YOU to tell ME how I feel about all this stuff. Since you already know so much about what I think. Since you have already decided I have no gay friends and whatever other conclusions you may have drawn, Mr. Enlightenment.

Nuclear power – faster, please.

What about this dude…

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5407551

I mean, grass is pretty common, simple and low maintenance. It should grow back every year - like my yard, right? Heck, if you dry it, it’s easy to burn as a fuel for distilling too.

Obviously, I have no idea of the comparative economics.