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Science magazine declares ethanol worse for the Earth than fossil fuels

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Many, many, feedstocks for ethanol production are coming online now - everything from swichgrass, to old tires, to garbage, to waste paper. Methods of producing hydrogen are multiplying as well. There is movement in solar, wind,and nuclear. What it is going to take will be all of them, but we will get there. Corn is a fine beginning, any domestic source is better than importing oil. The production of corn ethanol also is pushing the ethanol infrastructure to happen now, so it will be in place as cellulosic ethanol begins to displace corn. I have zero problems with corn being used as a transitional or supplemental source. The farmers deserve the benefits they get from it.

Switchgrass is a perennial, so one planting can be productive for years, that is a whole different scenario than corn. It can also be harvested twice in one season, takes less water, needs less fertilizer, needs less cultivation, and causes less erosion and fertilizer runoff as a result. Ethanol will be a majority of our non-oil fuel supply for quite some time. How it is made, and what from, are the things that will change.

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We need to find a fuel source that comes from something that doesn't have to be grown..something that is abundant and naturally available. Sand, rock, dirt, something like that...

Oil shale.

I know that Chevron is currently trying to get the correct temperature to refine shale into oil. Too little heat, and it isn't useful, too much heat and it frys.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM

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Notice that this is merely a process that has been demostrated in a laboratory. Scalability to power even a small slice of the nation's fleet efficiently is another matter all together. Where does the bacteria come from? How is the "external jolt of electricity [that] helps generate hydrogen gas at the cathode" generated? How would it be generated on a large scale? Natural gas power plants? Coal power plants? Where is all this biomass going to come from? Would we need to actually grow the biomass on farms to get the kind of scale we need? Would this require diesel tractors and natural gas-based fertilizer inputs? How about petrochemical pesticides?

The Energy Return on Investment (EROI) is too low. There is no such thing as free. Black gold is the closest and that took millions of years to develop. Sorry, there will be no hydrogen economy.

Here's the link:

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...showtopic=21018

Note the important part: this process produces 288% of the energy used to generate the Hydrogen.

Edited by buyacargetacheck

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Notice that this is merely a process that has been demostrated in a laboratory. Scalability to power even a small slice of the nation's fleet efficiently is another matter all together. Where does the bacteria come from? How is the "external jolt of electricity [that] helps generate hydrogen gas at the cathode" generated? How would it be generated on a large scale? Natural gas power plants? Coal power plants? Where is all this biomass going to come from? Would we need to actually grow the biomass on farms to get the kind of scale we need? Would this require diesel tractors and natural gas-based fertilizer inputs? How about petrochemical pesticides?

The Energy Return on Investment (EROI) is too low. There is no such thing as free. Black gold is the closest and that took millions of years to develop. Sorry, there will be no hydrogen economy.

Read it again.

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Unfortunately, none of our future energy stocks will be 'free.' The Alberta tar sands, which are purported to have more obtainable oil than Saudi Arabia, are going to require a lot of energy to extract the oil. Alberta is even considering the possibility of building its first nuclear power plant to provide 'cheap,' sustainable electricity nearby the productive oil deposits.

I think we should bypass all of this and learn how to harness the power of a singularity. :P Let's skip all the middle-men.

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I would love to see a singularity....big bang style!

But your right, nothing will be free. I see cars as more secondary types of transport in about 30 years, behind trains, buses, and the good old shoe leather.

Chris

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I hope you aren't entirely right! I would imagine that the internal combustion engine as a mode of power will have its day end, but I strongly hope that personal transport in all forms do not disappear. Ever since the wheel was invented, humanity has been striving for better ways of personal transport. I do not look at public transit as an successful social engineering project. Quite the contrary! At least in an elevator, the odds are that you are surrounded with people of similar backgrounds, interests, or at least goals. Public transit is far too egalitarian for me.

If we are to end up jammed into increasingly crowded trains and cities choked with humanity, like Mumbai and Tokyo, then I think more extreme measures need to be taken. I think we need to focus on quality of life for those that are here, rather than the tenet (to coin a phrase from Monty Python), 'Every Sperm is Sacred.'

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