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“In 2003, Lanny Schmidt, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota, demonstrated a reformer that transformed a solution of 60% ethanol 40% water into hydrogen. This was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment at the University of Minnesota. Schmidt authored "Renewable Hydrogen from Ethanol by Autothermal Reforming," Science, February 13, 2004. One observation he made was remarkable: Not only was all the hydrogen in the ethanol extracted – So was HALF of the hydrogen in the water.” For those who are interested in advanced ethanol-water engine and fuel cell technologies, including auto-thermal reforming: https://sites.google.com/site/e1004freeread/
Fantastic reporting by Green Car Congress authors… And possibly the best study ever by Mark Jacobson…
Someone who typically resorts to name calling, intimidation, and slander - That speaks volumes about who They are. Especially when they hide behind a fake identity. Engineer-Poet: reveal to us your real name and your country of origin.
"Small modular reactors" - Cheaper - But that means you'll have them everywhere - BAD IDEA
Here’s a double brief with links to 2 articles: http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2010/03/03/today-in-biofuels-opinion-epa%e2%80%99s-endangerment-finding-a-%e2%80%9cpower-grab%e2%80%9d-and-based-on-%e2%80%9cscientific-errors-and-fraud-%e2%80%9d/ One brief is about a newer law suit against the EPA: “EPA’s endangerment finding a ‘power grab’ and based on ‘scientific errors and fraud’.” It was never the intent of Congress to give the EPA broad sweeping authority to control CO2 across every industry in the U.S.. The other brief is on a bill in the House to limit EPA’s authority. See also: “U.S. House members move to block EPA”, by Erin Voegele. Regardless of the Mass. decision (which is a states issue), this is not over. What people call global warming or climate change is inconclusive science. It is yet to be measured and described accurately. The political agenda is falsely steering the science. UN - IPCC assumptions on CO2 are premature conjectures, yet the EPA embraces it and rushes it into their regulations, without verification. Aside from the “Real Pollutants”, EPA’s CO2 “endangerment finding” is faulty, as Erin Voegele and Kris Bevill pointed out in “Senators Release Climategate Report” (Industrial GHG Solutions). The most significant defect in the IPCC UN report, upon which EPA science is based, is the false claim that all Himalayan Glaciers would melt by 2035, due to excess CO2 in global air. A one or two degree rise in air temperature does not melt glaciers. And furthermore, many glaciers are advancing, not receding. Yet you didn’t hear about that from the UN, because the information is being manipulated. In reality, migrating Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot absorbs solar thermal while suspended, and it forms black layers on snow and ice. This is what’s melting glaciers, ice and snow. Not CO2. Black Carbon Soot is also a component of acid rain and pollutes run off water. This could be the main cause of ocean acidification. Instead, IPCC science falsely claims that CO2 is the main cause of ocean acidification, when acid rain is a bigger factor. Blaming CO2 is being used as a diversion. It should never have been classified as a pollutant. It’s a building block of nature. The EPA endangerment finding is a “bate and switch”. It’s bating you with the real pollutants, and switching you to CO2, a universal control mechanism and a top priority.
We were not talking about “burning” water. The principle of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen does not violate any scientific laws. We were talking about fuel reformers that process conventional fuels mixed with water. The water does not get burned. It gets vaporized and split in the process, and the hydrogen component combines with the vaporized fuel component. That’s what burns. This is Not about wishing and hoping. Water-fuel technology has been developing for years, and it’s beginning to manifest in products that you can buy and use, and being further developed in new ways. Skeptics won’t be ready for what’s coming.
When Congress passed the Clean Air Act, and when it amended it, the focus and the authority was on specific known pollutants. It was Not the intent of Congress to give the EPA broad sweeping powers to control CO2 across the board, in order to mitigate what was at the time unproven science. The Clean Air Act was not crafted to solve global warming or climate change. And that’s where the court got it wrong. The vote was 5 to 4. That means the fate of the entire country would rest in the hands of one individual, an attorney turned judge, until Congress redefines the authority of the EPA.
The EPA is getting sued over this issue. There are also bills pending in Congress that will subjugate the Court decision with specific legislation. Legislation by our representatives, not 9 judges, will spell out in detail what the EPA can and can’t do. The main issue is – CO2 is NOT a pollutant. And just because the EPA says it is, does Not make it a pollutant. Now we will determine whether CO2 is a pollutant or not. And if not, then the EPA will Not have the authority to regulate it. The Clean Air Act did Not address global warming or climate change. I said in the context of “global warming, or is that climate change.” EP omitted that in his response and took the meaning out of context. EP – you have a very shallow understanding of this issue. EPA agency authority was previously defined in the realm of pollution control, Not CO2 control, and Not as a means to control global warming or climate change. The EPA court ruling is temporary, because Congress has the authority over the EPA, not the courts. Congress will simply redefine what it wants the EPA to do or not do. I will never retract a true statement: “And the Clean Air Act did Not give the EPA the legal authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant, in the context of global warming, or is that climate change.”
This article OMITS carbon dioxide as one of the 6 pollutants on the EPA list – very clever. The author apparently doesn’t want us to see that CO2 actually fell 5% in 2008 and fell again in 2009. This is due to less driving, lower fuel consumption (5-6% lower for gasoline and 10-11% lower for diesel), new cars getting better mileage, the economic downturn, cleaner biofuels displacing fossil fuels, and the increase of solar, wind, biomass, and natural gas displacing coal. Were lower CO2 levels omitted from this article, so it wouldn’t weaken the argument for global warming / climate change? Omitting CO2 from the article also tells us that the author is an advocate of global warming, and also does Not want to bring-up the issue of whether or not carbon dioxide should be classified as a pollutant. It should not. And the Clean Air Act did Not give the EPA the legal authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant, in the context of global warming, or is that climate change. This effect is still Not accurately measured and described, and definitely Not settled. There is No consensus. On their website, describing the Clean Air Act, EPA Does acknowledge that pollution migrates. And they describe some of the pollutants that migrate in the air and settle-out in other states or other countries. This is “Pollution Migration Effect”. And that’s what we need to mitigate. Not All the CO2 on the planet. (1) ground-level ozone; (2) particle pollution; (3) lead; nitrogen dioxide; (4) carbon monoxide; (5) sulfur dioxide Also notice that Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot is omitted. That's a BIG omission.
Sulleny – We share the same vision. About 3 weeks ago, when BloomBox hit the press, I came to the same conclusion. The BloomBox does Not require pure hydrogen like most fuel cells. For example, it’ll operate on - unfiltered – methane rich biogas, straight out of an anaerobic digester. And it should also run on the mixture of hydrogen and short chain exotic gases that are produced by plasma water-fuel reformers. Local domestic biofuel, cut in half (or more) with water, reformed onsite into hydrogen-rich gas, running distributed BloomBox type fuel cells, that are almost 2 times more efficient than natural gas turbines - “that would heat, cool, make electricity, and a little pure water.” This could be where fuel cells are going. No hydrogen infrastructure needed.
Wow sullenly – that’s excellent! It verifies what Lanny Schmidt said, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment at the University of Minnesota. Schmidt authored "Renewable Hydrogen from Ethanol by Autothermal Reforming," Science, February 13, 2004. He developed a self-powered 60-40 ethanol-water reformer, and he stated that HALF of the hydrogen in the water was also extracted along with all the hydrogen in the ethanol. (His device appears to be a vaporizer.) "The researchers eventually solved the flammability problem by using an automotive fuel injector, said Schmidt. 'It rapidly vaporizes ethanol water and mixes (it) with air and does this so fast that there's no time for flames to start,' he said." (Ethanol yields hydrogen, by Kimberly Patch, Technology Research News) Plasma fuel reformers go well beyond vaporizers, converting a much higher volume of water to hydrogen, even when combined with crude oil, gasoline, diesel, and other liquid fuels. SJC – Good comment. That would make a good range extender. See: “New catalyst boosts hydrogen as transport fuel”, by Alok Jha. It’s $9 a killogram. Say goodbye to platinum and rhodium. Also, the BloomBox fuel cell claims to run on any fuel, including methanol.
SJC: Direct Methanol Fuel Cell is another pathway – and a good one, because it’s a chemical reaction rather than ICE combustion. Water-fuel technology can be integrated with fuel cells in numerous different ways – and it should. I’m not a huge fan of burning methanol, because from what I hear, the emissions are a problem, but when you use methanol in a fuel cell as you outlined – It’s a really good application. Goes to show you, there are numerous ways to get the job done. Ethanol or methanol in combination with water reduces the surface tension of the water and makes it easier to split. Here’s the demonstration they use: Take a drink of water, and when you set the glass down, you should see some drops of water beading-up on the glass. Now add alcohol and then pour some out of the glass. You should see the solution just side back down into the glass, as a film, without beading-up. The alcohol lowered the surface tension of the water. When combined with water, there is also a molecular rearangement of the hydrogen which changes the chemical bond.
EP: "Adding water to fuel is NOT a guaranteed energy loser." Let’s face it EP – you don’t get it. What don’t you get about recycling the caloric value of hot exhaust heat back into the fuel reforming process? (1) First the exhaust heat is used to vaporize the mixture of fuel and water; and then (2) the exhaust heat is used to create a temperature differential - between the fuel vapor and the hot exhaust passing around it in the opposite direction. When properly configured, this triggers the plasma reaction. The heat would have been exhausted and lost out the tailpipe. Instead, it is recycled. There will be some heat losses, but nowhere near the heat losses that normally go out the tailpipe. Most of the heat is recycled into the vaporization and the plasma process. When the fuel is reformed into hydrogen and short exotic gases, and when the water vapor is split into hydrogen and oxygen, that provides performance-based power (which is something that EP apparently does not accept). EP – Do your own homework. I don’t have to explain every little detail – especially to skeptics. The information is available for anyone who really has an interest in this cutting edge technology. If you want to keep denying it – fine – That’s your problem. Not mine. Furthermore, I’m Not selling anything. This is for educational and research purposes. And there are people out there who want to learn about this. Just because you don’t believe it’s possible, and you’re Not even willing to look at the research and read the patents (as I have) – That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. “Engines do not exhaust plasma”. I didn’t say they did. You misinterpreted this and twisted it around as usual. Just as you falsely claimed that I am against EV’s and that I work for ADM and OPEC – which I Don’t. Perhaps you are the one who is out of touch with reality. By the way, plasma water-fuel reformers are installed and working in hundreds of vehicles, particularly in France, where you can buy them. And as “sulleny” wisely pointed-out, the “Grid Buster”, which runs on 50-50 ethanol-water, is a good example of the vapor method. This is here now, working equipment that can be purchased and operated. EP – you’re apparently Not current on water-fuel technology.
Adding water to fuel is NOT a guaranteed energy loser. CleanFlex Power Systems delivers 60-40 ethanol-water as a vapor through the air intake. A diesel engine runs cleaner with more power and saves over a dollar an hour in fuel costs. The ethanol-water vapor makes-up 15-30% of a diesel engine’s fuel consumption, using watered-down cheaper fuel. This can also be used on a gasoline powered engine. Beyond CleanFlex, which is basically just a water-fuel vaporizer, plasma fuel reformers process a much higher percentage of water and a lower percentage of fuel. They have been demonstrated at NASA, the University of Minnesota, MIT, and by many others. The process energy is available in the hot exhaust, which normally is lost. There are different methods of creating the plasma. In one design, part of the hot exhaust is bubbled through a 20-80 fuel-water mix, and part of the hot exhaust is passed across the cooler water-fuel vapor passing in the opposite direction. An electromagnetic vortex is produced, which disassociates the vapor into hydrogen rich exotic gases. This works especially well with 20% crude oil and 80% salt water. Ethanol-water also works well when set-up right. Over at “Gas 2.0”, Naresh Vasant provided an explanation of how the GEET water-fuel reformer works: “It’s ‘steam reforming’ which is a cracking process used in the petroleum industry. With an engine, it absorbs much of the wasted heat energy that goes out with the exhaust. The energy is returned to the engine in the form of short molecule gases that have higher potential energy than the original longer chain hydrocarbon. The cracking process cracks the water content also. Google search ‘steam reforming’. Its the #1 method of hydrogen production in the world. Decades ago auto makers tested, proved and patented these type of fuel reformers for use in cars but they won’t sell a car with them, not even after NASA JPL engineers proved it works well in the 1970’s and not even after MIT proved it works well all over again using a plasma fuel reformer during the past 10 years. This man, Paul Pantone’s (GEET) fuel reformer is the best I’ve seen, because the plasma doesn’t require an external power supply. It builds electrostatic potential similar (to) thunderclouds.” I’m not opposed to EVs and PHEVs – never have been. I’m an advocate. But it will take 20-30 years for them to replace liquid fuels, which we still need during the transition. I will be buying a PHEV with the range extender. EP – I’m advocating two technologies: (1) add-on 60-40 ethanol-water vaporizers for the air intake, that will reduce fossil fuel consumption and clean-up the exhaust…and (2) plasma fuel reformers that run an engine on 20% fuel and 80% water. Implying that I work for OPEC is totally illogical. And I don’t work for ADM. I’m an independent researcher. Whatever you do EP - don’t you dare go looking at the links I provide. That might alter your consciousness. http://www.rexresearch.com/gunnrman/gunnrman.htm http://waterfuel.100free.com/geet_plasma.html
Adding $5 worth of taxes to a gallon of transportation fuel – That’s like you carrying around leaches hanging off your arms and legs. That would be fine for people who are too weak to stand up for their freedoms and cast-off their ball and chain. In the U.S., high taxes on fuel are Not going to fly. We enjoy our cheap fuel. And that gives us a lower cost of living. The notion that we should restrict our driving to lower CO2 is stupid. That would only inhibit economic growth. Plus, we’ve had the technology to increase mileage and fix exhaust pollution since the early 90’s. Most liquid fuels can be emulsified in water and then “plasma-vaporized”. This strips the hydrogen from the fuel and also splits part of the water into hydrogen, onboard the vehicle. Replicated hundreds of times in France and even verified by automakers. SEE: http://www.rexresearch.com/gunnrman/gunnrman.htm http://waterfuel.100free.com/geet_plasma.html Why isn’t this mainstream technology? Because it’s a disruptive technology that was suppressed by automakers, because automakers are controlled by the same parties who profit from fuels. They’ve been selling you vehicles that are custom crafted to get lucrative profits out of the fuels they’re also marketing. It’s called Greed. Why would automakers sell you a vehicle that runs on only 20% of the fuel you are currently consuming, and allow you to extract the rest of your “fuel” from water, onboard your vehicle? This is no time to increase fuel taxes, especially over a manipulated issue. Global warming, or is that climate change, or is that “Pollution Migration Effect” - has Not yet been accurately measured and described. We need to mitigate the “real pollutants”, not CO2. This study and many other studies are based on premature assumptions and incomplete science. Also, there are so many other variables that were Not analyzed. The combination of evolving alternative energy and biofuels, cutting edge automotive technology, and the concept of climate change and pollution mitigation - is complex. It has a multitude of facets – much more complex than a study based on narrow tunnel vision can handle accurately. It’s time to roll-back taxes of all kinds and create more expendable income. Taxes have a stifling effect on personal freedom and economic expansion. Politicians love to spend your money. And where does it go? Mostly to pay interest on debt because of overspending, and also to award insider contracts for favors and special interests. Your money is being steered to them. Eliminate these two black holes and streamline government, and you would have a viable tax base - One that could be rolled-back rather than expanded. Then you’ll be looking at prosperity and a higher standard of living. Anybody paying more than 50 cents a gallon in road tax is getting milked.
Corn ethanol is the most effective renewable liquid fuel we have right now, and we Won’t be phasing it out any time soon. It’s still expanding and still evolving. Integrating corn ethanol with dairy, poultry and livestock feeding operations is an opportunity to mitigate the methane coming off the manure, and to convert that into biogas. This displaces natural gas for production power. Integrated “wet distillers grains”, fed to adjacent livestock, requires no expensive drying, and this substantially reduces energy consumption and increases its nutritional quality over dried distillers grains. This is a high protein feed supplement that makes-up 20-30% of the diet, which enhances milk, poultry, fish and meat production. To make ethanol, we basically remove the starch, the component that most livestock do not fully digest. Now we will remove most of the oil as well, and this will make the proteins even more digestible and efficient. HD’s pipe-dream of phasing out corn ethanol as fast as possible is Not going to happen. This is a well established industry supported by 2/3 of the population, and it will take roughly 8-10 years for cellulosic ethanol to match the ethanol production of corn. At that point, you won’t just close-down all corn ethanol plants. Cellulose ethanol will be integrated with corn ethanol, handling corn cobs and half the corn stover biomass, at the same location. When fully exploited, that will add 27 billion gallons, with no acreage added. The entire corn crop will also have a sugary stalk, that will add 300 gallons per acre, another 27 billion gallons of fuel, again with no acreage added. Within 10 years, corn ethanol will be further evolved – integrated with manure and biogas, adding efficiency and mitigation, higher yields adding 20% more fuel and co-products, universal oil extraction adding 7% more fuel in the form of biodiesel, micro-fractionation adding another 5% more fuel, and other technologies that are in the works. We will also see algae being integrated with corn ethanol, an ideal combination, mitigating waste CO2, waste heat, and waste effluent. Both Nebraska and Iowa have funded research projects to integrate algae into corn ethanol. Green Plains, one of the most successful corn ethanol producers, already has an algae unit on the ground adjacent to a corn ethanol refinery – producing additional onsite feedstock from waste products. This is the future of corn ethanol. Ethanol will be used in different ways as a substitute fuel to grow and ship the corn, and to produce and ship the ethanol. This will displace more fossil fuels and improve the environmental footprint. Using CleanFlex, we can now supplement 15-30% ethanol in diesel fueled farm tractors to grow the corn. This same method can be used on long haul trucks, locomotives and ships – to ship corn, ethanol, and distillers grains. Later, we will have tractors that process 50-50 ethanol water into hydrogen onboard the vehicle. That can be used in ICEs, fuel cells, turbines, home heating systems, power plants, and what have you. Corn ethanol refineries may also convert half-distilled (100 proof) 50-50-ethanol-water into CHP for onsite production power and surplus power for the grid, displacing natural gas and coal. HD advocates using more natural gas. That’s cleaner than coal, but burning natural gas still makes newly mined CO2 build-up in the atmosphere. In contrast, corn ethanol releases mostly recycled CO2. And, it can be carbon neutral and even carbon negative, by using ethanol to produce and ship ethanol, and by integrating manure based biogas and algae. HD also advocates nuclear power, and that’s the wrong direction to take - especially when we have all these other alternatives surging. Texas and Iowa are already at 20% wind, Google claims that it will cut the cost of thermal solar in half, and desert states are poised to double and triple solar power. This is just the beginning. Does HD make some valid points – yes. Demand for liquid fuel will gradually decrease, as EVs and PHEVs (which I also advocate) take a bigger and bigger market share. That will phase-out the need for imported oil over time. In existing vehicles, in range extender engines, and in a high percentage of new vehicles, we will still need liquid fuels for many years to come. As we move closer to energy independence, more and more of our vehicles will be powered primarily by conventional domestic fuels, domestic synthetic fuels, and domestic biofuels, including ethanol based on corn, sorghum, sugarcrops, waste, biomass, algae, and other bioms. Corn based ethanol will continue to be a major player in the mix.
EP – I agree with you on the Ford MIT ethanol injection. Ford calls it the Bobcat. But whether they’ll bring that engine out remains to be seen. Ford sees the Bobcat as a cheaper replacement engine for new diesel engines, which must now be upgraded with something like $9K worth of more expensive emission control equipment. The Bobcat is thousands cheaper, because (as you know) it’s a gasoline engine, with a small amount of ethanol (E-85) injected to boost the octane, flame speed, power, mileage… and clean-up emissions, etc. That would make fuel costs for long haul trucking cheaper and put downward pressure on the cost of most goods and services… That is, if Bobcat ever actually enters the market and begins replacing diesels. What’s more promising in my view is CleanFlex Power System. This is a much less expensive add-on to existing diesel engines. CleanFlex delivers 60-40 ethanol-water as a vapor through the air intake. It makes a diesel engine run cleaner with more power and saves over a dollar an hour in fuel costs. The ethanol-water vapor represents 15 to 30 percent of the diesel engine fuel consumption, using watered-down cheaper fuel. This can also be adapted to gasoline engines. A much larger market for ethanol is being created, which will also displace more imported oil with cleaner renewable domestic fuel. Ethanol-water vapor delivered through the air intake bypasses the fuel tank, the fuel pump, and the fuel lines. So there's no compatability issues. CleanFlex will break through the current blend wall, and that will open-up the market for cellulosic ethanol. Corn ethanol is capped at 15 billion gallons. This will really open your eyes - See: Rudolf GUNNERMAN Water-Fuel Emulsion: http://www.rexresearch.com/gunnrman/gunnrman.htm
American corn ethanol and Brazilian sugarcane ethanol both have merit, and they are both adding to the fuel supply and putting downward pressure on conventional fuel prices. But they have been and will continue to be on different paths of development. Both Brazilian cane ethanol and American corn ethanol are still evolving. American ethanol is way more advanced than it was 10 years ago, and 10 years from now, it’ll be more advanced yet. The rate of progress and the coming technology in the U.S. is stunning. Burning bagasse for production power and surplus power for the grid is relevant, but there are 2 downsides. The unfiltered black carbon soot being spewed into the atmosphere, and efficiency that is half of what biogas digesters would produce from the same biomass. Then, if you take that up a notch to cellulosic or gasification, the efficiencies could go higher yet. Should Brazil continue to burn bagasse? Absolutely, because it’s mostly renewable, and it displaces newly mined carbon with recycled CO2 (aside from any diesel fuel used to produce it). Burning bagasse is a stepping stone. Brazil will need to move to the higher efficiencies and the better environmental footprint of cellulosic and gasification. That will come in time. What’s more intriguing is the first ethanol fueled electric power plant coming online in Brazil. And that could be powered by 50-50 ethanol-water, reformed onsite into hydrogen, to run conventional natural gas type turbines. That’s something that could be integrated into corn ethanol refineries as well, using more efficient ethanol that is half-distilled. That would displace piped-in newly mined natural gas – with onsite renewable production power and a pristine recycled CO2 footprint. It would be easy to do. Simply run the hydrogen through existing natural gas turbines for CHP production power and-or surplus power to the grid. As I have mentioned before. We have 50-50 ethanol-water reformers that strip all the hydrogen from the ethanol, plus half the hydrogen from the water. So you’re actually increasing the onsite fuel component. Configuring this with 70-80% efficient fuel cells, in place of the turbines, would be the next stage of evolution. Integrated corn ethanol refineries with co-gen are coming. See: “Bion Environmental Technologies Plans Closed-Loop Livestock and Ethanol Production Facility in Schroeppel, NY” (Biofuels Journal). The carbon footprint of this integrated corn ethanol refinery and livestock feeding operation will be equal to or better than cellulosic ethanol. This is what I was talking about – exploiting the synergies between corn ethanol and adjacent livestock feeding operations with manure and waste recycling. This operation is in the permitting stage and will be online in 2012. It will also have a significantly better environmental footprint than Brazilian ethanol, especially if you correctly assign Brazilian land use change to Brazil expansion, rather than American corn ethanol. This is similar to “Farmer’s Ethanol”, which has a flow chart showing what next generation integrated corn ethanol looks like. Although the Bion operation will use a new process that is more efficient than anaerobic digesters. Beyond that, the integration of heterotrophic algae and duckweed with corn ethanol refineries is going to be the blockbuster. The nutrient-rich waste water effluent is already there, and so is the waste heat and the waste CO2 that algae thrives on. Add the effluent from livestock manure, and you have algae-duckweed heaven. As I said before, we may one day feed our corn sugars and residues to heterotrophic algae and duckweed, and then use that feedstock for a whole group of oil based, carbohydrate based and complete protein based products. Wet algae can also be gasified into production power and surplus power for the grid. Ten to fifteen years from now, we will be using corn ethanol refineries in new ways. There are many other examples of U.S. integrated biofuel refineries in the works. One example is a joint venture between American Process and Valero - the integration of cellulosic ethanol production with an existing paper pulp mill, expected to produce 22 million gallons a year. This is the first of many that will sweep the paper pulp industry. Municipal solid waste is also being converted into biofuels, and so is sewage, and industrial waste. Both corn ethanol and cellulosic ethanol are moving toward integration and-or co-locating with waste streams. The corn ethanol industry was never meant to mitigate our entire imported oil problem. Currently, it’s only an oxygenator and a supplement. Originally, it was a quick fix for disposing of surplus feed corn piling up in the streets. And then that took shape as a relatively inefficient industry that has become enhanced by new cutting edge technology. Corn ethanol is still a work in progress, just as Brazilian sugarcane based ethanol is. Ethanol and biodiesel are the best liquid replacement fuels we have at this time, until we get something better in place. If the ethanol industry disappeared tomorrow, you would be paying more for monopoly fuels.
Engineer-Poet has a flimsy understanding of the issues he brings-up. Let’s start with the C-ARB issue. C-ARB erroneously uses EPA footprints for corn ethanol and Brazilian ethanol, and those are both substantially inaccurate. EPA lowballs the footprint of Brazilian ethanol and overinflates the footprint of corn ethanol. EPA openly admits that there are “significant uncertainties” regarding international indirect land use change, yet they continue to apply the unproven theory to their rules. And C-ARB makes the mistake of using EPA’s false land use change analysis. The recent German study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, conducted by David M. Lapola of the University of Kassel, based their analysis on reality, instead of false assumptions. Lapola’s team concluded that No international indirect land use change in Brazil should be attributed to American corn ethanol, and that 100% of the deforestation in brazil is due to Brazilian industries and their own expansion of ethanol and biodiesel production. Again, that’s the opposite of what the EPA and C-ARB falsely claimed - They blamed corn ethanol, (derived from a crop that is Not expanding in size) for 50%, and they blamed Brazilian ethanol (derived from a crop that IS expanding in size) for only 7% of land use change in Brazil. The German study has it right, not EPA and C-ARB. Comparing imported Brazilian ethanol against domestic American corn ethanol - They’re two different entities: First of all, most sugarcane is planted and harvested BY HAND. That’s why the energy input and the footprint are lower. The average sugar cane cutter in Brazil drops dead at the age of 46. Cane cutters make next to nothing for excruciating work and long hours. They’re exploited. Almost half of Brazilian sugarcane is now being harvested by tractors that burn diesel fuel. So as Brazilian sugarcane harvesting becomes mechanized, more energy is consumed to produce it, and the environmental footprint will be downgraded. Sugarcane is a good feedstock for ethanol, but it does Not provide the high protein distillers grains that we use as a booster to feed livestock. By-product distillers grains represent about a third of each corn kernel used for ethanol. Distillers grains provide a high quality feed supplement that increases milk production by 10%, increases meat production by 10-15%, and accelerates growth. This saves energy and increases profits. Numerous ethanol refineries are also adapting a new state-of-the-art GreenShift process to extract crude corn oil from corn ethanol leftovers. That is increasing fuel production by 7%. This is Not taken into account by EPA or CARB. Neither are several other new technologies being implemented that will increase the efficiency of corn ethanol further. One crop of sugarcane in Brazil takes 16 to 18 months to mature. And in that span of time, you can get two crops of corn plus a winter crop on the same amount of acreage. This has Not been properly factored into the land use comparison. Corn also produces 4 to 6 tons per acre of biomass waste, that is just beginning to be exploited. In the U.S., we are beginning to take the corn cobs and half of the stover to make more ethanol. This makes about 100 gallons per ton, times 3 tons per acre, which yields another 300 gallons of ethanol per acre per year. The process of making more ethanol from cobs and stover biomass is being integrated into corn ethanol refineries. So the corn inputs will be spread across more co-products, and the refining synergies will spread across more co-products as well. This improves the carbon footprint of corn ethanol and the energy return. The inputs will be going to a combination of grain ethanol, plus distillers grains, plus crude corn oil, plus cellulosic ethanol – all from the same crop. Sugarcane does not do all this. In Brazil, after the sugary juice is squeezed out of the cane, what’s left is baggase fiber. That is burned to provide production power for the plant. This enhances the energy return, however when bagasse is burned for power, typically without using any scrubbing of the exhaust, in Brazil, you get dark black smoke billowing from sugarcane plants – causing black carbon soot air pollution. Also over half of the smaller, immature cane is not harvested mechanically. Instead, it’s left in the field and Burned. That causes more black carbon soot air pollution. When Brazilian ethanol is exported, it must be trucked hundreds of miles to the dock, using diesel fuel, then loaded onboard, and then shipped thousands of miles burning dirty bunker fuel, the dirtiest petroleum based fuel of all – more pollution in the form of sulfurous black carbon soot. That offsets the benefits of using bagasse to power refineries instead of natural gas. When you weigh all the factors, including environmental factors, exported Brazilian is not superior to locally and regionally produced and consumed corn ethanol, with valuable co-products integrated into local economies. This is especially true for feeding distillers grains to adjacent livestock, exploiting adjacent livestock manure, and mitigating methane emissions and run-off, using integrated biogas digesters for refinery production power. This displaces natural gas to power corn ethanol refineries and produces local NPK rich bio-fertilizers from the digester residues. Next generation “integrated” corn ethanol refineries will involve exploiting the synergies of corn ethanol and livestock to make the most of all the valuable co-products and waste resources. They are going beyond sugarcane refineries. If you exclude domestic corn ethanol, as California foolishly and illegally plans to do, and then import Brazilian ethanol in its place, you are out-sourcing American jobs to Brazil. Not only the jobs – but billions in farm subsidy offsets, multiple levels of tax revenue, and the huge economic stimulus that domestic corn ethanol creates. Furthermore, you would be trading one addiction to imported oil – for another addiction to imported ethanol. As long as the U.S. has a Trade Deficit, Americans borrow money from the privately owned Federal Reserve, to buy imported oil and imported ethanol. These debt instruments are added to the National Debt every year – to buy foreign oil and fuel. We are practicing debt consumption. So add perpetual floating interest to the cost of consuming foreign ethanol, instead of domestic ethanol. That’s another reason why 2/3 of Americans support biofuels produced on U.S. soil. What’s causing deforestation in Brazil is the illegal cutting of big timber, dubious land titles, clearing for cattle ranching, subsistence farming, and Brazil’s own program to expand biofuels. Not corn ethanol. EPA and CARB have their international indirect land use change analysis wrong on American corn ethanol. After reducing its own percentage of sugarcane ethanol blended with gasoline, from 25% down to 20%, due to escalating sugar prices and poor sugar content in their 2009 cane crop, it’s obvious that Brazil can not provide a reliable source of foreign ethanol, even if we wanted it.
I believe that Dr. Allen Carlin, a 25 year senior analyst at the EPA had a credible report, but it contradicted the political agenda of the EPA. Carlin exposed the EPA for failing to perform their own science, and fast-tracking unverified foreign science instead. That’s why he was smeared. Perhaps the NYT is a tool of global warming propaganda. The EPA did not verify IPCC science. They automatically used it as the foundation of their rulemaking. Perhaps EPA is being orchestrated by New York and London, rather than Washington DC. Black Carbon Soot (BCS) does Not have a cooling effect. That’s an obsolete concept. Aerosols are known to have reflective characteristics. However, BCS is not your typical aerosol. Black absorbs solar-thermal heat. Everyone should know that. Also, new analysis shows that Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot, while suspended in the air, combines with other chemicals, and multiplies heat absorption 1.6 times. BCS absorbs heat while it’s suspended. See: “Sulfate Lens Enhances Climate Warming Properties of Atmospheric Soot” (GreenCarCongress): http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/06/sulfate-lens-20090630.html#more “Many people think sulfate aerosols are a good thing because they are highly reflective and cool our planet. However we are seeing that sulfate is commonly mixed with soot in the same particles, which means in some regions sulfate could lead to more warming as opposed to more cooling as one would expect for a pure sulfate aerosol.” (Kimberly Prather, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego) I think we’re going to find that suspended Black Carbon Soot (BCS) has a much bigger impact on the warming effect, bigger than CO2. The problem is, BCS does not fit the political agenda, because it can be controlled locally. That sinks the global carbon tax and the universal cap and trade scheme. It also limits control to a much smaller fraction of industries, rather than regulating CO2 universally, to control all industries and every single entity on Earth. BCS also migrates hundreds or thousands of miles and settles-out. Wherever that happens a second effect takes place, the melting of ice and snow. BCS in water run-off generates a third effect, acidification, which migrates through the watershed into the oceans.
Last year the EPA censored their own 25 year senior analyst, Dr. Allen Carlin, because he found evidence that average temperatures were actually going down, and that the EPA was blindly using UN and IPCC foreign science, without verifying it themselves. Since then, IPCC has been caught manipulating information and has been discredited. Yet the EPA went full speed ahead with the UN agenda to label CO2 a pollutant, when it is not. Logic will tell you that a 1 or 2 degree rise in average global temperature, even if it was happening, is not enough to cause glaciers and masses of ice and snow to melt. Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot has been identified as the cause – Not CO2. So you won’t save glaciers and ice caps by regulating CO2. Same thing for Ocean Acidification. You won’t save the oceans by regulating CO2, because acid rain and precipitating Black Carbon Soot is a much bigger factor. Yet the political agenda of the UN and the IPCC is to finger CO2, in order to lay the groundwork for a global carbon tax and a cap and trade scheme. Both of these are being rejected in the United States. However, Americans overwhelmingly support the evolution of Green Technology, alternative energy, and clean high mileage vehicles. And there is a strong movement to bring this about. Tax credits, government incentives, and loan guarantees are already working. Wind, Solar, Biofuels and other alternatives are experiencing rapid growth and good public support, without excessive layers of government bureaucracy and too much control. We don’t need cap and trade, EPA over-regulation, or carbon taxes to create jobs in cleantech industries. These would only increase the cost of living and have a negative impact on the already troubled economy. It was a big mistake for the EPA to allow C-ARB to make-up its own rules. That is divisive. This has already caused California to violate Federal Law and discriminate against our domestic ethanol industry, by falsely regulating CO2 using the same manipulated EPA science. Do we have an environmental problem? Yes. But it’s not CO2. It’s the “real pollutants.
Bennett Parish is using old, outdated information. The energy return on ethanol is now 1.5 to 1.8 for the average refinery and 2.2 and above for integrated ethanol plants using manure-based or waste based biogas for production power (2009 Nebraska-Lincoln study). Crude corn oil extraction is also being added to ethanol plants (Greenshift). This increases overall fuel production by 7% (biodiesel). Another process fine grinds the feedstock and increases ethanol production by 3.5 to 5% (Cellunator by EdeniQ). So the near term energy return for corn ethanol is 1.7 to 2, and for integrated refineries 2.4 and above. Corn ethanol refineries use domestic natural gas, which has been reduced to 30% of what was used in the past. And now some refineries are displacing natural gas with renewables. A recent USDA funded study found that 10-19 gallons of ethanol are produced for every gallon of petroleum used in the entire corn-ethanol production life cycle. See: “UNL Research: Corn Ethanol Emits 51 Percent Less Greenhouse Gas Than Gasoline”. Some corn farmers are producing their own biodiesel fuel, and others are supplementing diesel with vaporized ethanol-water: CleanFlex Power System delivers the 60-40 solution of ethanol-water as a vapor through the air intake. It makes a diesel engine run cleaner with more power and saves over a dollar an hour in fuel costs. The ethanol-water vapor represents 15 to 30 percent of the diesel engine fuel consumption, using watered-down cheaper fuel. This could create a much larger market for ethanol and also displace more imported oil with cleaner domestic ethanol. Could this same method be used to provide supplemental renewable fuel to gasoline engines? Ethanol-water vapor delivered through the air intake bypasses the fuel tank, the fuel pump, and the fuel lines. So there's no compatability issues.
Political Agenda Distorting EPA Science Last year, Ag Chairman, Congressman Collin Peterson openly stated that the EPA is in bed with the oil industry. Look at the long list of carcinogens and neurotoxins in gasoline, including the killer benzene, plus Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot. These are actual causal factors that the EPA fails to regulate. Then ask yourself why the EPA has made symptom - CO2 - their priority. And why the EPA allowed oil refineries in Texas and other states to repeatedly violate emissions rules for decades. And why the EPA has over-rated the carbon footprint of gasoline, and used this to create a false comparison vs biofuels, by using an outdated petroleum baseline - Ignoring the shift to energy and pollution intensive crude oils, such as miles-deep offshore oil wells, and Canadian Tar Sands that are deforesting millions of acres. Why the EPA lowballs the impact of burning dirty bunker fuel, to ship imported oil and ethanol thousands of miles to the United States. Why the EPA low-balls the impact of burning huge quantities of military jet fuel, diesel fuel, and more bunker fuel to protect the US foreign oil supply chain. Why the EPA embraced international indirect land use change theory, which can’t be scientifically proven – using it to manipulate and restrict American ethanol. Why the EPA allowed a fraudulent peer review process, whereby the author of the controversial theory and his assistants and colleagues, all biofuel critics and political activists with conflicts of interest, rubber stamped their own work. Why the EPA excluded from the peer review process, more experienced land use experts in the Dept of Agriculture. Why the EPA, two months after their preliminary rule, reduced indirect land use change impact for Brazilian ethanol a whopping 93% for their final rule…While at the same time, a scholarly German study declared that ALL direct and indirect land use change in Brazil, and ALL Brazilian deforestation, was caused by expanding Brazilian industries - Not American ethanol. This is the exact opposite of what the EPA falsely claims in their RFS-2 rules… Using these tactics and a false tailpipe comparison between the newly mined carbon that gasoline is spewing into the air vs recycled CO2 released by ethanol - EPA under-rated conventional ethanol at only 21% cleaner than gasoline. This is way off. Two recent studies: one funded by the USDA and North Central Bioeconomy Consortium gave conventional ethanol a rating of 48-59% cleaner than gasoline, and the other study at Yale matched that at 59% cleaner. Why the big discrepancy? Because EPA is still falsely claiming that American ethanol is displacing land in foreign countries, when it’s Not. EPA has abused its power and overstepped its authority. Over the objections of 111 scientists, lead by three prominent experts in the field, C-ARB prematurely embraced defective and corrupt EPA science. This included the unproven indirect land use change theory, without an independent peer review, which C-ARB illegally rammed into their rules. This was designed to keep out-of-state ethanol out of California, for the benefit of the state’s own petroleum industry, in violation of Federal interstate commerce law. See: “California’s Love Affair with Oil”, by Joanna Schroeder (Domestic Fuel). Using EPA’s false analysis of the land use theory, C-ARB also declared that California would import Brazilian ethanol instead of domestic American ethanol. That will export American jobs to Brazil, undermine domestic economic stimulus, tax revenue and farm subsidy offsets generated by domestic ethanol, and shift one dependency on imported oil to another dependency on imported ethanol. This also plays into the hands of the privately owned central bank, which collects perpetual floating interest on debt instruments, added to the National Debt, used to pay for imported fuel. EPA and C-ARB have woven a web of deception based on a hidden pseudo-environmental political agenda that favors the industries of their choice. And at their whim, they can selectively enforce or not enforce their rules, while maintaining the superficial image of a government agency. For the well-informed Representative Collin Petersen, this issue is more about the over-regulation of agriculture and biofuels, using falsified science. For others, it’s about protecting the oil industry. Strange bedfellows fighting a turf war over market share.
This report is good news for consumers. When you lower the cost of biofuels and increase the fuel supply, that puts downward pressure on fuel prices. This will also lower the cost of goods and services and ultimately the cost of living. Hendrik: I definitely agree with your approach – that ethanol has the potential to displace all foreign oil. That is, as long as we have engines designed to consume it. Half of GM vehicles sold in 2012 will be flexi-fueled. That’s a giant step in the right direction. Also engines will have direct injection and be smaller, lighter, and turbocharged. That will further optimize them for ethanol, the cheaper fuel, with little or no loss of mpg and a much cleaner burn than gasoline. Hendrik: Total US gasoline consumption is NOT 100 billion gallons a year. Right now it’s roughly 133 billion. When crude oil and gasoline prices shot-up in 2008, gasoline consumption dropped about 5% on average – down from 140 billion gallons a year before that. It leveled-out in 2009. There are several other factors influencing the cost of corn ethanol. You also get distillers grains livestock feed from the same corn, which represents about 1/3 the weight. Last year, sales of distillers grains doubled and the value is going up. You also can get 7% more fuel by extracting the non edible corn oil, a biodiesel feedstock, using the GreenShift extraction process. This is sweeping the industry. So if you’re getting 460 gallons of ethanol per acre, you will also get roughly 30-32 gallons of corn oil from the same corn, that the plant sells at 20-30 cents a gallon in bulk. These co-products offset the cost of corn processed for the ethanol. Also look at corn production being enhanced by exploiting the cobs and a portion of the stover (leaving the stem and roots in the ground to preserve the soil). In many cases, cellulosic ethanol will be integrated with corn ethanol refineries, wherever they exist. This will create synergies between corn ethanol and cellulosic ethanol derived from local corn cobs and stover. It will also further impact the cost of corn production and corn ethanol refining downward. So, it may be 3-5 years before cellulosic ethanol gets up and running and costs the same to produce as corn ethanol, and even then, wherever there is a corn ethanol plant, the two types of ethanol will be integrated and synergized. Corn ethanol is evolving too, in parallel with cellulosic. Next generation corn ethanol is also integrated with adjacent livestock feeding operations - that exploit onsite low cost wet distillers grains (low energy - no drying). The adjacent livestock manure goes into methane digesters, producing adjacent biogas-methane for corn ethanol refining production power. This displaces natural gas for refinery production power, which is part of the current cost of producing corn ethanol. Digesters produce twice the amount of energy you would get if you burned the biomass instead, especially if you had to dry it first. The digester byproducts will also be made into fertilizer or perhaps even more ethanol, getting even more out of the waste products and lowering the cost of the fuel further. This isn’t anything earth shaking. It’s just reconfiguring and managing the resources and technology you already have. There is also new technology coming to corn ethanol refineries – Algae. That’s because you already have nutrient-rich waste water “centrate”, waste CO2, and waste heat – the ideal growth medium for Algae. Growing adjacent Algae on corn ethanol waste products and digester effluent, will revolutionize the biofuel industry. 15-20 years from now, instead of making ethanol directly from corn, we may feed the corn sugars to algae and duckweed. Then make both ethanol and biodiesel, and diversify into a whole bunch of other co-products – made from the algae. Algae expands the spectrum of synergistic co-products that can be produced at the same site – more ethanol, direct biodiesel for local farmers, nutriceuticals rich in omega 3 oils, complete protein food supplements for humans and livestock, bio-fertilizers and bio-plastics, and even surplus electric power for the grid. Green Fields is already integrating an algae pilot plant into one of their ethanol refineries, and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln is performing a government grant to develop algae and to integrate algae with corn ethanol. This may, include the integration of feeding onsite livestock distillers grains and algae, producing manure based biogas for production power, and recycling NPK rich digester effluent to fertilize the algae. A 3-way integration: corn ethanol, algae, and livestock mitigates the methane off the manure, the emissions off the displaced natural gas, and the CO2 off the corn ethanol refining. Integration, displacement, and mitigation will put corn ethanol in the category of advanced biofuels. As I have mentioned before, the highest use for ethanol is to put it in a 50-50 solution with water, which is still flammable. We can run an ICE with this, or we can run it through a compact, inexpensive fuel processor, which strips all the hydrogen out of the ethanol and half the hydrogen out of the water. Hydrogen reformed from 50-50 ethanol-water – onboard the vehicle - for ICEs, fuel cells, micro-turbines, and range extender engines. Ethanol water can also be reformed or electro-vaporized to displace home heating oil or natural gas. It can also be scaled-up for power plants, to replace natural gas and coal. Ethanol refineries may also become electric power plants. Hendrik: I definitely agree with you that “… the future looks exceedingly bright with regard to abandoning fossil fuels…”
Cure the Cause Not the Symptom Climate Scientists knew that some glaciers were receding and some were advancing. But they either downplayed advancing glaciers or ignored them altogether. Because that didn’t give them the outcome they were looking for - to blame CO2 and label it as a universal global pollutant. That would establish a basis for a global carbon tax, for their purse strings. What the false claim of all Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 brought to light was much more – The real cause of melting glaciers is migrating Black Carbon Soot (BCS), forming solar thermal layers on snow and ice. That blows the global CO2 agenda. When you have some glaciers receding and some glaciers advancing, then you don’t have universal global warming or climate change. You have a “Pollution Migration Effect” caused by the soot, that routinely travels from a concentrated source, hundreds or thousands of miles, to where it causes the effect. A one degree rise in average air temperature is Not going to melt a glacier. Layers of Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot will. Migrating Ozone is another example of “Pollution Migration Effect”: “In springtime, pollution from across the hemisphere, not nearby sources, contributes to the ozone increases above western North America. When air is transported from a broad region of South and East Asia, the trend is largest.” Owen R. Cooper, Ph.D., lead author. (Green Car Congress: “Study Links Springtime Ozone Increases above Western North America to Emissions in Asia”) This is Not Global Warming or Climate Change. It’s “Pollution Migration Effect”. Prior to this revelation, Scientists measuring ozone levels on the West Coast had no idea that it was originating thousands of miles away, in Asia. So they may have assumed that spikes in ozone were caused locally by something else. That brings up another issue. Where are scientists taking their measurements? Are they are suppressing measurements upwind or in rural locations, where the effect is not present? Or, are they taking them down wind of urban centers, where pollutants are more concentrated? With weather events and air masses constantly changing, how reliable can these measurements be? IPCC science is not just flawed. It’s entirely disoriented. Global Warming or Climate Change, whatever you want to call it, is Not Universal and Not Uniform. It can’t be, if some glaciers are receding while others are advancing. And it can’t be uniform, because the “Real Pollutants” - the Causal Factors - are much more concentrated around urban centers, power plants, industrial zones, major highways, shipping lanes, airports and flight paths, sewage disposal plants, landfills and burning dumps, and downwind of concentrated sources of pollutants. Take one measurement upwind and another one downwind, and you may have data that varies dramatically, even within 100 miles or less. ‘Same thing for pollutants deposited on ocean currents and shipping lanes. One effect occurs while pollutants are suspended and migrating in the air. (2) Another effect occurs when these migrating masses of pollution, such as Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot, ozone, or what have you - fallout on land, water, snow and ice. (3) And, another effect acidifies water run-off into streams, lakes, rivers and oceans, with Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot a big factor. Yet recent studies make the false assumption that oceans are being acidified only by excess CO2 in the air. We know that the ocean naturally absorbs CO2, in cycles, especially more so in the colder waters of northern latitudes. And the ocean also expels CO2, especially in the warmer waters of the Tropics. So where did scientists take their acid measurements to blame CO2 in the air? The timing and the location is everything. Ocean current is another big factor that could influence ocean acidification. Prevailing winds, shifting winds, and major weather events, for example, can also dramatically cause data to vary. Because masses of migrating pollutants, although they may originate in the same place, are not always deposited in the same place. So the effects and the data will naturally be inconsistent. Climate Scientists typically claim that Global Warming or Climate Change is uniform, when it’s Not. They falsely advocate that the problem, which they have thus far failed to accurately measure and describe, can be solved universally by controlling CO2. Instead, we need to cast out all political agendas and get the science right. And we need to create specialized local programs to mitigate specific pollutants where they originate. In other words, cure the Causal Factor, not the CO2 symptom.