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By Robert Rapier on Jun 14, 2010 with 99 responses

I’m Number 5!

I am still in Europe through the end of the week (today in Germany), but working on several articles and trying to get caught up on correspondence. Today I started getting a lot of e-mails calling my attention to this:

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE AND YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER

The story was written by a Lindsay Mitchell, who apparently works for the corn lobby (Illinois Corn Growers Association). Based on what she wrote, I will henceforth refer to her as Miss Information (because her article is just really that informative). Miss Information writes:

We receive a publication here in the office called The Ethanol Monitor and Friday’s edition featured a front page story by Editor and Publisher Tom Waterman that named the top 10 enemies of ethanol.

Here is the full Top 10, with me sandwiched between David Pimentel at #6 and Tim Searchinger at #4:

#10: Business Week/Ed Wallace (Bloomberg)
#9: GRIST
#8: “Big Oil”
#7: Grocery Manufacturers Association
#6: David Pimentel
#5: Robert Rapier
#4: Tim Searchinger
#3: Wall Street Journal (editorial board)
#2: California Air Resources Board
#1: Time Magazine (Michael Grunwald)

Miss Information goes on to explain what it is that makes me so darn evil:

Robert Rapier and his blog, R Squared Energy Blog, is ranked as the number five worst enemy of ethanol for time spent discrediting every positive development in the ethanol industry. He is a big fan of the indirect land use theory and according to Waterman is very influential. Also, he’s a former Conoco Phillips employee and is definitely a Big Oil fan.

That’s just unadulterated bunk. Everyone knows there is no space between Conoco and Phillips: It is ConocoPhillips.

Sadly, that’s not the only thing she got wrong. I have never been a proponent of the indirect land use theory. I challenge anyone to find something I have written that supports her claim. I am neither a proponent nor an opponent; I just don’t feel I am knowledgeable enough about it to argue the case either way. And thus, I haven’t. So her point there is flatly wrong.

And me, influential? Come on. You are ruining your credibility.

She did get the part right about me being “a former Conoco Phillips [sic] employee.” But a fan of Big Oil? My job is to find a way out of our oil dependency. I spend a great deal of my time every day trying to figure out how NOT to use oil. So I am not sure in what context Miss Information thinks I am a fan of Big Oil. (I am also a former farm boy, so it must naturally follow that I am a fan of Big Ag.)

I am a realist, though, and recognize that we presently live in a society in which Big Oil allows us to do a lot of things that would otherwise be out of our reach (yet with lots of negative baggage attached). In fact, I would go so far as to say that if Big Oil decided to cut off the taps tomorrow, there would be complete chaos in just a few days. For instance, Illinois corn growers wouldn’t be able to run their tractors.

But this is exactly why I am NOT a fan of Big Oil. We have grown completely dependent upon a substance that isn’t going to be around forever, and it is hard to imagine what things will be like when oil starts to seriously deplete. I will be addressing some of those issues in the next week or so with a short series on peak oil keying off the talks I just gave in Italy.

For the record, I am not an enemy of corn ethanol at all. But I am an enemy of misinformation. And given the often close ties between the two, I can hardly blame someone for failing to distinguish the difference.

  1. By Wendell Mercantile on June 14, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    For the record, I am not an enemy of corn ethanol at all. But I am an enemy of misinformation.

    I agree. If Miss Information had read your essays closely, she would know you are not an enemy of ethanol. You have always called a spade a spade and are not reluctant to point out the errors in the more outrageous claims the corn ethanol industry has made, but your debunking has always been based on merit and science, and you do not have any ideological agenda that I can detect.

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  2. By Kit P on June 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I must agree with RR.  Lindsay Mitchell did not do a very good job of explaining why RR is anti-ethanol.

     

    “For instance, Illinois corn growers wouldn’t be able to run their tractors.”

     

    Of course, RR would not be able to fly to Italy.  He is also wrong.  Illinois farmers (all US farmers for that) would be mounting gasifiers on the tractors.   

     

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  3. By Fred on June 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    When people start making enemies lists, it’s all over.

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  4. By Rufus on June 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Nah, they’ll be running those big tractors on corn oil, and soybean oil.

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  5. By Dave on June 14, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Fred said
    “When people start making enemies lists, it’s all over.”

    What does it mean that the Obama administration did just that very soon after going in the front door of the White house?

    On an FYI Robert: If you haven’t read the newly released Manomet report about biomass use and its effect on GHG’s, specifically for Massachusetts, it’s out and worth reading. I’m sure we’ll all be interested in your take.

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  6. By russ-finley on June 14, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Fred said:

    When people start making enemies lists, it’s all over.


     

    My thoughts exactly.

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  7. By russ on June 15, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Congratulations on making number 5 Robert! Guess you just have to try harder!

    The simplest and most proven method to attempt to discredit someone – charge them with being in the enemy camp. Many love the tactic as it takes no knowledge or expertise what so ever!

    Cutoff the flow of oil tomorrow and forget the gasifiers for tractors or anything else – there would be complete chaos – AKA, the end of life as we know it. You can transition into or out of something but a direct cutoff – different thing.

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  8. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 2:01 am

    I must agree with RR. Lindsay Mitchell did not do a very good job of explaining why RR is anti-ethanol.

    You disappoint me Kit. I would expected you to say something nice like “I agree that RR isn’t influential.”

    Of course, RR would not be able to fly to Italy.

    That’s a point I have made myself numerous times over the past week. I was at a conference where everyone wants to get off of oil, but reminding people of the current role oil plays (good and bad). My point is that “getting off oil” won’t be easy and will require sacrifice.

    He is also wrong. Illinois farmers (all US farmers for that) would be mounting gasifiers on the tractors.

    There are certain things farmers could do given enough lead time. There is a very good reason they don’t do these things today and rely instead on oil. In fact, when farmers are forced to cannibalize part of their production to run their machinery, some of you will begin to understand my points about energy return and net energy.

    RR

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  9. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 2:03 am

    I just checked the Stat Counter, and people are poring over my old essays, apparently looking for something to support the charge that I have been a big fan of the indirect land use view. In fact, one person has gone through 17 pages of essays. Not 17 essays, but 17 pages of essays. Looks like someone made an incorrect claim, and is now searching for some evidence to back it up.

     

    RR

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  10. By Loic on June 15, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Haha, Mis(s)Information is a very accurate Nickname :)

    Great Blog by the way!

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  11. By Nick de Cusa on June 15, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Why, as someone who doesn’t agree with them based on your most careful review of real world data, do they have to call you an enemy?

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  12. By Perry on June 15, 2010 at 7:42 am

    “Based on what she wrote, I will henceforth refer to her as Miss Information (because her article is just really that informative). ”

    She was quoting Tom Waterman, editor of The Ethanol Monitor. Apparently, she only quoted what he had to say about the three blogs that made Mr. Waterman’s top ten list.

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  13. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Approx 1/3 of existing ethanol refineries separate out the corn oil. The remaining refineries are adding the capability as quickly as they can come up with the money.

    This is important, because the corn oil from one acre will run the tractors, and combines for 5 acres. That means within just a few years there will be enough crude corn oil produced to run all the tractors, and corn harvestors in the U.S.

    Add to this the movement to running the refineries on cobs/lignin, and the last thing in the world you’ll have to worry about is fuel for the tractors.

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  14. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 8:40 am

    This is important, because the corn oil from one acre will run the tractors, and combines for 5 acres.

    So I can rush out and replace my $2.50 diesel with $10 corn oil at the same time everyone else is rushing to do so. No, I can’t imagine any issues with that.

    Add to this the movement to running the refineries on cobs/lignin, and the last thing in the world you’ll have to worry about is fuel for the tractors.

    I have challenged you on this point before, and you never did point me to actual industry statistics that show a movement toward running refineries on biomass. This would certainly be a positive step in my view, but I have seen nothing but your assertions and occasional anecdotes to support it.

    Further, your comments above are nice in theory, but in reality you have to start dealing with energy inputs that you frequently ignore. There are numerous petroleum inputs into corn farming beyond the obvious. And if farmers started having to live without petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, tractor tires, etc. – then they will come to realize just how much they love what Big Oil enables them to do. Mine and your fundamental disagreement is that your “analyses” are always exceedingly superficial, you frequently fabricate numbers on the spot, and thus you wrongly conclude that this or that is a piece of cake.

    RR

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  15. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Perry said:

    “Based on what she wrote, I will henceforth refer to her as Miss Information (because her article is just really that informative). ”

    She was quoting Tom Waterman, editor of The Ethanol Monitor. Apparently, she only quoted what he had to say about the three blogs that made Mr. Waterman’s top ten list.


     

    Wrong. Look at what I quoted, and note the phrase “according to Waterman…” So that wasn’t a Waterman quote, it was in her own words. It may have been essentially what he wrote, but it was not a direct quote. But if you like, you can refer to her as Miss Information Spreader.

     

    RR

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  16. By Perry on June 15, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Robert I don’t get the controversy over ethanol. Every alternative fuel imaginable receives a subsidy from Congress. If that were enough to make them affordable, we’d be using them by now. We could ask Congress for a mandate for algae fuel, wood alcohol, or whatever alternative you DO support, but who is willing to pay $7 a gallon at the pump at this point in time? If you are right about ethanol not being a sustainable resource, what difference does it make? When peak oil starts to bite, almost every alternative will be affordable in comparison to oil. Even algae.

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  17. By Wendell Mercantile on June 15, 2010 at 10:11 am

    And if farmers started having to live without petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, tractor tires, etc. – then they will come to realize just how much they love what Big Oil enables them to do.

    If modern industrial corn farmers couldn’t use fossil fuel energy inputs, there would be no corn farming or corn ethanol — unless the NCGA and ICGA want to emulate the Amish.

    In the past I’ve urged the corn and corn ethanol industries to set up a model farm and corn ethanol still that uses no fossil fuel inputs just to demonstrate it’s possible. They have no interest in trying to show they could function w/o fossil fuel — probably because they know it’s impossible.

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  18. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Corn oil is selling for around $0.35/lb. I guess that would come out to about $2.30, or so, a gallon. That study we were looking at a couple of months ago said, if I remember correctly, that 10% of ethanol refineries were using some amount of biomass for energy. The important thing is that it’s being successfully done. It seems only logical that, as nat gas gets more expensive (and, since biomass will have to be used to some extent to meet California’s Fuel Standards) more biomass will be used.

    The whole idea is not that we’re going to “get off petroleum,” completely, tomorrow. I merely said that we could easily, if we “had” to, run our tractors, and combines on corn, and soybean oil.

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  19. By Perry on June 15, 2010 at 10:30 am

    That would be meaningful if peak natural gas was the problem Wendell, but it isn’t. One problem at a time.

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  20. By russ-finley on June 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

    In her blog she says:

    This further drives home the message that conversations are happening every hour of every day that agriculture isn’t a part of, so I’d encourage you to click through some of these links and educate yourself. It is raining out there after all.

    This advice “to educate yourself” is likely to fall on deaf ears. Imagine a preacher telling the congregation to read Dawkins, or Dennet, or worst of all, Pharyngula ; )

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  21. By Wendell Mercantile on June 15, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Perry,

    Yes, it is a problem. Corn ethanol is essentially recycled natural gas, but NG that has been recycled inefficiently by first turning it into synthetic nitrogen fertilizer; using that nitrogen to grow corn; and then using even more NG to distill the fermented corn mash. (Rufus, I know there are other heat sources for distillation, but by far, most present ethanol stills continue using NG as their thermal energy source.)

    It would be thermodynamically more efficient to use the NG directly as a transportation fuel, or to transform it to methanol. Thermodynamically more efficient, but not politically acceptable to corn farmers and Corn Belt politicians.

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  22. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Corn oil is selling for around $0.35/lb. I guess that would come out to about $2.30, or so, a gallon.

    Can you cite a source for that? This certainly isn’t what it sells for at the supermarket.

    That study we were looking at a couple of months ago said, if I remember correctly, that 10% of ethanol refineries were using some amount of biomass for energy.

    You don’t recall correctly. You recall horribly incorrectly. What happened was you made that claim of 10%, I challenged you to back it up, and you said “You know, that seems high even to me.” Point is you did not back it up. Show me real industry statistics that demonstrate your oft-repeated claim that more and more, the ethanol industry is embracing biomass as fuel.

    RR

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  23. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 11:04 am

    You’re misrepresenting what happened, Robert. I, initially, said that 10% of the energy for corn ethanol plants was biomass-derived. I came back, and said, “I think that’s, probably, too high. It’s, probably, 10% of plants use “some” biomass energy.”

    Corn oil isn’t traded on the CBOT, but it runs about the same as soybean oil. Here’s the prices on that.

    http://news.ncgapremium.com/in…..;subtype=4

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  24. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 11:04 am

    If you are right about ethanol not being a sustainable resource, what difference does it make?

    It makes a lot of difference. We are spending taxpayer dollars, encouraging more expansion of corn production (one of the most erosive and fertilizer-demanding crops) in some places depleting fossil aquifers, all to take natural gas and very inefficiently turn it into ethanol. Take a look at our oil imports and let me know how corn ethanol is faring at reducing them. Or how about demand? The fact is, ethanol’s contribution doesn’t even register, and yet a large part of the country and our politicians have deluded themselves into believing that this is making a real difference.

    What I want is for people to wake up and realize that we are going to have to do so much more than delude ourselves with dreams of energy independence on corn ethanol. But we always want the easy fix, and we are sold this bill of goods as an easy fix (but one that must continually be subsidized).

    If we got serious about addressing our energy situation, corn ethanol could have a part to play, but it is a very small part in a very big production. Promoters are pushing it as a big part in a big production, and thus we aren’t doing the things we really need to be doing.

    To summarize, I think peak oil is going to hit us a whole lot harder than it has to because of our corn ethanol delusions.

    RR

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  25. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 11:09 am

    You’re misrepresenting what happened, Robert. I, initially, said that
    10% of the energy for corn ethanol plants was biomass-derived. I came
    back, and said, “I think that’s, probably, too high. It’s, probably,
    10% of plants use “some” biomass energy.”
    Corn oil isn’t traded on the CBOT, but it runs about the same as soybean oil.

     

    As I said, you did not back it up. It was one of those things that you pulled from the air at the time and when I pressed, you did not produce any study that said what you were supposing. You just said “it’s probably…”

     

    As far as soybean and corn oil, your history here is such that I require claims to be backed up. Saying that they are about the same price is not backing up your claims. I can show you what corn oil costs at the store, and it is much higher than the number you apparently pulled from thin air. So unless you have some sort of back-up, then your $2.30 per gallon is like so many other numbers you have casually tossed out there: Not credible.

    RR

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  26. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 11:14 am

    We used 839,000 Barrels of Corn Ethanol every day last week. That has to be having an impact.

    We’re planting about the same number of acres of corn that we have in the last ten years, or so, and considerably less than we did at times in the past.

    They take about 30,000 to 35,000 btus of nat gas (includes producing fertilizer, distilling ethanol, etc,) mix it with some sun, and rain, and push my flexfuel Impala 21 miles.

    How many miles do you suppose 35,000 btus of nat gas would push my Impala if it was burned, directly? Seven, or eight?

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  27. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Come on, Robert; What does Soybean oil cost at the store?

    It’s a heck of a lot more than $0.38/lb.

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  28. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Kit, not in the mood to deal with spam today. If you want to make claims, please back them up. You have been warned again and again about simply spamming the same crap over and over with zero supporting evidence. If you want to argue that I am wrong, you have to do more than say I am wrong. At least Rufus makes up numbers. You don’t even bother to do that. You will address an analysis with “RR is wrong.”

    You used up all of my goodwill a long time ago, and I am having actual conversations here with grown-ups. If you want to participate, learn to act like one. I don’t need more content-free posts from you.

    RR

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  29. By Wendell Mercantile on June 15, 2010 at 11:33 am

    They take about 30,000 to 35,000 btus of nat gas (includes producing fertilizer, distilling ethanol, etc,)

    It takes about 100,000 Btu of energy from all external sources to produce ~120,000 Btu of corn ethanol. Are you claiming it takes only 30,000 Btu to produce corn ethanol equivalent (~115,000 Btu) to a gallon of gasoline?

    We used 839,000 Barrels of Corn Ethanol every day last week. That has to be having an impact.

    Of course it has an impact, but not the impact you think. The actual impact is political (positive) and environmental (negative). Corn ethanol makes little thermodynamic or environmental sense, but — unfortunately — a great deal of political sense.

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  30. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 11:31 am

    We used 839,000 Barrels of Corn Ethanol every day last week. That has to be having an impact.

    You know better than that. “Has to be” isn’t part of my vocabulary. Show me the data. I have explained to you many times how it can be that ethanol could make zero impact in our energy needs. But you always reply with your ciphering using low-ball estimates where it is convenient for you. At the end of the day, those have to be reconciled with data.

    They take about 30,000 to 35,000 btus of nat gas (includes producing
    fertilizer, distilling ethanol, etc,) mix it with some sun, and rain,
    and push my flexfuel Impala 21 miles.

    No, they don’t. I know you like to claim that a lot, but the actual surveys show quite a bit more than that on average. In fact, we discussed the most recent study by Christianson and Associates that showed that the very best facilities producing wet dgs still use almost 20,000 btus just at the plant. When you consider that more facilities are making dry dgs (thus, they have a drying step) and that we aren’t even looking at the inputs from the corn growing and harvesting step, your 30,000 btus turns out to be a fictional construct. But I repeat myself again and again and again. I have to because you spam those claims with no supporting evidence.

    So how far could I drive that car on natural gas? If I use numbers like you do, I could drive it to the moon and back.

    RR

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  31. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I finally got a copy of the actual report, and here was Waterman’s text on me:

    #5: Robert Rapier: On his blog “R Squared Energy Blog, Rapier devotes much of his time developing odd formulas to discredit every positive development in the ethanol industry. Currently he is pounding on cellulosic ethanol development. He is a big fan of indirect land use theory, and uses it often in his one-man attempt to destroy ethanol. An engineer by trade, Rapier is highly respected in the energy field, and in fact held a position with Conoco Phillips, which means he really is a closet Big Oil fan. But he is influential, which is why he’s at #5.

    I simply don’t know what to say. Odd formulas? Perhaps it would be better if he picked a specific formula and pointed out what is odd about it. I mean, this is the sort of thing I expect from Kit; the generic criticism that actually says nothing. Second, as pointed out already he is simply wrong about what he said about indirect land use. Again, I challenge someone to search through my blog (and people have been doing it, based on the keyword searches I am seeing) to back that up. Finally, if the fact that I once worked for an oil company makes me a closet Big Oil fan, then I am also a closet ag fan and a closet biofuel fan. I have backgrounds in all of those areas.

    And the honorable mention list of enemies is quite impressive:

    Honorable Mentions: Robert Bryce (he just missed the Top-10), Mark Perry (might make it next time), Tad Patzek (Searchinger’s partner), Sierra Club, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Friends of the Earth, National Chicken Council, Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, The Christian Science Monitor, Association and Taxpayers for Common Sense, Junkscience.com, Fox News, various talking heads at MSNBC, Jim Cramer (Mad Money, frequent guru on MSNBC who recently said that Tony Hayward was a “great CEO”), Environmental Working Group, National Resources Defense Council.

    Seems like ethanol has an awful lot of enemies.

    RR

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  32. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Here;

    http://www.ethanolrfa.org/page…..df?nocdn=1

    In 2008 it was 25,000 btu/gal for a “Dry” Mill Ethanol plant.

    Add in 5,000 btus of nat gas for the ethanol portion of the fertilizer, and another 2,000 btus of diesel for the tractor (it’s, actually, less than that once you figure in the DDGS co-product) and you’re, comfortably, less than 35,000 btus of fossil fuels (even after adding in a little electricity.)

    And, that was in 2008.

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  33. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Well, in all honesty, Robert, when Searchinger first published his work I attacked it, and you attacked me for attacking it. That was on the Oil Drum. I’m sure you remember.

    As for “odd” theories, I think the theory that the use of 839,000 barrels of ethanol/day might not impact petroleum imports might strike a few people as being a touch “odd.”

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  34. By russ-finley on June 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    On the positive side, RR, some commenters don’t seem to realize that they are serving as your foil. They make weak, unsubstantiated arguments, often the same ones over and over, you bash them, rinse, repeat. Makes me suspect that some of these commenters are really your own sock-puppets ; ) Reading your responses to them is entertaining and informative.

    Ironically, their causes would be better served if they stopped commenting.

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  35. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    But, then, Russ, the blog wouldn’t be so entertaining, would it?

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  36. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Rufus said:

    Here;

    http://www.ethanolrfa.org/page…..df?nocdn=1

    In 2008 it was 25,000 btu/gal for a “Dry” Mill Ethanol plant.

    Add in 5,000 btus of nat gas for the ethanol portion of the fertilizer, and another 2,000 btus of diesel for the tractor (it’s, actually, less than that once you figure in the DDGS co-product) and you’re, comfortably, less than 35,000 btus of fossil fuels (even after adding in a little electricity.)

    And, that was in 2008.


     

    Thanks for that reference. It is a good one. I can’t help but immediately notice some contradictions in some of your oft-repeated claims. For instance, you have been saying for at least two years that plants are averaging 3 gallons or more per bushel. This survey says 2.78. Second, the corn oil yield was only 0.006 gallons per gallon of ethanol. That means you are going to get around 2.5 gallons per acre, which certainly isn’t enough to run tractors and combines for 5 acres as you claimed above (but it isn’t bad, presuming the energy cost of extraction makes it worthwile). Finally, you omitted the electricity input, which amounts to another 2500 BTUs. So in a pattern that I know I can count on from you, you have exaggerated the corn oil yield, rounded the natural gas usage down from 25,859 to 25,000, and left out the electricity input. Total from those is 28,383 BTUs/gal and we haven’t gotten to the farming inputs yet.

    Now you have provided a reference on the ethanol energy inputs, but you still don’t get to make up numbers for the farming inputs. I can pull out the old USDA survey or you can provide an updated one. But I can promise you it is higher than the numbers you put up there. Comfortably under 35,000 BTUs? I don’t think so. The 2002 USDA report stated 21,598 BTUs per gallon for growing corn, 2,263 for transporting it, and 1,588 for distributing it. So unless you can provide a reference that supports your very modest estimates, you aren’t getting close to 35,000 BTUs/gal.

    You can underestimate energy inputs to your hearts content, but one of these days this process will have to contend with reality. I am afraid when that day comes, there is going to be a big collective “Oops.”

     

    RR

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  37. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Rufus said:

    Well, in all honesty, Robert, when Searchinger first published his work I attacked it, and you attacked me for attacking it. That was on the Oil Drum. I’m sure you remember.

    As for “odd” theories, I think the theory that the use of 839,000 barrels of ethanol/day might not impact petroleum imports might strike a few people as being a touch “odd.”


     

    I attacked you because you went straight for the ad homs with him. You attacked and tried to discredit him personally. You were pulling out all the stops, trying to associate him with Big Oil, etc. That’s what I addressed with you, not the science of the study. I am sure you remember.

    On the second paragraph, it isn’t odd at all. If the boundaries of the energy balance are too narrow, and the energy inputs into the process are underestimated (even the USDA said “we know we didn’t include all energy inputs because we don’t know some of them”) – and there is some fungibility with natural gas and other fossil fuel sources – it can be that barrels were simply shifted from other places to produce those 839,000 barrels. Simply put, if it takes around 1 boe of fossil fuel to make a boe of ethanol, then the boe of ethanol has zero impact on fossil fuel usage.

    I am not saying that this is what is happening, but it is happening to some extent and it is quite easy to see how that would cause a disconnect. Regardless, we know that there are fossil fuel inputs and that the energy in a barrel of ethanol is much less than a barrel of oil, so the result is that ethanol has a much lower impact than one might conclude from looking at a number like 839,000.

    Of course we have talked about that many times before. I am sure you remember.

    RR

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  38. By Wendell Mercantile on June 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Rufus~

    Do you plan to run the small, local bio-refinery you are building in your county* w/o any fossil fuel inputs?

    Reference the energy inputs you cite for corn ethanol: One of the significant inputs is the energy it takes to make the hybrid seed corn. You always conveniently leave that one out.
    ______
    * By the way: What county is that anyway?

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  39. By Thomas on June 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Rufus: The U.S. uses ~20 million barrels of oil per day. So 839 000 barrels of a fuel with half the energy density is a rounding error. If a well came online tommorow with that much production it wouldn’t move world oil prices a dollar. OPEC is laughing…

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  40. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Actually, I said that “Poet” is getting 3.0 gallons per bushel. The average, today, I believe, is a touch over 2.8.

    You have to read the “Corn Oil Yield,” part, carefully. The average of All refineries (those that extract it, and those that don’t) is 0.006 gal per gal of ethanol produced.

    However, the average for Those Refineries that are Actually Extracting corn Oil is 0.025 gallons That would come out to enough fuel for about 2.5 to 3 acres, not the five that I said.

    Most corn is now being produced from no till/low till cultivation. I’ll try to find a link (the USDA website is a mess to navigate,) but any corn farmer will tell you that using those methods the diesel input is about 4.5 gallons of fuel/acre.

    The National Average Yield last year was 164 bu/acre, and, as I said, the best plants (Poet, for ex.) get 3.0 gal per bushel.

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  41. By savro on June 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    From Waterman’s article:

    Honorable Mentions: Robert Bryce ……. Environmental Working Group, National
    Resources Defense Council.

    Seems like the NATURAL Resources Defense Council has some competition. Confused

     

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  42. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    When we first started reading about extracting corn oil it was assumed that it would be done on the “front end” of the plant using “fractionation.” The yield that was discussed was about twice what is achieved from “back end” extraction (which is what all but a couple of plants are using.)

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  43. By Perry on June 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    “The U.S. uses ~20 million barrels of oil per day. So 839 000 barrels of a fuel with half the energy density is a rounding error.”

     

    We use 9M bpd of gasoline, and ethanol comprises almost 10% of that. Without the ethanol, we’d have to import another 600,000 bpd of oil. That may be possible at the moment, but it wasn’t the case just 2 years ago, when spare capacity was under 1M bpd and prices shot to $147 a barrel. It won’t be the case a year from now when spare capacity is running on empty either. We need more ethanol, not less. The more ethanol we use, the longer we put off P-day.

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  44. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    When This

    http://green.autoblog.com/2010…..this-fall/

    2.0L Turbo, Direct Injected Buick Regal arrives This Fall it will get within, approx. 1.5 mpg on E85 as on gasoline. That should put it a tad less than 30 mpg on E85. Call it 28 mpg.

    839,000 X 42 = 35,238,000 gallons

    Figuring the average car will use 1.5 gallons/day – that means today’s ethanol output could power 23 Million Buick Regals.

    THAT ain’t no “Rounding Error.”

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  45. By Wendell Mercantile on June 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    2.0L Turbo, Direct Injected Buick Regal arrives This Fall it will get within, approx. 1.5 mpg on E85 as on gasoline.

    Have you placed your order yet Rufus? And don’t give me that, “I’m going to buy one used so I don’t lose the depreciation.” line. If you believe in it, order one — or stop talking about it.

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  46. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I’m an old, retired fart, Wendell; living on a “fixed to falling” income. :)

    I won’t Own an Ethanol Refinery, and I’ll be buying my “new” Regal slightly depreciated. Thass just the way it is.

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  47. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    This
    http://poet.com/discovery/rele…..asp?id=219

    is why you have to make sure your info is up-to-date. Poet figures its cellulosic ethanol will be -111 compared to gasoline. The waste stream will be converted to biogas in an anaerobic digester, and then used to power the 25 mgpy cellulosic facility, AND the 100 mgpy corn facility. Buh bye nat gas.

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  48. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    We use 9M bpd of gasoline, and ethanol comprises almost 10% of that. Without the ethanol, we’d have to import another 600,000 bpd of oil.

    Absolutely not true. You have failed to account for the net energy of ethanol, and that fact that a barrel of oil has a higher energy density than gasoline.

    RR

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  49. By Scott Burrow on June 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Robert,
    I think you are just getting thinned skinned in your old age.

    Scott

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  50. By Wendell Mercantile on June 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Buh bye nat gas.

    That’s a projection Rufus. All well and good — if it pans out. But tell me, what is the figure today for how many ethanol distilleries are powered by natural gas?

    And how many years (and dollars) will it take to convert the 189+ ethanol stills now operating to something other than NG?

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  51. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Rufus said:

    This

    http://poet.com/discovery/rele…..asp?id=219

    is why you have to make sure your info is up-to-date. Poet figures its cellulosic ethanol will be -111 compared to gasoline. The waste stream will be converted to biogas in an anaerobic digester, and then used to power the 25 mgpy cellulosic facility, AND the 100 mgpy corn facility. Buh bye nat gas.


     

    Yes, I got that press release too. I notice that you applied your normal level of critical analysis for a pro-ethanol story. “Do I like the answer? Yes. Then I accept the results.”

    Me, I have to travel early tomorrow and will be on the road for a couple of days. When I get a chance, I will take a close look. Since I know a thing or two about LCAs, there are some things I will be interested in seeing.

     

    RR

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  52. By Wendell Mercantile on June 15, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Rufus,

    Here is the most important part of today’s POET news release: However, POET will continue to learn from laboratory work and its pilot cellulosic ethanol plant currently operating in Scotland, S.D. As changes occur, the analysis will be updated.

    As with most pilot and proof-of-concept projects, you should expect multiple changes and updates. You are old enough to know that the first statement you hear about anything rarely proves true in the end.

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  53. By Rufus on June 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I wouldn’t bet on him being off more than 10% (either direction.) It looks to me like estimating the amount of biogas would be the dodgiest part of the proposition, at present. We’ll know in a year, or two, won’t we.

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  54. By Wendell Mercantile on June 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    We’ll know in a year, or two, won’t we.

    Yes, we will. That’s why people build pilot and proof-of-concept plants. That’s also why people shouldn’t jump on the first rosy press release as though it’s gospel.

    Here is what POET said in their press release about that: However, POET will continue to learn from laboratory work and its pilot cellulosic ethanol plant currently operating in Scotland, S.D. As changes occur, the analysis will be updated.

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  55. By takchess on June 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Nice to see you are on the list with that other anti-business media outlet.
    the Wall Street Journal ;)

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  56. By rrapier on June 15, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Scott Burrow said:

    Robert,

    I think you are just getting thinned skinned in your old age.

    Scott


     

    What’s up, man? I am back in our old stomping grounds. Leaving Germany tomorrow, though, to start making my way home.

    Been pretty cool here; probably low 50′s. I know it’s a lot hotter there were you are.

    RR

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  57. By Perry on June 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    “Absolutely not true. You have failed to account for the net energy of ethanol, and that fact that a barrel of oil has a higher energy density than gasoline.”

     

    Gasoline has 125,000 btu’s per gallon. Ethanol has 84,000 btu’s per gallon. 839,000 X .67 = 598,310 barrels of gasoline to replace daily ethanol use at this point. I said we’d need 600,000 barrels of oil to replace our ethanol. I should have said 1,200,000 bpd or thereabouts, since we only get 20 gallons of gasoline from a barrel. The other 22 gallons or so is made up of diesel etc. That’s pretty spooky considering the world didn’t have 1,200,000 bpd to spare in ’07.

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  58. By Scott Burrow on June 15, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Robert,

    Have a safe trip home! I’m sure jealous that you get to go back to Germany. Patricia and I really miss it. Hopefully I will go back some day.

    Scott

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  59. By Benny BND Cole on June 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I am glad RR is being recognized, if only by the Ethanol Lobby, for his fine independent viewpoints on ethanol.  I agree with prior sentiments that “enemies lists” are a bad way to go. 

    BTW, palm oil yields much more per acre than corn or sugar ethanol, with lower inputs.  Yet Brazil, with suitable climate and water for palm oil, seems to be stuck in the sugar ethanol route.  Is this also for politcal reasons? Does anybody know? 

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  60. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Gasoline has 125,000 btu’s per gallon. Ethanol has 84,000 btu’s per gallon. 839,000 X .67 = 598,310 barrels of gasoline to replace daily ethanol use at this point. I said we’d need 600,000 barrels of oil to replace our ethanol. I should have said 1,200,000 bpd or thereabouts, since we only get 20 gallons of gasoline from a barrel.

    And that’s wrong on multiple accounts. First, you used the higher heating value of ethanol. That’s not right, as higher heating value is not the real heating value. HHV presumes you condensed out water to extract that heat, which you don’t do. Actual heating value of ethanol is 76,000 BTU/gal. (You also purposely ignore the net energy; the fact that it takes a lot of fossil fuel to make ethanol. Ignore that and you will end up with a calculation that doesn’t mesh with reality – as the data actually show).

    Second, a barrel of oil has 140,000 BTUs/gal. People with a very simplistic view on this – as you show above – tend to try to argue that a barrel of ethanol can displace more than a barrel of oil ignoring all of the other components you get from a barrel like diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, etc. So if a barrel of ethanol displaced more than a barrel of oil, you suddenly have a major shortfall of all of those other components. Given that those other items would have to be imported to compensate for your figures, your argument is invalid. This is ignored in your faulty analysis, which is why it is completely invalid to suggest that a barrel of ethanol can displace more than a barrel of oil. In fact, I only ever see this point being argued by people with a clear agenda (the idea has been pushed by a paid consultant who is paid by the ethanol industry to come up with such fanciful ideas).

    In fact, I have looked at it quite closely, and you can see zero impact on our oil imports from ethanol. Nothing:

    http://www.consumerenergyrepor…..m-imports/

    So you can speculate all you want about ridiculous things like a barrel of ethanol being able to replace a barrel (or more!) of oil, but all one has to do is look at the data to see that it isn’t true.

    RR

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  61. By Perry on June 16, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I’m finding numbers like 500 gallons per acre for palm oil, 650 for sugar, and 450 for corn Benny. An acre of corn will also provide 3000 lbs. of DDGS(animal feed), and a like amount of CO2, which is used for things like bottling cokes.

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  62. By Perry on June 16, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Alright, let’s go with your figures then Robert. 1 barrel of ethanol is equal to .6 barrels of oil. 839,000 X .6 = 503,000 bpd of oil being displaced.

     

    What exactly is so bad about that?

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  63. By Mark on June 16, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Lindsay Mitchell was quoting a source.

    And ethanol can certainly replace oil btu to btu if it is done correctly such as leveraging feeding values (an advanced biofuels technique if there ever was one) and localization economics.

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  64. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Alright, let’s go with your figures then Robert. 1 barrel of ethanol is equal to .6 barrels of oil. 839,000 X .6 = 503,000 bpd of oil being displaced.

    You still aren’t getting it. Net energy. That’s why you don’t see any actual impact on oil imports. But what’s wrong with it? The actual displacement (if any) is too small to detect and there are much more effective ways of spending tax dollars to get real oil displacement.

    RR

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  65. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Lindsay Mitchell was quoting a source.

    Which was made clear in my first quote. But she wasn’t just quoting the source, as what she actually said was in her own words.

    And ethanol can certainly replace oil btu to btu if it is done

    correctly such as leveraging feeding values (an advanced biofuels

    technique if there ever was one) and localization economics.

    That’s gobbledy-gook, and not supported by actual data on oil imports. If I want to talk about “what could be done” then I can come up with all sorts of scenarios that won’t be done, but I ultimately have to see what the data actually say. In this case, any impact on oil imports is too small to detect above the noise.

    But I will play along. Give me an example (and then prepare for counter-examples of things we can do with oil to reduce our imports).

    RR

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  66. By Perry on June 16, 2010 at 2:01 am

    “You still aren’t getting it. Net energy. That’s why you don’t see any actual impact on oil imports”

     

    I’m getting it just fine. In your own words, a gallon of ethanol has the net energy of .6 gallons of oil. You did just point me to the link where you made that calculation. If I understand your post about imports, ethanol is to blame when imports don’t fall, and the economy is to blame when they do.

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  67. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Perry said:

    “You still aren’t getting it. Net energy. That’s why you don’t see any actual impact on oil imports”

     

    I’m getting it just fine. In your own words, a gallon of ethanol has the net energy of .6 gallons of oil. You did just point me to the link where you made that calculation. If I understand your post about imports, ethanol is to blame when imports don’t fall, and the economy is to blame when they do.


     

    No. You demonstrate that you don’t get it at all – either point. To get the net energy of ethanol, you have to back out the fossil fuels it took to make the ethanol. That is net energy.

    Second, you don’t understand about the imports. This was explained in my essay, but we can separate out any impact from ethanol, because it is contained in the demand number. So if petroleum imports fall by 1 million bpd as demand fell by 1 million bpd, that can’t be because ethanol displaced oil since ethanol is contained within that demand number. Get it? If imports fall farther than can be explained by falling demand, then you can start to finger ethanol as a possible factor. But that isn’t the case.

    Not hard to understand really, but many of the ethanol boosters have struggled with it.

    RR

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  68. By Perry on June 16, 2010 at 5:15 am

    “Yet total net petroleum imports (oil, gasoline, diesel, etc.) increased over that time period by 2.1 million barrels per day – from 10.2 million bpd in 2002 to 12.3 million bpd in 2007. ”

    Robert, I think those numbers are fuzzy. I see net imports of 12.1M bpd in 2004 and 12M bpd in 2007, while domestic production dropped 380,000 bpd during that time. Obviously, ethanol is the culprit.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pe….._cur-2.htm

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  69. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Robert, you’re conflating “fossil fuels” with petroleum. Ethanol uses nat gas in its manufacture. Nat gas IS a “fossil fuel,” but it’s Not fungible with Petroleum. At least in the U.S. where we use petroleum, primarily, for transport, and building roads (asphalt.)

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  70. By Perry on June 16, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Check out what happened from 2006 to 2007. Domestic production was virtually unchanged. Demand was virtually unchanged. Yet, net imports declined almost 400,000 bpd. What am i missing here Robert?

     

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pe….._cur-3.htm

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  71. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 5:42 am

    And, btw, if you want to use some number between .75 and .80 I’ll go along with it, but .60 just isn’t “real world.” The “Octane” and Burn Characteristics of ethanol makes up for about half of that .40 shortfall in btu content.

    For instance, my flexfuel chevy gets 21 mpg E85 – 26 mpg gasoline.

    The new Buick Regal 2.0L will deliver .95 the value of gasoline

    The one after that is expected to be, basically, 100%.

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  72. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 5:49 am

    What the Critics are overlooking is that within a few years, virtually all of the new engines will be of this type. All of those Ecoboosts, and Ecotecs coming out now, are just one small tweak from being flexfuels of this efficiency.

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  73. By Perry on June 16, 2010 at 5:50 am

    I was going along with his numbers to make the point that anything helps Rufus. Whether it’s 500,000 bpd or 600,000 per day, it’s still more than a drop in the bucket. And, as Robert pointed out in his import essay, it also takes 500,000 btu’s of natural gas to process a barrel of oil.

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  74. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 5:55 am

    And, btw, again, the RBOB that’s mixed with Ethanol to make E10, or E85 is Not 125,000 btus. It’s 114,000 btus.

    76,000 btus/114,000 btus = .666

    Not .60

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  75. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 6:00 am

    It Is one of the “odder” theories out there. :)

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  76. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 6:09 am

    On a 5-hour train ride, so limited responses.

    Perry, two other things that must be considered are the MTBE phase-out and inventory fluctuations. Because ethanol is so small relative to petroleum, inventory changes can distort impacts over the short term. That’s why I always take a longer view.

    Rufus, too much to address with you on an iPhone. I will wait until I have a computer again. But I wish to see your source for your claim of BTUs in RBOB.

    RR

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  77. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Ethanol = 113 Octane

    10% Ethanol = 11.3

    87 – 11.3 = 75.7

    .9x = 75.7

    75.7/.9 = 84.11

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  78. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 7:09 am

    That was cute Rufus, but I have no idea what you are trying to demonstrate.

    RR

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  79. By Perry on June 16, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Let’s get down to the nitty gritty Robert. The premise was that ethanol would help wean us off oil imports, right? Well, in the last 6 years, oil imports only increased once. In 2005, we imported 3,908,000 more barrels than 2004. That’s a total, not a bpd figure. Imports of crude oil dropped in the other 5 years. That’s what John Q. Public wants, and that’s what ethanol is giving him.

     

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pe…..nd_k_a.htm

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  80. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 10:13 am

    .9 times x has to equal 75.7 if ethanol is 113 proof

    That means “x” (the octane of RBOB) is 84.11

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  81. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Oops, the question was btus, not octane. I need to go to bed. I’ll get to the btus later.

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  82. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Yeah, I was about to point that out. I used to blend RBOB. One other thing you should know is the blends aren’t linear.

    Perry, in your haste to get to the nitty-gritty, it looks like you decided to dispense with various facts. I have already explained the deman number, yet you are ready to give ethanol credit for something that is indisputably due to higher prices. How can I say that? Because ethanol is contained in the demand number, and demand plunged with prices. Hence, imports had to fall. But I am sure the ethanol industry hopes everyone takes the superficial view that you take.

    RR

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  83. By Thomas on June 16, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Rufus said:

    What the Critics are overlooking is that within a few years, virtually all of the new engines will be of this type. All of those Ecoboosts, and Ecotecs coming out now, are just one small tweak from being flexfuels of this efficiency.

    Even if that is the case we’ve already shown that the average FFV driver doesn’t use E85 ( 9 out of 10 don’t).  Unless the demand for E85 rises, gas stations ( run by big oil) are not going to invest in it.  The ethanol industry should try to increase their usage rate among the 9 million people who are driving an FFV (70% dont know they have an FFV).  Drivers are apathetic about Ethanol because it offers no advantages except that it is “Made in America”.  It’s not cheaper or more efficient. Walk into a Walmart and you’ll see the patriotism of the U.S. consumer.  Fuel is about as impersonal a product as you can get.  If the consumer is not willing to pay more for a pair of socks made by a sweet old lady in North Carolina, a more expensive fuel has narry a chance.
     

    No one can look at you driving around and say oh he’s driving on ethanol.  If your car doesnt have a tailpipe it does make a statement. The success of the Prius has shown that the perception of being green is very important to early adopters. Car companies are betting they can sell that.  Most of the R&D at GM and the other major car makers is going in that direction.

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  84. By Perry on June 16, 2010 at 10:47 am

    “ I have already explained the deman number, yet you are ready to give ethanol credit for something that is indisputably due to higher prices. How can I say that? Because ethanol is contained in the demand number, and demand plunged with prices. Hence, imports had to fall.”

     

    That’s just wrong Robert. Between ’04 and ’07, demand fell 50,000 bpd.  Net imports fell 100,000 bpd, even though domestic production dropped a whopping 381,000 bpd. I know, I know. It must’ve been MTBE. Or some quirk in stock builds. Maybe the man on the moon shot some crude out of his butt. Anything but ethanol, right?

     

    I’m not cherry picking numbers either. It just so happens the EIA lays out everything from 2004 in nice and neat formats, so even a simpleton like myself can see ethanol’s impact on imports.

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  85. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Only a couple of million of those FFVs are “Badged.” I imagine that most of those people that bought “Badged” FFVs the last couple of years know that their car/truck is Flexfuel.

    E85 seems to be picking up a bit the last several months. They’ve added about a hundred stations since April, I believe. They’re up to over 2300, now.

    E85 was clicking along pretty good (despite most of the cars not being badged, and the majority of owners not knowing they were driving flexfuels) until the price of gasoline crashed. It seems you need gasoline prices around $3.00 to really get people interested in “looking around.”

    Also, you have to offer a pretty good “spread” to induce people to put a lower-mileage fuel in their car, especially when you have critics claiming ethanol will do everything from causing your doors to rust off, to causing your girlfriend to find another fella.

    Anyway, I’m predicting the new engines will change a lot of that. We’ll see. We won’t have long to wait.

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  86. By paul-n on June 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Rufus,

    I happens all the time where ethanol causes the girls to find another fella – especially when the bar turns on the “ugly lights” at the end of the night!

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  87. By Wendell Mercantile on June 16, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Anyway, I’m predicting the new engines will change a lot of that.

    Rufus~

    Apparently the new engines can’t even change your mind about buying one. If you — as informed as you are — won’t change your mind and buy one, who will?

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  88. By Benny BND Cole on June 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Perry said:

    I’m finding numbers like 500 gallons per acre for palm oil, 650 for sugar, and 450 for corn Benny. An acre of corn will also provide 3000 lbs. of DDGS(animal feed), and a like amount of CO2, which is used for things like bottling cokes.


     

    Perry-

    From Wiki–

    Some scientists and companies are going beyond using just the oil, and are proposing to convert fronds, empty fruit bunches and palm kernel shells harvested from oil palm plantations into renewable electricity,[52] cellulosic ethanol,[53] biogas,[54] biohydrogen[55] and bioplastic.[56] Thus, by using both the biomass from the plantation as well as the processing residues from palm oil production (fibers, kernel shells, palm oil mill effluent), bioenergy from palm plantations can have an effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of these production techniques have been registered as projects under the Kyoto Protocol‘s Clean Development Mechanism.

    By using palm biomass to generate renewable energy, fuels and biodegradable products, both the energy balance and the greenhouse gas emissions balance for palm biodiesel is improved. For every tonne of palm oil produced from fresh fruit bunches, a farmer harvests around 6 tonnes of waste palm fronds, 1 tonne of palm trunks, 5 tonnes of empty fruit bunches, 1 tonne of press fiber (from the mesocarp of the fruit), half a tonne of palm kernel endocarp, 250 kg of palm kernel press cake, and 100 tonnes of palm oil mill effluent. Oil palm plantations incinerate biomass to generate power for palm oil mills. Oil palm plantations yield large amount of biomass that can be recycled into medium density fibreboards and light furniture.[57] In efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scientists treat palm oil mill effluent to extract biogas. After purification, biogas can substitute for natural gas for use at factories. Anaerobic treatment of palm oil mill effluent, practiced in Malaysia and Indonesia, results in domination of Methanosaeta concilii. It plays an important role in methane production from acetate and the optimum condition for its growth should be considered to harvest biogas as renewable fuel.

     

    Perry- I think you are right, yields from palm are roughly 500 gallons an acre, though yields have been rising at 4 percent annual rates.  Inputs are rather low, as you only plant the palm trees once, not annually. Palm oil is profitable w/o subsidy for sale as vegetable oil.  Some plantations are claiming higher yields. 

     

    I was surprised to find out from your post that sugar-ethanol yield are so high.

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  89. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    That’s just wrong Robert. Between ’04 and ’07, demand fell 50,000 bpd. 
    Net imports fell 100,000 bpd, even though domestic production dropped a
    whopping 381,000 bpd. I know, I know. It must’ve been MTBE. Or some
    quirk in stock builds. Maybe the man on the moon shot some crude out of
    his butt. Anything but ethanol, right?

    Well Perry, if you want to analyze numbers, you have to deal with facts. Things like MTBE don’t go away just because you would prefer not to address them. They are quantifiable. Changes in stocks are quantifiable. What you are doing is saying “It must have been ethanol.” I have analyzed the numbers. Here is a follow-up where I looked at MTBE:

    http://www.consumerenergyrepor…..m-imports/

    That is a thorough analysis, not this guessing you are throwing out there. You are certainly free to do your own analysis, but you are not free to ignore data because you prefer not to address it.

    RR

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  90. By russ on June 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    and a like amount of CO2, which is used for things like bottling cokes.

    One heck of a lot  of cokes – been there and done that – trying to find a home for CO2 is not easy  – impossible to take a credit for without a contract in hand.

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  91. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Warning to Kit: You may think you can get away with the clown act by simply taking it to another site, but you have been warned many times. You are entitled to your opinion, but one thing you are not entitled to do is make up things about me. For the lie you wrote over at the Corn Corps blog, you earned yourself a 1 week ban. Anything you post here over the next week will be deleted without explanation. If you decide you would rather start hanging out over there as a result of your ban, I think most of the board would see that a a positive development.

    You keep coming across as a bitter and angry old man, and as a result your contributions here are far below the standards we have. You might take some notes from Perry or Rufus – two guys I almost always disagree with but who never have anything censored.

    RR

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  92. By rrapier on June 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Folks, I am flying all day tomorrow, so little to no comments from me.

    Perry, do read through the analysis and then see where things stand in your mind.

    RR

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  93. By Benny BND Cole on June 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    OT. but grist for a future RR post: BP has posted its annual Statistical Review. Make sure you look at the full historical version.

    Some fascinating numbers in there. In 2009, the USA used less oil than any year since 1997. In Eurasia, less oil was used than any year since 1971.

    Using less oil does not mean lower living standards. In 2009, France used less oil than any year since 1970, and Japan any year since 1971.

    Both nations have greatly increased their GDP per capita in the last 40 years. In France per capita income about doubled in the last 40 years, and Japan did even better. Less oil but higher living standards.

    I think we may see yet another wave of decreased oil consumption. The price signal is stirring up responses; even at $70 a barrel, there is incentive to use less.

    And technology is getting close to creating real competition. The PHEV could crush oil demand. CNG cars. Even if ICEs remain, ther are options, such as hybrids that get 60 mpg.

    World oil demand in 2009 had fallen back to 2005 levels. Of course, the recession played a role–but with oil at $70 a barrel, do not look for much recovery in demand.

    The doomsday scenario of “oil shortages” seems less likely all the time.

    I expect we are seeing the beginnings of the end for the oil age, and a cleaner, more prosperous future lies ahead.

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  94. By Rufus on June 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I suspect you may be, to some extent, right, Benny.

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  95. By savro on June 16, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Those are some fascinating –and hopefully encouraging– statistics, Benny. However, while you did acknowledge that the recession may be a driving factor in the steep drop in demand, I’m not 100% sure on what you meant by this:

    World oil demand in 2009 had fallen back to 2005 levels. Of course, the
    recession played a role–but with oil at $70 a barrel, do not look for
    much recovery in demand.

    If you meant that $70/bbl oil will thwart the prospects for a full economic recovery, thereby stemming any major increase in demand, how can that be a good thing? What we need is for oil demand to be lessened, or at least stemmed, despite a recovered and vibrant economy. A lower demand for oil due to a weak global economy is not anything to cheer about in terms of the economic disadvantages of being dependent on oil.

    I may have misunderstood your point, so please do clarify.

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  96. By Rufus on June 17, 2010 at 3:44 am

    Here is a cite from the EPA for my statement that Conv. Gasoline (RBOB) has 114,000 btus.

    http://www.epa.gov/orcdizux/rf…..econ.htm#2

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  97. By Wendell Mercantile on June 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Gasoline ~ 114,000 BTU/gal
    Gasoline (conventional, summer) ~ 114,500 BTU/gal
    Gasoline (conventional, winter) ~ 112,500 BTU/gal
    Gasoline (reformulated gasoline, ethanol) ~ 111,836 BTU/gal
    Gasoline (reformulated gasoline, ETBE) ~ 111,811 BTU/gal
    Gasoline (reformulated gasoline, MTBE) ~ 111,745 BTU/gal
    Gasoline (10% MBTE) ~112,000 BTU/gallon
    Diesel #2 ~129,500 BTU/gal
    Biodiesel ~ 118,300 BTU/gal
    Bio Diesel (B20) ~ 127,250 BTU/gal
    Liquid natural gas (LNG) ~ 75,000 BTU/gal
    Compressed natural gas (CNG) ~ 900 BTU/cu ft
    Hydrogen ~ 319 BTU/cu ft
    Hydrogen by weight ~ 51,500 BTU/lb
    Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) ~ 84,300 BTU/gal
    Methanol fuel (M100) ~ 56,800 BTU/gal
    Ethanol fuel (E100) ~ 76,100 BTU/gal

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  98. By rrapier on June 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Rufus said:

    Here is a cite from the EPA for my statement that Conv. Gasoline (RBOB) has 114,000 btus.

    http://www.epa.gov/orcdizux/rf…..econ.htm#2


     

    Note that they directly contradict your constant mantra on not having to pay the full BTU penalty of ethanol due to the higher octane:

    • EPA found that the use of oxygenated fuels and RFG causes a small decrease (1-3%) in fuel economy.
    • EPA
      determined that a vehicle’s fuel economy depends on the energy content
      of the gasoline on which it runs. This conclusion matches what would be
      expected based on combustion theory.

    So clearly a source that can’t be trusted. :)

    RR

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  99. By Dave Swenson on June 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Robert,
    Like Avis of old, you are going to have to try harder. But number 5 is nothing to sneeze at.

    Goodness, though, there were quite a few folks that ought to have made that list.

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