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By Robert Rapier on Mar 9, 2011 with 191 responses

What You Aren’t Being Told About Ethanol and Corrosion

Good Ideas Gone Bad

History is littered with examples of ideas that seemed to be good for a while, but were later discovered to have unpleasant consequences. The pharmaceutical industry is full of cases of promising drugs that went through testing, received FDA approval, and then when they were rolled out on a large scale were found to have serious side effects.

In the energy business, for example, the addition of MTBE to the fuel supply at one time seemed like a good idea. It served as an oxygenate and provided another market for natural gas, but as we now know there were negative consequences.

Indeed, it is possible that with the benefit of hindsight, we will decide that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to recover shale gas was a bad idea. There is certainly controversy surrounding the practice, with many accusations of ground water contamination linked to fracking.

I often wonder whether we will look back at our great ethanol experiment as a bad idea. We have already seen some of the consequences. While die-hard ethanol supporters may still try to argue that expanded ethanol use has not impacted food prices, that argument is simply not credible. It isn’t believable that using a major fraction of the corn crop for ethanol production hasn’t contributed to the run-up in corn prices. Proponents may argue that the overall run-up in energy prices has a larger impact on food prices (and I would agree with that). They may argue that the impact from using corn for ethanol is only a few percentage points, but even a 1% increase in food prices amounts to $12 billion a year in the U.S. alone given our $1.2 trillion annual food expenditure.

A Transfer of Wealth

That leads me to sometimes wonder whether our ethanol mandates have resulted in true net wealth creation, or whether it simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from around the U.S. (and even the world) into the corn-growing states. I can recall a discussion I had with my dad on this several years ago. He is a cattle rancher in Oklahoma who also farms a little. In fact we grew a fair amount of corn when I was growing up there. In 2005 I was about to give testimony to the Montana State Legislature on a proposed ethanol mandate. My position was that the mandate wouldn’t do much to benefit Montana farmers, because Montana isn’t exactly prime corn-country.

My dad asked me at the time why I wanted to testify against farmers. I explained that it wasn’t farmers I was testifying against – or even ethanol per se – it was the idea of a mandate which would limit choices and have potentially unpleasant consequences. A few years later — in response to much higher feed prices — he had to sell his entire cattle herd. Money had been transferred from his small cattle operation into the hands of Midwestern corn farmers, and he understood first hand the meaning of unintended consequences.

Corrosion is Complicated

That preamble brings me to the topic of this essay. Talk to an ethanol proponent about methanol, and they will cite corrosion as a serious issue. But mention that ethanol is also corrosive, and they will insist that testing has proven that it isn’t a concern. But corrosion is a problem that often takes some time to manifest itself. Corrosion testing in the petrochemical industry is an important, but time-consuming process. Despite testing, we often see corrosion where we thought we had corrosion-resistant materials.

It may take a decade or two before we can really evaluate the overall impact that ethanol had on contributing to corrosion in automobiles and in our fuel infrastructure. Already we hear of anecdotal tales of people complaining that they had to spend money repairing a component whose failure was blamed on ethanol, but over time it should become clearer whether these issues are more common than they were before ethanol started making up 10% of the national gasoline pool.

UL Looks at E15

And while ethanol proponents assure us that there are no corrosion concerns, a report that was released last November — but that got almost no media attention — should have raised some warning flags. The study was conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The purpose of the testing was to expose various pieces of fuel dispensing equipment that were UL-approved for E10 service to 15% ethanol blends (E15) to assess compatibility.

The results — especially given repeated reassurances that E15 poses no risk — are surprising to say the least. But then perhaps because of the highly politicized nature of the ethanol debate — plus the fact that they did the report for NREL, which is pro-ethanol — the authors sugarcoated the findings:

The overall results of the program were not conclusive insofar as no clear trends in the overall performance of all equipment could be established. New and used equipment such as shear valves, flow limiters, submersible turbine pumps, and hoses generally performed well. Some new and used equipment demonstrated a reduced level of safety or performance, or both, during either long-term exposure or performance tests. Dispenser meter/manifold/valve assemblies in particular demonstrated largely noncompliant results. Nozzles, breakaways, and swivels, both new and used, experienced noncompliant results during performance testing. Responses of nonmetals, primarily gaskets and seals, were involved with these noncompliances.

This is the point where we have to go to our due diligence handbook. What do they mean when they write that there were “no clear trends in the overall performance of all equipment?” Which pieces of equipment showed “a reduced level of safety or performance”, and why hasn’t this gotten more coverage? Finally, what exactly do they mean by “noncompliant results” and “noncompliances?”

To get answers to these questions, I had to read through the report to understand exactly what they were saying. The pieces of equipment — consisting of valves, hoses, pumps, etc. — were subjected to a series of tests to simulate long-term usage in the field. These pieces of equipment are in widespread use today in our fuel infrastructure. In this case, I think a picture is worth well over a thousand words, so I am copying the table of results from the tests:

Summary of Underwriters Laboratories Testing of Fuel Dispensing Equipment for E15 Compliance

I don’t know about you, but to claim that there were “no clear trends in the overall performance of all equipment” is quite a stretch. There appears to be a very clear trend, and that is that much of the equipment tested showed that it was not compatible with E15.

If you are keeping score, only three of eight categories of new dispensing equipment tested — fewer than 40 percent — passed all compliance tests. When used equipment was examined — that is to say the equipment found in our existing fuel infrastructure — none of the categories were shown to be fully compliant. Bear in mind that this is equipment that is certified to be E10 compliant, and likely the sort of equipment that would be contacted by E15 were it to be broadly adopted. And this isn’t anecdotal evidence; this is Underwriters Laboratories.

How About More Transparency?

Now perhaps it is a bit clearer why automakers have sued to stop implementation of E15. If fuel dispensing equipment is failing tests in E15 service — and we are not being informed about that — how likely is it that there will be huge numbers of issues in cars that were not specifically designed for E15? I would put that probability as quite high, and I don’t expect that the ethanol industry is standing by prepared to cover those repair bills. It also leads me to wonder more about the long-term implications of E10. If we eventually determine that automobile component lifetimes have been shortened by a year or two due to exposure to ethanol, there will have been a very heavy cost to consumers.

An issue that fellow energy blogger Geoffrey Styles picked up on is that in approving automobiles for E15 service, the EPA didn’t assess whether cars would suffer damage from E15. Rather the waiver was granted on the basis of those cars not emitting more pollutants when using E15. That leads me back to the automobile manufacturers for assurance, and if they won’t assure us that putting E15 in our vehicles won’t harm them, then E15 has no business being put in our fuel supply.

Of course this doesn’t mean that equipment can’t be designed to be E15 compatible. If you are putting in new infrastructure or building a new car, there is no reason that all of the parts can’t be constructed to be E15 compatible. But one thing is clear: Existing equipment has shown to be incompatible with E15, and that information has been kept quiet.

Can My Choice Be E0?

The ethanol industry has recently claimed what it really wants is for consumers to have a choice. I can support that. If consumers want to put E15 in their cars, then they should be allowed to do so if they are prepared to assume the risk (and understand the risks). But I wonder if that choice extends to me choosing to put E0 in my car? I wonder if the ethanol industry would back blending pumps that would allow me to put any concentration of ethanol in my car, give up their mandate, and let the chips fall where they may? I suspect the result would be as it has been in Germany, where consumers have simply refused to buy ethanol blends over similar concerns. So I suspect what the industry really wants is choice — as long as that choice still involves putting ethanol in your car.

  1. By Dick Swalve on March 9, 2011 at 9:18 am

    What were the results of testing with pure gasoline?  The results just seem… funny.  I’m no chemist, but the move from 10% to 15% doesn’t seem all that meaningful.  If 15% can cause all that damage, why isn’t 10% doing it?  If failures were really that high, wouldn’t all the equipment at gas stations be constantly breaking?

     

    Or are these test-to-fail tests?  I can see if an arbitrary lifespan were chosen, and then tested for, you would get results like that. 

     

    How do booze producers deal with it, if the stuff is so terribly corrosive?  You’d think there would be brewery and distillery explosions all over the place.

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  2. By Walt on March 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

    This is an interesting article.  I’ve been asking the same question for methanol, and this month I received the January/February 2011 “National Petroleum News” NPN Magazine.  As I was reading it, an article made it pretty clear some groups do not like the E15 mandate.

    http://www.mfrtech.com/article…../8450.html

    The group is called Engine Products Group.  As a methanol producer, I would really like to know the skinny on methanol damage to engines.  The Methanol Institute mentions in their website that for $200 per car at the assembly line all cars could use up to M85 blended gasoline.  Then, I met with a group that handles ethanol and they claim all cars after like 1998 can run on ethanol, with some modifications that take an hour or less.  The group is here: http://www.deanzafuel.com/  They are supposedly backed by a billionaire out of Silicon Valley who made his money in software, and I understand they have assurances from Ford that after a certain date the cars were already mandated to handle ethanol in the engines.

    What are the facts?  The Engine Products Group above clearly show they are not in favor of this change…and they certainly look credible.

    Is there anyone running now on E85 or E15 for more than 1-2 years that are NOT flex-fuel purchased cars?  Is there any or a lot of damage?  Was there ever a change over to address the major methanol problems in cars back in the 1970s.

    Like Robert mentioned, I too am not so confident in industry (or even government) funded research any longer.  I posted a video a few days ago that confirmed my concerns that most of us in the industry just want to tell everyone about how rosy things are, and many will go so far as to even bury facts and evidence they do not want the public to know.  It pays to dig into everything now…like never before.

    Who can we trust about methanol or ethanol use in engines beyond those recently labeled flex-fuel?

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  3. By Peter on March 9, 2011 at 10:00 am

    It’s not that we can’t engineer equipment that can use E15, it is that we already have an enormous amount of assets that may be more prone to failure when used with E15, thus potentially placing a large and unnecessary financial burden on the nation.

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  4. By rrapier on March 9, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Farmer John said:

    Another stretch from RR to scare people away from using a domestic fuel source. Seriously, when testing shows that moving from E10 to E15 won’t do any harm why do people like yourself start to assume that it will with absolutley no backing whatsoever.


     

    Are you utterly delusional or simply in deep denial? Did you stop reading at the headline? Completely miss that graphic in the article? This article has solid backing from the testing at UL which showed that moving from E10 to E15 caused many pieces of equipment to fail. Closing your eyes and pretending these tests never took place — thus there is “absolutely no backing whatsoever” — isn’t going to fly here.

    Seriously, where do people like you come from? Here we have a very serious finding, and you simplly persist in ignoring the results while claiming that I am spreading misinformation. If you want to respond, please address the test findings.

    RR

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  5. By rrapier on March 9, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Dick Swalve said:

    What were the results of testing with pure gasoline?  The results just seem… funny.  I’m no chemist, but the move from 10% to 15% doesn’t seem all that meaningful.  If 15% can cause all that damage, why isn’t 10% doing it?  If failures were really that high, wouldn’t all the equipment at gas stations be constantly breaking?


     

    If 15% can do it, then I suspect 10% can do it, it just may take longer. And there are plenty of reports from car owners that they have had E10 related problems. But I don’t know the answer to that question for certain.

    Or are these test-to-fail tests?  I can see if an arbitrary lifespan
    were chosen, and then tested for, you would get results like that. 

    I linked the report, where they describe in detail how the tests were done.

    How do booze producers deal with it, if the stuff is so terribly
    corrosive?  You’d think there would be brewery and distillery explosions
    all over the place.

    Like I said, it isn’t that equipment can’t be designed for it. It is that there is a lot of existing infrastructure out there, and the tests showed that it is largely incompatible with E15.

    RR

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  6. By russ-finley on March 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    E85Prices said:

    45% of the GM vehicles are FFVs this year ..next year over 50% by 2015 80% …. the Focus should be on continuing that trend so that a decade from now IF.. IF we need to have E15 or E20 or E25 (because of OPEC cutting off supplies, Peak Oil becomes a reality. War etc..) as a base fuel we CAN do it because the Pumps and vehicles for the past decade are ethanol compatible to any level (takes the corrosion issue to the backburner) Limited E0/E10 still available for older vehicles/small engines etc..


     

    If? Imagine the government forcing car makers back in the seventies to install eight-track players in all cars assuming it would win the competition for playing recorded music. We pry additional billions out of tax payer’s hands preparing cars to use a fuel that is about to max out its ability to scale any further thanks to competition with food? Cellulosic isn’t happening. Seems to me it would be much wiser to focus on technologies that simply use much less liquid fuel, rather than replace the ones we use.

     

    So, in addition to the untold billions that will quietly be spent on car repairs caused by ethanol, consumers are paying a couple hundred bucks for every flex fuel car made amounting to a few billion dollars a year as well. Add to that the $12 billion in food costs, $5 billion in subsidies, etc etc.

    If adding ethanol to gas lowered its price, and if consumers had a choice like in Germany, you might get consumers to buy the ethanol, although ironically, in Germany, they will pay more “not” to use ethanol.

    It all comes down to price. The bottom line: corn ethanol has not reduced the military budget or kept the price of liquid fuels from spiking. It has not saved consumers a dime and has perpetuated the oil company’s preferred business model of using ICE powered SUVs to consume liquid fuels.

    Achtung! German Motorists Boycott Ethanol

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  7. By Walt on March 9, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Ok, here we go.  I was wrong in my dates when I said about 1998.

    They say it right on their website:

    Will any car be able to run on organic fuel?

    Yes. All cars and light trucks produced in the U.S. after
    1985 can run on blended ethanol with no modifications to the fuel or
    electronic systems.

    Won’t temperature effect performance?

    Rarely. Ethanol works in all temperatures. It may require a
    slight modification in blending or a computer chip modification to aid
    starting in extreme cold, yet its high octane will actually improve cold
    weather mileage.”

    http://www.deanzafuel.com/mf_qanda.htm

     

    I was told they got their information directly from Ford.  I don’t know if it is in writing, or not.  But if all those methanol engine problems happened in 1970s and someone claims that after 1985 they were addressed by some sort of government mandate, what is the real truth?  It is now 2011 and it does seem surprising that auto companies cannot handle ethanol or methanol unless you buy a flex-fuel automobile.

    If methanol and ethanol is really terrible for our cars above 10% blends, does it mean nothing was done to fix it since the 1970s?  I know Exxon has gone out publicly saying they are highly opposed to the E15 mandate and cars are going to be damaged.  See here:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wi…..l-decision

    “Most engines have not been tested for E15, and it’s possible that
    vehicle warranties could be voided if vehicles suffer damage from higher
    ethanol blends. Additionally, most service stations do not have tanks
    and pumps that are certified for dispensing the higher ethanol blends —
    and the time required and costs of installing new equipment are
    significant,” writes Exxon exec Ken Cohen on the company’s “Perspectives” blog.

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  8. By e85prices-com on March 9, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Robert

    Iowa has never had an E10 Mandate and yet they sell nearly as much ethanol as States with a mandate

    “The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has requested Iowa legislators pass a statewide mandate requiring all motor vehicles to use at least a 10 percent ethanol blend. As the nation’s largest producer of ethanol, with approximately 3.2 billion gallons produced at 39 ethanol plants, the state has never previously issued mandates for ethanol use. According to Monte Shaw, executive director of IRFA, ethanol fuel blends sold in Iowa remain around 75 percent while the rest of the nation stands at 80 percent. “Iowa is lagging behind the rest of the country in ethanol use,” Shaw said at the annual IRFA summit held in January.”

    I agree giving Americans “Choice” at the pump is important but at the additive level (e10) ..simply not a big deal to most Americans .

     

    E15

    E15 also an additive level would require to be placed on a Blender Pump as NO STATION will Sell E15 in replace of E0/E10//it just simply isn’t going to happen so debating whether to offer it or not is pointless. It will end up being on blenders..which is perfectly fine as that assures choice..you want to use it you should be-able to buy it.

    45% of the GM vehicles are FFVs this year ..next year over 50% by 2015 80% …. the Focus should be on continuing that trend so that a decade from now IF.. IF we need to have E15 or E20 or E25 (because of OPEC cutting off supplies, Peak Oil becomes a reality. War etc..) as a base fuel we CAN do it because the Pumps and vehicles for the past decade are ethanol compatible to any level (takes the corrosion issue to the backburner) Limited E0/E10 still available for older vehicles/small engines etc..

    Of Far more immediate concern should be :

    1.Ethanol Exports..that needs to stop. Exporting and subsidizing corn ethanol exports. Ethanol claims they are running out of Market…BS…If ethanol wants more Market then start investing in your Industry and build out high blend ethanol as a alternative fuels( blenders with E20, E30,E50..E85) additives=mandates, high blends = choice

    2. Not allowing Corn Ethanol any Market beyond the 15 Billion a Year alloted to them by the RFS. Not raising that ceiling ensures that investments in next generation/advanced/cellulosic ethanol continues.
    Not raising that ceiling…keeps corn prices stable which is good for everyone ..the Cattle Rancher/Poultry/Hogs , consumers AND is good for corn ethanol producers

    An Exception on the 15 Billion per year could be in yields..if corn yields are for example 2% greater than than say a 5 year average then the ceiling could be raised accordingly.

    3. Continuing funding for Blender Pumps.. Blenders are key as they offer the consumer choice (over fuel mandates), they signal the Auto Industry to continue with FFV production , provide the ethanol Industry a stable growth infrastructure, ensures next generation feedstocks come on to the Market and over a decade as they are implemented gives the United States an aded layer of energy security.. as posted earlier IF IF we then ever need to go to a higher BASE fuel a E15, E20, E25 we can .

    These three tools assure growth ,stability , fueling choices , weans us off foreign oil and ads a layer to our National Security.

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  9. By Farmer John on March 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Another stretch from RR to scare people away from using a domestic fuel source. Seriously, when testing shows that moving from E10 to E15 won’t do any harm why do people like yourself start to assume that it will with absolutley no backing whatsoever. Our country has a serious dependence on foregin oil and all you are accomplishing in your work is the spreading of misinformation which slows the expansion of ethanol usage and the development of advanced biofuels which will continue to reduce our countries oil consumption. Consumers deserve a choice and I believe the ethanol industry would feel the same way. We should have a blender pump at every gas station giving peole the option of buying clean-burning, domestic fuel instead of continuing down the path of shipping out American wealth to OPEC.

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  10. By rrapier on March 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    E85Prices.com said:

    These three tools assure growth ,stability , fueling choices , weans us off foreign oil and ads a layer to our National Security.


     

    I don’t actually disagree with the things you wrote, but it doesn’t really address the issue of the UL tests. I find these particularly troubling for a couple of reasons. One is that the UL is a trusted name in certifying equipment, and here they found numerous failures and didn’t raise red flags. They tried to obfuscate in their summary when they should have said “Hang on a second. We detected a problem.”

    Second is that the ethanol industry has not been proactive in addressing these results. They have the potential to have blood on their hands here, and in cases like this where safety issues are involved, pushing gung ho towards E15 is highly irresponsible without addressing these issues.

    If I am in the place of the ethanol industry, I would flag this report myself, and say “Here is how we would address this issue.” Instead, the issue has just been ignored.

    RR

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  11. By e85prices-com on March 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    God ..I didnt realize it was Russ.. enough said..
     

    You have dug your trench and will never come out to see the light. Never give an inch right Russ. Never admit that ethnaol has  aplace in our Society..protect oil at all costs. I’ll leave you alone and let you continue to sing the same old song and try and win converts through sheer stubborness.

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  12. By e85prices-com on March 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    E85Prices.com said:

    These three tools assure growth ,stability , fueling choices , weans us off foreign oil and ads a layer to our National Security.


     

    I don’t actually disagree with the things you wrote, but it doesn’t really address the issue of the UL tests. I find these particularly troubling for a couple of reasons. One is that the UL is a trusted name in certifying equipment, and here they found numerous failures and didn’t raise red flags. They tried to obfuscate in their summary when they should have said “Hang on a second. We detected a problem.”

    Second is that the ethanol industry has not been proactive in addressing these results. They have the potential to have blood on their hands here, and in cases like this where safety issues are involved, pushing gung ho towards E15 is highly irresponsible without addressing these issues.

    If I am in the place of the ethanol industry, I would flag this report myself, and say “Here is how we would address this issue.” Instead, the issue has just been ignored.

    RR


     

     

    Yeah I see that.. My personal take is that it really dosnet make any difference because no retailer (not any in any real numbers) are going to add E15 as a base fuel anyways.   Corroision issues at the pump ..if it’s going to happen will happen sooner than later. The Complaints from the Retailer will emerge and if it REALLY is a big issue then E15 as a base on those pumps will be halted.

     

    But like I was saying I simply dont see E15 as a base fuel not happening in any significant numbers…for a number of reasons ..most importantly because of corns limit of 15 billion gallons..making sure they are not allowed past that I see as a far greater issue..for the reasons I posted earlier.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  13. By Benny BND Cole on March 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Another excellent blog by RR.
    I still wonder that if Methanex can sell methanol at $1.28 a gallon today, why are not we moving towards methanol? We seem to be assured of natural gas gluts for decades.
    Yes, hydrofracking may cause problems, but I tend to doubt it, unless your water source is several hundred feet underground. Deep wells, perhaps.

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  14. By Wendell Mercantile on March 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    …die-hard ethanol supporters

    RR~

    I contend there are no “die-hard ethanol” supporters. There are people profiting from the subsidies and mandates connected to ethanol; and there are farmers and brokers who profit from the increased commodity value of corn that is a result of ethanol.

    They are “die-hards” supporters of the money flowing through the ethanol business, and of growing and selling corn to make into ethanol.

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  15. By eugene on March 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    The thing I love is how we debate the same issues over and over. We jump on the band wagon and worry about problems later. Ethanol is not a solution except to those who will profit from it. The damage to older fuel systems has been documented for a long time.

    As far as fracking, we don’t have a clue as to what we’re doing. I learned, long ago, if I want to know about Chevrolet, Ford or whatever I do NOT

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  16. By eugene on March 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Sorry, hit the wrong key.  What I was going to say is I do NOT ask the dealer.  I do independent research.  As we move ever deeper into questionable practices to obtain energy, we will move deeper into the unknown with consequences.  I read the claims re way below the water table, etc, etc.  But it’s those with an agenda making the claims.  We simply don’t know enough about underground water movement.  Another issue is the fluids used.  No one can convince me this is a totally safe practice.  There will be spills, there will be accidents and there will be problems.  At this point we are on a headlong rush into “get that fuel”.  Unfortunately, far too often the powerful money interests win the game and decades later we discover the disasters. 

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  17. By thomas398 on March 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    If we want to use less foreign oil then lets use less oil– by driving more fuel efficient cars, improving our driving habits, and by driving and flying less when possibile.  If we want to promote rising food prices and enrich special intrests lets continue with ethanol mandates. 

    The ethanol lobby will never go for E0 blenders.  They know they can’t compete. Ask GM how things work out when you have an inferior product and your only selling point is ”Made in America”.  The big oil companies have smart energy people, who have no doubt taken a serious look at the industry. If they thought there was any potential they would make a bet, as they have with other alternatives.  They haven’t which leads me to assume the ethanol industry is a zombie propped up by politicians. 

    Below is a ten year/ 100K mile fuel cost comparison of a Corolla and Prius.  If I use E15 in the Corolla, I would expect ~ 25 mpg (4,000 total gallons)  and I would burn 3,400 gallons of gasoline. Essentially no change in foreign oil consumption. Even if i get the full 29 mpg I save 516 gallons vs. 1423 gallons saved on an E0 hybrid. So why are we toying with ethanol?

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  18. By Pmoss on March 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    And the number of viable alternatives to replace 10 – 15% of our fuel needs brought up in this discussion – none. No one knows the facts about how much corn we grow or consume. No one seems to know that a third of what is produced in an ethanol plant comes out as…feed. No one knows that 4% of a corn kernel is…oil that can be used for food or biodiesel. No one mentions that it costs approximately $100 additional to make cars E85 compatible, which I presume would be compatible with E15. No one mentions that corn yields have…doubled, in the last 30 years and yields are growing at an exponential rate because of technology. No one seems to know how little corn is actually used for food and that the corn ethanol industry is capped and cannot expand because of “indirect land use” penalties imposed by EPA. Before you throw ethanol under the bus, you should really look at the facts and realize the magnitude of 140 billion gallons of gasoline with a $2.00 per gallon price spike…and 65 billion gallons of diesel fuel with an even larger price spike. The Germans don’t care about ethanol because the majority of their vehicles are diesel. We have been using ethanol in this country for nearly 3 decades and I believe if there were massive long-term problems they would have materialized by now.

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  19. By rrapier on March 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Pmoss said:

    And the number of viable alternatives to replace 10 – 15% of our fuel needs brought up in this discussion – none.


     

    That wasn’t the topic of this post, but those alternatives are discussed frequently here. One example is instead of using natural gas to make fertilizer and steam for ethanol plants to use it directly in CNG vehicles. That is a viable alternative, particularly for fleet vehicles.

    No one mentions that it costs
    approximately $100 additional to make cars E85 compatible, which I
    presume would be compatible with E15.

    Again, these things have been discussed here frequently. The issue isn’t what it costs to convert; the issue is existing infrastructure and how to manage that issue. Here we have an example of politics interfering with good science to downplay reliability issues that are clearly shown from the UL tests.

    …the corn ethanol industry is
    capped and cannot expand because of “indirect land use” penalties
    imposed by EPA.

    The ethanol industry is already starting to say that they can step up as cellulosic ethanol fails to deliver. The EPA has certainly changed the rules before; no reason to believe they won’t do so again.

    Before you throw ethanol under the bus, you should
    really look at the facts and realize the magnitude of 140 billion
    gallons of gasoline with a $2.00 per gallon price spike…and 65 billion
    gallons of diesel fuel with an even larger price spike.

    We are all well aware of that. This theme is a major focus of this blog; the vulnerability of our economy due to our oil dependence.

    We have been using ethanol in this country for nearly 3 decades
    and I believe if there were massive long-term problems they would have
    materialized by now.

    There have been clearly documented problems. How massive? Who knows. But we haven’t been using E15 for 30 years, and the UL tests clearly showed compatability issues.

    RR

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  20. By Wendell Mercantile on March 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    No one mentions that it costs approximately $100 additional to make cars E85 compatible, which I presume would be compatible with E15.

    Pmoss~

    You’re right, it doesn’t cost all that much to convert a car to flex-fuel. But that only begs the question: Why doesn’t the ethanol industry and Big Ag pay car makers the $100/car it would cost to make all cars flex-fuel?

    That would be a small investment for the ethanol cartel, but one with potentially huge returns. But I suppose you’d rather have the government mandate that all cars be flex-fuel, right?

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  21. By biocrude on March 9, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    RR, what about this report by Ricardo?  

    http://www.ricardo.com/News–M…..-vehicles/

    From that report: “Older vehicles represent a significant yet previously comparatively under-researched element of the US national vehicle fleet. In considering the potential risks and benefits of increasing the current ethanol blend ceiling in regular gasoline from 10 to 15 percent it is crucial that the interests of the potentially very large stakeholder group represented by the owners of these vehicles are investigated. While many previous studies by Ricardo and others have evaluated the impact of higher ethanol blends on newer vehicles, this study demonstrates for the first time that raising the blend ceiling to E15 is likely to have a negligible impact on vehicles manufactured between 1994 and 2000.”

     

    The average vehicle is on the road for 17 years, which is almost a 2000 model vehicle.  If you are driving a vehicle that is that old, chances are you are emitting tons of toxic emissions due to little emissions controls, not to mention poor mpg.  Time for a new vehicle anyway, and buy a hybrid if you want!  I’m under the impression that mixed alcohols are going to play a huge role here in the near future.  As much as everyone seems to hate ethanol, it really is building out infrastructure to make way for mixed alcohol fuels…

     

    @Wendel, you really don’t think Fracking is doing anything to water supply?  What are you smoking?  Er, what are you drinking?  :)

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..Ze1AeH0Qz8
     

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..13750.html

    http://www.treehugger.com/file…..l-fuel.php 

     

     

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  22. By Wendell Mercantile on March 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Biocrude,

    You apparently have me confused with someone else.

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  23. By rrapier on March 9, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Biocrude said:

    RR, what about this report by Ricardo?  

    http://www.ricardo.com/News–…..-vehicles/

    From that report: “Older vehicles represent a significant yet previously comparatively under researched element of the US national vehicle fleet. In considering the potential risks and benefits of increasing the current ethanol blend ceiling in regular gasoline from 10 to 15 percent it is crucial that the interests of the potentially very large stakeholder group represented by the owners of these vehicles are investigated. While many previous studies by Ricardo and others have evaluated the impact of higher ethanol blends on newer vehicles, this study demonstrates for the first time that raising the blend ceiling to E15 is likely to have a negligible impact on vehicles manufactured between 1994 and 2000.”

     


     

    I am aware of the Ricardo study. But once more, you have to read between the lines. The study was done for the ethanol lobby. Further, from Ricardo’s press release: “Six automotive manufacturers were identified as representing the overwhelming majority of vehicles sales for the study period, and the top selling platforms of these manufacturers thus became the focus of the Ricardo study. This approach enabled Ricardo to carry out engineering analysis without individually inspecting or testing each of this very large number of vehicles.”

    I just don’t put Ricardo in the same category as Underwriters Laboratories. But remember what we are really talking about is existing pump infrastructure. UL didn’t test auto parts; they tested fuel infrastructure. The results of those tests give cause for concern. However, given the repeated assurances we have received that there are no issues with E15 in our fuel supply, this does lead me to question just how diligently automobile parts have actually been tested. Frankly, I would like to see UL extend their tests to the fuel systems of various automobiles.

    What is your interpretation of the UL tests? Do they give you cause for concern?

    RR

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  24. By John Waugh on March 9, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    This is a classic case of a wicked problem. Any effort at a remedy will spawn new problems. That isn’t to say that the effort should not be made. But it is important to recognize that there won’t be an obvious consensus view on the way forward. Please keep up the good work on R2 Energy; I find the clear thinking very refreshing.

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  25. By rrapier on March 9, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Kit, I prefer to have a serious discussion about the subject matter. Grown-ups are talking here, so I deleted your typical childish and content-free post. Please try to grow up so you can converse with the adults. If you wish to address the results of the UL studies, that would be a good place to start.

    RR

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  26. By walter-sobchak on March 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Thank you very much Robert.

     

    For me this is no longer a technical issue, although I am sure you are absolutely correct about them. For me this is now a moral issue. Turning food crops into fuel is raising food price, not only in the US, but around the world.

     

    Those increases may not have much effect on most Americans, but in Africa people will starve to death.

     

    Make no mistake about it. Ethanol kills innocent children. It must be stopped.

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  27. By Walt on March 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    And while ethanol proponents assure us that there are no corrosion concerns, a report that was released last November — but that got almost no media attention — should have raised some warning flags. The study was conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The purpose of the testing was to expose various pieces of fuel dispensing equipment that were UL-approved for E10 service to 15% ethanol blends (E15) to assess compatibility.

    Now perhaps it is a bit clearer why automakers have sued to stop implementation of E15. If fuel dispensing equipment is failing tests in E15 service — and we are not being informed about that — how likely is it that there will be huge numbers of issues in cars that were not specifically designed for E15? I would put that probability as quite high, and I don’t expect that the ethanol industry is standing by prepared to cover those repair bills. It also leads me to wonder more about the long-term implications of E10. If we eventually determine that automobile component lifetimes have been shortened by a year or two due to exposure to ethanol, there will have been a very heavy cost to consumers.


     

    RR said, “If we eventually determine that automobile component lifetimes have been
    shortened by a year or two due to exposure to ethanol, there will have
    been a very heavy cost to consumers.”

    I too would like to see the studies on the automobile or engines itself.  Fuel dispensing equipment could be a serious problem for alcohols being part of our transporation fuels mix, and that could be an expensive burden, but the damages effecting the consumers and their cars would be of most interest to our reserach.

    Is there any studies out there that anyone has regarding “mandated” changes by the government before 1985 to require compatibility with alcohols on new cars?  Some have suggested that an “ethanol kit” is the only thing required to make your car flex fuel.  I wonder if there are any cars running on E85 or M85 since the 1990′s with one of these kits installed, and limited engine damages?

    Last week our company went through this old study for a local installation…which is however different than the UL study:

    http://www.methanol.org/fuelce…..ncosts.pdf

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  28. By JIm_E85 on March 10, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Ok, now I understand why you are always so anti-ethanol. It stems from your dad’s cattle farm. Now it makes sense. Sorry that your dad couldn’t compete against large corporation farms and ended up losing his heard. But the demise of the small family farm cattle heard to mega-feed lot economies of scale and corporate feeding hormones to herds really shouldn’t cause your hatred of all things ethanol. Your hatred is really misplaced.

    I have one small question to ask-
    You point out the number of UL listed pieces of equipment that did not comply with the UL requirements. While the results are interesting, the right question wasn’t asked- How does equipment in E15 service compare with equipment in gasoline service?

    I would argue that zero out of six meter/manifold/valve assemblies (was it meters? or manifolds? Or valve assemblies that failed?) is a poor record, but you are assuming that the failures are from ethanol, and you don’t have any comparable gasoline data to compare it to.

    Maybe the results are far more indicative of the shift from U.S. manufacturing, to offshore manufacturing in third world nations over the last 30 years. Meters are no longer being made in New Jersey, they are being made in India and China. I would argue that THIS is the real issue in UL failures, not ethanol.

    Unless and until you have data of the same pieces of equipment being tested in petroleum service, and showing the failure rates in those environments, your interpretation of the data will be unconvincing.

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  29. By Flee on March 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Nation’s production and use of ethanol is not political. The current mandates and tax supports in general are political and political across the board even to oil. Now, ethanol discussion often brings out the devil in some posts, from both sides. Don’t understand all the fuss? It’s a fuel we have a long history upon, second only to Brazil.

    Ethanol plants have got to be on the top of the list for process plant equipment? Are they rusting up? Read Jeff Broin of Poet fame grew up in ethanol business as his father mortgaged the family farm to purchase a bankrupt ethanol plant in S. Dakota back in Jimmy’s gasohol days. Well, that plant has been in production all these years. Most of ethanol’s leaders still of the generation that cut their teeth way back then. Gasohol was a crude product, a moonshine process with little QC control. Nothing comparable to the current state of affairs. We had one gas station that carried gasohol back then. An extremely busy station per common high fuel price, bad economy, oil embargo, etc per incompetent leadership albeit with good intent. Noting the fuel back then also subsidized. Even back then before auto’s were harden off to ethanol fuel….no problem. Sure lots of saber rattling gossip, but no verifiable damage. Now, I do my own mechanic work, so can ascertain the B.S.. Always a story some where some place far away. I had that 6 cyl Dodge cargo van for many a year and it did burn lots of gasohol.

    Did read that modern ethanol is tested way past requirements of the fuel spec and that every industrial class process plant (probably not the home brewers) test each batch for Q.C. control. Laser spectrograph does a suburb job, nothing better as I understand. For corrosion concerns they check chloride ions concentration. An article from Ethanol Plant Processing (the original source) had an interesting QC story of hunting down these chloride ions sources. Fuel standard (per E10 concern) was something like 30-40 ppb. Now that is an incredible small volume, such that only modern lab technology could possible detect.

    Ethanol corrosion concerns focused on slightly higher conductivity (per the chlorine ions) as compared to gasoline. This can increase galvanic corrosion slightly resulting in pitting. Also, in theory, general corrosion should also increase. The study of corrosion is complex. Much science is dedicated to metallurgy and materials for elements that decrease strength such as corrosion. Boeing company is currently hemorrhaging per Dream liner design as they attempted to mass produce the plane per composite construction. May they been a bit naïve. If were worried of safety or critical material failure might I suggest ethanol is a low priority?

    Now don’t get me wrong, gasoline is a wonderful fuel, drill baby drill is a smart move. Especially to energize our economy. We need it all.

    Oh, forgot the point (whew) of chloride ions, fuel standard the 30-40 parts per billion are down to .1 ppb or almost non existent. Production plant Q.C. steadily on the hunt for the contaminant. They now run process water through filters, conditioners. Drinking water is horrible quality :) . Also, some minor hardware type products a small contributor. My guess this is now adapted within all ethanol plants as it was in trade magazine. Articles like these only after the fact.

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  30. By Duracomm on March 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

    JIm_E85 said,

    Ok, now I understand why you are always so anti-ethanol. It stems from your dad’s cattle farm. Now it makes sense.

    Jim if you had read the article carefully you would not have made that incorrect statement.

    Robert Rapier said,

    In 2005 I was about to give testimony to the Montana State Legislature on a proposed ethanol mandate. …
    My dad asked me at the time why I wanted to testify against farmers. I explained that it wasn’t farmers I was testifying against – or even ethanol per se – it was the idea of a mandate which would limit choices and have potentially unpleasant consequences.

    A few years later — in response to much higher feed prices — he had to sell his entire cattle herd.

    Robert’s opposition to ethanol mandates occurred years before it had any impact on his family members cattle operation.

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  31. By face on March 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    No one mentions that it costs approximately $100 additional to make cars E85 compatible, which I presume would be compatible with E15.

    Pmoss~

    You’re right, it doesn’t cost all that much to convert a car to flex-fuel. But that only begs the question: Why doesn’t the ethanol industry and Big Ag pay car makers the $100/car it would cost to make all cars flex-fuel?

    That would be a small investment for the ethanol cartel, but one with potentially huge returns. But I suppose you’d rather have the government mandate that all cars be flex-fuel, right?


     

    OK, so you make the automobile’s ICE flex-fuel compliant. This does not address any of the UPSTEAM components. The ICE is the end point. The problem is the fuel itself, in this case, ethanol blended gasoline, and even more specifically, ethanol.  Ethanol has more drawbacks that just it’s corrosive effects. It starts with the feedstock itself, moves on to the transportation/storage concerns, then impacts the deliivery devices and ends at the ICE. I do believe that HMA’s can address all of the current issues with blended gasoline, in a manner that is Earth friendly.  RR..your take?

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  32. By face on March 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Dick Swalve said:

    What were the results of testing with pure gasoline?  The results just seem… funny.  I’m no chemist, but the move from 10% to 15% doesn’t seem all that meaningful.  If 15% can cause all that damage, why isn’t 10% doing it?  If failures were really that high, wouldn’t all the equipment at gas stations be constantly breaking?

     

    Or are these test-to-fail tests?  I can see if an arbitrary lifespan were chosen, and then tested for, you would get results like that. 

     

    How do booze producers deal with it, if the stuff is so terribly corrosive?  You’d think there would be brewery and distillery explosions all over the place.

    This is taken directly from this document; http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1
     

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  33. By russ-finley on March 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Biocrude said:

    RR, what about this report by Ricardo?  …raising the blend ceiling to E15 is likely to have a negligible impact on vehicles manufactured between 1994 and 2000…

    “Likely” to have a “negligible” impact? Both words imply probability. They should assign a number to each to make them less vague. Like a 20 percent chance that your car will have 10 percent of its fuel, exhaust, and air pollution control systems damaged.

    Why doesn’t Ricardo sell E15 damage insurance if they are so confident–put their money where their mouth is? That would be a real money maker if they are really confident about E15.

    Quoting a study in support of ethanol use by a company (Ricardo) that depends heavily on the adoption of ethanol for its future business model is like quoting a study by the Reynolds tobacco company in support of cigarette smoking.

    See http://www.google.com/search?q…..do+ethanol

     The design of an engine and its supporting air pollution and fuel systems are optimized around the fuel it will use. Change that fuel a little and you get little problems, change it a lot and you will get a lot of problems. E10 causes a loss of mileage. E15 just makes that worse and increases the odds of longer term problems, E25 even more, and E85 will make your car unsafe to drive, if it runs at all and putting biodiesel a car designed to burn gasoline will stop it dead as soon as it hits the injectors. Putting E15 in a car not designed for it compromises that engine’s performance, and risks long term damage to other components.

     Compromised engine performance is just one of many issues with corn ethanol, and not the biggest one at that. Corn ethanol as a fuel is a bad idea even if it were somehow magically compatible with engine systems designed for a different fuel.

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  34. By russ-finley on March 10, 2011 at 11:09 am

    E85Prices.com said:

    God ..I didnt realize it was Russ.. enough said..

    You have dug your trench and will never come out to see the light. Never give an inch right Russ. Never admit that ethnaol has  aplace in our Society..protect oil at all costs. I’ll leave you alone and let you continue to sing the same old song and try and win converts through sheer stubborness.


     

    …says my debate adversary as he beats a hasty retreat, strewing the field he’s abandoning with a combination of ad hominem and strawmen arguments ; )

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  35. By thomas398 on March 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Can we all agree that using E15 in all our cars won’t reduce our actual gasoline consumption by 15%? Yes modifications could be made to the  the ICE engine to get E0 mpg = E15mpg = E85 mpg.  But we’ve had 3 decades of ethanol in this country and I still can’t buy a car that can get E0 equivlalent mpg on ethanol blends. The reason why– the car companies know its not a selling point.  A car that runs on an ICE and laptop batteries with 50 mpg? 15K were sold in Feb 2011.  How many FFV drivers started filling up with non state-mandated ethanol blends last month?  This is farm aid. 

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  36. By rrapier on March 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    JIm_E85 said:

    Ok, now I understand why you are always so anti-ethanol. It stems from your dad’s cattle farm. Now it makes sense.


     

    Amateur psychologist, are you? Duracomm adequately slapped this down. For the record, I think what happened is BS, and if the reverse had happened – a transfer of wealth out of the Midwest into the pockets of those outside the Midwest, you might have a different view. On a larger scale, money is being transferred from companies like chicken producer Tyson Foods into the hands of ADM.

    But of course I am not anti-ethanol. I am anti-BS, and due to the BS coming from the ethanol camp it might be easy to confuse the two. In fact, I have written many pro-ethanol pieces that ethanol advocates like to ignore when it is time to cast aspersions on motives. But I would have implemented ethanol policy in a much different manner. There is enough fuel demand in the Midwest alone to use up all of the ethanol production for years to come. I would focus on making E85 the fuel of choice there before trying to push E15 on everyone and on equipment that wasn’t designed for it.

    I have one small question to ask-

    You point out the number of UL listed pieces of equipment that did not

    comply with the UL requirements. While the results are interesting, the

    right question wasn’t asked- How does equipment in E15 service compare

    with equipment in gasoline service?

    Pumps that are UL approved for gasoline serviece have certainly gone through the same sort of testing for gasoline exposure. That is the what UL does. You may recall that last year the UL backed away from approving pumps for UL service, and the ethanol industry had a fit. They tried to pressure them.

    Further, I am amazed that people like you seem to simply refuse to read the report. They identified specific components in the ethanol as being responsible for the problems.

     

    Unless and until you have data of the same pieces of equipment being

    tested in petroleum service, and showing the failure rates in those

    environments, your interpretation of the data will be unconvincing.

    To me this is indicative of a major problem in the mindset of ethanol advocates. Instead of recognizing this as a serious problem that you need to address head on, you prefer denial. This has been the case over every negative associated with the ethanol industry. It’s always denial and character assassination.

    RR

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  37. By Wendell Mercantile on March 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Why doesn’t Ricardo sell E15 damage insurance if they are so confident–put their money where their mouth is?

    Good point Russ. And I might add that if the ethanol industry is so confident E15 would do harm, they should be willing to put several tens of millions of dollars into a bonded escrow account to reimburse anyone whose engine is damaged by using E15.

    If the ethanol industry is correct in their estimation that E15 has no adverse effect on engines, they would only benefit: They would score a huge PR coup, without actually putting at risk any of the money they place in escrow.

    The only reason they might not want to do that is if they’re really not that confident that E15 is as benign as they say.

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  38. By rrapier on March 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Flee said:

    Ethanol plants have got to be on the top of the list for process plant equipment? Are they rusting up?


     

    Flee, that misses a point I made in the article. The issue is not that equipment can’t be designed for ethanol compatibility at any level. The issue is how the existing infrasctructure responds, which was what UL tested.

    RR

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  39. By Jim_E85 on March 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    “…. Instead of recognizing this as a serious problem that you need to address head on, you prefer denial. This has been the case over every negative associated with the ethanol industry. It’s always denial and character assassination.”

    No, back to the point. The industry SHOULD be concerned with equipment failures. My point is that you are assuming the equipment failures are due to the ethanol. I would be more curious if the failures are not simply because of substandard materials and/or changes in manufacturing processes. I am seeing a whole host of problems from cheap manufacturing in the industry I know (aerospace) that are showing up in foreign manufactured parts. Materials that are substandard, processes (*like anodize, plating, etc) that are not being done correctly, and a whole range of issues.

    I’m not saying the industry should not pay attention to the issues. I’m just saying I don’t know if ethanol is to blame, or if foreign low quality and cheap manufacturing is to blame. It is worth investigating and making note of.

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  40. By Jim_E85 on March 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Thomas398 said:

    “Can we all agree that using E15 in all our cars won’t reduce our actual gasoline consumption by 15%?”

    Yes.   it won’t reduce actual gasoline consumption by 15%.  But it will reduce gasoline consumption by some measure.  (Maybe 12%?  I don’t know.)

     

     

    “…  But we’ve had 3 decades of ethanol in this country and I still can’t buy a car that can get E0 equivlalent mpg on ethanol blends. ”


     And we’ve had 100 years to get a gasoline car to get the same MPG as a diesel.  Aint’ gonna happen.  But it’s not necessary, either.

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  41. By rrapier on March 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Jim_E85 said:

    “…. Instead of recognizing this as a serious problem that you need to address head on, you prefer denial. This has been the case over every negative associated with the ethanol industry. It’s always denial and character assassination.”

    No, back to the point. The industry SHOULD be concerned with equipment failures. My point is that you are assuming the equipment failures are due to the ethanol.


     

    No, I actually read the report. In specific failure cases, they identified ethanol as the culprit through the breakdown components of the gaskets.

    But since we agree that the industry SHOULD be concerned with equipment failures, why have they insisted on rushing into E15 without addressing studies like this?

    RR

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  42. By Wendell Mercantile on March 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    …why have they insisted on rushing into E15 without addressing studies like this? or, not been willing to put money in an escrow account to pay for potential damages?

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  43. By JN2 on March 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I’m confused why E15 is a problem when E25 is the minimum you can get in Brazil? (ie 75% gasoline is the maximum gasoline blend)

    John

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  44. By rrapier on March 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    JN2 said:

    I’m confused why E15 is a problem when E25 is the minimum you can get in Brazil? (ie 75% gasoline is the maximum gasoline blend)

    John


     

    Again, it depends on existing infrastructure. You could build out infrastructure to be compatible with any concentration of ethanol. But the problem comes when you have existing infrastructure that wasn’t designed for it. That was the purpose of the UL tests; to see how existing infrastructure would respond.

    RR

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  45. By thomas398 on March 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Jim,

    We could get the same 10%-12% decrease in foreign oil consumption by just raising the fleet mpg requirements on new cars over the next couple of years. But you can bet that would be bitterly opposed.  Instead we’re going to spend billions on subsidies, infrastructure, maintenance, and open ourselves up to food price volatility.  You’re right E15 is not neccessary.

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  46. By JIm_E85 on March 10, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    No, I actually read the report. In specific failure cases, they identified ethanol as the culprit through the breakdown components of the gaskets.

    The report doesn’t say ethanol caused it. The report specifically says it used substitutes to simulate ethanol.

    J1681, Gasoline, Alcohol, and Diesel Fuel Surrogates for Materials Testing,2 is a mixture of synthetic ethanol and the following aggressive elements in defined amounts: deionized water, sodium chloride, sulfuric acid, and glacial acetic acid.

    if I used acid instead of ethanol on seals and gaskets, I might not pass a UL test either.

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  47. By rrapier on March 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    JIm_E85 said:

    No, I actually read the report. In specific failure cases, they identified ethanol as the culprit through the breakdown components of the gaskets.

    The report doesn’t say ethanol caused it. The report specifically says it used substitutes to simulate ethanol.

    J1681, Gasoline, Alcohol, and Diesel Fuel Surrogates for Materials Testing,2 is a mixture of synthetic ethanol and the following aggressive elements in defined amounts: deionized water, sodium chloride, sulfuric acid, and glacial acetic acid.

    if I used acid instead of ethanol on seals and gaskets, I might not pass a UL test either.


     

    They put in components that would be likely to be picked up by ethanol traveling through existing fuel systems.

    RR

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  48. By russ-finley on March 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Chu just announced some kind of breakthrough to:

    “…convert plant matter directly into isobutanol, which can be burned in regular car engines with a heat value higher than ethanol and similar to gasoline.”

    http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/n…../pa_id=497

     

    If this pans out and can be produced cheaper than corn ethanol, and is able to defeat the corn ethanol lobby for market share, all of those people who paid a couple hundred extra dollars for their flex fuel car so it can burn a fuel that does not exist anymore will look kinda silly.

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  49. By rrapier on March 11, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Russ Finley said:

    Chu just announced some kind of breakthrough to:

    “…convert plant matter directly into isobutanol, which can be

    burned in regular car engines with a heat value higher than ethanol and

    similar to gasoline.”

    http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/n…../pa_id=497

     

    If this pans out and can be produced cheaper than corn ethanol, and is able to defeat the corn ethanol lobby for market share, all of those people who paid a couple hundred extra dollars for their flex fuel car so it can burn a fuel that does not exist anymore will look kinda silly.


     

    By the way, that professor quoted in the news release was one of my professors when I was at Texas A&M. James Liao was a tough son of a gun.

    The funny thing about iso-butanol is that when I was making n-butanol, we tried not to make i-butanol because it was of lower value. If it is really a super fuel, the chemical industry can make boat loads of it right away.

    RR

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  50. By Benny BND Cole on March 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    OT, but the the ongoing Mideast drama, and related unreliability of oil from that region (and other places, such as Venezuela), seems like a topical blog now.

    For a long time many (including myself) have pointed to true national security including a much larger ability to produce liquid fuels domestically, or go to PHEVs etc. You cannot pump much oil with an aircraft carrier, nor convince people that rational behavior and free markets are the way to go. Funny that.

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  51. By Walt on March 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Robert Rapier said:

    The funny thing about iso-butanol is that when I was making n-butanol, we tried not to make i-butanol because it was of lower value. If it is really a super fuel, the chemical industry can make boat loads of it right away.

    RR


     

    Interesting.  I wonder why they are not moving immediately to making iso-butanol for blending in the USA if this statement is true:

    “Unlike ethanol, isobutanol can be blended at any ratio with gasoline
    and should eliminate the need for dedicated infrastructure in tanks or
    vehicles,” said Liao, chancellor’s professor and vice chair of Chemical
    and Biomolecular Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of
    Engineering and Applied Science and a partner in BESC. “Plus, it may be
    possible to use isobutanol directly in current engines without
    modification.”

    Is the cost too high to produce for the blending market?  Or, would it cost to much to modify the plant and risk feedstock problems, like here:

    Link to Fitch Ratings’ Report: $150 per
    Barrel Crude Oil: Credit Implications across the Corporate
    Sector
    http://www.fitchratings.com/cr….._id=515225

     

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  52. By rrapier on March 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

    An off-topic note to those who have e-mailed and inquired about the tsunami in Hawaii. Warning sirens did start to go off last night shortly after Japan was hit. I live about 10 miles inland, and at an elevation of about 2500 feet. Therefore, unless I happen to be at the beach there is no danger for me personally. As far as I know, the beach areas were evacuated, and while damage was reported, to my knowledge nobody was hurt.

    Thanks to all for your concern. The situation in Japan, on the other hand, appears to be devastating. Please keep the people there in your thoughts.

    RR

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  53. By OD on March 11, 2011 at 11:44 am

    That’s good to hear RR, stay safe!

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  54. By russ on March 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I would comment on quality of resources provided by Biocrude

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..Ze1AeH0Qz8
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..13750.html

    http://www.treehugger.com/file…..l-fuel.php
     

    you tube for a resource? Never in a million years

    huffingto post or tree hugger for a resource? Neither is known for quality reporting but they are both known for sensationalism.

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  55. By BilB on March 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Robert,

    Did you stop to think before you said

    “That leads me to sometimes wonder whether our ethanol mandates have resulted in true net wealth creation, or whether it simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from around the U.S. (and even the world) into the corn-growing states”

    What do you think happens with oil? It means a transfer of wealth to Texas, or Saudi Arabia. Frankly, if I was a Yank I would be only too pleased that some wealth was going to heartland rural USA. Is Texas such a greedy stat that it does not want to share energy wealth with anyone at all?

    As for corrosion, there are often technical problems that arise from changes in fuels. I remember when the oil industry did a minor change to JetA1 causing problems with some jet engines which led to mid air engine shutdowns from seized engine fuel pumps on air craft such as the Bae 137. What did they do? They changed the engines. Where corrosion is a problem this sounds like an ideal opportunity for some whizzey chemist to come up with an additive. Rather than bleat about a problem get on with fixing it. GMH Australia manufactures ethanol compliant engines in the larger engine sizes for Brazil, and have been doing so for some years. With oil at over $100 the US is being well served by its Ethanol programme from a balance of payments point of view. And hopefully the price of fuels is also causing the corn farmers to review their farming practices, and Ethanol distillers to reduce the fossil fuel component of their production.

    Your Father’s story, as you raised it, leaves me wondering why he was not growing his own corn to feed his cattle. I suspect that the farm was too small to carry the cattle on grazing alone ie the farm formula is unsustainable for “feed lot” cattle. I’m, also, left wondering if he sold the farm really because, perhaps, you we not interested in taking over the farm. This is a huge problem the world over where the offspring do not share the parents passion for the rural life. A friend who has a degree in farm management has the same problem. Three brothers and a farm no longer viable, due to rising real estate prices, to support more than one family and pay interest on loans to pay out the other three brothers. So the farm will be sold.

     

    OT the Japan Quake is truly horrendous. I’ve been watching the live feed for quite a few hours, and it just keeps getting worse the more that is revealed. Another sad day.

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  56. By rrapier on March 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    BilB said:

    Robert,

    Did you stop to think before you said

    “That leads me to sometimes wonder whether our ethanol mandates have resulted in true net wealth creation, or whether it simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from around the U.S. (and even the world) into the corn-growing states”

    What do you think happens with oil? It means a transfer of wealth to Texas, or Saudi Arabia.


     

    Of course it does. Something I have said many times, and one of the biggest dangers of our oil dependence: A great amount of wealth is transferred out of the country. But it isn’t forced as is the case with ethanol. With the ethanol mandates the rest of the country has been forced to send money to the Midwest. So when the ethanol industry talks about wealth creation, is net wealth really being created? 

    Your Father’s story, as you raised it, leaves me wondering why he was not growing his own corn to feed his cattle.

    We always did grow corn for feed, but a ranch isn’t a farm. You can’t grow enough corn to feed your herd without being primarily a corn farmer.

    I’m, also, left wondering if he sold the farm really because, perhaps, you we not interested in taking over the farm.

    He didn’t sell the farm, just the cows that he could no longer afford to feed.

    RR

     

     

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  57. By BilB on March 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Robert,

    I don’t accept your mandate argument for one minute. The fact is that the use oil is mandated, (a) by its dominance, and (b) by extensive government support, support that has sent the world to war on a number of occaisions and occupies a very significant amount of government time and resources. Further more the use of ethanol as a fuel has been vigorously and systematically fought against for many decades by both the coal industry and the oil industry. Had ethanol as a fuel been left to grow unchallenged we would most likely have had a very different fuel industry today, perhaps something more along the lines of Brazil’s. Quite possibly someone might have found the means to make ethanol to mix better with diesel, making heavy transport more efficient (D10 is all the go I am told with the mining people as it improves the performance and keeps the engines cleaner, internally).

    Oil dominance has been ultimately disasterous for the US. The US is approaching the end of the run with oil and has failed to foresee through market forces that it should have been developing alternative energy systems Carter’s day. Oh that is right, Carter did start the process of develping alternative energy systems off, but Reagan killed it stone dead. Zero points to Reagan for foresight, live for the day must have been his moto.

    One could very well argue that Oil’s monopoly over transport is as illegal as any other monopoly. So, mandate argument? full of holes.

    “You can’t grow enough corn to feed your herd without being primarily a corn farmer”

    In other words feeding cattle on grass, the natural manner, is no longer economic from a realestate value point of view, so the industry has adapted by feeding cattle on corn, presumeably containing a higher energy yield than grass. So the cattle farmers who have extended their natural productivity with the use of another farmers produce are now annoyed that the other farmer is finally getting a higher return for his produce leaving the cattle farmer the only option of actually growing his own feed stock. Well that’s tough, but that is the market dynamic. Let’s not forget that those cattle farmers are supported heavily with tarrif and import restriction protection which prevents efficient Australian farmers and New Zealand farmers from exporting anything other than minor quantities of growth hormone free naturally grown beef to the US. That protection equates to the assistance given to the ethanol industry, if you choose to examine it carefully.

    I’m pleased that your father did not have to sell the farm. Though I’m sure that that decision point will arrive someday.

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  58. By BilB on March 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Just out of curiosity, Robert, did your father ever try nontilled cultivation of his corn? ie run the seed drill through unplowed field, no fertilizer or pesticides and let the corn fight it out with the grass to see what would happen. If the corn is purely for fodder then optimal condition should not be a prerequisite. Of course he would have to fedd the cattle the growth homones and the antibiotics seperately, but it could be a low energy method for improving farm output.

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  59. By Duracomm on March 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    BilB said,

    Had ethanol as a fuel been left to grow unchallenged we would most likely have had a very different fuel industry today,

    Ethanol has been challenged with decades of subsidies, tariff’s against foreign ethanol and mandates that force consumers to buy it.

    In spite of this clueless ethanol boosters continue to whine about how badly ethanol is treated.

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  60. By Duracomm on March 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    BilB said,

    in other words feeding cattle on grass, the natural manner, is no longer economic from a realestate value point of view, so the industry has adapted by feeding cattle on corn,presumeably containing a higher energy yield than grass.

    Wrong.

    Raising cattle on grass is economically competitive and the vast majority of cattle spend a substantial portion of their life grazing grass. As explained below raising cattle on grass would be even more economical without government subsidies for corn production.

    Feeding cattle corn is a “polishing” process that adds weight and quality to the cattle in a short time period (3-4 months of feeding)at the end of the production cycle.

    So the cattle farmers who have extended their natural productivity with the use of another farmers produce are now annoyed that the other farmer is finally getting a higher return for his produce leaving the cattle farmer the only option of actually growing his own feed stock.

    Could not be more wrong.

    Cattle feeding helped out farmers and taxpayers by helping provide a market for heavily subsidized corn that was overproduced because of the subsidies.

    Furthermore the corn subsidies artificially increased the cost of land making it more expensive for ranchers to get pasture for grazing. In effect corn subsidies forced ranchers into competition with the government for land.

    Ag subsidies cause significant financial damage to cattle ranching. These subsidies cause additional damage by making it economically impossible for young people and fresh blood to enter ag production.

    Farm Subsidies Benefit Landowners

    Farm subsidies get “capitalized” into the price of farm land, pushing up land prices. In all, the results confirm that government payments exert a significant effect on land values.

    The (marginal) rates of capitalization suggest that in the current policy context, a dollar in benefits typically raises land values by $13-$30 per acre,

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  61. By BilB on March 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Duracom,

    Your painting a false picture there.

    Ethanol subsidies were introduced in the US in 1978. Ethanol was introduced progressively to replace lead in gasoline and later to replace MTBE which was first used as a lead replacement after MTBE was found to be contaminating drinking water. To claim that ethanol has been affecting land prices is drawing a long bow. The relative ratio of the subsidy since its inception to the retail price of gasoline has been diminishing steadily over time, at the same time the relative throughputs of fuel has changed. When integrated these functions demonstrate that the current subsidy is neglibly small. Furthermore the cost of the subsidy is paid for by the tarrif on imported ethanol. This tarrif is another matter altogether and serves to protect both the ethanol industry and the oil industry.

    The real issue is that for as long as the US political system utilises professional lobbyists, there will always be subsidies, tarrifs, import restrictions, etc, that benfit some at the expence of others. The farming industries and the oil industries are serial users of such lobbyists, so you all boil in the same soup. No sympathy I’m afraid.

    Furthermore what I see from the US are an increasing trend to highly polarised self interestd views that fail to properly measure total risk. There fore universally positive community outcomes are increasingly rare. US rural land prices have been an issue fro as long as I can remember, and for a whol parcel of reasons, to suddenly dump that on the fast dwindling (soon to disappear) ethanol subsidy is a little pathetic. But when in the coming period when it disappears altogether and land prices do or do not change to reflect the loss then we will know the truth of the matter.

    So coming back to the Rapier farm which, by your presentation here, is a feed lot as I suggested is a process of adding fat to the animal so that it brings a higher price at the sale yard presumeably. I put it to you that this is a false economy. Considering the level of obesity in the US this practice should be banned. It certainly is unnecessary. In the supermarket lean beef brings the highest value. The fat is cut off to make “heart smart” healthier meat. Any famer smart enough to avoid the cost of this fattening process presenting big beef without the fat will bring the same net value for his product avoiding the cost of the “fattening” period, going to the sale yards earlier. If the Rapier grew their own corn in their fields unsing non tilled techniques and left the cows to walk to it rather than keep them penned while they were stuffed with food, the cattle would develop more condition (meat) and less fat bringing a higher real value. And making the Rapier farm a more valuable piece of realestate in the process.

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  62. By paul-n on March 13, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Furthermore the cost of the subsidy is paid for by the tarrif on imported ethanol.

    Really?  Got some numbers to back that up?  These numbers only go up to 2007, but given that the tariff is equal to the subisdy (c/gal), just how do you get that it is paid for by imports?

    This tarrif is another matter altogether and serves to protect both the ethanol industry and the oil industry.

    Just how does it protect the oil industry, and from whom? Is imported Brazilian ethanol really a threat to the oil (or domestic) ethanol industry such that protection is needed?

     

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  63. By BilB on March 13, 2011 at 4:01 am

    That was the intention, Paul N, the fact that the US has a 7% import quota system in place accounts for the low imports and the US restricts the import of cane to protect the local sugar industry. The oil industry sales of oil to the farm sector are protected by the tarrif and the quota which restrict imports in favour of local production. Is protection needed at all? The US preaches free trade to the world while engaging in endless protectionism. That is hypocracy.

    Consider the alternative. The US gives up its local production and imports all of its ethanol from the Carribean and Brazil. Rural production slumps, US balance of payments are that much worse, rural land prices slump, the economy is a little weaker and food demand dips and rural returns slump a little. I can’t balance that equation, but I don’t think that you can either. The guiding principle should be that anything that can be locally dynamically productive in the face of the US horrendous balance of payments, debt levels, and unemployment level, should be undertaken with enthusiasm. And if it is better for the environment, so much the better.

    This looks like a good analysis of all things ethanol.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/an…..omass.html

    In an earlier comment I mentioned the Bae 137, that should have been the Bae 147.

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  64. By russ-finley on March 13, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Paul N said:

    Just how does it protect the oil industry, and from whom? Is imported Brazilian ethanol really a threat to the oil (or domestic) ethanol industry such that protection is needed?

     


     

    From here: http://www.independent.co.uk/n…..39807.html

    BP is to buy a Brazilian biofuels company for $680m (£424m) in a “watershed moment” in the oil major’s plans to expand its sustainable fuel business.

    Framing this debate as a battle between biofuels and oil is nonsensical. The oil companies will own all biofuel production. They are just waiting to see which ones will be left standing if/when government support ends. I think the winners will be cane ethanol and palm oil biodiesel. The losers will be the last of our ecosystems:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/e…..37427.html

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  65. By Duracomm on March 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    BilB said,

    The real issue is that for as long as the US political system utilises professional lobbyists, there will always be subsidies, tarrifs, import restrictions, etc, that benfit some at the expence of others. The farming industries and the oil industries are serial users of such lobbyists, so you all boil in the same soup.

    Ethanol supporters never propose the fiscally and ethically correct solution of ending subsidies.

    This is because of the simple fact that ethanol supporters don’t oppose subsidies they require them to survive.

    They complain about other industries in a rather pathetic attempt to muddy the water to hide the fact that corn ethanol is a flop that would not survive if it were not for mandates, subsidies, and tariffs.

    No sympathy I’m afraid.

    That sums it up, thieves have no sympathy for the people they are stealing from.

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  66. By rrapier on March 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    BilB said:

    So coming back to the Rapier farm which, by your presentation here, is a feed lot as I suggested is a process of adding fat to the animal so that it brings a higher price at the sale yard presumeably. I put it to you that this is a false economy.


     

    And just to clear up matters, that is a false conclusion. It isn’t a feedlot; it is a 160 acre farm. Trees cover probably 40% of it, and the cows graze on the rest. In the summer, hay is harvested and fed back to the cattle in the winter. But the cows still require supplemental feed at various times, and on a low-margin business like ranching, when the cost of that supplemental feed skyrocketed it was enough to move the business into the red.

    On a much larger scale, you can see the same happening between Tyson Foods and ADM. Tyson is paying much higher prices for chicken feed, and that money is going to ADM.

    RR

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  67. By Duracomm on March 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    BilB said,

    So coming back to the Rapier farm which, by your presentation here, is a feed lot as I suggested is a process of adding fat to the animal so that it brings a higher price at the sale yard presumeably.

    Presumably you put little thought into that paragraph because it has no relation to what I and as far as I can tell Robert has said on this thread.

    Any famer smart enough to avoid the cost of this fattening process presenting big beef without the fat will bring the same net value for his product avoiding the cost of the “fattening” period, going to the sale yards earlier.

    Two options here.
    1. Cattle producers are simple idiots who are passing up an easy opportunity to make more money with less effort.

    2. Clueless ethanol supporter knows nothing about cattle raising and is demonstrating his lack of knowledge.

    Occam’s razor and basic economics indicates 2 is the most probable option.

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  68. By Duracomm on March 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    BilB said,

    If the Rapier grew their own corn in their fields unsing non tilled techniques and left the cows to walk to it rather than keep them penned while they were stuffed with food, the cattle would develop more condition (meat) and less fat bringing a higher real value. And making the Rapier farm a more valuable piece of realestate in the process.

    Again we have two options

    1. Cattle producers and midwest corn producers are both idiots. Cattle producers for not planting corn in their grass and midwest corn producers for going to the trouble of plowing up the grass instead of planting their corn directly in the grass.

    2. Clueless ethanol supporter knows nothing about cattle raising or corn production and is demonstrating his lack of knowledge.

    Once again Occam’s razor and basic economics indicates 2 is the most probable option.

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  69. By BilB on March 13, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Duracomm,

    Last effort 1 and 2) I think that you should take the effort ot read up on non tilled farming.

    Previous effort, 1 and 2) Duracomm you were the one who (it seems) coined the term “polishing” cattle which I took to mean fattening. Now that I look up the term there is now reference that I can see from a quick search. Regardless Robert has corrected you as he makes now mention of carrying the cattle for just a few months.

    However, both of your conclusions are false. The fact is that Australian beef is better and healthier than US beef because our cattle have to work a little harder to get their feed, building up more muscle tissue (meat) and less fat.

    In Australia there is no connection between ethanol production and cattle ranching as we do each in their optimal environment with no conflicts, and profit from the efficiencies that flow from that.

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  70. By BilB on March 13, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Robert,

     

    It would be a feed lot if the cattle resided their for just a few months as Duracomm suggested. The fact is that I know nothing at all about cattle ranching. But Dave, a friend who helps me out in my factory several days a week has a degree in farm mangement, and his father has a 200 acre farm in Oberon NSW on which they run cattle, and we talk about these things at length. Same problems, different causes. The trees are interesting. What types do you have?

     

    The US has done spectacularly well to be producing 13 billion gallons of ethanol, nearly 10% of gasoline consumption (?). The issue is a huge one, and it is absolutely clear that the US cannot do without that contribution, from all of the local production viewpoint, the clean air contribution, the CO2 emissions point of view, direct employment and indirect employment points of view. So for whatever issues are arising, practical solutions and compromises have to be found. On the equipment corrosion angle, as Duracomm pointed out, ethanol has been a feature of the US fuel landscape for three decades, so if fuel distribution equipment and some locally manufactured engines are having corrosion problems, this represents a significant failure to adapt on the part of the equipment and automobile manufacturers. That is the direction that the disatisfaction should be heading.

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  71. By Duracomm on March 13, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    BilB, Your last effort continues the misunderstanding your previous efforts showed.

    I said,

    Raising cattle on grass is economically competitive and the vast majority of cattle spend a substantial portion of their life grazing grass. As explained below raising cattle on grass would be even more economical without government subsidies for corn production.

    Feeding cattle corn is a “polishing” process that adds weight and quality to the cattle in a short time period (3-4 months of feeding)at the end of the production cycle.

    Note the rather conspicuous lack of any mention of Robert’s families operation.

    From this you draw the entertaining conclusion that.

    Regardless Robert has corrected you as he makes now mention of carrying the cattle for just a few months.

    Could you show me Robert makes mention of carrying the cattle for just a few months because I can’t find that statement.

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  72. By Duracomm on March 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    BilB gets to the root cause of the disaster that is US corn ethanol policy when he says.

    The fact is that I know nothing at all about cattle ranching.

    The whole ethanol debacle occurred because people who know nothing at all about cattle production, or farming, or gasoline production, or automotive engineering, or ethanol production have been driving the process.

    These folks have been passing laws that benefit the concentrated government rent seekers (corn farmers and ethanol producers)at the expense of drivers, food consumers (where the worst impact is on the poor), and other ag sectors.

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  73. By BilB on March 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Again Duracomm, Robert contradicts you, he says that they use hay and sometimes corn feed for winter suppliment. No mention of “polishing” as you claim. Maybe Robert might like to clear that up. Regardless, going on your estimation of the process It is commercial on grass alone. So what is the problem? Corn is an optional extra from your understanding, and is not at all necessary for anything other than “polishing”, which presumeably brings a higher price for the stock at sale time, and therefore as a premium return should cover its cost.

    Robert makes this statement

    ” A few years later — in response to much higher feed prices — he had to sell his entire cattle herd”

    after claiming that corn prices were the cause

    You make the statement that

    “Feeding cattle corn is a “polishing” process that adds weight and quality to the cattle in a short time period (3-4 months of feeding)at the end of the production cycle”

    The sum of those two claims is that the farm relied upon external feed entirely supporting cattle for a short period. That would make it a feed lot.

    Robert now says differently. Fair enough.

    As you are flinging around accusations that other people know nothing about anything, I think that you are duty bound to declare your credentials. What is your background? what are your qualifications?

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  74. By Plains Speaker on March 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    For all those who give a rip, my last vehicle was a 1999 Jeep Cherokee with a 4.0 liter six, non flex fuel. I ran E-85 exclusively from about 60,000 miles to 120,000 miles with no mechanical issues but a clogged fuel filter. I currently run a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 4.0 liter six and from about 65,000 miles to the current 130,000 miles I’ve used mostly E-30 to E-85 with no mechanical issues. And I’ve taken this vehicle on some cross country trips in all kinds of weather.

    I’m originally from Illinois where they have had E-15 gasohol and E-10 since the early 70′s. I have not heard of any mechanical issues except for clogged fuel filters. Ethanol is no big deal. Same performance as gasoline. Problem isn’t ethanol it’s the Oil Industry who simply will not tolerate any competition. And this blog is a testament to that.

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  75. By rrapier on March 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Plains Speaker said:

    Problem isn’t ethanol it’s the Oil Industry who simply will not tolerate any competition. And this blog is a testament to that.


     

    First thing, this blog has nothing to do with the oil industry. So try to stick to facts please.

    Second, the claim that the oil industry is keeping the ethanol industry down is ludicrous. The only thing keeping the ethanol industry down is that they can’t make cost-competitive E85 on a consistent basis. If they could, they could dominate all fuel sales in the Midwest and the oil companies couldn’t do anything to stop them.

    RR

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  76. By janet on March 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Dear Mr. Rapier;
    Please forward the Chevron talking points you cover in your article. In that you have been in the oil business for most of you career, you must know their propagand machine well, and are adept at using it. Thanks for further muddying the water so people will be even more confused about that silly ethanol. I especially love watching your duped audience line up behind oil after the Gulf of M. and get oogie about Nuclear despite the melt down in Japan. Good job! If you are not paid well by the Am. Pet. Instit, you should be. When the sh*t really hits, I have a nice safe haven for me and my family, consertina wire, Dobermens, Cambells soup till 2020, and front row seats as I watch the rest of humanity claw, starve and freeze. It’ll be great, thanks again. PS, you even look like a smug shit head in your pic.

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  77. By rrapier on March 14, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    janet said:

    Dear Mr. Rapier;

    Please forward the Chevron talking points you cover in your article.


     

    Shall I leave them in the comments at Jannet Schraer’s Page, where you heap praise upon Alcohol Can be a Gas? Blume’s heart may be in the right place as far as you are concerned, but his book is full of misinformation. He also behaves as you did here when he is confronted with that. Gets rather petty with his comments. What is it about Blume that brings out such nastiness in his followers? Is it just the example he sets with his fables of oil company boogie men?

    In that you have been in the oil business for most of you career, you

    must know their propagand machine well, and are adept at using it.

    Janet, I work in the renewable energy business. The oil business spanned less than half my carreer, and most of that was spent working on alternative energy within the oil industry. Don’t let your anger get in the way of discussing facts. But you didn’t come to discuss facts, did you?

    Thanks for further muddying the water so people will be even more confused about that silly ethanol.

    Highlighting a UL study that showed some corrosion concerns is muddying the waters? Clearly you are one of these people who isn’t interested in getting to the bottom of the issue, you would rather deny that there could be a problem and force the liability onto someone else.

    I especially love watching your duped audience line up behind oil after the Gulf of M. and get oogie about Nuclear despite the melt down in Japan. Good job! If you are not paid well by the Am. Pet. Instit, you should be. When the sh*t really hits, I have a nice safe haven for me and my family, consertina wire, Dobermens, Cambells soup till 2020, and front row seats as I watch the rest of humanity claw, starve and freeze. It’ll be great, thanks again.

    Sounds like you are (smugly) looking forward to it. Personally, I prefer to devote my efforts to preventing such a scenario. Your comments are sadly typical of many who prefer propaganda to facts. Then when someone challenges your propaganda, you become angry and start making petty comments. But you can’t see that, so will continue to wallow in your ignorance.

    PS, you even look like a smug shit head in your pic.

    I am sorry that my picture isn’t as impressive as yours:

    Congratulations on showing everyone how petty you can be. But it isn’t the first time an ethanol advocate has lashed out angrily like this. Facts aren’t something everyone likes to discuss.

    RR

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  78. By Walt on March 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm
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  79. By E100notE15 on March 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    SEEING IS BELIEVING: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU

    Roger Rapier has been very kind in posting the alarm. Very kind to himself. Hey, Everybody…Want to see a lie? Here’s the first one:
    “The oil business spanned less than half my carreer”. I took a look at Mr. Rapier’s personal web pages…Ooops!
    Mr. Rapier has been out of college for sixteen years and has worked for oil companies for 13 years…Hey, that’s more than half isn’t it?
    He was handsomely paid by Conoco-Phillips Petroleum from 2002-2008. His prior employer “Celanese Corporation” (1995-2002),
    a PETRO-chemical company, primarily serves Mankind by making plastic bags that sound like they’re made from alcohol but are actually
    made from oil, and by killing tens of millions of American Citizens by manufacturing of cigarette partsl.
    He may have at least two other self-serving axes to grind…and use on his current paymasters’ biggest competitors, which
    are small and independent farmers and small businesses that make ethanol the right way: in small plants that are right next to
    the plant matter they use, not in gigantic, remote corporate factories. 
    Mr. Rapier’s personal web pages make vague references to working on intellectual property..which means “We can and you can’t…” 
    and butyl alcohol, which means “We can and you can’t.” As Mr. Rapier knows but chose to not mention, the little guy can’t make butanol…
    unless the little guy and his neighbors enjoy losing their hearing and getting liver and kidney damage by breathing in butanol vapors that intensely
    smell like gangrenous, rotting meat.
    That’s the reason, Dear Readers, why he gets enough corporate money to live in Hawaii and you don’t.

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  80. By thomas398 on March 14, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    RR its really impressive how you continue to deal responsibily with individuals who clearly don’t want to have a debate.

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  81. By rrapier on March 14, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    E100notE15 said:

    SEEING IS BELIEVING: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU

    Roger Rapier has been very kind in posting the alarm. Very kind to himself. Hey, Everybody…Want to see a lie? Here’s the first one:

    “The oil business spanned less than half my carreer”. I took a look at Mr. Rapier’s personal web pages…Ooops!

    Mr. Rapier has been out of college for sixteen years and has worked for oil companies for 13 years…Hey, that’s more than half isn’t it?


     

    Just as Mr. Blume (or whichever one of his sycophants this happens to be) can’t be bothered to get my name right, he has a tendancy to be very careless with his facts. That’s what was wrong with his book; full of pseudo-facts. My name becomes Roger; a chemical company becomes an oil company, and then the bombast begins. Has not the slightest idea of what I was paid; declares it was “handsome.” Utter ignorance, but no qualms about spreading that ignorance around.

    First, the name is Robert. Roger would be my brother. Second, ConocoPhillips is an oil company. Celanese is not. At Celanese I made butanol, which primarily went into paints, and butyraldehyde, which goes into safety liners in windshields. Why you can’t differentiate an oil company from a chemical company is something only you can answer. But you are more than happy to do so, and then declare it a lie when I say the oil business spanned less than half my career. Business as usual from your camp, I am sad to say. Truth is always a casualty. Maybe you need to lay off the Glenn Beck with all of his attempts to connect the dots. Otherwise I will do the same to show that YOU are part of the oil industry.

    Mr. Rapier’s personal web pages make vague references to working on intellectual property..which means “We can and you can’t…” and butyl alcohol, which means “We can and you can’t.” As Mr. Rapier

    knows but chose to not mention, the little guy can’t make butanol…

    Are they putting something in the water in California that impairs your ability to think clearly? You and Janet — both from California — seem to suffer the same afflication. My current job doesn’t involve butanol at all as you clearly think. You guys have a comic book version of reality. You need a villain, and you are more than happy to massage the truth in your quest to cast your villain. You did it in your book, and you do it here. It is truly pathetic.

    You think that your cause is so great that it justifies your tactics. You are a zealot. That is of course why we have religious wars; zealotry that tries to paint the world in black and white. But the truth is that you are just a liar and a coward who hides behind anonymity.

    Apparently you teach your followers that it is fine to lie and smear people in defense of the cause — and to keep up the “oil company boogie man” narrative at all times. While you and I share similar goals of seeing more localized production of energy and agriculture, where we differ is that I don’t resort to your despicable tactics.

    RR

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  82. By rrapier on March 14, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Thomas398 said:

    RR its really impressive how you continue to deal responsibily with individuals who clearly don’t want to have a debate.


     

    It is admittedly annoying to have anonymous cowards show up here, throw mud, and run away — certain they have struck a blow for the good of humanity. But what are you going to do? Delete their fictional posts and have them cry censorship? Nah, best to just show them for what they are.

    RR

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  83. By E85notE15 on March 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Had to wait until lunch hour to write back.

    Mr. Rapier, here, just tried to get you to stop thinking about the
    facts of ethanol fuel and start thinking about water, religious wars,
    Glen Beck, his brother, a Janet, windshields, David Blume, and
    California. Well, are you that weak, or did your mind stick to the POINT OF THE DISCUSSION?
    Heck Folks, don’t listen to him OR me. Like I said, see the proof
    with your own eyes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU

    This is the second time I gave you the chance to see for
    yourselves. This vid was done by a COMMUNITY COLLEGE TEAM OF
    PROFESSIONAL AUTO REPAIR INSTRUCTORS. They don’t work for oil
    companies OR alcohol fuel people.

    Mr. R also tries to sneak you
    away from watching the vid by telling you I was told what to think by
    one David Blume. Well, you know what?

    I learned about running engines
    on ethanol and making ethanol before I ever heard of Blume. Bought my
    ethanol from a chemical company. Blume wasn’t around.

    Got my ATF permit and made my own
    ethanol with a still I welded up. Blume wasn’t there. Made 8 gallons
    an hour, 180 proof. I don’t remember Blume being present there when
    I did that, either. Converted a ’67 Chevy II with a 283 to 100%
    ethanol in 1980. Converted a ’63 Chevy II to 100% ethanol in 1984. I
    don’t remember Blume being around…

    These vehicles did not run on any
    gasoline. Put hundreds of thousands of miles on them without
    rebuilding the engines. I did replace all the Viton in my carbs, and
    I did upgrade my fuel lines from 1960s tech,did change fuel filters
    and oil three times after switching over on these high-mileage
    gasoline engines, because alky cleans out old gas tank gunk and
    engine carbon. Ran 2% Redline synthetic oil as denaturant and
    corrosion inhibitor.

    Corrosion? What corrosion?

    And I ran 180 proof in these
    carbureted engines. That’s ten percent water, (OK in carbs, but not
    EFI).

    Since 1980, continued to work
    full-time in AUTO REPAIR. Indy tech, dealer tech, certified expert
    in transmissions, ASE-certified several fields. My cars run fine on E85.
    EIGHTY-FIVE PER CENT ALCOHOL. Not 15%, like E15.

    Here are the actual words I posted; you can review them
    yourselves: “”Celanese Corporation” (1995-2002), a
    PETRO-chemical company, primarily serves Mankind by making plastic
    bags that sound like they’re made from alcohol but are actually made
    from oil, and by killing tens of millions of American Citizens by
    manufacturing of cigarette parts.”

    I said it plainly: Mr. Rapier spent seven additional years working
    for an oil company, so he has spent 13 out of 16 years working for
    oil companies. He’s an oil company guy. That’s why he gets to write for “oilprice.com”.  And Buddy, when your employer
    makes stuff out of oil and natural gas, you work in the OIL business.
    (B.t.w., the oil companies are
    the natural gas companies; they are one and the same.)

    As to my sources, they are…as I said…his own personal web
    pages.
    And those web pages
    mentioned working on butanol and intellectual property.

    Again: both of those endeavors
    produce this result: “We can and you can’t.” But you can
    make your own ethanol . You can use it for yourself and you can make
    money by sell it .

    So, Mr. R.: After watching the
    video that shows that 85% ethanol does NOT cause corrosion, why
    should we believe you when you try to make us weak and fearful about
    using just 15%?

     

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  84. By E85notE15 on March 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Thomas398 said:

    RR its really impressive how you continue to deal responsibily with individuals who clearly don’t want to have a debate.


     

    I just did.  I have a real job.  I don’t get paid big bucks by giant corporations to live in Hawaii and drive fear into the public like Mr. R.  Take a look…but more importantly, I once again gave you the URL for a video that proves that ethanol does NOT cause corrosion.  Instead of being one of the girls whose cheerleads for the football players, which is all you have done on this forum, expose your mind to a new perspective.  I really want to hear exactly what you have to say after you watch that exact video.  ALL of it.  Seeing is believing…

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  85. By E85notE15 on March 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Take a look: Just posted a vid you can watch,proves even 85% alky makes no corrosion even when car not one of those factory ethanol cars.

    [link]      
  86. By rrapier on March 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    E85notE15 said:

    Had to wait until lunch hour to write back.

    Mr. Rapier, here, just tried to get you to stop thinking about the

    facts of ethanol fuel and start thinking about water, religious wars,

    Glen Beck, his brother, a Janet, windshields, David Blume, and

    California. Well, are you that weak, or did your mind stick to the POINT OF THE DISCUSSION?


     

    I hate to point out that YOU are the one who called me by my brother’s name; you are the one who can’t seem to get it clear in your head what I do for a living. You are the one behaving as Glenn Beck trying to draw connections where none exist. I will also point out that YOU are the coward hiding behind a pseudonym. Are you that weak that you are afraid to put your name behind your muddled rantings?

    I said it plainly: Mr. Rapier spent seven additional years working for an oil company, so he has spent 13 out of 16 years working for oil companies.

    And that would make you a moron. Chemical companies aren’t oil companies. They use materials that are produced from oil companies, and when oil prices go high they suffer just like everyone else. But just as they use materials produced from oil companies, so do you. You drive. You consume oil-based products. I guess that means you also work for the oil companies. That is the sort of stretch you are trying to make here; the same sort of muddled thinking I so often see from Blume zealots. If we apply your bizarre logic, then Tupperware and Lego are oil companies. In fact most industrialized agriculture would qualify too.

    He’s an oil company guy. That’s why he gets to write for “oilprice.com”. 

    I don’t write for oilprice.com. They, like many other websites, republish some of my essays. But again, getting facts straight doesn’t seem to be a priority with you.

    And Buddy, when your employer makes stuff out of oil and natural gas, you work in the OIL business.

    (B.t.w., the oil companies are the natural gas companies; they are one and the same.)

    The stupidity of the first statement just boggles the mind and shows just how disconnected from reality you are. The relevance of the second statement escapes me; I don’t work for a natural gas company and never have. But once again, don’t bother yourself with facts. I would hate for your brain cell to get too overloaded.

    As to my sources, they are…as I said…his own personal web pages. And those web pages mentioned working on butanol and intellectual property.

    I can’t help it if you can’t comprehend what you read. The butanol work was done at Celanese many years ago. It has no relevance to my current job except for people desperate to connect dots and preserve a narrative.

     

    So, Mr. R.: After watching the video that shows that 85% ethanol does NOT cause corrosion, why should we believe you when you try to make us weak and fearful about using just 15%?

    I don’t expect you to believe me at all. I expect people to be able to think for themselves. After all, it wasn’t my assertion, it was UL studies that highlighted concerns. Further, a video can’t show that ethanol does not cause corrosion. What will do that is tests such as those carried out by UL under controlled conditions. I can use my hair dryer while in a bathtub to show that it is perfectly safe to do so. But when larger tests show that it is in fact dangerous, I don’t hold my anecdotal evidence up as trumping the studies.

    That is what you wish to do here. You apparently believe that a video trumps a controlled UL study. Again, I can’t help you out if you choose to believe in an alternate reality. In my reality and most everyone else’s reality — even that of many ethanol supporters — the UL studies highlight issues that must be addressed. That was the message from my post, which has gotten so muddled in your head that you are just sputtering nonsense.

    RR

     

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  87. By rrapier on March 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    E85notE15 said:

    Thomas398 said:

    RR its really impressive how you continue to deal responsibily with individuals who clearly don’t want to have a debate.


     

    I just did.  I have a real job.  I don’t get paid big bucks by giant corporations to live in Hawaii and drive fear into the public like Mr. R. 


     

    I don’t work for a big corporation, nor am I paid to blog. The purpose of my blog is to make sure that we have reasoned debates on our energy policy choices. The only thing you got right is that I live in Hawaii. But as we have already seen, facts aren’t something that you can be bothered to deal with. And in order to have a reasoned debate, you have to have rational people on both sides — something that is missing from your side of the discussion.

    Take a look…but more importantly, I once again gave you the URL for a

    video that proves that ethanol does NOT cause corrosion. 

    To believe that a video can prove that ethanol does not cause corrosion just shows that you are entirely unfamiliar with the scientific method. Further, you are apparently content just to ignore the UL tests. You can run your own car based on your anecdotes; I prefer mine to be UL approved.

    RR

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  88. By savro on March 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Take a look: Just posted a vid you can watch,proves even 85% alky makes
    no corrosion even when car not one of those factory ethanol cars.

    To E85notE15:

    You’re fortunate that Robert and I have a high tolerance for allowing buffoons to spout nonsense — you’re getting mighty close to crossing the red line with your false accusations and ad hominems — but I will not tolerate spam. I must’ve deleted 7-8 of your duplicated messages already; trying to be clever about it by first quoting a previous poster won’t work either. One more time, and you’ll be banned from posting here. That is all.

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  89. By rrapier on March 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    E85notE15 said:

    I’ll also repeat this:  the college auto instructors in that video don’t work for oil companies OR ethanol companies. 


     

    Neither does Underwriters Laboratories. But they are a highly respected name in certifying equipment against common modes of failure. Perhaps instead of spamming the thread you should address the actual UL report instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

    RR

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  90. By E85notE15 on March 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    So you DID watch the video proof, then?  Tell us what you think.  Please.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU

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  91. By E85notE15 on March 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Samuel R. Avro said:

    Take a look: Just posted a vid you can watch,proves even 85% alky makes

    no corrosion even when car not one of those factory ethanol cars.

    To E85notE15:

    You’re fortunate that Robert and I have a high tolerance for allowing buffoons to spout nonsense — you’re getting mighty close to crossing the red line with your false accusations and ad hominems — but I will not tolerate spam. I must’ve deleted 7-8 of your duplicated messages already; trying to be clever about it by first quoting a previous poster won’t work either. One more time, and you’ll be banned from posting here. That is all.


     

      If I clogged your post, that was not my intention, and I do hereby apologize to you.
    Spammers do not write one-sentence advisories.  As we all know, no one reads forums after the first day.  My only intention was to notify the readers who had stopped reading this post that I had made my case…whatever you may think of it.  And if they go back and look, of course they will immediately see RR’s new comments too…

    I’ll also repeat this:  the college auto instructors in that video don’t work for oil companies OR ethanol companies.  Come on, my friend…why don’t YOU take five minutes and watch their demonstration and give me your honest opinion.  You have not attacked ethanol fuel.  I have absolutely no resentment towards you whatsoever.  I’ll be so polite to you, you won’t believe it.  Go ahead.  Take a peek, and tell me what you think…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU

     

    I’m enough of a man to repeat my words: If I clogged your post, that was not my intention, and I do hereby apologize to you.

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  92. By rrapier on March 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    E85notE15 said:

    So you DID watch the video proof, then?  Tell us what you think.  Please.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU


     

    I watched the video yesterday, and I already told you what I think multiple times. Here again:

    I expect people to be able to think for themselves. After all, it
    wasn’t my assertion, it was UL studies that highlighted concerns.
    Further, a video can’t show that ethanol does not cause corrosion. What
    will do that is tests such as those carried out by UL under controlled
    conditions. I can use my hair dryer while in a bathtub to show that it
    is perfectly safe to do so. But when larger tests show that it is in
    fact dangerous, I don’t hold my anecdotal evidence up as trumping the
    studies.
    That is what you wish to do here. You apparently believe that a video
    trumps a controlled UL study. Again, I can’t help you out if you choose
    to believe in an alternate reality. In my reality and most everyone
    else’s reality — even that of many ethanol supporters — the UL studies
    highlight issues that must be addressed. That was the message from my
    post, which has gotten so muddled in your head that you are just
    sputtering nonsense.

    To believe that a video can prove that ethanol does not cause corrosion
    just shows that you are entirely unfamiliar with the scientific method.
    Further, you are apparently content just to ignore the UL tests. You can
    run your own car based on your anecdotes; I prefer mine to be UL
    approved.

    One thing is crystal clear from your posts: You have zero understanding of what I am trying to accomplish here. Zippo. Hint: It isn’t to destroy ethanol.

    RR

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  93. By E85notE15 on March 15, 2011 at 7:07 pm

     

     

     

     

    This is the first time I’ve noticed you writing that you did watch the video.  You try to say that a video is not a controlled study, but that notion is not valid when the video DOCUMENTS a controlled study…and this video is a controlled study by objective parties who have no financial motive to skew the results.

    If UL or you yourself did a bona fide controlled study, there would not only be nothing wrong with it, you would be much more credible if you made that video evidence available for the whole world to see.  They did:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU

     

    The UL study does not, as you have failed to prove, show any “issues that need to be addressed”.  Three people in this forum have said that they took non-alcohol vehicles and drove them for long periods of time on very high concentrations of ethanol with no problems whatsoever.  Growth Energy’s website shows you all the E85 stations in the country.  There are 2,000 of ‘em, and millions of people are driving on E85 now.  Why haven’t they noticed that their engines don’t run right? 

    Hey, Folks…you’re not just watching two guys argue, are you?  Watch this and think for YOURSELF:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU   Seeing is believing…I’m washing up and driving home.  On 85% ethanol.  I’ll look in later.  I take my shower AFTER work.

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  94. By rrapier on March 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    E85notE15 said:

     

    The UL study does not, as you have failed to prove, show any “issues that need to be addressed”.  Three people in this forum have said that they took non-alcohol vehicles and drove them for long periods of time on very high concentrations of ethanol with no problems whatsoever.  


     

    Once more, that is not how the scientific method works. I could drive my car while wearing no seatbelt for 10 years without incident. Most people could. That would not prove that seatbelts are unnecesary, and all that would be necessary to prove the need is to show the accident statistics. Anecdotes don’t trump rigorous studies.

    The UL test looked at specific components in fuel systems and found some to be incompatible. One of the administrators at E85 prices had the courage to say “That is something that has to be addressed.” That is my whole point, and was clearly stated in my essay. Not that the issues can’t be addressed, but there are plenty of half-cocked people like yourself running around assuring everyone that there is no problem. The fact is, UL performed tests with good science and found issues that need to be addressed. That isn’t so much the story as the ethanol boosters trying to assure everyone there isn’t a problem, which pushes the risk onto someone else.

    RR

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  95. By Optimist on March 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Well, this has been a most enlightening thread. Ethanol supporters clearly struggle to put together factual posts, or to respond to challenges without resorting to personal attacks. It’s all right there, for anybody who wish to see. Beyond “it’s ALL Big Oil’s fault!” they really have nothing to say, do they?

    Hats off to you, RR! You really have the patience of Job, dealing with these faceless cowards.

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  96. By E85notE15 on March 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Optimist said:

    Well, this has been a most enlightening thread. Ethanol supporters clearly struggle to put together factual posts, or to respond to challenges without resorting to personal attacks. It’s all right there, for anybody who wish to see. Beyond “it’s ALL Big Oil’s fault!” they really have nothing to say, do they?

    Hats off to you, RR! You really have the patience of Job, dealing with these faceless cowards.


     

    Hey, “Opimist”.  Isn’t is odd for you to spectate from the sidellines without saying what your name is, and or what your qualifications are, or what you have ever accomplished with anything that Mr R. here, has accomplished or what millions of people have accomplished with ethanol…and call the players names like “faceless cowards”? 

    As to “having nothing to say”, looks like you didn’t bother to read the post I placed at 2:39.  People won’t think you’re a lightweight if you do some homework before resorting to namecalling.

    Let’s see you use  your intelligence.

    Tell us all what your personal evaluation of the presentation you’ve had the chance to view might be.  Watch the proof, and tell us all what you think.  I’m heading out to Pep Boys for a while.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..uOs1yap8mU
     

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  97. By E85notE15 on March 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    E85notE15 said:

     

    The UL study does not, as you have failed to prove, show any “issues that need to be addressed”.  Three people in this forum have said that they took non-alcohol vehicles and drove them for long periods of time on very high concentrations of ethanol with no problems whatsoever.  


     

    Once more, that is not how the scientific method works. I could drive my car while wearing no seatbelt for 10 years without incident. Most people could. That would not prove that seatbelts are unnecesary, and all that would be necessary to prove the need is to show the accident statistics. Anecdotes don’t trump rigorous studies.

    The UL test looked at specific components in fuel systems and found some to be incompatible. One of the administrators at E85 prices had the courage to say “That is something that has to be addressed.” That is my whole point, and was clearly stated in my essay. Not that the issues can’t be addressed, but there are plenty of half-cocked people like yourself running around assuring everyone that there is no problem. The fact is, UL performed tests with good science and found issues that need to be addressed. That isn’t so much the story as the ethanol boosters trying to assure everyone there isn’t a problem, which pushes the risk onto someone else.

    RR

    Well, here’s a completely invalid analogy: ” I could drive my car while wearing no seatbelt for 10 years without incident.”..that would not prove that seatbelts are unnecesary…there are plenty of half-cocked people like yourself running around assuring everyone that there is no problem…”

    You werent provided with one person’s life experience.  You were provided with the statement that millions of people are driving their vehicles on ethanol right now.  That’s not an attempt at extrapolation from one person. 

    The disappointing this is that you’re actually smart enough to know that…and you’re being evasive and sneaky because it’s becoming clear to you that you bit off more than you can chew.  You ran into some people who know more about this subject than you do AFTER you attacked their way, instead of trying this approach:  You ever hear of asking?

    If I wrote an attack piece that uses insinuation to attack your windshield sealant, you would hand me my hat. I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about when it comes to advanced windshield sealants…that’s why I don’t write attack pieces about subjects that are outside of my expertise and tell the whole world I’ve written it.  You did.

    We still have not heard one specific criticism of the best proof there is that you have been wrong from the get-go, which this forum’s readers may see for themselves at the URL I’ve posted over and over.

    Now look what you’ve done.  I only have 38 minutes to get to Pep Boys and get my water pump rung up.

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  98. By rrapier on March 15, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    E85notE15 said:
     

    The UL study does not, as you have failed to prove, show any “issues that need to be addressed”.  Three people in this forum have said that they took non-alcohol vehicles and drove them for long periods of time on very high concentrations of ethanol with no problems whatsoever.

     


     

    There isn’t much I can do about willfull ignorance. The UL study — and the table is posted in my essay — showed that there are materials that are currently in service and incompatible with E15. Denying it doesn’t make it go away.

    Well, here’s a completely invalid analogy: ” I could drive my car
    while wearing no seatbelt for 10 years without incident.”..that would
    not prove that seatbelts are unanecesary…there are plenty of half-cocked
    people like yourself running around assuring everyone that there is no
    problem…”

    You werent provided with one person’s life experience.  You were
    provided with the statement that millions of people are driving their
    vehicles on ethanol right now.  That’s not an attempt at extrapolation
    from one person. 

     

    It is a perfectly apt analogy. Millions of people can drive around with no seatbelts on and have no problems. That does not prove that seat belts are unnecessary, because some people still die because they didn’t wear them. Again, I don’t think you understand the scientific method nor the meaning of anecdotal evidence.  But this is why we have the UL for doing certifications. They don’t go interview a bunch of people about their experiences with ethanol; they actually do the tests. Given that you completely deny the results of the UL study, there is really nothing else I can say to you. For you it is a religious argument, for me it is scientific.

    RR

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  99. By BilB on March 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Frankly, Robert, I hope that for America you succeed in eliminating the use of ethanol altogether. There would be that delightful irony when the US slammed into that “end of oil” wall that much harder, that much sooner. As in the process of getting there the US would have ripped up every bit of fossil fuel material possible. Drilling every bog from every angle, fracking every rock strata, tearing up every oil soaked bit of sand, converting to oil every last bit of coal. Why, just so people can drive to work in Mac Truck sized SUV comfort, and petrol head hoon around on weekends. The US is going to do with Oil what Haiti did with wood. There is no evidence of the ability to learn from other’s mistakes there.

    And I can understand it to a degree. When you realise that the US has a high percentage of large people such as Andre from Magpul here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..8GrN83VITM

    It is hard to imagine such people squeezing all that attitude into a Mini Cooper S, let alone their body. So, yes the US is a bit of a special case when it comes to vehicle size. How did people get to be that big anyway? is it the growth hormones in their steak, or something?

    Anyway, I give the situation as it is today another 20 years maximum, before the competition for oil kills off everything that we take for granted. With India planning to build 50,000 klms of new roadway to have the space to run their Tata cars which cost as little a $2500 new, and even though these vehicles use as little as 1 litre per 100 klms, that will still mean another 20 billion litres per week new gasolene demand from China, India, Africa, Middle East, etc, eventually. Demand accelerating up supply accelerating down, can only mean 1 thing. So shut off that ethanol tap as fast as you can.

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  100. By E100notE15 on March 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Good posting, Sir. 

    I’m not sure if you’re referring to the Indian micro-car that runs on compressed C02, but if you are, they don’t solve any energy issues.  It takes at least as much energy to make and compress CO2, then transport to the point of sale, as a micro-car will use in an internal combustion engine,no matter what fuel it uses.  In addition, the production of the CO2 that propels the CO2 cars also produces as much pollution, of all kinds, as internal combustion engine micro-cars, as long as the cars have good smog controls in good condition…but that’s a big “If” in India.

    This does not mean that the CO2 micro-car is a bad thing, not at all.  Desperately poor peasants in India cannot afford the internal combustion engines or complicated transmissions that go with them, so they don’t get to drive.  The compressed CO2 will power a micro-car without them…but only for very, very short distances.  This is fine for most usage in the ultra-crowded neighborhoods of the poor people who will use them.  And in the real world, the smog controls on Indian vehicles do not get fixed when they cease to work properly.  People simply can’t afford it. So the real-world-of India result of the CO2 cars will be that they reduce emissions from the micro-cars that are driven by the poor people.

    Gotta get back on the line.  None of my comments are meant to be critical of you or your post at all.  I don’t even know for sure if you’re referring to CO2 propulsion in the first place…but the media depictions of CO2 propulsion have been so mindless, they don’t even ask people to think about crunching the energy numbers, so I feel the discussion should be brought to light.

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  101. By rrapier on March 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    BilB said:

    Frankly, Robert, I hope that for America you succeed in eliminating the use of ethanol altogether.


     

    Do you honestly believe that this is what I am trying to do? Really?

    RR

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  102. By paul-n on March 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    @E100 – there is no Indian car that runs on compressed CO2 (or air). They certainly don’t solve energy issues as they don;t exist!

    The whole Tata air car thing can be traced back to the Frenchman Guy Negre, who has been pushing his  air car concept for over a decade now, and does not have a single product for sale.

    oddly enough, air cars could work, in limited range urban situations – but then, you can achieve the same with golf cart type electric vehicles.  

    BillB was talking about the 4cyl, 600cc gasoline engine version, which has indeed been a big hit in India.  You could fuel about 15 of these for the equivalent of one Suburban.

     

    Back to the subject at hand. Clearly, there are corrosion issues in vehicles not designed for high concentrations of ethanol.. Given that (for better or worse) the US has made a firm, and continuing, commitment to ethanol it seems to me that the best way to go is simply to make all the new cars flex fuel (ethanol and methanol) compliant, which, we know does not cost very much.  had they adopted that in 2005 when the ethanol policy was raped up, we would already have had 1/3 of the fleet, and more every year, where this simply is not a problem.

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  103. By rrapier on March 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    BilB said:

    My opinion would be that as their has been clear intention for 30 years that vehicles should be ethanol compliant, then the car companies will not have a leg to stand on in claiming that they have not been properly guided.

     

     


     

    That is inaccurate. Prior to 2000, there was very little ethanol in our fuel and given that it costs a little more to make them compliant, there was no reason at all for car makers to think they should be designed to withstand 15% ethanol. What they are trying to avoid is a liability because a mandate designed to help another industry. One industry benefits, another has to pay for any negatives.

    RR

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  104. By BilB on March 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Not necessarily, Robert, but it sure feels that way. I guess the test is to log the number of positive threads to negative threads that you put up, and then have a look for positive creative input. For my own part I’m not sure that I have seen (not that I am a consistent reader) you perform a forensic appraisal of the US’s ability to survive as it is for any period, or objectively examine what might be done to secure the American lifestyle. It is this last point that is at the back of every commentators thinking when they react to your views, but it rarely (if ever at all) actually becomes the topic. What, really, are the US’s forward prospects?

    PaulN,

    No, I was refering to the VW $600 single seat car to be released in China this year.

    http://www.rense.com/general85/car.htm

    The other front line vehicle with nothing like the VW fuel economy is the Tata Pixel, a beautiful piece of design work.

    On compressed CO2 cars, which I have not read anything about, it should be noted that CO2 compressed to 600 PSI is a liquid and there is a lot more gas once boiled off from a CO2 cylinder than there would be for a compressed air cylinder at much higher pressure. So such a vehicle might have quite a good range. The problem is that to obtain CO2 cheaply the method is to burn bunker oil ($500 per tonne) then compress the compress the filtered combustion gas. That is a double negative from an environemnt point of view.

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  105. By Optimist on March 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    As to “having nothing to say”, looks like you didn’t bother to read the post I placed at 2:39.  People won’t think you’re a lightweight if you do some homework before resorting to namecalling.

    Oh, pleased to meet you, Mr. People. Also, is that you admitting that you only post something worth reading every 1 in ~10 times? Anyway, on to your claim to fame 2:39 post, then.

    Mr. Rapier, here, just tried to get you to stop thinking about the facts of ethanol fuel and start thinking about water, religious wars, Glen Beck, his brother, a Janet, windshields, David Blume, and California. Well, are you that weak, or did your mind stick to the POINT OF THE DISCUSSION? Heck Folks, don’t listen to him OR me. Like I said, see the proof with your own eyes:

    Sorry, I didn’t get it: Is Glenn Beck’s opinion key to the discussion here? Wait, don’t answer that…

    This is the second time I gave you the chance to see for yourselves. This vid was done by a COMMUNITY COLLEGE TEAM OF PROFESSIONAL AUTO REPAIR INSTRUCTORS. They don’t work for oil companies OR alcohol fuel people.

    I don’t care if these guys claim to be a team of college professors, a team of NFLers or a team of martians. A video doesn’t prove anything. As RR tried to point out before.

    Mr. R also tries to sneak you away from watching the vid by telling you I was told what to think by one David Blume. Well, you know what? I learned about running engines on ethanol and making ethanol before I ever heard of Blume. Bought my ethanol from a chemical company. Blume wasn’t around.  Got my ATF permit and made my own ethanol with a still I welded up. Blume wasn’t there. Made 8 gallons an hour, 180 proof. I don’t remember Blume being present there when I did that, either. Converted a ’67 Chevy II with a 283 to 100% ethanol in 1980. Converted a ’63 Chevy II to 100% ethanol in 1984. I don’t remember Blume being around…

    I’m duly impressed. No David Blume around? Wow!

    These vehicles did not run on any gasoline. Put hundreds of thousands of miles on them without rebuilding the engines. I did replace all the Viton in my carbs, and I did upgrade my fuel lines from 1960s tech,did change fuel filters and oil three times after switching over on these high-mileage gasoline engines, because alky cleans out old gas tank gunk and engine carbon. Ran 2% Redline synthetic oil as denaturant and corrosion inhibitor.

    Corrosion? What corrosion?

    Can you say that again slowly, please? …corrosion inhibitor. Corrosion? What corrosion? You mean E100 is 100% safe, as long as you use 2% Redline synthetic oil in the mix? Strange. I didn’t hear the ethanol lobby say anything about 2% Redline…

    And I ran 180 proof in these carbureted engines. That’s ten percent water, (OK in carbs, but not EFI). Since 1980, continued to work full-time in AUTO REPAIR. Indy tech, dealer tech, certified expert in transmissions, ASE-certified several fields. My cars run fine on E85. EIGHTY-FIVE PER CENT ALCOHOL. Not 15%, like E15.

    OK. That’s great. But that’s a claim. Which is not the same as proof. Shall I draw you a picture?

    Here are the actual words I posted; you can review them yourselves: “”Celanese Corporation” (1995-2002), a PETRO-chemical company, primarily serves Mankind by making plastic bags that sound like they’re made from alcohol but are actually made from oil, and by killing tens of millions of American Citizens by manufacturing of cigarette parts.”

    The actual words you posted, eh? Wait! Let me get my camera!

    How do you make a plastic bag sound like it’s made out of alcohol? A few stiff drinks, perhaps? Is it even possible to make a plastic bag out of alcohol? The costs must be astronomical. Is there a subsidy for doing so (yet)? Why waste the good stuff on plastic bags?

    I said it plainly: Mr. Rapier spent seven additional years working for an oil company, so he has spent 13 out of 16 years working for oil companies. He’s an oil company guy. That’s why he gets to write for “oilprice.com”.  And Buddy, when your employer makes stuff out of oil and natural gas, you work in the OIL business. (B.t.w., the oil companies are the natural gas companies; they are one and the same.)

    I see. Big Oil controls the universe. If anybody does anything you don’t like, it proves his a stooge for Big Oil, doesn’t it?

    Tell you what: At least Big Oil, unlike Big Ag, doesn’t have half of the Senate in its backpocket. At least Big Oil isn’t subsidized and mandated to sell X millions gal per year of their product. And when times are bad, Big Oil takes it on the chin, unlike Big Ag.

    As to my sources, they are…as I said…his own personal web pages. And those web pages mentioned working on butanol and intellectual property.

    I really don’t know what motivates RR to keep this blog going. Surprise: I really don’t care. If RR was on the API payroll, it would be a surprise, but I’d still be readinghis blog. That’s because of the things I care about.

    I care that he writes in an easy to follow, common sense way, and support his statements with links to original sources. Outrageous claim? Here’s the source. Unbelievable conclusion? Here’s how he got to it.

    Pretty much the linear opposite of what you ethanol supporters do.

    I don’t always agree with RR, but I know he thinks things through, which again distinguishes him from ethanol supporters.

    Again: both of those endeavors produce this result: “We can and you can’t.” But you can make your own ethanol . You can use it for yourself and you can make money by sell it .

    Sorry, I  can’t figure out what you are trying to say here.

    So, Mr. R.: After watching the video that shows that 85% ethanol does NOT cause corrosion, why should we believe you when you try to make us weak and fearful about using just 15%?

    Again: Videos are not proof. That’s all you got?

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  106. By BilB on March 16, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Reading further,

     

    PaulN’s end comment is in fact very much what should have happened. For the US car companies to sue the EPA to prevent the introduction of E15 is maximum applied arrogance blithely ignorant of where the world is heading. It should be the auto industry itself who should be delivering flexfuel vehicles on their own initiative. Flexfuel is the best tool available for the time being to extend the life of  ICE vehicles. Nuclear powered container shipping is another major change necessary in this decade.

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  107. By rrapier on March 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    BilB said:

    Not necessarily, Robert, but it sure feels that way. I guess the test is to log the number of positive threads to negative threads that you put up, and then have a look for positive creative input.


     

    Has nothing to do with positive versus negative. The “negative” are usually dealing with misinformation, and there is a lot of that out there. On this very issue, we have someone continuing to maintain that there is no risk whatsoever, when the UL studies plainly show that there are. Risk requires risk mitigation, unless people deny the risks. Then they get to deal with the fallout.

    That is why car companies are suing. They are saying “we didn’t build these cars to be E15 compatible.” That doesn’t mean that some of them won’t be, but the car industry is trying to avoid the liability that is being forced upon them. If their older cars start to be damaged, then they are going to have to go hire lawyers.

    RR

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  108. By BilB on March 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Robert the UL figures that you put forward tend to suggest to me that of the big 3 motor companies 2 companies decided to make their cars ethanol compliant and 1 did not, with random scatter for the myriad of other brands making up the variation. It is a bit hard to tell without wading through the full detail.

    My opinion would be that as their has been clear intention for 30 years that vehicles should be ethanol compliant, then the car companies will not have a leg to stand on in claiming that they have not been properly guided. It is a non issue. If a car users has a part failure due to ethanol get the parts replaced. If there is a repeated problem out there then I would expect that there is a godd body of internet information for people to refer to and make the judgement about using E15 or anything higher.

    I have an image in the too hard to believe file (subtitled only in America) of a guy who stuck a drill bit up his nose then accidently (or intentionally) pulled the trigger of the drill. This caused half his nose and a fair chunk of skin from his face to be ripped off. He reportedly attempted to sue the drill manufacturer for failing to affix a sign to the drill that it should not be put into any bodily orrifices. In my mind this whole thing, even the broader subject, fits into that category.

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  109. By BilB on March 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    I think, Robert, that this

    “What they are trying to avoid is a liability because of a mandate designed to help another industry”

    is super speculation on someones part.

    Any non vested interest observer would say that E15 is intended to bolster the US’s internal fuel production, preserve the environment, provide employment at a time when the US unemployment level is 10% plus, and extend the life of the fossil fuel reserves.

    Only the absolutely most cynical would automatically jump to the conclusion that this is about making corn farmers rich. Good grief.

    US legislation signalled the use of ethanol from 28 years back. The oil industry decided to use an oil derived additive which later was found to contaminate ground water, an additional requirement to oxygenate motor spirits forced the hand of the industry to use ethanol in fuel. This fits also into the category of the attempt to sue McDonalds for making people fat. People who want to be called highly qualified professionals demanding performance bonus payments one day, and unwitting victims the next make me sick. And after the flurry of private jets carrying AutoIndustry executives to Washington saga during the GFC I don’t think that this next AutoIndustry outrage will draw anything other than laughter.

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  110. By rrapier on March 16, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    BilB said:

    I think, Robert, that this

    “What they are trying to avoid is a liability because of a mandate designed to help another industry”

    is super speculation on someones part.


     

    You misunderstand what I am saying. It is a fact that they are trying to avoid liability. That is why they are suing. That is not speculation. The part about the mandate designed to help another industry is not the reason they are suing, but it is also a fact that our ethanol policy has long had its roots in farm politics and the Iowa presidential caucus.

    RR

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  111. By russ-finley on March 17, 2011 at 12:25 am

    BilB said:

    “What they are trying to avoid is a liability because of a mandate designed to help another industry”

    is super speculation on someones part.

    Note that everything you say, BilB, is a combination of “super speculation,” innuendo, and misinformation. Why don’t you tell us why the car companies are resisting the liability of using a fuel their cars were not designed to use. But let me get a beer first. This will be entertaining.

     

    Internal combustion engines that burn liquid fuels is the business model that the oil companies and car companies want to keep promoting. Ethanol fits that bill nicely.

     

    Any non vested interest observer would say that E15 is intended to bolster the US’s internal fuel production, preserve the environment, provide employment at a time when the US unemployment level is 10% plus, and extend the life of the fossil fuel reserves.

     

    By non-vested, you mean somebody who does not stand to profit from the critique of ethanol made out of food? I fit that definition, and I don’t agree with anything you said, so, you’re wrong right from the get go. The reasons one might want to “bolster the US’s internal fuel production” would be to shrink our military budget and keep the price of oil from rising. In short, save taxpayers money. Note that corn ethanol has accomplished none of those things.

     

    Corn ethanol isn’t better for the environment.

     

    It provides very little employment for the money spent. It is essentially a make-work program, shifting tax dollars from one place to another.

     

    And using a fuel where 70 percent of the energy in every gallon comes from fossil fuels is a grossly inefficient way to try to “extend the life of the fossil fuel reserves.”

     

    Only the absolutely most cynical would automatically jump to the conclusion that this is about making corn farmers rich. Good grief.

     

    Good grief. Only the absolutely most naive would automatically jump to the conclusion that this is about saving the environment, reducing the size of our military, and keeping gasoline prices low. These are the talking points propagated by the corn ethanol lobby and people who uncritically parrot them are dupes–propaganda victims.

     

    US legislation signalled the use of ethanol from 28 years back.

     

    Signaled the use of ethanol? Not sure what the means, but note it still can’t stand on its own even with soaring fuel prices. It’s use must still be mandated and it is still subsidized.

     

    an additional requirement to oxygenate motor spirits forced the hand of the industry to use ethanol in fuel.

     

    The requirement for an oxygenate no longer exists and the hand was force by politicians, not for a lack of other ways to control octane levels. If ethanol is being mixed into our fuel only to act as an anti-knock additive, why are we presently blending 10 billion gallons of it annually into our fuel supply when we only need three? As an additive it was not very controversial.

     

    This fits also into the category of the attempt to sue McDonalds for making people fat.

     

    Riiight, says the guy who is OK having ethanol forced down taxpayers throats by government fiat.

     

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  112. By BilB on March 17, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I go back to the earlier point Russ Finley. I hope that you succeed in eliminating the use of ethanol altogether in the US. Put the lead back in the fuel, and guzzle down that gas.

    You’re a real thinker.

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  113. By moiety on March 17, 2011 at 4:12 am

    BilB said:

    Not necessarily, Robert, but it sure feels that way.


     

    I disagree. What he has said before paints a picture of where ethanol might be sucessful.

    http://www.consumerenergyrepor…..tudy-iowa/

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  114. By BilB on March 17, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I respect your defence, Moiety.

    However, I read the linked thread in an entirely different way. For starters ethanol is successful in achieving its objective as a lead substitute and polution suppressor. It is also successful to some degree in reducing CO2 emissions, and with some cahnges can be very successful in this regard. What I take from the linked thread is an attempt to argue that if Iowa wants to produce ethanol then they should use it all themselves in the form of E85 and not burden the rest of the country funding subsidies. It is anything but a thorough or “forensic” examination of ethanol and its suitability.

    So we will have to agree to disagree.

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  115. By russ-finley on March 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    BilB said:

    I go back to the earlier point Russ Finley.


     

    Your argument is that our cars are designed to use E15? That would make the manufacturers resistance to the higher blend somewhat irrational, even unprofitable. So tell us why the car companies are resisting a fuel their cars are “designed to use?”

    I hope that you succeed in eliminating the use of ethanol altogether in the US. Put the lead back in the fuel, and guzzle down that gas.

    My previous comment pointed out that the use of ethanol as an anti-knock additive was not particularly controversial. I can copy and paste that remark as fast as you can ignore it.  It’s the expansion of corn ethanol to become a fuel substitute that has exacerbated costs, both financial and environmental.

     

     

     

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  116. By paul-n on March 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    +1 Russ.  

    I would think, that if carmaker X’s cars were suitable for E15, they would be shouting it from the rooftops, rather than threatening litigation, and voiding warranties of those who use E15.  The fact that some people may have been able to use higher (>10%) ethanol blends in their cars, without problems, ands with tricks like adding lube oil, does not mean the carmakers should accept this.

    I should also point out that using higher alcohol mixes, and additives like lube oil, means the (older) car is using a fuel that it is not certified, for emissions control purposes, to use, and and is thus illegal under US law.  

     

    @ Billb.  I think RR has been pretty consistent over the years in his approach to ethanol – and other alt fuels – which is, let the data, and the markets, rather than the hype, marketers and politicians, do the talking.  He has consistently pointed out that ethanol gets favourable political treatment, like the combination of a mandate and a redundant subsidy.  Ethanol, like any alternate fuel/energy, should stand on it’s merits.  When left to do so, there would still be niche applications for ethanol, maybe large ones, but it wouldn’t be the size industry it is today.  

    Now, the government has backed this industry, for better or worse, because it sees it as creating local jobs, domestic liquid fuel etc etc.  Whether it achieves any nets benefits is indeed debatable, though the fact it seems to produce political benefits is not.  And governments have the perogative to back pet projects for whatever reasons suit them – ethanol is hardly alone there. 

    For all the alt fuels, breaking the link with politics allows the harsh light of reality – technical, market and environmental – to expose them all, and let them succeed or fail on their merits.  I think you will find that has been the consistent theme in this blog from day one.

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  117. By rrapier on March 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    BilB said:

    I respect your defence, Moiety.

    However, I read the linked thread in an entirely different way. For starters ethanol is successful in achieving its objective as a lead substitute and polution suppressor. It is also successful to some degree in reducing CO2 emissions, and with some cahnges can be very successful in this regard. What I take from the linked thread is an attempt to argue that if Iowa wants to produce ethanol then they should use it all themselves in the form of E85 and not burden the rest of the country funding subsidies. It is anything but a thorough or “forensic” examination of ethanol and its suitability.

    So we will have to agree to disagree.


     

    All I can say to that is that it leads me to wonder about YOUR agenda. If you want a forensic examination of ethanol and its suitability, you can find those essays here too. You are definitely looking at this issue through tinted glasses, especially when ignoring so much of what I say to come to conclusions not shared by most readers. In fact, our current ethanol policy is on a trajectory in which it will never be able to stand on its own. Never. And I have said many times through the years that the place most likely to be able to stand on its own and demonstrate that ethanol can be a local fuel for local usage is Iowa.

    But we have a policy that even now is subsidized, mandated, has us producing ethanol from irrigated corn in Nebraska and shipping it all the way to California, or worse exporting it. We are spending our childrens tax dollars to fund that sort of nonsense. Those policies have to stop. Your mistake is in believing that I am trying to stop ethanol, when I am fighting against silly ethanol policies that aren’t doing our children any favors — and in some cases actually increase our dependence on fossil fuels.

    RR

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  118. By BilB on March 17, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Robert,

    I am looking through your lense each time you take a snap shot and as you describe here what you see. I can’t see how this builds in your mind over time.

    I do have a pro-renewables agenda which is far more comprehensive than just ethanol. My platform has as its base the GenIIPV distributed energy generation system capable of producing up to 70 of all of Australia’s electricity needs) that I am involved in developing. I am pro-ethanol (efficiently produced) as a transition fuel, I believe that algal oil by the Omega programme is a cornerstone of the future, I support all manner of initiatives such as the gassification of bio material such as the one that you are involved with, most importantly Hybride CSP with storage is an essential building block of a future baseload capable electricity system, and of course the rest of the renewables fleet of hydro, wind, geothermal, etc. Oil, gas and coal are all continuing players in our future energy mix, but the intention is obviously to reduce the need for them over time. I doubt that there will be a world without oil until there is none left economically recoverable. And even with the development programme of the renewables running at full tilt it will be a struggle to retire any of the worst CO2 emitters other than coal.

    Australia produces ethanol from cane very efficiently. E10 petrol nationally applied will require about 200,000 hectares of cane operated at the higher end of farming efficiency. Australia already has that land area planted out with cane for a mix of ethanol and sugar production. There is another 400,000 hectares readily available if it were to become a national object to raise our national use of field biofuels. For Australia though E10 may be enough if a vigorous uptake of EV’s occurs along with a programme to encourage smaller and more efficient (not the gas guzzlers that are the usual choice of government departments and company representatives) commercial vehicles.

    In my mind the race is on to re-energise our western infrastructure with renewables before the oil runs out and our economies grind to a halt. This need must become the major employer for the next half decade. Both Australia and the US have hung their economic growth on building construction requiring a huge input of resources all in the name of “stable employment”. The notion of refurbishment has has overrun by “demolish and rebuild”. Massive waste. It is important to swing that employment focus to energy production, renewable energy production.

    That is why I see your persistent corn ethanol bashing as being counter productive, even to your own objectives. If corn ethanol is fossil fuel intensive, then find out why and correct it. I see absolutely no reason why Corn Ethanol can not be a lot more net energy efficient, I see no reason why the US should not be producing cane ethanol as well. Having said that the obvious retort from the gallery is what about food? Energy taking food from the starving. Well to hear that from a country with a massive obesity problem is completely bizare. Most of the world’s people who go hungry do so because of politics and greed driven disparities of wealth distribution. Famine is a minor player in the starving masses stakes.

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  119. By rrapier on March 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    BilB said:

    That is why I see your persistent corn ethanol bashing as being counter productive, even to your own objectives. If corn ethanol is fossil fuel intensive, then find out why and correct it.


     

    You don’t see a problem with those two statements? You define the issue in a nutshell. The only way to fix a problem — especially when one side persistently denies that there is a problem — is to continue to expose it. But when I expose this situations — just like this UL study — you call it ethanol bashing. Thus, as long as I try to push ethanol toward something that is more long-term sustainable — and to do that I have to address all of the mythology surrounding it — I will be an ethanol basher in your eyes. The problem isn’t me, it is your lenses.

    RR

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  120. By BilB on March 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    OK fair enough.

    My lenses tell me though that your forensic examination of corn ethanol has been incomplete. You identify that corn ethanol is fossil fuel intensive but then stop there. You have yet to comment on corn farming’s inefficient field practices that then require the downstream use of fossil fuel gas for the ethanol production, by far the most energy intensive part of the process. You commented once that it is difficult to get people to change. No, it is very simple. Link the subsidy to efficiency over time and the problem that sticks in your craw goes away. Forcefully put it is a very hard argument for law makers to side step. So expose away, but expose it completely and properly. And don’t forget to compare corn ethanol’s production inefficiencies with your “forensic” thoroughness to the efficiency of cane ethanol. In the so doing you may well tip the opinion balance to get cane ethanol underway in the US.

    The UL study highlights the failure of automakers, not the ethanol industry. They only have to make petrol engines to the same material standard as is used for diesel engines and the problem goes away.

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  121. By rrapier on March 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    BilB said:

    And don’t forget to compare corn ethanol’s production inefficiencies with your “forensic” thoroughness to the efficiency of cane ethanol. In the so doing you may well tip the opinion balance to get cane ethanol underway in the US.
     


     

    Maybe you just aren’t familiar enough with the things I have written. I have commented numerous times on downstream natural gas requirements of ethanol plants, and I have written a lot on sugarcane ethanol. For instance:

    Sugarcane Ethanol is Sustainable

    The UL study highlights the failure of automakers, not the ethanol
    industry. They only have to make petrol engines to the same material
    standard as is used for diesel engines and the problem goes away.

    It highlights very big problems within the ethanol industry: Denial that there is a legitimate issue to be resolved and willingness to push liability onto other parties.

    RR

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  122. By savro on March 17, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    BilB said:

    The UL study highlights the failure of automakers, not the ethanol industry. They only have to make petrol engines to the same material standard as is used for diesel engines and the problem goes away.


     

    Call me crazy, but I don’t see how the automobile industry can be blamed for designing vehicles that don’t meet the standards introduced by the EPA up to 10 years after they were manufactured.

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  123. By BilB on March 17, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    That is a good article and I will go through it later. For information on cane ethanol “the Australian Experience” contact the Friends of Ethanol in Queensland. By the way, that article was 2006, do you still hold those views?

    I can see that we are not going to agree on the Auto Industry. From what I can see the denial is all The US automakers have a long history of miss-reading the consumer needs, and have lost their position of dominance as a result. The changes to make engines ethanol compliant are minimal. They have just not done the changes, or at least some of them have not.

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  124. By paul-n on March 18, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Sam – you are crazy.  Of course they should have known what was going to happen in ten years!  And if anyone does know whats going to happen in ten years, I’d like their stock tips.

    The changes to make engines ethanol compliant are minimal.

    BillB – So you agree then, that these older engines were not designed for high ethanol mixes, so why are you complaining that the carmakers won’t certify the older vehicles?

    So they have misread some consumer trends – most businesses do at some time or other.  There is no law against that.  

     

    As for your ethanol plan for Australia, just where do you happen to have 400,000 hectares of suitable land (sub-tropical and enough water) available for that, without taking production away from something else?

    Also your Friends of Ethanol might make their first order business to get their website working – hard to take them seriously otherwise…

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  125. By BilB on March 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

    As I recall PaulN, other than some soft seals which can be affected by ethanol the primary deciding factor for an engines suitability for ethanol is the valve seats. Valve seats need to be hardened steel inserts, standard in all aluminium cylinder heads, rather than seating directly on cast steel or iron. How engines were designed in the US is not a concern for me. It is a problem for the vehicle ownerswho will make their judgement on what vehicle to buy next on how well their currnet vehicle has served them. That is what should concern the Automakers. Their past decisions will affect their future success, this is something that the Japanese Automakers knew all too well.

    Ord River irrigation area.

    This guy has all of the information.

    http://nqsmallbusiness.com/p/p…..e-growers/

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  126. By russ-finley on March 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    BilB said:

    Their past decisions will affect their future success, this is something that the Japanese Automakers knew all too well.


     

    Riiight…

    http://horsepowersports.com/le…..on-recall/

    “…Problem: Toyota is recalling 214,570 model year 2006-2008 Lexus IS, model year 2006-2007 GS and model year 2007-2008 LS passenger vehicles equipped with aluminum fuel delivery pipes (fuel rails). Ethanol fuels with a low moisture content will corrode the internal surface of the fuel rails. As this condition progresses, the engine malfunction indicator light may illuminate. Over time, the corrosion may create a pinhole resulting in fuel leakage. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire….”

    BillB, ever hear of the Dunning_Kruger effect? We are all victims of it depending of area of expertise. Your argument isn’t novel. It’s a collection of other’s arguments assimilated from the internet. You have assumed incorrectly that those arguments were valid because you didn’t apply any critical thought to them because you didn’t want to:

    http://arstechnica.com/science…..mments-bar

    When it comes to beliefs about ourselves, our strengths, and our weaknesses, we are very prone to bias. Psychologists have proposed that self-deception arose as a way to make it harder to detect lies; if the liar actually believes what he is saying, the lie becomes harder to detect. This may be one of the reasons that self-deception is so embedded in our behavior, and so difficult to prevent.

    What you see at this blog is the application of critical thought, the backbone of science and engineering.

     Your comment about the starving poor is a good example. Note that money is not fairly and evenly distributed around the planet. Money and food are essentially synonymous in our global market. You think the answer is to simply eliminate poverty so large and rapid inceases in basic life-sustaining food staples like corn won’t kill people. Put that way it sounds pretty naive.

    Modern cars have almost comically complex fuel and air polluton control systems and each car model is unique. I’m an FAA licensed airframe and powerplant mechanic and experienced mechanical engineer. I have also maintained all of my cars my entire life so I’m a respectable car mechanic as well.

    Here are some photos under the hood of one of my cars. I make my own maintenance manuals. One is a diagram of just the vacuum system.

    I presently own four cars because my family has four drivers, a teen who will soon have a license, and another kid who drives to work/school, myself and my wife. They cover model years 1989, 1992, 2006, 2008. I know their fuel and air pollution systems well and none of them bear much resemblance to the other. O2 sensors in exhaust manifolds are designed for given temperatures and oxygen levels, both altered by ethanol in the fuel, which can affect the catalytic converter and on and on it goes.

    A few years after the ethanol mandates arrived I had to replace my injectors, then a fuel pump failed. Next the car failed an air pollution check because the rubber seal on the gas cap had turned into a black oozing putty. No study can say that the increase in ethanol content did not hasten the demise of older cracked rubber seals or act as a solvent to loosen deposits that clog injectors, or by absorbing more water into the gas corrode minor metal parts anywhere in the system.

    Here’s a story where police cruisers were taken out of action by too much ethanol:

    http://biodiversivist.blogspot…..isers.html

    Obviously, based on the economic fragility of car makers today, the profit margin on a given car is not very high. Adding a few hundred dollars worth of engineering to essentially protect a car from a government fuel policy may or may not be a wise move. The car makers already tried to use the flex fuel logo as a marketing ploy but soon found that few customers cared (the tactic did not improve sales).

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  127. By Wendell Mercantile on March 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Anecdotal, but Albuquerque’s experience with flex-fuel cars is interesting: Albuquerque Steers Back to Unleaded: Dumping Ethanol May Save $250,000 a Year, City Says

    Mayor Richard Berry’s administration cited fuel pump failures, warranty problems and the increased cost of alternative fuels as reasons for the switch.

    Police Chief Ray Schultz said in some cases, the fuel pumps on police cars failed in the early morning hours, with no way to get them fixed immediately. The administration also said some sedans in the Fire Department fleet were unable to respond to emergencies.

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  128. By paul-n on March 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Your own maintenance manuals!  Russ, next time my vehicle needs a service – I’m coming to see you in Seattle!

     

    It would seem the fuel pumps and seals are a common problem with ethanol fuel.  Perhaps the ethanol industry should look at whether some other co solvents/stabilisers are needed – I don’t know if Rate Crimes’ solution of adding oil is the answer, but maybe there is something else.

    In any case, if the US is to persist with ethanol, it seems to me that it should take the step that all new cars should then be flex fuel – or diesel.  IF the Euro style diesel vehicles were available here, quite a few buyers would opt for that and be done with ethanol altogether.

    Brazil has done that, and many of their cars are made by the US carmakers.  Here is the chart for their Flex fuel and non flex vehicle sales.  T

     

    The graph is incorrectly labelled here, as “gasoline” vehicles actually include all non flex fuels, including diesel, CNG and LPG. That aside, you can see what happens when a country actually commits to ethanol vehicles, not just ethanol fuel!

     

    @ BillB.  Have you looked at the map/google earth around the Ord River/Kununurra?  400,000 ha is an area 63x63km (40x40miles) – you won;t find that much arable land around there, and the dam doesn’t hold enough water to irrigate even a quarter of that.  Not saying that sugar cane wouldn;t be a viable crop there – though I think oil palms would be better, but there just isn’t that much good land there.

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  129. By BilB on March 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Ord River was to be developed in 2 stages. The first 200,000 hectares was not particularly successful as so many crops failed to work there. In the end the only things that grow really well are bananas, pineapples and sugar cane. They have only just now begun to develop Ord River 2 which will ultimately the other 200,000 hectares. The dam holds a few times the volume of Sydney Harbour. There is more than enough water there to irrigate the entire area. Water has never been a problem.

    Russ Finley

    To this

    “Their past decisions will affect their future success, this is something that the Japanese Automakers knew all too well

    Riiight…”

    You make the point very clearly with

    “Obviously, based on the economic fragility of car makers today, the profit margin on a given car is not very high. Adding a few hundred dollars worth of engineering to essentially protect a car from a government fuel policy may or may not be a wise move.”

    US automakers have been making bad decisions for a lot of years, and the GFC nearly finished them off.

    I used to repair my own vehicles. I can’t be bothered anymore. As long as the oil and filter is changed every 4000 klms they run reliably for ever. I did a lot of testing, by the way. At 4000 k the oil viscosity has increased to the point where it increases fuel consumption. The increased fuel consumption balances the cost of the oil, so it is better for the engine to change the oil more often than less. The oil gets recycled.

    It does sound like you could do very well for yourself by producing a book explaining those ridiculously complicated engine systems. These days those SUV owners who head off into the wilderness with their electronically managed pollution compliant engines really take their life into their hands because if anything goes wrong with the engine systems no-one in the bush knows how to diagnose their faults. They are overall more reliable, but sh*t does happen.

    I had an experience several decades ago when I took a trip from Canberra to Melbourne by bus. The bus was a brand new Volvo double decker on its first run which started in Brisbane. Someone forgot to check the fuel level and half way to Melbourne the bus ran out of diesel. But after the fuel tanker came and went and several mechanics came and went and 6 hours had passed the driver could not get the bus started. Brilliant batteries on this bus though. When it became obvious that no-one was going to fix the problem, I went to the engine bay, bled the fuel filter, then the injectors, and the bus finally started on the first kick. I just could not believe that no-one knew this basic stuff. The funny part of the story occured when the bus pulled into Melbourne 6 hours late at 3 in the morning. There were people there to pick up all of the other passengers and the bus pulled away leaving me alone on the street with nowhere to stay. Then around the corner came a car, and the driver pulled over to me to ask if I had been on the late bus and had there been a tall American kid on the bus. Well I remembered that the tall kid had hooked up with several Swedish girls in the back and had disappeared with them. This guy turned out to be someone called Elmer Michener, a cousin of James A Michener, and had stayed in Australia after the war just as my dad had done. He put me up for the rest of the night, made me a lovely breakfast, and took me to the airport later in the morning where I caught a plane back to Christchurch.

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  130. By russ-finley on March 19, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Thanks for the story, BilB. Today’s cars have become hopelessly complex, much like WWII aircraft engines did. Thank God for the jet engine and the Nissan Leaf ; )

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  131. By Wendell Mercantile on March 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Obviously, based on the economic fragility of car makers today, the profit margin on a given car is not very high. Adding a few hundred dollars worth of engineering to essentially protect a car from a government fuel policy may or may not be a wise move.

    Agree, it’s not necessarily a smart move for the carmakers — other than to take advantage of the E85 loophole in how CAFE is calculated.

    But there is one industry for whom it would make tremendous sense to fund making all cars E85 capable – -the ethanol industry. To build their own market, one would think Bob Dinneen and his cohorts would be eager to go to the carmakers and say, “Make all your cars flex-fuel, and we’ll pay the costs.” That’s an investment that should pay huge dividends for the ethanol industry.

    The ethanol industry has to take on some of the responsibility and proactively build their market instead of always relying on governments mandates to do it for them.

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  132. By Wendell Mercantile on March 19, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Article in yesterday’s NY Times pointing out some of the problems of ethanol for older cars: Collectors Go Looking for Nonalcoholic Blends

    Still, many consumers would rather not have any alcohol in their gasoline. Their reasons include reductions in fuel economy — a gallon of ethanol contains about one-third less energy than a gallon of gasoline — and alcohol’s affinity for moisture, which can cause a multitude of engine problems.

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  133. By Walt on March 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    Article in yesterday’s NY Times pointing out some of the problems of ethanol for older cars: Collectors Go Looking for Nonalcoholic Blends

    Still, many consumers would rather not have any alcohol in their gasoline. Their reasons include reductions in fuel economy — a gallon of ethanol contains about one-third less energy than a gallon of gasoline — and alcohol’s affinity for moisture, which can cause a multitude of engine problems.


     

    I’m not sure if I believe this statement, but it about the closest I’ve seen yet to dates argued as to what is possible.

     

    “According to EPA’s rule determination, lower ethanol blends up to 15
    percent ethanol (E15) can be used in all gasoline vehicles manufactured
    after 2001, E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline) can be used in all gasoline
    vehicles manufactured after 1980, but only FFVs have been specially
    designed to run on E85. A surprising number of Americans are driving
    FFVs and don’t realize it. To find out your vehicle is an FFV, check the
    owner’s manual, look inside the driver’s doorframe, or visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov.
    FFV drivers can easily calculate the money they save and the pounds of
    GHG emissions they eliminate when they fuel their FFV with E85. Just
    visit the FuelEconomy.gov website at http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg…..eltype.htm and select the appropriate FFV model on the search tool for alternative fuel vehicles.”

     

    http://blog.energy.gov/blog/20…..-awareness

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  134. By Walt on March 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I thought this was interesting…

     

    Buy an FFV

    Where did FFVs come from, who makes
    them, why did they make them, why should I buy one, and where
    do I get one?

    The Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988 provided
    incentives for all automakers to build Flexible Fuel Vehicles
    (FFVs).  FFVs
    were designed to run on any combination of ethanol or gasoline
    – without added cost or adjustments by the driver. Since
    that time automakers have produced and sold millions of these
    vehicles and they are operating in all parts of the country.
    Today FFV makers (Chrysler, Ford, General
    Motors
    , Isuzu, Mazda, Mercedes, Mercury, Nissan)
    offer over 30 makes and models of FFVs. Chrysler, Ford and General
    Motors are the leaders in FFV production and have spent billions
    of dollars in research and development and are now helping to
    build E85 refueling infrastructure. GM is now investing in
    the development of cellulosic ethanol technologies which will
    use feedstocks like switchgrass, waste products and other feedstock
    alternatives compared to just using just feed grains.

    Many automakers did not
    advertise the FFV options to consumers because E85 refueling
    stations were not available and some believe dealers thought
    it may have been a deterrent to selling the cars in the face
    of E85 availability. Only
    in the past couple of years have we seen E85 refueling stations
    start to spread across the United States. There are now 1,600
    E85 stations, compared to 170,000 gasoline stations. But
    policy makers and FFV makers had the foresight to make sure that
    would be a growing amount of FFVs in the marketplace to one day
    help drive the demand for renewable transportation fuels as the
    ethanol continued to develop and be proven in the market place.
    They were right.

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  135. By Wendell Mercantile on March 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Many automakers did not advertise the FFV options to consumers

    There is a reason automakers didn’t advertise — they didn’t need to. They get the E85 credit in the way CAFE is calculated just by building a flexfuel car. It doesn’t matter whether the buyer ever actually burns any E85. In fact, there are probably many car buyers unaware they are driving flexfuel cars.

    Also there are some buyers who might be turned off by the thought of a flexfuel car thinking it adds complexity or cost.

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  136. By Walt on March 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Paul N said:

    @ Walt, keep in mind that the EPA’s “approval” for post 2001  vehicles for E15 is primarily concerned with emissions compliance, not reliability etc.  You can run them without breaking the law, but it doesn’t mean they won’t break down.


     

    Yes, that was one of the points in RR article, but it was interesting to see that claim made by the EPA.  I had not seen the cut off dates before, and so if it is for emissions only it is a bit deceptive advertising.  This could be the thing which the judge will point out in these law suits.

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  137. By paul-n on March 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Wendell, the way these companies (auto, oil, ethanol, biofuels, etc) game the system continues to amaze me.  The fact that the govt keeps setting up systems that can so easily be gamed begs the question as to whether they were intentionally designed that way…

     

    With FFV’s, what the govt should have done is simply said, that if they wish to claim the CAFE credit, then the FFV status must be clearly advertised on the vehicle, with a badge of size X by Y on, the back, inside the fuel latch, AND on the fuel gauge.  Additionally to be clearly stated in any and all sales literature, and fuel efficiency ratings to be stated when running on gasoline and E85.

    @ Walt, keep in mind that the EPA’s “approval” for post 2001  vehicles for E15 is primarily concerned with emissions compliance, not reliability etc.  You can run them without breaking the law, but it doesn’t mean they won’t break down.

     

     

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  138. By John Q. Galt on March 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    “It isn’t believable that using a major fraction of the corn crop for ethanol production hasn’t contributed to the run-up in corn prices.”

    Robert Rapier, you still have not done your agronomics textbook homework. If you wish to be a credible alternative energy expert you need to educate yourself with knowledge pertaining to the economically significant fractions of biomass which this world yields to it’s inhabitants. Corn is the most significant crop not because of a conspiracy by low-brow german american midwest farmers but rather because of an evolutionary quirk that simply made it the most useful plant ever. Corn aka Maize is responsible for the original Green Revolution that occurred several hundred years ago when it replaced rice, wheat, millet, sorghum and a host of other grains that to this day simply can’t compete with it.

    The small fraction of global corn starch production diverted through the ethanol production comes not from actual food or feed corn production sources but rather from soybean and minor grain crop acres. Don’t understand? Consider the following.

    Corn produces 7,571 lbs dry matter per acre on 33% of grain producing farmland
    Soybeans produce 2,296 lbs dry matter per acre on 30% of grain producing farmland (less food)
    Wheat produces 1,920 lbs dry matter per acre on 23% of grain producing farmland (less food)

    Wheat is grown for various reasons none of which is due to efficient production of food.

    Wheat is tasty.
    Wheat makes tasty bread.
    Wheat is a winter cover crop and a co-product of hay crops.
    Wheat is a cool season crop to hedge against main season crops.
    Can’t grow corn.

    Soybeans are the miracle crop. Soybeans are 40% high-quality protein and 20% oil. Soybeans are more expensive by 300% relative to corn. Better be some damn high-quality protein!!!

    Any time we can replace more expensive crops is a good time. Growing corn instead of soybeans or wheat and then converting that corn into ethanol and protein replaces the services both soybeans and wheat provide to the marketplace: balancing the high-yielding, high-starch corn. When distillers grains are fed to livestock other sources of protein and energy are not fed to the livestock.

    This is called replacement.

    Because these other feed sources are not fed to livestock they are not produced. This frees up land for the crop that will be fed to livestock: corn. Corn is a more efficient crop to produce. Soybeans and wheat incure opportunity costs which are obvious when average yields are compared to corn. Opportunity costs are nothingness. Use it or lose it. That large empty space below corn’s 7,500 lbs av. DM yield is what nothingness looks like. Because we live in an Idiocracy where retarded children grow up feeling good about themselves simply because teacher gave them a banana sticker when they fail yet another test, people think not creating something is better than creating something and using it in a way that doesn’t immediately assist some crying African baby.

    When you hear of corn displacing soybeans or wheat, be happy. Cry tears of joy. That just means a farmer found an economic reason to grow corn.

    Robert Rapier, you have built a little blogging career on the issue of value density, specifically the value of one unit of ethanol compared to the equal measure unit of gasoline.

    Perhaps you should take a sabbatical and read an agronomics textbook or two, in order to understand the non-linear value of a pound of corn relative to a pound of soybeans or a pound of wheat or a pound of sugar beet or a pound of tomotoes or a pound of lettuce.

    Sincerely,
    John Q. Galt (a pseudo-anon)

    p.s. I still haven’t found where on your site you have assigned a proper value to ethanol’s octane value. You do realize the reason refineries pay so much for ethanol is for the octane boosting value and not for the mediocre fuel value, right? I mean, for much of your professional career you worked in petroleum refineries, right? You know why they made the various grades of gasoline and diesel, right?

    [link]      
  139. By rrapier on March 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    John Q. Galt said:

    “It isn’t believable that using a major fraction of the corn crop for ethanol production hasn’t contributed to the run-up in corn prices.”

    Robert Rapier, you still have not done your agronomics textbook homework.


     

    John, you said an awful lot to address a point that I have never especially pushed. I have always said the overall rise in energy prices has far more impact on food prices than our ethanol mandates. But let’s cut to the chase. Are you suggesting that our ethanol mandates have had zero impact on the overall rise in corn prices and food inflation? If you are, then you are denying something even most ethanol lobbyists admit; they just downplay it by saying it doesn’t have much impact. But study after study has shown there is some impact. My point is that in a trillion dollar food budget, even a small impact can amount to several billion dollars of food inflation — and this is essentially a hidden subsidy.

    p.s. I still haven’t found where on your site you have assigned a proper value to ethanol’s octane value.

    Perhaps then you should spend a bit more time trying to learn about my positions before you try to lecture me:

    All BTUs Are Not Created Equally

    You do realize the reason refineries pay so much for ethanol is for the octane boosting value and not for the mediocre fuel value, right? I mean, for much of your professional career you worked in petroleum refineries, right? You know why they made the various grades of gasoline and diesel, right?

    Having actually blended gasoline for several years, I am sure I know more about it than you do. The reason refineries pay so much for ethanol is because they are forced by law to do so. They have plenty of alternatives for boosting octane that they can produce themselves. Perhaps you should take a sabbatical from anonymously promoting ethanol and read a gasoline blending textbook or two if you wish to lecture me on gasoline blending.

    RR

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  140. By Wendell Mercantile on March 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    You know why they made the various grades of gasoline and diesel, right?

    JQG~

    I cannot believe you asked RR that question.

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  141. By paul-n on March 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I cannot believe you asked RR that question.

    Likewise.

     

    Can’t the ethanol lobby assign Rufus back to this blog?  He was much better, sometimes quite funny and made for some good debate, and kept it such that you could never quite be 100% sure that was from the ethanol lobby.

     These guys are not in the same class.

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  142. By Duracomm on March 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    BilB said,

    Again Duracomm, Robert contradicts you, he says that they use hay and sometimes corn feed for winter suppliment. No mention of “polishing” as you claim….Regardless, going on your estimation of the process It is commercial on grass alone.

    A general description of the cattle business might help with the discussion.

    The beef production chain has four general sectors directly involved with raising cattle. They are

    1. Seedstock 2. Commercial cow/calf
    3. Backgrounder/stocker 4. Cattle finishing

    The seedstock producer sells bulls to the cow/calf producer who uses the bulls and his cows to produce calves.

    The cow/calf producer generally raises his cattle on grass and sells his calves (at 400 to 600 lbs) to the backgrounder/stocker

    The backgrounder/stocker generally runs the cattle on grass for about another six months and sells them (at 700 to 900 lbs) to the cattle finisher / feedlot.

    The finisher / feedlot feeds the cattle increasing amounts of grain for another 4-5 months and then sells them to the beef packer (at 1,100 to 1,400 lbs). In addition to adding weight the feeding process increases the overall quality (tenderness and flavor) of the beef. This improvement in quality is the “polishing” process I mentioned.

    Each of these sectors are generally profitable or they would not exist as separate sectors. That does not mean that they are all profitable in the same amount or the same time.

    It definitely does not mean artificially inflated grain prices will not have a negative profit impact on all sectors of the cattle business.

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  143. By Duracomm on March 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    BilB said,

    Regardless, going on your estimation of the process It is commercial on grass alone. So what is the problem?

    Most standing dry grasses in the winter are low in protein, but more importantly they are quite hard for the animal to digest.

    For wintering cows and for dry wintering other stock … The only supplemental feeds which will consistently meet the objectives of improving both intake of the forage and its digestibility are high protein concentrates. …such as soybean meal, cottonseed meal, and mixtures of these to which other important nutrients such as phosphorus and vitamin A have been added.

    feeding an adequate amount of high protein concentrate to cows on dry native range in the winter is usually the least expensive method of wintering cattle in Oklahoma.

    The problem is ethanol mandates and subsidies artificially increase the price for all feed commodities. This increases costs for all parts of the cattle business even if they are not feeding corn.

    Since feed costs are often one of the largest expenses in the cattle business this increase can be enough to make the operation unprofitable and force the cattle producer out of business.

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  144. By paul-n on March 28, 2011 at 1:16 am

    In addition to adding weight the feeding process increases the overall quality (tenderness and flavor) of the beef.

    That depends on your definition of “quality”.  The beef does have a higher fat content from finishing on feed instead of pasture – if you like lean beef then your quality is decreasing with more time on feed.  Grass finished beef has the same fat content as bison, and just slightly more than skinless chicken breast/  When you buy grain fed beef, you pay for the fat and then trim it off!  

    The “taste” of course, is a matter of personal preference – American consumers generally prefer the neutral taste of grain fed beef, Australians prefer the stronger taste of grass fed (but then we also like to eat our grass fed kangaroos!).  Tenderness is better for grain fed compared to open range, and cattle finished on improved/irrigated pasture are in between.

    Also, grass fed beef has a very good ratio of Omega3  to Omega6 fatty acids – actually as good as  wild salmon.  The more time on feed, the worse this ratio gets.  

    This data comes from the Journal of Animal Science, 1973 (Duckett, S. K., D. G. Wagner, et al. (1993). “Effects of time on feed on beef nutrient composition.” J Anim Sci   71(8): 2079-88.

    Back then , they thought decreasing these fatty acids was good, but we now know they are a major factor in maintaining cardiovascular health.  

    More information on grass fed beef here

     

    So finishing on the feedlot may be more economical, but whether it improves quality, or decreases it, is open to quite some debate, and personal preference.

     

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  145. By Duracomm on April 2, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Paul N,

    Aside from hamburger most beef cuts have pretty low fat content to start with. When the beef is cooked the fat content is further reduced as it is cooked out of the beef.

    Furthermore lipid metabolism and how it impacts human health is a ferociously complex topic. It looks like grass fed beef has neutral impact on human lipid profiles while grain fed beef improves lipid profiles.

    It would be good to have a more flexible and diverse food production system in the US. The best way to enable innovation and improvement in ag is to end the government ag subsidies that currently drive the type of ag commodities that are produced.

    Grain-fed healthier than grass-fed? And a bit of a commentary

    Dr. Stephen Smith, an AgriLife Research meat scientist, and a team of researchers have found that contrary to popular perception, ground beef from pasture-fed cattle had no beneficial effects on plasma lipid.

    However, high monounsaturated fat ground beef from grain-fed cattle increased HDL cholesterol, increased LDL particle diameters, and decreased insulin, suggesting that ground beef produced by intensive production practices provides “a healthful, high-quality source of protein.”

    “We wanted to see from this study if product from pasture-fed and corn-fed cattle had different effects on LDL or HDL cholesterol,” Smith said.

    “We looked at the scientific literature and could not find any justifications for the statement that pasture-fed beef is better for you.

    All we found were rat studies in which they were fed omega-3 fatty acids, so we wanted to know if this applied to beef from grass-fed cattle.”

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  146. By paul-n on April 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    The best way to enable innovation and improvement in ag is to end the government ag subsidies that currently drive the type of ag commodities that are produced.

    I could not agree more – though I am not sure the farming community would.  Governments have terrible records when it comes to picking winners.

    As for the beef, we can probably find study and counter study on that.  One thing for sure though – grass fed beef is less energy (fuel) intensive than feedlot – as corn prices continue to go up, grass fed will become more competitive – market forces at work!

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  147. By Duracomm on April 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Paul N said,

    As for the beef, we can probably find study and counter study on that.

    True that. CSPIA used to say that beef tallow was bad and McDonald’s needed to replace it with healthy trans fats.

    Oops.

    CSPIA killed two birds with one stone. Ruined the french frys and made them less healthy.

    Government policy magnifies the damage caused by bad dietary advise.

    Egg on Their Faces
    Government dietary advice often proves disastrous.

    As a recent review of the latest research in Scientific American pointed out, ever since the first set of federal guidelines appeared in 1980, Americans heard that they had to reduce their intake of saturated fat by cutting back on meat and dairy products and replacing them with carbohydrates. Americans dutifully complied.

    Since then, obesity has increased sharply… the incessant message over the last 30 years to substitute carbs for meat appears to have done significant damage.

    [link]      
  148. By Allen on April 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    In order for Ethanol to become a larger piece of our fuel pie, the U.S. Government is going to have to do like Brazil did and require E85 vehicles to be produced. There have been laws in he past written to address this and none have been successfully passed due to pressure from oil and motor lobbyists.

    With this being said, I do not believe that we will see much movement on the matter since the oil and motor lobbyists are better funded than the RFA. Though, future models will be designed to function off of E15 since that is going to be the standard.

    On the biodiesel front, most auto manufactures only allow up to B5 for their consumer vehicles and B20 for commercial vehicles.

    With this in mind, a shift in production of renewable fuels will have to occur in order to replace imported oils. A greater percentage of fuels will have to be sourced from fuels that are indistinguishable from their fossil fuel counterparts. Hopefully companies will be able to produce these fuels at a total cost below 80 USD per oil barrel equivalent in order to be competitive with light sweet crude. From my perspective, I would say that companies like Joule Unlimited, Dynamic Fuels, Envergent, Neste, Diversified Energy, and Velocys are the ones to be reckoned with since they are able to produce a product that is indistinguishable from fossil fuels.

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  149. By Wendell Mercantile on April 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    In order for Ethanol to become a larger piece of our fuel pie, the U.S. Government is going to have to do like Brazil did and require E85 vehicles to be produced.

    Allan,

    That’s not true at all. Why can’t the ethanol industry and America’s corn growers take it upon themselves to pay the reported $150-200 it costs to make a new car flex-fuel?

    Why can’t Bob Dineen of RFA, Wes Clark of Growth Energy, and Bart Schott of the Nation Corn Growers Association (NCGA) go to GM, Ford, and Chrysler and say, “Please make all your cars flex-fuel and we’ll pay the cost.”

    That’s the way to build an industry instead of waiting for the Federal government to do it for you through a law or mandate.

    Of course, I don’t expect the NCGA to do that. They won’t even require their membership to use ag equipment that runs on ethanol.

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  150. By paul-n on April 4, 2011 at 6:18 am

    In order for Ethanol to become a larger piece of our fuel pie…

    A good start might be to get some of those millions of E85 capable vehicles that are already on the road to start using it.

    The ethanol lobby’s refrain of “the government should do…” is really getting quite boring – time to frisbee that record!

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  151. By Walt on April 4, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Paul N said:

    In order for Ethanol to become a larger piece of our fuel pie…

    A good start might be to get some of those millions of E85 capable vehicles that are already on the road to start using it.

    The ethanol lobby’s refrain of “the government should do…” is really getting quite boring – time to frisbee that record!


     

    Paul, I agree we should refrain from “the government should do…” but is it practical advise.  The system is so deeply flawed where DC really runs more and more industries through regs, legislation and money.  They take from us and hand out money who screams the loudest.  They print money, give it to the inter-bank market to distribute where it best influences their interests.  The system has grown from a relatively functioning constitutional republic with the UCC commercial code guiding business contract law, into a corporate controlled democracy that is able to limit competition by government rules of commercial engagement.  It cannot be changed in my opinion.  I heard from someone on the evening news that Obama is planning to run for re-election and it is estimated he will spend $1 Billion on his new campaign.

     

    Think about it.  It is easy to raise $1 Billion through influence and power, but it is difficult (near impossible) for the oil companies to spend $6,000 for improvements to upgrade one E85 pump on their station site.  Watch the profits from Exxon with these new oil prices, and tell me why they cannot spend $6,000 for E85 pump upgrade at each station.  Just watch what they pour into the election through various groups.

     

    It is a battle of corporate interests, and most of us are along for the ride! :)   Our voice means nothing…

    [link]      
  152. By Wendell Mercantile on April 4, 2011 at 9:43 am

    …but it is difficult (near impossible) for the oil companies to spend
    $6,000 for improvements to upgrade one E85 pump on their station site.

     

    It’s not difficult at all.  All that is necessary is they be convinced it is a sound business model — that if  a fillign station makes a $6,000 investment upgrading their pumps to E85, it would make money. Or perhaps what you’re really saying is — that afterall — it’s not a sound business model. Wink

    [link]      
  153. By Walt on April 4, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    …but it is difficult (near impossible) for the oil companies to spend

    $6,000 for improvements to upgrade one E85 pump on their station site.

     

    It’s not difficult at all.  All that is necessary is they be convinced it is a sound business model — that if  a fillign station makes a $6,000 investment upgrading their pumps to E85, it would make money. Or perhaps what you’re really saying is — that afterall — it’s not a sound business model. Wink


     

    Good point Wendell.  There is no doubt in my mind that an E85 pump at an Exxon station is a terrible business model.  It would take away business from their petroleum based fuels, and would directly compete with their business.  I agree that if Exxon wants E85 pumps on site, they will need to be given the money to install those pumps as it makes zero economic sense to bring competition to their business and throw away money on the pump upgrade, and the E85 sales margins vs. gasoline margins.

     

    However, one possible way to get them to consider opening up one pump on site would be to tax their gasoline emissions.  Taxes are a wonderful thing for the Europeans, and while RR explains the price differences in gasoline between UK and USA there is coming legislation here that will tax gasoline based tailpipe emissions.  It is called well-to-wheel and is a long shot in America, but Exxon would obviously just pass on the tax with higher prices on their gasoline.  It would force Exxon to consider opening up one of their pumps if demand for cheaper fuels became an option, but I (like others) do not expect American’s going crazy over high priced fuels.  Europe is the model and it shows prices can get very very high before people get upset and revolt in the streets.  France and UK have both seen these uprising over petro prices, and after a few months people forget it as they cannot do much about it without any options.  Pay at the pump…and accept there are no other options.

    [link]      
  154. By Wendell Mercantile on April 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

    it makes zero economic sense to bring competition to their business and
    throw away money on the pump upgrade, and the E85 sales margins vs.
    gasoline margins.

     

    That’s exactly why the ethanol industry and corn growers should be building their own chains of E85 filling stations. Why do they expect the gas companies to compete against themselves?  They need to be proactive and expand the demand for their product by building their own network of E85 fuel stations — especially along the Interstate highways that cross the Corn Belt.

    The ethanol industry and corn growers also need to “encourage” the farm implement makers to produce ethanol-fueled ag equipment. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) could do that by asking their members buy only ag equipment that burns ethanol, and also encouraging them not to do business with farm implement makers that refuse to make ethanol-fueled farm equipment.

    The ethanol companies and corn growers need to first prove they are serious about growing the demand for ethanol before they can start expecting our lawmakers to do it for them. And one way they can do that is to start using farm equipment that burns the fuel they make.

    [link]      
  155. By Walt on April 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    it makes zero economic sense to bring competition to their business and

    throw away money on the pump upgrade, and the E85 sales margins vs.

    gasoline margins.

     

    That’s exactly why the ethanol industry and corn growers should be building their own chains of E85 filling stations. Why do they expect the gas companies to compete against themselves?  They need to be proactive and expand the demand for their product by building their own network of E85 fuel stations — especially along the Interstate highways that cross the Corn Belt.

    The ethanol industry and corn growers also need to “encourage” the farm implement makers to produce ethanol-fueled ag equipment. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) could do that by asking their members buy only ag equipment that burns ethanol, and also encouraging them not to do business with farm implement makers that refuse to make ethanol-fueled farm equipment.

    The ethanol companies and corn growers need to first prove they are serious about growing the demand for ethanol before they can start expecting our lawmakers to do it for them. And one way they can do that is to start using farm equipment that burns the fuel they make.


     

    I don’t think building E85 stations would make economic sense due to the margins at the pumps…it would need to be a supermarket chain to add those new stations from what I have evaluated on CAPEX/OPEX/profit for these stores.

     

    I think you have a very good idea on the use of E85 farm equipment.  This is a natural solution, and should be promoted more aggressively.  There is no reason to export this ethanol…that is foolish.

     

    Agreed on the last point.  I know my idea of getting E85 pumps in oil company stations is a non-starter, but I like the idea of more choice for the consumer at oil and gasoline prices rises…I’m not really interested in paying UK prices here if there are other options for choice.  I don’t believe in forcing oil companies to upgrade their stations if it hurts their bottomline, but I do like the idea of more choice at more stations.  We have E85 pumps in my local area, but until now we could not modify our cars (conversion kits) until last week.  Now, I should not be complaining.  The choice is now mine, and convert or shut-up! :)   I have not yet decided.  However, I will be running on methanol before I do on ethanol.

    [link]      
  156. By Wendell Mercantile on April 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I don’t think building E85 stations would make economic sense due to the
    margins at the pumps…it would need to be a supermarket chain to add
    those new stations from what I have evaluated on CAPEX/OPEX/profit for
    these stores.

     

    You’re right — it probably wouldn’t make economic sense. Which only begs the question:  If it doesn’t make economic sense,  why we are supporting corn ethanol and E85 with subsidies and mandates to begin with?

     

     

    [link]      
  157. By Herm on April 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Some news for Walt:

    First Gas flows to Pearl GTL

    http://www.greencarcongress.co…..l#comments

     

    GE study finds 5% of world’s natural gas production wasted per year by flaring

    http://www.greencarcongress.co…..l#comments

    [link]      
  158. By Walt on April 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Herm said:

    Some news for Walt:

    First Gas flows to Pearl GTL

    http://www.greencarcongress.co…..l#comments

     

    GE study finds 5% of world’s natural gas production wasted per year by flaring

    http://www.greencarcongress.co…..l#comments


     

    Thanks Herm.  I saw this on the GE Study:

     

    The study finds that the technologies required for a solution exist
    now. Depending on region, these may include power generation; gas
    re-injection (for enhanced oil recovery, gathering and processing);
    pipeline development and distributed energy solutions. Nearly $20
    billion in wasted natural gas could be used to generate electricity and
    yield billions of dollars per year in increased global economic output.

    A lack of technology solutions is not the
    problem; gas flaring can be dealt with today
    through a variety of existing technologies
    at reasonable cost…However, often regional political complexities and
    lack of gas infrastructure systems drive the decision to flare gas.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the
    next phase of flare gas eradication will
    require a major, coordinated effort from
    central and regional governments, oil and
    gas producers, technology providers, and
    the international community. The role that
    each party plays differs by region.

    —“Flare Gas Reduction”

     

    I would not necessarily agree that the technology exists to stop flaring.  Last week I was in a discussion with several majors and the World Bank discussing the three main options being considered to get some serious traction.  1) gas-to-chemicals, 2) gas-to-power, and 3) CNG.  The last two are being implemented in those areas where “pipeline development” and “re-injection” are not possible due to economics.  However, I am not here to say that every single oil producer should not have a plan to flare down within the first 12 months of testing.  They can get the wells on line within 4-5 months, so they can flare down using the GE solutions within the balance of the year.  However, you cannot always produce electricity on site in the volumes of gas being flared, nor can you build the pipeline to other isolated fields, nor can you put in a CNG operation that is economic at small scales.  Fortunately, there is lots of progress, and I hope this week we will announce our company to be the first company chosen to implement a gas-to-chemicals solution…and I will certainly fight for it to be a standard to compete with the technology of GE.

     

    We ain’t got the money to compete…but we do have the “let’s get it done” attitude that is needed with all the flaring reduction potential.  In the next 5-6 months we should have an excellent example of a gas-to-chemicals flare reduction project operating in USA.

     

    The study finds that the technologies required for a solution exist
    now. Depending on region, these may include power generation; gas
    re-injection (for enhanced oil recovery, gathering and processing);
    pipeline development and distributed energy solutions. Nearly $20
    billion in wasted natural gas could be used to generate electricity and
    yield billions of dollars per year in increased global economic output.

    A lack of technology solutions is not the
    problem; gas flaring can be dealt with today
    through a variety of existing technologies
    at reasonable cost…However, often regional political complexities and
    lack of gas infrastructure systems drive the decision to flare gas.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the
    next phase of flare gas eradication will
    require a major, coordinated effort from
    central and regional governments, oil and
    gas producers, technology providers, and
    the international community. The role that
    each party plays differs by region.

    —“Flare Gas Reduction”
    [link]      
  159. By Allen on April 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Wendell,

    I think that the possibility of the RFA funding for flex-fuel vehicles more outlandish than the government mandates.

    Also, how much farm equipment is available in the U.S. that runs on ethanol? Biodiesel / renewable diesel seems like it would be much more easily available.

    If I were able to, I would completely remove the incentives from imported oil so that U.S. based fuels would be used. 

    I personally do not think that ethanol is the answer without a significant change in mentality throughout the U.S., and I do not see that happening. I think that drop-in fuels will be the way to go increase the percentage of renewable fuels used in the U.S.. There are many places that would sign an extended contract for renewable fuels because the buyer can agree to a fixed price and the manufacturer will have less variable costs than oil currently has.

     

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    In order for Ethanol to become a larger piece of our fuel pie, the U.S. Government is going to have to do like Brazil did and require E85 vehicles to be produced.

    Allan,

    That’s not true at all. Why can’t the ethanol industry and America’s corn growers take it upon themselves to pay the reported $150-200 it costs to make a new car flex-fuel?

    Why can’t Bob Dineen of RFA, Wes Clark of Growth Energy, and Bart Schott of the Nation Corn Growers Association (NCGA) go to GM, Ford, and Chrysler and say, “Please make all your cars flex-fuel and we’ll pay the cost.”

    That’s the way to build an industry instead of waiting for the Federal government to do it for you through a law or mandate.

    Of course, I don’t expect the NCGA to do that. They won’t even require their membership to use ag equipment that runs on ethanol.


     

    [link]      
  160. By Wendell Mercantile on April 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I think that the possibility of the RFA funding for flex-fuel vehicles more outlandish than the government mandates.

    Allen~

    What’s outlandish about organizations such as RFA, Growth Energy, and NCGA being responsible for making their businesses grow instead of whining that government needs to do more?

    If the RFA, GE, and NCGA want to increase the demand for ethanol, why don’t they go to the car makers and offer to pay the cost of making all cars flex-fuel? That would be the proactive way of expanding their business instead of lobbying for Federal mandates.

    Also, how much farm equipment is available in the U.S. that runs on ethanol?

    None, if any. But that wouldn’t be the case if groups such as the NCGA told the farm implement makers their membership would buy only ag equipment that runs on ethanol (or 100% biodiesel). The ag equipment companies would soon start producing the equipment.

    The technology exists. Scania of Sweden developed compression ignition engines that burn ethanol 20 years ago, and companies such as John Deere could have those engines in their tractors and combines in a matter of months if farmers and the ag lobbying groups told John Deere they wanted them.

    But the truth is that farmers are quite happy to keep using their petro-diesel ag equipment while wanting the government to force the rest of us to use ethanol.

    Whenever an ethanol mandate is passed, it should first apply to farmers and ag equipment.

    [link]      
  161. By Walt on April 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Published in the Wall Street Journal today…here is the whole article:  

    The Flexible Fuel Answer to OPEC

     

    http://www.hoover.org/news/dai…..port/74126

     

    Mr. Woolsey is chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
    and a former director of Central Intelligence. Ms. Korin is co-director
    of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and co-author of
    “Turning Oil into Salt” (Booksurge, 2009). Both are founding members of
    the Set America Free Coalition.

    [link]      
  162. By Wendell Mercantile on April 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    An Open Fuel Standard would require new cars to include a $100 tweak
    that would allow them to run on a variety of liquid fuels in addition to
    gasoline. Such fuels would include methanol, which is easily made from
    natural gas and biomass (and, less cleanly, from coal)

    Walt,

    I could easily support an Open Fuel Standard on the basis of national security, but not as a sop to the ethanol lobby to placate their continual whining for a Federal mandate to help them grow their business.

    Our “ace in the hole” for a liquid transporation fuel is methanol made from natural gas, coal, and the gassification of waste biomass. If our cars and trucks were all capable of using methanol at the flick of a switch,  that would be a tremendous step in the direction of national security, and would allow us to thumb our noses at OPEC and the oil exporting countries of the Middle East.

     

     

     

    [link]      
  163. By Walt on April 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    An Open Fuel Standard would require new cars to include a $100 tweak

    that would allow them to run on a variety of liquid fuels in addition to

    gasoline. Such fuels would include methanol, which is easily made from

    natural gas and biomass (and, less cleanly, from coal)

    Walt,

    I could easily support an Open Fuel Standard on the basis of national security, but not as a sop to the ethanol lobby to placate their continual whining for a Federal mandate to help them grow their business.

    Our “ace in the hole” for a liquid transporation fuel is methanol made from natural gas, coal, and the gassification of waste biomass. If our cars and trucks were all capable of using methanol at the flick of a switch,  that would be a tremendous step in the direction of national security, and would allow us to thumb our noses at OPEC and the oil exporting countries of the Middle East.


     

    Wendell, I support the standard as from what I understand it provides choice.  I don’t know anything about the public or private agenda of these people or their organizations.

    “Mr. Woolsey is chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
    and a former director of Central Intelligence. Ms. Korin is co-director
    of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and co-author of
    “Turning Oil into Salt” (Booksurge, 2009). Both are founding members of
    the Set America Free Coalition.

    I have watched their videos, written several times to Ms. Korin without any response, and recently introduced my demonstration to the organization “Set America Free Coalition” due to their promotion of methanol.  I received an email in response to my request, and someone responded with one sentence and did not disclose who ever wrote the email.  I have no idea who the organization is, but I see they are very powerful in Washington and have a lot of influence since some of their colleagues appear to be involved in other technology companies.

     

    I’ve been screaming for a new methanol lobby, and at one point thought they might be able to help, but after watching them for about a year, I cannot say anything as I don’t know anything about their agenda.  I assumed they would be thrilled with our developments of producing methanol here in America, but it did not seem to be anything more than “very interesting” to them….whoever them was that responded.

     

    One thing I know is that methanol is getting a LOT more attention.  I’ve had 3 different universities contact me in the past 2 weeks looking for information on our technology for student groups doing research.  That has never happened before.  Maybe things are changing a little for methanol.  Maybe it will be a brown sheep rather than a black sheep of the alcohol family here in America one day! :)

     

    [link]      
  164. By paul-n on April 8, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Allen wrote:

    If I were able to, I would completely remove the incentives from imported oil so that U.S. based fuels would be used. 

     What specific incentives exist to import oil? (that do not apply to domestic oil) .  

     

    I personally do not think that ethanol is the answer without a significant change in mentality throughout the U.S., and I do not see that happening. I think that drop-in fuels will be the way to go increase the percentage of renewable fuels used in the U.S.. 

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that drop in fuels are preferable, the problem is they are not cost competitive.  The  only real drop in fuel available today, biodiesel, died as soon as its subsidy was removed.

    There are many places that would sign an extended contract for renewable fuels because the buyer can agree to a fixed price and the manufacturer will have less variable costs than oil currently has.

    I think you need to qualify this statement.  There are many “drop-in biofuel” manufacturers that would gladly sign a fixed price contract, the only problem is that contract would  be in the order of $7-10/gallon.  Sure, the mfr has less variable costs than oil, but if the costs are at least double, then how many buyers, realistically, are they going to get?  So far the only one has been the  US Navy, on an experimental basis.  

    Drop in fuels are the renewable fuel utopia – but so far no one has been able to make them competitively with oil – even in Europe at $8/gal retail, biofuels are hardly making any inroads.

    To date, drop in fuels are like the advanced batteries, and the fuel cell – always a few years and a few more dollars away.  This is not to say there may not be a breakthrough, just that to date, most efforts have failed or are very expensive – how long are you prepared to wait?

    [link]      
  165. By Herm on April 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Some interesting news from Brazil:

     

    http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedD…..ls/8761834

     

    Brazil’s hydrous ethanol prices tumble on major switchover to gasoline..

    “A significant increase in ethanol prices caused by a shortage of the biofuel around the country has led most drivers of flex-fuel cars to opt for gasoline.

    Owners of flex-fuel cars are better off filling their vehicles with gasoline when ethanol prices rise above 70% of the gasoline price.”

    “At present, gasoline values are regulated in Brazil as a means to curb inflation. While ethanol prices float based on supply and demand, gasoline levels are controlled by the government to prevent spikes in inflation.”

    [link]      
  166. By Herm on April 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    bte, is that really $4.72 per gallon for the brazilian ethanol?

    [link]      
  167. By Allen on April 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Wendell,

    I have looked at Scania’s ED95 tech before, and I have only seen documentation for busses using it. Though, I am sure that other engines could be modified to run it. I just have little faith that manufactures would engineer new tractors to support ED95 without a large contract for ordering these tractors, and most farmers will not purchase any new equipment if the old equipment operates as it should. So, nothing will change, because farmers will not buy new equipment if they do not specifically need new equipment and the manufacturers will not produce a product without demand. So in the end the status quo will remain.

     

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    I think that the possibility of the RFA funding for flex-fuel vehicles more outlandish than the government mandates.

    Allen~

    What’s outlandish about organizations such as RFA, Growth Energy, and NCGA being responsible for making their businesses grow instead of whining that government needs to do more?

    If the RFA, GE, and NCGA want to increase the demand for ethanol, why don’t they go to the car makers and offer to pay the cost of making all cars flex-fuel? That would be the proactive way of expanding their business instead of lobbying for Federal mandates.

    Also, how much farm equipment is available in the U.S. that runs on ethanol?

    None, if any. But that wouldn’t be the case if groups such as the NCGA told the farm implement makers their membership would buy only ag equipment that runs on ethanol (or 100% biodiesel). The ag equipment companies would soon start producing the equipment.

    The technology exists. Scania of Sweden developed compression ignition engines that burn ethanol 20 years ago, and companies such as John Deere could have those engines in their tractors and combines in a matter of months if farmers and the ag lobbying groups told John Deere they wanted them.

    But the truth is that farmers are quite happy to keep using their petro-diesel ag equipment while wanting the government to force the rest of us to use ethanol.

    Whenever an ethanol mandate is passed, it should first apply to farmers and ag equipment.


     

    [link]      
  168. By Allen on April 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Paul,

     

    I know that the incentives apply across the board to oil no matter where it is sourced from. I just feel that if the Democrats stated that they would introduce legislation to only remove incentives from imported oil it would go over better with the oil backed Republicans. I do not think that it would work in this current congress though. 

    If BTL could not be profitable at scale, I do not think that as many companies would be creating these new refineries. you do not last very long by having unquantified expenditures. Neste has their new plant in Singapore and two in Europe, Tyson/Syntroleum has theirs in Louisiana, Choren has one in Germany and at least 3 more in planning. 

    Also, many of these companies have stated that they can be competitive below $50 per barrel without subsidies, and I do not see oil ever being below $50 ever again. $80 will be the lowest we can expect to see for any significant duration, and I do not expect to see that often.  So, if I contracted to purchase at $80 I could comfortably assume that I am going to pay below retail for the vast majority of the contract and the contract would be advantageous to me and the fuel company.

     

    Paul N said:

    Allen wrote:

    If I were able to, I would completely remove the incentives from imported oil so that U.S. based fuels would be used. 

     What specific incentives exist to import oil? (that do not apply to domestic oil) .  

     

    I personally do not think that ethanol is the answer without a significant change in mentality throughout the U.S., and I do not see that happening. I think that drop-in fuels will be the way to go increase the percentage of renewable fuels used in the U.S.. 

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that drop in fuels are preferable, the problem is they are not cost competitive.  The  only real drop in fuel available today, biodiesel, died as soon as its subsidy was removed.

    There are many places that would sign an extended contract for renewable fuels because the buyer can agree to a fixed price and the manufacturer will have less variable costs than oil currently has.

    I think you need to qualify this statement.  There are many “drop-in biofuel” manufacturers that would gladly sign a fixed price contract, the only problem is that contract would  be in the order of $7-10/gallon.  Sure, the mfr has less variable costs than oil, but if the costs are at least double, then how many buyers, realistically, are they going to get?  So far the only one has been the  US Navy, on an experimental basis.  

    Drop in fuels are the renewable fuel utopia – but so far no one has been able to make them competitively with oil – even in Europe at $8/gal retail, biofuels are hardly making any inroads.

    To date, drop in fuels are like the advanced batteries, and the fuel cell – always a few years and a few more dollars away.  This is not to say there may not be a breakthrough, just that to date, most efforts have failed or are very expensive – how long are you prepared to wait?


     

    [link]      
  169. By Wendell Mercantile on April 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    So, nothing will change, because farmers will not buy new equipment if
    they do not specifically need new equipment and the manufacturers will
    not produce a product without demand
    .

     

    If farmers are not willing to be first using ag equipment that burns ethanol, what right do they have expecting mandates that would force others to do that?

    [link]      
  170. By Allen on April 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I am not saying that the farmers would not be willing to purchase equipment capable of running on ED95 or B100. I do not know since I am not a farmer. The point that I was making is that no farmer is going to immediately replace a functional piece of equipment especially if the equipment is reasonably new, and who would expect them to?

    On a different note, one state that may drive all of this though is Hawaii. A large portion of their electricity is produced by diesel generators, and all of their fossil fuels are imported. Hawaii is attempting to reduce the amount of oil imports to hawaii by supporting renewable energy and alternative fuel growth in the state. If all of this works out for them, then Hawaii could become the most renewable state in the Nation. Also, if Hawaii makes mandates for alternative fuel capable equipment, then other states may follow suit.

    I do not forsee much change without mandates of some form. Also, it will probably be a single state such as Hawaii or California to initiate mandates for biofuel capable vehicles and other equipment and other states would follow suit. Much like California has done with CARB standards. 

     

    [link]      
  171. By paul-n on April 9, 2011 at 2:25 am

     

    Allen,

    There is another, far simpler, way to run tractors etc on ethanol – you co-fuel them. The ethanol is spayed into the inlet mainfold (after the turbo, if there is one) which does some evaporative cooling on the air, and then  provides fuel – this is called “fumigation”, and can alsso be done with methanol, natural gas, propane, butane and hydrogen.  Diesel is still injected, which serves to ignite the mixture.  The amount of diesel used can be from 20 to 100% of normal – the engine governor is changed to account for this.

    the technology has been well developed for natural gas co-fueling and also for methanol/water injection in high performance diesel trucks (racing etc).  The meth/water is usually a 50/50 mix but can be higher.  Ethanol will work just as well, and it need not be anhydrous ethanol either – up to 50% mc will work fine!  In hot weather, the more water, the better.

    There is nothing new here – alcohol/water injection has been around since ww2, used to be used in F1 racing and so on.  The beauty of it is that minimal modifications are required to the engine, other than adding the alcohol fuel delivery system, and the governor, and you can still run 100% diesel if you want to.

    IF the ethanol industry did a little bit of work in co-operation with the John Deere’s and Case’s they could easily come up with an add-on kit that would be suitable for almost all existing machinery.

    something like this kit, which is  for class 7 & 8 trucks

     

    Not rocket science, just a bit of good old fashioned engine tweaking that used to be done regularly in the pre-computer days.

    The fact that it can use hydrous ethanol is a huge bonus – this saves a costly post-processing step in ethanol production, and even makes  on farm ethanol production easier.

     

    [link]      
  172. By paul-n on April 9, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Allen wrote;

    know that the incentives apply across the board to oil no matter where it is sourced from.

    I’m curious to know just what these are, and are they greater than the 45c/gal federal excise tax?

    If BTL could not be profitable at scale, I do not think that as many companies would be creating these new refineries.

    Well, show me one, that is profitable, at scale.  many companies prospect for oil, gold etc and that does not mean they are making money, just that they hope to.

    you do not last very long by having unquantified expenditures.

    Well, Range Fuels pulled it off for a few years, as have quite a few others (Iogen, Blue Fire, Coskata etc), without producing any real product.

    Also, many of these companies have stated that they can be competitive below $50 per barrel without subsidies,

    I will sign a futures contract with them, next week, for 10 million barrels of diesel compatible fuel at $50bbl equivalent, for delivery at year’s end – will they sign? 

    So, if I contracted to purchase at $80 I could comfortably assume that I am going to pay below retail for the vast majority of the contract and the contract would be advantageous to me and the fuel company.

    So if this is such a good deal for buyer and seller, how many millions of barrels have ben contracted at $80, or any price?

    My point here is, do these companies have product for sale, in commercial volumes, today – at any price?  Things that are “planned” or “expected to” don;t count – they hopes and/or hype.  Until barrels are being delivered, for a disclosed price, I shall remain unconvinced that any of these have a commercial process.

     

    [link]      
  173. By Walt on April 9, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Paul N said:

     Allen,

    There is another, far simpler, way to run tractors etc on ethanol – you co-fuel them. The ethanol is spayed into the inlet mainfold (after the turbo, if there is one) which does some evaporative cooling on the air, and then  provides fuel – this is called “fumigation”, and can alsso be done with methanol, natural gas, propane, butane and hydrogen.  Diesel is still injected, which serves to ignite the mixture.  The amount of diesel used can be from 20 to 100% of normal – the engine governor is changed to account for this.

    the technology has been well developed for natural gas co-fueling and also for methanol/water injection in high performance diesel trucks (racing etc).  The meth/water is usually a 50/50 mix but can be higher.  Ethanol will work just as well, and it need not be anhydrous ethanol either – up to 50% mc will work fine!  In hot weather, the more water, the better.

    There is nothing new here – alcohol/water injection has been around since ww2, used to be used in F1 racing and so on.  The beauty of it is that minimal modifications are required to the engine, other than adding the alcohol fuel delivery system, and the governor, and you can still run 100% diesel if you want to.

    IF the ethanol industry did a little bit of work in co-operation with the John Deere’s and Case’s they could easily come up with an add-on kit that would be suitable for almost all existing machinery.

    something like this kit, which is  for class 7 & 8 trucks

     

    Not rocket science, just a bit of good old fashioned engine tweaking that used to be done regularly in the pre-computer days.

    The fact that it can use hydrous ethanol is a huge bonus – this saves a costly post-processing step in ethanol production, and even makes  on farm ethanol production easier.

     


    Paul,

     

    I had someone from Winnipeg call me on Monday discussing something very similar.  They said they are doing this in the oil fields with diesel engines.  I did not ask if they were diesel generators or diesel trucks.  He mentioned that they were using ethanol, but would like to use methanol.  I explained mine would be a blended 90% methanol and 10% methanol product.  He said it should work, and I agreed it would be cheaper than the ethanol they are buying currently.  I gave him a blended price of $1.25 per gallon ex. plant and he would have to ship it to the field.

     

    Your comments sound very similar to what this guy is doing.  He said it was invented by a Canadian friend of his and they are selling the kits around the world.  I wonder if it is the same technology.  Anyhow, this was something I never imagined would be possible in the fuel markets since there seems to be some serious obstacles for getting alcohols in the fuel chain here without building our own gas stations…which after studying all t he costs there is no way I can build a nationwide network of gas stations to sell methanol based gasoline blends.  It is very difficult to compete with Methanex and Chinese producers who will be the most competitive prices in America.  $1.25 a gallon would give me a small margin at about 300,000 scfd, but I would like to get $1.75 a gallon to be more profitable and scale down further (e.g., 100,000 scfd)…

     

    In the future as it scales (5 mmscfd) up we can drop the price down to less than $1.00 and compete with the Chinese/Methanex, but until that time this blended fuel market with diesel seems like the best possible opportunity.  Do you know any companies that are doing this now or that might want to do this as end fleet consumers?

     

    [link]      
  174. By Walt on April 9, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Paul N said:

     


     

    Paul,

    I cannot get that link to work to the kit for some reason.  Any other way I can search for it?

    Walt.

    [link]      
  175. By Wendell Mercantile on April 9, 2011 at 9:42 am

    …many of these companies have stated that they can be competitive below $50 per barrel without subsidies…

    Allen,

    If you believe that, you should be locking up their output for at least the next two decades.  You will become a wealthy man. In fact, if it’s true, Warren Buffett probably already owns the futures contracts for the next 20 years of their < $50/barrel output.Cool

    [link]      
  176. By Walt on April 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    …many of these companies have stated that they can be competitive below $50 per barrel without subsidies…

    Allen,

    If you believe that, you should be locking up their output for at least the next two decades.  You will become a wealthy man. In fact, if it’s true, Warren Buffett probably already owns the futures contracts for the next 20 years of their < $50/barrel output.Cool


     

    Wendell,

     

    I think what Allen is saying, for which I may stand corrected, is that companies like Neste and their new Singapore plant announced this week can be competitive at $50/bbl oil.  This is the same argument used by Shell with Pearl saying they can make a profit at $50/bbl oil and a fortune at $80 oil.

     

    Neste is a very very serious company.  I first started working with their gasoline traders in London/Helsinki in 1994 when I signed the first western processing agreement with the Petrobrazi refinery in Romania.  Neste agreed to supply my crude from the black sea, and buy the refined R90 gasoline for blending in Rotterdam…with further VLCC shipments in large volumes of R93+ gasoline to Sinapore market.  They made margins on the freight.  Neste was not only eager and open to working on new projects, the two guys leading their gasoline/gasoil trade at the time were experienced in dealing with Russia so Romania (although equally difficult at that time) was not such a stretch to support our endeavor.

     

    If you have not seen the Neste press release…it is below.  I don’t much of anything about this technology, but I have heard it is serious and Neste is certainly a serious and extremely well run company in my experience.  Someone will have to study the numbers in the article below, and see where it falls into $50 oil.  I know most majors won’t do much at that scale unless it makes money at $50 bbl oil or less.

     

    http://www.btimes.com.my/Curre…..i/Article/

    [link]      
  177. By Allen on April 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Paul,

    The oil tax credits have been in the news here recently and the Democrats want them removed and the Republicans want them to remain. The U.S. Government is expected to spend $3.6 billion on oil tax credits in FY2012. http://blogs.abcnews.com/theno…..g-oil.html

    Also Dynamic Fuels in Geismar, Louisiana is actually producing diesel fuel now from animal and plant waste products and has been since November. Syntroleum has stated in their FY2010 conference call that they are earning $0.35 per gallon of diesel produced at the Dynamic Fuels plant, so total profit for Dynamic Fuels is $0.70 per gallon since Tyson owns half of Dynamic Fuels. Once the Geismar plant is running at full load, expected profits are $52.5 million per year. I assume that a portion the profits will go to pay off the $8 million in loans that Dynamic Fuels owes to Syntroleum and Tyson Foods. If this plant proves to be successful, I expect Dynamic Fuels to build plants in other locations with high concentrations of Tyson food processing plants. From looking at the locations of Tyson plants, there are 18 other states that Dynamic Fuels could reasonably choose from. If Dynamic Fuels is willing to source from companies other than Tyson Foods, then you could place a plant anywhere in the country. That will increase the costs per gallon of fuel in most instances though it may not increase it much.

    I agree that Range Fuels was a total blunder. It was a case of a serious lack of oversite from the EPA, its VCs, and the State of Georgia. Range fuels should never have been financed in the first place. Their process was a total failure. 

    Also, the benefits of Methanol/Water injection systems are somewhat dubious without some form of forced induction system on the vehicle or equipment being modified. Also, they are only beneficial when the engine is at or near WOT and who runs an engine at WOT a majority of the time?

     

    Paul N said:

    Allen wrote;

    know that the incentives apply across the board to oil no matter where it is sourced from.

    I’m curious to know just what these are, and are they greater than the 45c/gal federal excise tax?

    If BTL could not be profitable at scale, I do not think that as many companies would be creating these new refineries.

    Well, show me one, that is profitable, at scale.  many companies prospect for oil, gold etc and that does not mean they are making money, just that they hope to.

    you do not last very long by having unquantified expenditures.

    Well, Range Fuels pulled it off for a few years, as have quite a few others (Iogen, Blue Fire, Coskata etc), without producing any real product.

    Also, many of these companies have stated that they can be competitive below $50 per barrel without subsidies,

    I will sign a futures contract with them, next week, for 10 million barrels of diesel compatible fuel at $50bbl equivalent, for delivery at year’s end – will they sign? 

    So, if I contracted to purchase at $80 I could comfortably assume that I am going to pay below retail for the vast majority of the contract and the contract would be advantageous to me and the fuel company.

    So if this is such a good deal for buyer and seller, how many millions of barrels have ben contracted at $80, or any price?

    My point here is, do these companies have product for sale, in commercial volumes, today – at any price?  Things that are “planned” or “expected to” don;t count – they hopes and/or hype.  Until barrels are being delivered, for a disclosed price, I shall remain unconvinced that any of these have a commercial process.

     


     

    [link]      
  178. By Allen on April 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Wendell, I am saying that they can produce at ~$50 per barrel which is competitive with oil at ~$38 per barrel before incentives (considering that refining costs are already included). Do you honestly think that they are going to pass that savings on to the consumer or that they will internalize it and have it go towards the company’s own bottom line?

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    …many of these companies have stated that they can be competitive below $50 per barrel without subsidies…

    Allen,

    If you believe that, you should be locking up their output for at least the next two decades.  You will become a wealthy man. In fact, if it’s true, Warren Buffett probably already owns the futures contracts for the next 20 years of their < $50/barrel output.Cool


     

    [link]      
  179. By Herm on April 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm

     

    “Allen said: 

     Wendell, I am saying that they can produce at ~$50 per barrel which is competitive with oil at ~$38 per barrel before incentives (considering that refining costs are already included). Do you honestly think that they are going to pass that savings on to the consumer or that they will internalize it and have it go towards the company’s own bottom line?”

     

    I’m sure building those CTL and GTL plants cant be cheap..

    [link]      
  180. By Walt on April 11, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Walt said:

     

    Paul,

    I cannot get that link to work to the kit for some reason.  Any other way I can search for it?

    Walt.


     

    Paul,

    I found some links on the kits.  Interesting.

    http://www.snowperformance.net…..gories.php

     

    This was interesting from Lotus as well:

    http://www.lotuscars.com/engin…..e-tri-fuel

    ENGINE MODIFICATIONS

    As well as being green, another
    crucial advantage of synthetic methanol is that it can be introduced
    relatively simply. As the Exige 270E Tri-Fuel demonstrates, only small
    changes to engines are required, such as:

    Sensors to detect alcohol content
    Slightly modified software for engine management controls/ECUs over ethanol/gasoline and flex fuel
    Fuel lines compatible with alcohol
    Higher flow rate fuel pump and injectors
    Fuel tank material, compatible with alcohol

    In
    addition, as a liquid, synthetic methanol can be transported, stored
    and sold to motorists exactly as today’s liquid fuels are, with only
    minor modifications.

    Synthetic methanol is better suited to
    spark-ignition combustion than today’s liquid fuels, delivering better
    performance and thermal efficiencies, due to its higher octane rating
    and better resistance to ‘knock’. As a result, it is a fuel that will
    benefit the motorists in terms of driving experience. For example, the
    Exige 270E Tri-fuel is quicker to 60mph from standstill and has a higher
    top speed when using 100% synthetic methanol fuel than with
    conventional petrol/gasoline. Synthetic methanol is also ideally suited
    to pressure charging, a trend already well underway as car makers look
    to downsize engines to cut emissions.

    [link]      
  181. By paul-n on April 11, 2011 at 4:29 am

    @ Allen

    The oil tax credits have been in the news here recently and the Democrats want them removed and the Republicans want them to remain. The U.S. Government is expected to spend $3.6 billion on oil tax credits in FY2012. http://blogs.abcnews.com/theno…..g-oil.html

    So that article says “$3.6bn in tax credits”  that is less than what will be paid for ethanol this year.  It does not specify what theya re for – though I will take a stab and suyggest it includes things like the “stripper well” credit, to keep old low production wells going.  These tax credits are for domestic production,. which is desirable – it reduces imports.  I am yet to see any credit for domestic companies that produce overseas.

     

    Also Dynamic Fuels in Geismar, Louisiana is actually producing diesel fuel now from animal and plant waste products and has been since November. 

    Hmm, making fuel from animal and plant waste oils – easy to make oil when you start with oil – but how scalable is this solution – there is only a relatively small amount of this stuff around.

    From their website;

    For this evaluation, it is assumed that the Bio-Synfining™ process will import all power and hydrogen requirements from the local electrical grid and hydrogen pipeline. The indirect emissions associated with these imports have been estimated for the plant.

    The estimated GHG emissions for a 5,000 barrel per day Bio-Synfining™ plant range from 107-174 pounds of CO2-equivalent per barrel of oil equivalent based on the anticipated blended feedstock. The range is associated with the source of hydrogen imported. The lower range is based on hydrogen produced from a plant implementing carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and the upper range is based on hydrogen produced from a plant without CCS.

    Hydrogen from what pipeline?  A plant using CCS – where?  For a plant that claims no fossil fuel use they sure have a lot of NG flares going…  I hope the SEC takes a good look at these claims – they seem as optimistic as Range Fuels was.

     

    Also, the benefits of Methanol/Water injection systems are somewhat dubious without some form of forced induction system on the vehicle or equipment being modified. Also, they are only beneficial when the engine is at or near WOT and who runs an engine at WOT a majority of the time?

    I’m guessing you haven’t spent much time on a farm or in a truck or train.  Most of these engines are run at 50-90% of their rated power, most of the time, and most of them are turbocharged too.  A diesel car driving around town is a different story, but there are not many of those in the US today

    Co fueling with alcohol or NG can displace a large portion of the energy value of the diesel, at any load.  The evaporative cooling benefits of water/alcohol are indeed greatest at high load, or high ambient temperature, but they are present across the entire engine spectrum.

    Here is an engine map for a VW Jetta diesel;

     

    And here is the same engine running on methanol;

     

    You can clearly see that it not only has a higher thermal efficiency, but it achieves it across all load levels (as indicated by the BMEP).  This is due to the evaporative cooling properties of alcohol

    So a Jetta running on methanol would have even greater low end torque and better driveability while using less fuel than on diesel!

    (full report here)

     

     

     

    The av

    [link]      
  182. By Walt on April 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Does anyone know if this prediction came to pass?  I cannot find the updated information.

     

    —————————————

    28 November 2007 22:03  [Source: ICIS news]

    ORLANDO, Florida (ICIS news)–Chinese methanol
    demand for direct gasoline blending is expected to grow quickly by 2010
    as new standards for M15 (15% methanol) and M85 (85% methanol) are
    adopted, a methanol producer said on Wednesday.

    The production of M15 blend is expected to constitute 50% of Chinese fuel supplies by 2010, said Mark Allard of Methanex, speaking at the 2007 CMAI World Methanol Conference in Orlando, Florida.

    If the forecast holds up, methanol will make up 7.5% of the total gasoline pool in China by 2010.

    Annual gasoline demand is expected to reach 70m tonnes by 2010,
    Allard said, mainly because Chinese consumers are buying more cars.

    Current estimates peg Chinese methanol demand for direct gasoline blending at around 2m tonnes/year.

    [link]      
  183. By Walt on April 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Very interesting powerpoint from Methanex hot off the press.

     

    http://www.alembicglobal.com/a…..202011.pdf

    [link]      
  184. By BilB on March 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Whelll!!!

    This is super specualtion..

    “What they are trying to avoid is a liability because of a mandate designed to help another industry”

    Any non vested interest observer would say that E15 is intended to bolster the US’s internal fuel production, preserve the environment, provide employment at a time when the US unemployment level is 10% plus, and extend the life of the fossil fuel reserves.

    Only the absolutely most cynical would automatically jump to the conclusion that this is about making corn farmers rich. Good grief.

    US legislation signalled the use of ethanol from 28 years back. The oil industry decided to use an oil derived additive which later was found to contaminate ground water, an additional requirement to oxygenate motor spirits forced the hand of the industry to use ethanol in fuel. This fits also into the category of the attempt to sue McDonalds for making people fat. People who want to be called highly qualified professionals demanding performance bonus payments one day, and unwitting victims the next make me sick. And after the flurry of private jets carrying AutoIndustry executives to Washington saga during the GFC I don’t think that this next AutoIndustry outrage will draw anything other than laughter.

    [link]      
  185. By Roberto on August 10, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Interesting article. Regarding the use of corn for producing ethanol and its impact on food prices, I guess that’s likely. Maybe you should consider other crops that produce more ethanolat lower costs and are much more effective on absorbing sunlight, like sugarcane.
    Also, regarding corrosion, ethanol is indeed corrosive. I know because we’ve been using it in Brazil for the last 30 years, and the first batch of cars converted to run on pureethanol had serious problems with that. One thing you may not know is that this has already been solved, for at least 10 years. Most new cars in Brazil are “flex” -they run on gasoline, ethanol, and sometimes even gas. They are treated for dealing with different compression rates and against corrosion. And I’m talking GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, all the big ones. They have this technology and could implement it in the U.S. or anywhere else. Therefore, corrosion is an issue only while car companies are not pressed to use these technologies they have in the U.S.
    As for methanol, it’s not about corrosion. The problem with methanol is that it is toxic, much more than ethanol. Just having contact with it may get yu blind. Ethanol is much safer. I suggest you study other countries that have been on this alternative fuel road for a longer time and complement your point of view with that.

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  186. By Robert J. Schulke on October 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    You can easily test for the truth yourself:

    1 – Half-fill 2 glass jars, one with gasoline with ethanol in it, and one with ethanol-free gasoline.

    2 – Place a plain steel bolt (not plated) in each jar.

    3 – Put lids on the jars.

    4 – Punch a single nail hole in each lid to relieve pressure similarly to your car’s fuel filler.

    5 – Store the jars outside, away from your house, and out of the weather.

    6 – Wait a month, and examine the results.

    7 – Stop buying gasoline with ethanol in it, and pray you haven’t badly damaged your engine with it.

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  187. By Steve on January 26, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    In simple terms, ethanol in gasoline is a CONSUMPTION TAX pure and simple. When I use 10% ethanol fuel, I get 10 lt/100 km (Canada). When I use native, no ethanol blend, my mileage jumps to 13.5lt/100 km. In the long run, when not using ethanol , I’m using less gas to drive further, nullifying the “environmental” argument. Typical liberal thinking is that if a commodity is taxed enough, I use less, however, my place of employment doesn’t get closer to me no matter how much gasoline is taxed. The oil companies LOVE ethanol in gas, because by adding it, they can charge more. Corn is subsidized by the government, so farmers & beurocrats love it. Car companies love it because it wears out engine parts, so you buy parts or a new vehicle. A perfect scam.

    [link]      
    • By Steve on January 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      Make that mileage figure backwards oops

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    • By pelewis on July 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      “The oil companies LOVE ethanol in gas, because by adding it, they can charge more.”

      This is nonsense. The oil industry has done everything they can to stop ethanol fuel blends. For good reason, I might add.

      [link]      
  188. By Cat on May 1, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Unfortunately, not much insight can be gleaned from the particular article you sight for the simple fact that most gaskets, connectors, tubing, etc. are typically cleaned with solvents and are replaced frequently in industry. Additionally, it appears no control assays were conducted.

    [link]      
    • By Robert Rapier on May 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      The categories they cite are not items that would be cleaned frequently. Further, cleaning won’t stop corrosion. And the control would be that all of this equipment is already E10 certified. So these tests were done already.

      [link]      
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