Facts about Ethanol as fuel

Apparently from a recent article in Science magazine.

I saw similar statements in Scientific American.

• We use about one litre’s worth of fossil fuels to grow, harvest, process and transport a litre of corn-base ethanol.
• Substituting just 10 % of fossil fuels to biofuels for all vehicles would require about 40% of the entire cropland in Europe and North America. That is simple not sustainable.

So ethanol from corn is likely a red herring.


3 thoughts on “Facts about Ethanol as fuel

  1. Here the price of flour has risen spectacularly in the last year, and they say it’s because a lot of farmers replaced wheat fields with other crops used to produce biofluel, that they can sell at a better price.
    Biofluel is definitely not the answer 😦
    I have faith in hydrogen, though.

    1. Not all biofuels are bad.

      BioDiesel from waste cooking oil is a good deal. (With the usual provision that they not cut corners.) If you’re going to burn something anyways, you may as well burn that rather than throwing it away and pumping more oil. Several places in Ontario now produce it. In Owen Sound (near the cottage), they blend it with regular (clean) diesel, depending on the temperature. In the summer it’s 100% bio, in the winter it’s 80% regular.

      Hydrogen has a long way to go. The stuff is very dangerous, so the “fuel tank” is fairly heavy. Last year, Scientific American did a survey of six “fuel tank” technologies, including cryogenic and chemical and catalytic and …. IIRC, it will be another fifteen years before they bring the weight down and the range up enough to start replacing the average car, so the distribution system will be limited to the big cities. Still, the cars they sell in Europe are a good start.

  2. Milk, cheese and meat are going up in price here, and the excuse is that the grain used to feed the cows is now going into bio-fuel, jacking up the price of the animal feed. Niiiiice.

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