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By Samuel R. Avro on Oct 6, 2011 with 113 responses

This Week in Energy: Study Says Biofuels Costly, Impacts Questionable

This Week in Energy is a weekly round-up of news making headlines in the world of energy. Most of these stories are posted throughout the week to our Energy Ticker page.

The purpose is to stimulate discussion on energy issues, and community members should feel free to turn these into open thread energy discussions. Suggestions and news tips are welcome. I (Sam) can be reached at editor [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com .

NRC Report to Congress: Cellulosic Biofuel Mandates Unlikely to Be Met

A congressionally requested study by the National Research Council — an arm of the National Academy of Sciences — concluded that next-generation biofuels are costly, and their impacts questionable. “Absent major technological innovation or policy changes, the … mandated consumption of 16 billion gallons of ethanol-equivalent cellulosic biofuels is unlikely to be met in 2022,” the report stated. This conclusion should come as no surprise to readers of R-Squared Energy, as its author Robert Rapier covered this in a recent article: Cellulosic Ethanol Targets: Mandating the Nonexistent.

The report concluded that feedstock costs are likely to be prohibitive — something that R-Squared readers have heard many times over the past few years. For instance, in Bad Assumptions, Robert wrote, “Farmers are going to command the highest price they can get for any purpose-grown biomass. So I think the dreams of cheap switchgrass or miscanthus enabling cheap biofuels will fail to materialize.”

Regular readers have also been warned about costs (here) and unrealistic hype (here). One of the panel experts — an engineering professor at the University of Iowa — stated, “During the course of the debate and especially listening to the economists I came to be a little bit more aware of the limitations, a little bit more aware of the difficulties of producing biofuels and advanced biofuels.” He could have learned all about that right here a number of years ago by reading Cellulosic Ethanol vs. Biomass Gasification (2006), Cellulosic Ethanol is Dead (2008), Cellulosic Ethanol Politics (2008), or Biofuel Pretenders (2009). He could have read about the logistical challenges in Cellulosic Ethanol Reality Check (2006) or The Logistics Problem of Cellulosic Ethanol (2007).

Regarding the report’s conclusion that the mandates are unlikely to be met, Robert wrote in a 2008 article that the cellulosic ethanol mandate would not be met, and that the overall numbers from the cellulosic ethanol portion of the Renewable Fuel Standard were not “remotely credible.”

Keystone XL Pipeline, Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Chevy Volt Sales

  • The New York Times editorial board came out against the proposed Keystone pipeline which would carry oil from tar sands projects in Alberta to refineries along the southern coast of the United States, urging Hillary Clinton — because the State Department has jurisdiction — to “Say No.”
  • An article published in The Economist took a look at the debate from another angle. A third group which supports development of the tar sands but don’t want the pipeline built because shipping the tar sands’ crude to American refineries, where much of the value is added, means Canada will be sending money and jobs down the pipe.
  • In an extract of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, which is due to be published in full on November 9, the agency warned of ballooning fossil fuel subsidies. Global subsidies for fossil fuels are expected to reach $660 billion by the year 2020, led by Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  • Jalopnik took a look at the updated sales numbers for the Chevy Volt, asking: Is the Chevy Volt a sales flop? In the first nine months of the year, GM sold less than 40% of their 10,000 vehicle target for 2011. Compared to the more than 5,000 Chevrolet Suburbans that were sold in September alone, only 3,895 Volts have been shipped off the lots all year, with 723 of them going in September (h/t to forum member Wendell Mercantile).
  • An interesting group of companies — Google, BP, Morgan Stanley and Chevron — launched a project that replaces natural gas with solar power to make steam that will get more oil out of aging wells. Bear in mind though, the “greener oil” mentioned in the article title is not the oil itself, but about the extraction process being greener (solar vs. natural gas).

Peak Oil Debate, Solyndra, Plummeting Oil Prices

  1. By Walt on October 6, 2011 at 6:42 am

     

    Farm Bill Should Include Energy Programs to Provide Important Market for Agricultural Products, BIO Says

    Washington D.C. - The energy programs authorized in 2002 and extended in
    the 2008 Farm Bill provide important new markets for agricultural
    producers and should be a fundamental part of any new Farm Bill. The
    Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today thanked Sen. Richard
    Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) for recognizing the
    importance of including an energy title in the Rural Economic Farm and
    Ranch Sustainability and Hunger (REFRESH) Act of 2011.

    Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial &
    Environmental Section, stated, “America’s farmers are a vital link in
    the creation of a biomass value chain to provide renewable feedstocks
    for biorefineries. Renewable energy, biobased products, renewable
    chemicals and advanced biofuels are an essential contribution to U.S.
    energy security and an important new market for U.S. agricultural
    producers. The growth of these new industries can create thousands of
    good rural jobs in research, development, manufacturing, agricultural
    production and forestry. In addition, construction of advanced
    biorefineries near biomass resources can also help revitalize rural
    America and add to our energy security. Growing biomass for
    biorefineries can produce thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in
    new economic activity, primarily in rural areas where economic
    development is greatly needed.

    “The energy programs initiated in the 2008 Farm Bill were designed to
    support the contribution of farmers to U.S. energy security, but they
    are only now being implemented after many years of rulemaking. We thank
    Senator Lugar and Congressman Stutzman for recognizing the value of
    continuing these programs in the next Farm Bill. As a National Academies
    study on the Renewable Fuel Standard noted yesterday, consistent and
    long-term supportive policy is needed to grow the advanced biofuel
    industry. Continuation of the Farm Bill energy programs will help.”

    Source : BIO

    http://www.globalenergywatch.c…..techno.com

     

     

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  2. By perry1961 on October 6, 2011 at 4:36 am

    The Volt won’t make those sales targets if dealerships continue gouging. Of the 395 Volts available within 500 miles of my zip code, 11 are priced at MSRP according to Cars dot com. Then, the price starts climbing,to as high as $51,995 for the base model. $12,000 over MSRP ? Are you kidding me?

    Btw, the closest Volt to me was 300 miles away, and was listed for $46,000. The base model, of course. Sure, I want one, but I don’t have sucker tatooed on my forehead.

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  3. By Walt on October 6, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Advanced Biofuels for Military Use On a Path to Commercialization

    Washington D.C. - Advanced biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for
    military use, on military timelines, with adequate support and
    coordination of efforts by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense
    and Energy. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today
    submitted comments to the Air Force’s Request for Information on the
    commercial status and market for advanced drop-in biofuels.

    Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial &
    Environmental Section, stated, “The U.S. military and the nation as a
    whole face a significant national security threat from U.S. dependence
    on foreign sources of energy and ongoing price volatility. The military
    requires access to adequate fuel supplies in strategic locations, and
    biorefineries producing advanced biofuels from multiple feedstocks
    represent perhaps the best option for meeting this military need.

    “Individual advanced biofuel producers have achieved milestones toward
    commercial development of a diverse array of feedstock and technology
    combinations. But full commercialization has been limited by the
    severely constrained market for private capital. Coordination of efforts
    by the USDA, DOE and DOD to address the market challenges could
    significantly accelerate production of the volumes necessary to meet the
    energy security needs of the U.S. military. Military use of advanced
    biofuels could in turn validate emerging technologies and unlock private
    investment in future advanced biofuels production for civilian markets.

    “Some advanced biofuel companies already have worked with the Department
    of Defense (DOD) or with commercial airlines to test and certify
    advanced biofuel/petroleum blends, and more are poised to do so. The
    full range of projects located in diverse areas of the country,
    combining local feedstocks with tailored technology and processes,
    represent a robust response to the challenges, particularly for military
    biofuel needs.”

    Source : BIO

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  4. By Kit P on October 6, 2011 at 6:51 am

    The base model, of course. Sure, I want one, but I don’t have sucker tatooed on my forehead.

     

    That sound like an oxyemoron.  If you want an BEV that makes you a sucker.  Go ahead and articulate the virtues of a BEV to demonstrate that you are not a sucker. 

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  5. By Walt on October 6, 2011 at 8:00 am

    In looking at VC investments I found this video.

     

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.co…..ital-firm/

     

    Then I thought about the CIA and banking interests pushing the Open Fuel Standard Act for passage.  Fuels are rising to the level of the potential importance along side IT technologies worldwide.  It will be interesting in the future to see where the intelligence community puts its money in fuels based companies.  Fortuantely, they don’t like cheap methanol or mini-plants that can be deployed worldwide at a moments notice! :)

     

    I can see more clearly why all the VC’s want to invest only in technologies the government will either grant money for, give loans for or buy for military spending purposes.  Maybe the Silicon Valley guys in clean tech are the “smart money” I once thought were investing in bad deals.  If the main focus is entirely government based customers maybe they have a business model that will make lots of money I don’t see currently.  I know, it is not the technology stupid, it is the customer budget.

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  6. By Deborah Trujillo on October 6, 2011 at 10:58 am

    What about Jatropha? Easy to grow on land that won’t grow food crops well, requires minimal processing, perfect for diesel engines.

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  7. By Wendell Mercantile on October 6, 2011 at 11:41 am

    What about Jatropha?

    Deborah~

    It’s possible, as is camelina, and several other plants such as Rufus’s fabled Chinese Tallow Tree.

    However, all will be faced with daunting logistics at scale. As I’ve said before, logistics will be the long pole in the tent of all biofuel schemes. I repeat myself, but this is an adage that needs constant reinforcement: In World War II, General Omar Bradley said about logistics, “Amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics.”

    When it comes to biofuels, enzymes, catalysts, and research into different types of plants and feedstocks are only tactics. To be sure, they are important, but in the end they will mean nothing if the logistics aren’t workable or can’t be solved.

    It’s also worth noting that Congress can’t solve the logistics problem by simply passing a mandate.

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  8. By Kit P on October 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    “To be sure, they are important, but in the end they will mean nothing if the logistics aren’t workable or can’t be solved.”

    No problem, hire some navy guys. It would seem that the logistics for fueling farm equipment in the PNW with camelina grown in the PNW would be a lot less than fuel from the Middle East.

    Our present strategy should be to develop technology and support it with small mandates that do not create burden on the economy. After small mandates have been met, it should be easy to project logistics to determine the limits of particular renewable energy sources.

    “Keystone XL Pipeline”

    Why is the NYT writing an editorial about a pipeline in another state?

    “We, and many others, are skeptical.”

    I skeptical that anyone at the NYT has a clue. Of course the EIS includes public comment so the time to voice concerns is during that process. This looks like a case where delaying projects is used as tactic when the public debate does not provide the answer you want.

    “launched a project that replaces natural gas with solar power to make steam that will get more oil out of aging wells.”

    This was also a subject of a NPR report who reported it as something we are actually doing. From the link:

    “After a few bumps on the road — $30 million in cost overruns, and nearly a year behind schedule — the “solar thermal” demonstration plant was running in the desert near Coalinga, Calif.”

    Maybe we should wait to declare something is ‘better’ until after that is demonstrated.

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  9. By rrapier on October 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Deborah Trujillo said:

    What about Jatropha? Easy to grow on land that won’t grow food crops well, requires minimal processing, perfect for diesel engines.


     

    I describe some of the problems jatropha growers have faced here: Is Camelina the Next Jatropha?

    RR

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  10. By Wendell Mercantile on October 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    No problem, hire some Navy guys. It would seem that the logistics for fueling farm equipment in the PNW with camelina grown in the PNW would be a lot less than fuel from the Middle East.

    Kit P.

    It’s not the logistics of refueling, it’s the logistics of harvesting, collecting, transporting, and storing all the low-density biomass needed to keep a large-scale (and thus economical) biomass refinery running 24/7/365.

    In a full-scale operation, it would take fleets of trucks running 24/7 to collect and haul in the biomass from a radius of several tens of miles, and handling all that biomass at the refinery would become a major exercise in storing and moving things around. Just for storage we’re talking square miles of space with biomass stacked (perhaps under cover since stacked biomass that gets wet is subject to spontaneous combustion) as high as 50 ft or so. (Storage space is needed because the biomass is ready for harvest all at once, and can’t be left in the fields exposed to the elements were it would become subject to rotting, mold, and vermin.)

    A large-scale biomass refinery would have a significant social and environmental effect on the community where it’s located. Perhaps it couldn’t even pass an environmental impact assessment without the help of political clout.

    Those are the logistics I’m talking about, not the tactics of developing a magic enzyme or process. The logistics aren’t necessarily insurmountable, but I don’t think most people have thought about them. They are more intrigued with the tactics and science of developing a new enzyme, finding a new magic plant to use as a feedstock, or inventing a new process.

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  11. By rrapier on October 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    The logistics aren’t necessarily insurmountable, but I don’t think most people have thought about them. 


     

    Even if the logistics themselves are surmountable, the low density of biomass assures that the energy inputs into the logistics piece will be high relative to the energy in the feedstock. So it is really a logistics issue, with the caveat that the logistics must also be energy efficient.

    RR

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  12. By paul-n on October 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    No problem, hire some navy guys.

    Because they are experts at land based moving/handling/storing of biomass?

    It would seem that the logistics for fueling farm equipment in the PNW with camelina grown in the PNW would be a lot less than fuel from the Middle East.

    They certainly would.  In fact, that is such a good idea that it shoud be applied to using midwest produced ethanol IN the midwest.  But instead, it is shipped all over the country.  Iowa doesn’t even mandate the use of ethanol in its in-state fuel.

    So, if logistics was the driver, the ethanol would be being used where it is produced.  But for some reason, when it comes to ethanol, logistics, and other real world considerations, don’t seem to figure in the decision making…

    Maybe the Navy can sort that one out first.  

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  13. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Well, someone better tell Abengoa. It looks like they’re getting ready to follow the Hugoton, Ks Cellulosic from Ag waste plant with one in Nebraska.

    http://www.yorknewstimes.com/a…..083834.txt

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  14. By perry1961 on October 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Biofuels from biomass are just a desperate attempt to save the ICE. If it takes 500 btu’s of energy to convert 1000 btu’s of biomass to liquid fuel, and you put that in a 30% efficient ICE, you end up with 150 btu’s of actual power. Burn that biomass using CHP and you have 700 btu’s minus the line loss, going to an electric motor that’s more than 90% efficient. More than 3X the energy is put to end use.

    Logistics aren’t a problem when the biomass is burned, because you just burn what’s locally available, whether it’s wood scraps or switchgrass. Some coal plants are already mixing switchgrass in with coal.

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  15. By perry1961 on October 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    The biofuels we should be supporting are those made using CTL and GTL. The carbon is captured during the process, and can be safely buried. The final product has almost no emissions. The diesel and jet fuel produced can run heavy equipment that electric motors can’t handle. It also helps that the US has a lot more coal and gas than we do oil.

    The ICE won’t die an easy death. But, its days are numbered nonetheless.

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  16. By Wendell Mercantile on October 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Logistics aren’t a problem when the biomass is burned, because you just burn what’s locally available, whether it’s wood scraps or switchgrass. Some coal plants are already mixing switchgrass in with coal.

    Perry,

    You may have missed what I wrote about this on another thread. It’s not that easy.

    A relatively small 40 MW power plant near me not long ago converted from coal to burning biomass. They now have to bring in 70 semi-truck loads* per day to keep the plant running, and those trucks range out as far as 120 miles to find the biomass they’ve been burning. (Just imagine the energy those trucks consume going out to get that biomass.)

    In their case, local biomass has not been enough to keep the plant running, and they are located in a fertile part of the country.

    ——–
    * Those who live near the plant enjoy the jobs the plant provides, but are not happy about the 70 semi-trucks that every day must roll through their village to keep the fires burning. They are also not happy about the huge stacks of biomass that are now piled up around the plant to act as a buffer when weather stops the trucks from rolling.

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  17. By Wendell Mercantile on October 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Even if the logistics themselves are surmountable, the low density of biomass assures that the energy inputs into the logistics piece will be high relative to the energy in the feedstock.

    RR~

    Persactly. (A hybrid of “exactly” and “precisely” – haven’t had occasion to use that word for about 40 years.)

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  18. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    It looks to me like a 25 Million gpy facility utilizing corn stover, set down in the middle of “corn country” would require very little, if any, biomasss being brought in from more than 20 miles. I would venture that most would come from less than 10 miles.

    That’s figuring 1.5 tons of biomass used per acre. Obviously, if you were using switchgrass in the SE you would get much more biomass than that per acre, and would be looking at shorter distances in many cases.

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  19. By perry1961 on October 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    “A relatively small 40 MW power plant near me not long ago converted from coal to burning biomass. They now have to bring in 70 semi-truck loads* per day to keep the plant running, and those trucks range out as far as 120 miles to find the biomass they’ve been burning.”

    70 truckloads sounds excessive Wendell. Here’s an article about a 50 MW plant using 90% biomass and 10% coal, and they only bring in 3 truckloads of wood residue a day. Burning biomass at coal plants only makes sense if you co-fire what’s locally available for the right price. If we did that on a national scale and used the coal that was saved for CTL, it might be a winning formula. It certainly would be a lot cleaner than what we’re doing today.

    http://biomassmagazine.com/art…..mbination/

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  20. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    It looks to me like you might use at the max 1/2 gal of diesel per ton of biomass (80 gal ethanol?) Logistics just doesn’t look, to me, like all that big a deal.

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  21. By rrapier on October 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Rufus said:

    Well, someone better tell Abengoa. It looks like they’re getting ready to follow the Hugoton, Ks Cellulosic from Ag waste plant with one in Nebraska.

    http://www.yorknewstimes.com/a…..083834.txt


     

    From your link: “there’s a possibility than an existing company is considering…”

    Let’s face it. As long as the government is offering money to try to push this along, people are going to try. But 10 years from now you are going to look back and see that I was right. There will be no commercial cellulosic ethanol plants unless they are being heavily subsidized.

    RR

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  22. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I’m using the following assumptions. About 300 Acres of corn per sq. mile in the vicinity of the plant. 1.5 Ton of Stover/cobs per acre. 80 gal of ethanol per ton of stover. 20 tons on a truck, 20 miles X 2 (round trip,) 4 – 5 mpg.

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  23. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Robert, the cellulosic producers’ credit is due to expire on Dec 31, 2012. No one with enough sense to have two nickels to rub together would gamble millions on that credit being renewed.

    Poet, and Abengoa have closed their loans, and are building. I imagine they know their business better than we do, and they’re betting some big bucks (their own) on the process.

    These aren’t VC Babies playing with gov. grants, and other people’s money. These are real companies with a lot to lose.

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  24. By rrapier on October 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Rufus said:

    It looks to me like a 25 Million gpy facility utilizing corn stover, set down in the middle of “corn country” would require very little, if any, biomasss being brought in from more than 20 miles.


     

    But then you get into the capital cost problem. From a capital standpoint, you probably want a plant that is 200 million gpy. From a logistical standpoint, 25 Million gpy might be manageable, but remember this:

    “The Poet project at Emmetsburg will cost $250 million to produce just 25 million gallons of ethanol a year, one-quarter as much as a typical new corn ethanol plant could make at a fraction of the capital cost.”

    A 25 million gpy plant is going to have to have the same logistical operation as a much larger facility, with much less product to pay for it.

    It looks to me like you might use at the max 1/2 gal of diesel per ton of biomass (80 gal ethanol?) Logistics just doesn’t look, to me, like all that big a deal.

    Logistics are both an energy cost and a labor cost. We have modeled them extensively. The less energy dense your energy source, the closer it has to be to the facility. The important factors are the kind of handling/processing to get it into and out of a truck, the nature of the transportation infrastructure from the site to the plant, and the energy density of the biomass (which defines both how much energy will fit on a truck and how much storage area you need). Those define energy costs, labor costs, and capital costs of the logistical operation.

    RR

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  25. By Wendell Mercantile on October 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    70 truckloads sounds excessive Wendell.

    Perry,

    Just reporting what the utility company says they are using. I’ve never stood there and counted the trucks rolling through town.

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  26. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Yep, I got all that, Robert. That’s why “Ag Waste” looks like the best, immediate project. You’re sitting right in the middle of your feedstock, sharing infrastructure with the adjacent corn plant. (roads, railways, etc.)

    You have the feedstock laying in a flat, dry field, and a farmer that already has most of the equipment, and the time, and skills to use it. The Truck can drive right into the field, just as he does when they’re picking corn, and the participants are skilled in moving that type of biomass.

    As I said before, the Capital costs on the first couple of plants will be pretty high (they should come down as the equipment becomes mass-manufactured, and the workers become experienced in putting it together,) and you can’t underestimate the value of the co-product, bio-gas to not only provide power for the cellulosic facility, but, also, for the adjacent corn facility.

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  27. By perry1961 on October 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I don’t doubt the 70 trucks Wendell. It just sounds like they went overboard. Why not co-fire 10% biomass? Then, they could use 7 truck loads a day, from a 12 mile radius. The most important thing when it comes to renewables is using the resources we have in the most efficient way possible. That goes for wind, solar, hydropower….whatever. We simply aren’t using biomass efficiently if we’re converting it to biofuel.

    Most biomass energy in the US is produced at pulp and sawmill operations. They’re producing heat and electricity with residue they have on hand. Still, the US manages to produce more energy from burning biomass than wind and solar combined.

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  28. By Wendell Mercantile on October 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Most biomass energy in the US is produced at pulp and sawmill operations

    Perry,

    You know what happened to England in the 16th and 17th centuries when they burned biomass for heat and light, don’t you? Or what happened to the Levant, when their primary source of energy was the many trees that once covered what is now Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel?

    England practically denuded their island, and the people of the Levant did denude their region at the east end of the Mediterranean.

    It wasn’t until England started using coal in their iron forges and glass works, and stopped cutting down their trees to make charcoal, that they were able to reforest the country.* The Levant has for the most part, never recovered from the wide-scale deforestation they began in 2,000 B.C.

    ————————-
    * A case in which using coal was actually “Green.” The transition to coal allowed them to stop cutting down their trees and once more let them grow.

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  29. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Which is probably a pretty good argument for using wind, solar, and grasses to the extent possible, and stretching our coal, and nat gas out as far as we can.

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  30. By Tim C. on October 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    The logistic issues with biomass supply are significant, but is there any economic incentive to solve them? We’re hearing now that ag residues like corn stover will cost >= $70/ton at the plant gate. Corn stover heating value is 14 MMBTU/ton, so that’s $5/MMBTU. Natural gas is now $3.70/MMBTU. Why should anyone struggle with the logistic issues just to bring a lower quality, higher cost fuel or feedstock into their plant?

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  31. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    1) Abengoa is, supposedly, paying a whole lot less that $70.00/ton

    2) What are the odds that nat gas will stay as cheap as it is now?

    3) Can you fill your car up with nat gas, and drive away?

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  32. By perry1961 on October 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    “Perry,

    You know what happened to England in the 16th and 17th centuries when they burned biomass for heat and light, don’t you? ”

    Sure Wendell. And I know what has happened in Haiti over the last generation as well. Nobody wants to denude anything. We’re talking about wood, ag, municipal and industrial waste, as well as energy crops grown on marginal land. The DOE says we have 425 million tons of renewable waste today, and that could grow to a billion tons in the next 20 years. At an average of 5000 btu’s per pound, that’s the equivalent of 10 quads of power….or 1.2 billion barrels of oil. That’s a LOT of energy.

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  33. By Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Here we sit in the “shoulder month” of October. We, and our OECD brethren have just completed the drawdown of our Strategic Reserves to the tune of 60 Million Barrels.

    In spite of that, we’re bumping along at sub 1% Growth, and our Euro buddies just wish they could say the same. So, what does “Louisiana, Light Sweet” do today?

    It closes at $108.34

    Ethanol, cellulosic, or otherwise, won’t be needing subsidies any longer.

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  34. By Kit P on October 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    “Because they are experts at land based moving/handling/storing of biomass? ”

     

    Well duh! Paul how do you think all those commodities moved by barge and ship got to there, magic wand?

     

    The point here is that there is many ways to get the task done. Providing an example of failure does not negate all those successful enterprises.

     

    “Iowa doesn’t even mandate the use of ethanol in its in-state fuel. ”

     

    What does that have to do with Camelina in the PNW? Another weak excuse for rational thinking. Paul you are just parroting RR theory. I am willing to yield to someone who knows more about Iowa than myself. Last time I bought gas in Iowa at Shell I reached for regular then notices the higher octane E10 was cheaper. I did not see anyone buying the more expensive E0. Why mandate what you do not have to?

     

    “don’t seem to figure in the decision making ”

     

    Says who? Maybe Paul missed the post on sending biomass from Georgia to Germany. Lots of evidence it was considered.

     

    “The ICE won’t die an easy death. But, its days are numbered nonetheless. ”

     

    BEV are MIA, PHEV is DOA. Let me know when that changes Perry.

     

    “A relatively small 40 MW power plant near me not long ago converted from coal to burning biomass.”

     

    Wendell your story does not wash. Unless it is next to the mine, coal plants are supplied by barge or rail. Also coal plants store piles of coal act as a buffer when weather stops the whatever from rolling.

     

    “and they only bring in 3 truckloads of wood residue a day ”

     

    Good link Perry. The other thing to consider is that without an energy outlet, wood residue goes to the landfill with a tipping fee.

     

    “it certainly would be a lot cleaner than what we’re doing today. ”

     

    Open burning is restricted where it is not outright banned.

     

    “Nobody wants to denude anything. ”

     

    The limited resource is engineers to deign the biomass assuming the surplus lawyers do not kill them with lawsuits.

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  35. By rrapier on October 6, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Rufus said:

    1) Abengoa is, supposedly, paying a whole lot less that $70.00/ton


     

    A whole lot less will not be the norm.

    2) What are the odds that nat gas will stay as cheap as it is now?

    What are the odds biomass will?

    3) Can you fill your car up with nat gas, and drive away?

    Can you fill your car up with ethanol and drive away? Well, maybe you could drive away, but it wouldn’t be long before you had a problem.

    Ethanol, cellulosic, or otherwise, won’t be needing subsidies any longer.

    Cellulosic will need subsidies at today’s gasoline prices from now until the end of time.

    RR

    [link]      
  36. By rrapier on October 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Kit P said:

    Paul you are just parroting RR theory. I am willing to yield to someone who knows more about Iowa than myself. Last time I bought gas in Iowa at Shell I reached for regular then notices the higher octane E10 was cheaper. I did not see anyone buying the more expensive E0. Why mandate what you do not have to?


     

    You yield when it is convenient to do so; i.e. when you don’t really have an answer to the question. E10 should of course be cheaper than E0, otherwise who would willingly buy a fuel that gives them lower gas mileage? Why do you think we got a national mandate for it? Why do you think it makes sense to have a 10% national mandate, and let Iowa get by with using less than 10% (which they do) and having to backfill with gasoline? The answer is that it doesn’t make sense, which you conveniently avoid by deferring to someone who you presume has better answers. The reason this situation is what it is has nothing to do with rational markets and everything to do with politics.

    “A relatively small 40 MW power plant near me not long ago converted from coal to burning biomass.”

    Wendell your story does not wash. Unless it is next to the mine,
    coal plants are supplied by barge or rail. Also coal plants store piles
    of coal act as a buffer when weather stops the whatever from rolling.

     You could really use a lesson in critical thinking. Before concluding that a story doesn’t wash — which means you are calling Wendell a liar — perhaps you should ask a few questions to see if you might be missing something.

    RR

    [link]      
  37. By Kit P on October 6, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    “otherwise who would willingly buy a fuel ”

     

    I am!

     

    “Why do you think we got a national mandate for it? ”

     

    To encourage production of domestic production of transportation fuels from renewable energy sources.

     

    “The reason this situation is what it is has nothing to do with rational markets and everything to do with politics. ”

     

    I think it a good policy. I do not particularly care for the politics of the oil and gas industry.

     

    “which means you are calling Wendell a liar ”

     

    I think means that Wendell made a incorrect generalization based on limited information. I also think Wendell is an officer and gentlemen. Every Air Force pilot that have know can handle disagreement without thinking it is a character assault.

     

    [link]      
  38. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Kit P said:

    “Why do you think we got a national mandate for it? ”

     

    To encourage production of domestic production of transportation fuels from renewable energy sources.


     

    Wrong. We got the mandate to force people to buy it, since they weren’t buying it. The government decided that it wasn’t happy with the choices we were making, so it made them for us. Except in the case of Iowa, they decided that what’s good for the rest of the country isn’t necessarily good for them, so they have no passed their own mandate and they use a lower percentage of ethanol than other states.

    “The reason this situation is what it is has nothing to do with rational markets and everything to do with politics. ”

    I think it a good policy.

    You think it’s a good policy, because you apply inconsistent reasoning. If we apply similar policies in the electricity business — a national mandate to force utilities to get 10% of their electricity from solar power, for instance — you wouldn’t like that policy too much.

    “which means you are calling Wendell a liar ”

    I think means that Wendell made a incorrect generalization based on

    limited information.

    Wrong again. It is you who has limited information, given that you have asked for no further information on the situation. You have jumped to a conclusion and accused someone else of telling tales when you don’t have enough information to make that determination. Again, critical thinking should apply here.

    RR

    [link]      
  39. By Walt on October 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

    For those interested in learning more about the methanol industry, I am sharing an email I received from MMSA.  They are a great consulting group on the methanol industry based in Singapore, and really bring a positive approach to methanol we do not see here in America in the clean tech space.  The who’s who in methanol will be at the event in Houston for those interested in meeting those in the sector.

     

    ———————————

    Please
    join us this November for the 14th International Methanol Producer and
    Consumer Association (IMPCA) Asian Methanol Conference

     

    Asian
    Methanol Markets: Calming a Turbulent World

     

    • Reserve
      the Best Chance to Meet the Asian Methanol Industry “Up Close and
      Personal”
    • Updated
      Preliminary Agenda Attached (Subject to changes)
    • Registered
      Attendees are posted on the Conference Website
    • Online
      Hotel Registration Open
      – AVAILABILITY LIMITED TO CONFERENCE DATES

    Through the first half of 2011, Asian methanol markets have defied a slump in
    Western demand. The region continues to leverage the current low BTU cost of
    methanol to develop its use in energy applications, including DME, gasoline
    blends, methanol to olefins (MTO), methanol to gasoline (MTG), direct
    combustion of methanol, biodiesel, and fuel cells. At the same time, methanol
    consumption into basic chemical products (including formaldehyde, MTBE, acetic acid,
    and MMA) continue to grow. This leadership in use is creating business and technology
    opportunities all around the vast geography of Asia. More importantly, the region provides a solid foundation for global business despite
    the worrisome economic conditions in the United States and Europe. The industry
    is thus now lead by the Asian region, with participants now looking towards
    larger scale investments using new technologies in order to leverage hydrocarbons
    available for the region.

    Methanol Market Services Asia (MMSA) and partner company Jim Jordan
    and Associates (JJ&A)
    will once again bring
    together experts from around the world to provide state-of-the-art views on key
    industry issues in a forum which promotes networking and learning. Attendees
    will include manufacturers, consumers, traders, process developers/licensors,
    catalyst manufacturers, EPC firms, and industry associations, among others. A
    cocktail reception on November 1st
    will also provide unparalleled opportunities to meet and interact with the
    region’s key players. This conference has truly become the International
    Methanol Conference in Asia.

     

    The
    conference agenda highlights speech titles and speakers. Confirmed speakers
    include Senior Executives from MMSA, JJ&A, Shanghai Coking and Chemical
    Corporation, Methanex, Johnson Matthey Catalysts, Lurgi (MTP Licensor),
    Sud-Chemie, SYN (MTO Licensor), Tecnon OrbiChem, Haldor Topsoe, BK Sales,
    Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals, IAGS, the Methanol Institute, Braemar Quincannon
    and Perstorp (Formax). Please note that this schedule is subject to minor
    modifications, although should remain largely intact. For further details on this conference, please contact
    Hemalata Sinniah of MMSA at hema@methanolmsa.com or +65 6465 2720
    (office), +65 6256 3957 (fax). A block of hotel rooms has been secured at the
    Marina Bay Sands (Singapore) at discounted rates, and availability is on a
    first come, first serve basis, so please take advantage of this soonest (Online
    hotel registration is available
    ) Please
    note that those accessing these rooms at the group rate must be registered for
    the conference
    . The
    hotel is unable to secure any more rooms outside of the conference dates, and
    the room availability with the conference dates is limited.
    Additionally,
    you can visit the Conference Website for details, including
    web links for conference registration and hotel booking.

    [link]      
  40. By Walt on October 7, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Walt said:

    The who’s who in methanol will be at the event in Houston for those interested in meeting those in the sector.


     

    Opps, I meant to say in Singapore, not Houston.

    [link]      
  41. By Kit P on October 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

    “Wrong. ”

     

    Not wrong. I was living in the US carefully listening to the energy debate for 10 years before the 2005 Energy Bill which mandated production of a certain amount of fuel. It did not specify how it was to be done or used.

     

    I am not surprised that Iowa is a leader in wind and ethanol because it is a windy state that grows a lot of corn. I have lived their. Iowa had done their homework and were ready.

     

    If RR does not like the polices of the US, that is too bad because I like this one.

     

    “You think it’s a good policy, because you apply inconsistent reasoning. If we apply similar policies in the electricity business — a national mandate to force utilities to get 10% of their electricity from solar power, for instance — you wouldn’t like that policy too much. ”

     

    My logic is consistent. Electricity is different than transportation fuel. We are not dependent on other counties to make electricity. Electricity can not be stored economically. Electricity is produced locally. Most states have adopted a RPS that are tailored to that state.

     

    “Wrong again. It is you who has limited information, ”

     

    RR was doing pretty good for a while. Two paragraphs before he starts explaining what I do not know. While RR was working in another country in another industry, I was developing biomass renewable energy projects to produce electricity and considering transportation fuel as co-product. Unfortunately, policies were not in place at the time so I moved on to other projects. My company is a world leader in biomass energy. Thanks to uncertainty in new EPA regulations that aspect of renewable energy is dying in the US. Thanks Obama, glad you are on our side.

     

    “Again, critical thinking should apply here. ”

     

    So you are saying that it fair game to critic Wendell who has no experience in biomass renewable energy when he is basing his opinions on reading something online.

     

    Oh that is what I did. Nor did I question ethics. Critical thinking RR is not saying that being mistaken is the same as telling a lie

     

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  42. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Actually, Iowa, and Minnesota probably lead the nation in ethanol use per capita due to the large number of E85 pumps per capita.

    The last time I looked Iowa had 174 Stations that sell E85, and a population of about 3 million.

    [link]      
  43. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Wrong. ”

     

    Not wrong. I was living in the US carefully listening to the energy debate for 10 years before the 2005 Energy Bill which mandated production of a certain amount of fuel. It did not specify how it was to be done or used.


     

    You haven’t the foggiest idea what you are talking about. Rufus made that claim once too; that the playing field was level and that ethanol from non-renewable sources could get the tax credit and qualify for the RFS. I showed him where he was wrong in the tax code. So, yes, it does certainly specify certain ways that it must be made and it does specify how much must be used.

    I am not surprised that Iowa is a leader in wind and ethanol because it is a windy state that grows a lot of corn. I have lived their. Iowa had done their homework and were ready.

    They were ready because we have funneled billions of tax dollars into the state to keep them growing corn and producing ethanol. You have this fantasy about it being a situation where they just rolled up their sleeves and got it done, when in fact they got it done because there was a government-forced transfer of wealth from the rest of the country to the Midwest.

    My logic is consistent. Electricity is different than transportation fuel. We are not dependent on other counties to make electricity. Electricity can not be stored economically. Electricity is produced locally. Most states have adopted a RPS that are tailored to that state.

    So much willful blindness. First, we are dependent on other countries to make ethanol. Fertilizer is imported, as well as the petroleum to run the trucks and tractors and to produce the herbicides and pesticides that make those huge yields possible. Some portion of the natural gas is imported that is used in the ethanol plants themselves. Of course we could domestic coal, but that sort of kills the argument that ethanol is green.

    Here is the analogy. The federal government issues a mandate saying that 10% of our electricity must come from solar power. Nevada ends up producing a big chunk of that power, but instead of using it themselves, only 7% of their electricity comes from solar power. So they inefficiently export the solar electricity to states that have to get more than 10% from solar (since Nevada is getting less), but end up importing electricity from somewhere else to make up for the solar they exported. You would declare that a stupid policy, yet that is our ethanol policy. You think a RPS tailored to a state is good policy, but you think it’s just peachy that Iowa doesn’t have their own RFS and ends up using more petroleum as a result. You are consistently inconsistent.

    So you are saying that it fair game to critic Wendell who has no experience in biomass renewable energy when he is basing his opinions on reading something online.

    You didn’t critique him. You didn’t ask for any details at all before simply declaring him wrong. You frequently jump to conclusions like that on limited information. That’s why it’s obvious you aren’t an engineer.

    RR

     

    [link]      
  44. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Rufus said:

    Actually, Iowa, and Minnesota probably lead the nation in ethanol use per capita due to the large number of E85 pumps per capita.

    The last time I looked Iowa had 174 Stations that sell E85, and a population of about 3 million.


     

    Well, here is a story from last year reported locally in Iowa:

    Thirty-one states use a higher percentage of ethanol than Iowa, and producers of the fuel plan to ask the Legislature to pass a bill requiring that all motor gasoline sold carry at least 10 percent ethanol.

    Despite being the largest ethanol producer in the United States, Iowa has never required ethanol use in gasoline sold within the state. Motorists can buy non-ethanol-blended gasoline at most retail stations.

    You know what they do rank highly in? They are in the top 10 in per capita gasoline consumption. Go figure. I covered all of this in my E85 Case Study: Iowa. Truth be told, if ethanol is really good energy policy, Iowa should lead the nation in per capita ethanol consumption, export what they don’t need, and import much less petroleum as a result. There is no way they should be that high in per capita gasoline consumption with all of the ethanol they produce.

    RR

     

     

    [link]      
  45. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Gasoline “Supplied” is approx 90% “gasoline,” and 10% Ethanol. You know that. It’s a rural state; of course they use more gasoline than most.

    Here’s MY question of the day: If Louisian Light Sweet is selling, today, for $109.77/bbl, what would it be selling for if The U.S. and Brazil hadn’t led the world to produce 1.8 Million barrels of Ethanol/Daily?

    [link]      
  46. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Rufus said:

    Gasoline “Supplied” is approx 90% “gasoline,” and 10% Ethanol. You know that. It’s a rural state; of course they use more gasoline than most.


     

    I didn’t use gasoline supplied. I took their pure ethanol consumption and pure gasoline consumption. I have been searching for the past hour on current E85 usage statistics on a state by state basis, but can’t find any.

    Being a rural state isn’t a valid excuse. I can name 10 states are easily more rural, and more importantly don’t produce ethanol. Those rural drivers should be driving around on E85, don’t you think?

    Here’s MY question of the day: If Louisian Light Sweet is selling, today, for $109.77/bbl, what would it be selling for if The U.S. and Brazil hadn’t led the world to produce 1.8 Million barrels of Ethanol/Daily?

    You tell me. How much is that supply worth, and why? Try to rationalize your answer.

    RR

    [link]      
  47. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Well, let’s look at it this way; we were in a jam. Gasoline prices were jumping, and we were within a couple of pennies of $4.00/gal when the U.S. and the IEA started pumping approx. A Million Barrels/day into the Global Supplies.

    Gasoline immediately started dropping (in fact, oil, and gas started dropping the day the heads-up was given to Saudi Arabia, et al.

    Today, gasoline is $3.39/gal, nationwide. That’s the effect of a couple of months of One Million gal/day.

    What would be the effect of taking 1.8 Million Gallons/Day off the market?

    I’m supposing they would be substantial; aren’t you?

    [link]      
  48. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Oops, should have been Barrels/Day.

    [link]      
  49. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Rufus said:

    Well, let’s look at it this way; we were in a jam. Gasoline prices were jumping, and we were within a couple of pennies of $4.00/gal when the U.S. and the IEA started pumping approx. A Million Barrels/day into the Global Supplies.

    Gasoline immediately started dropping (in fact, oil, and gas started dropping the day the heads-up was given to Saudi Arabia, et al.

    Today, gasoline is $3.39/gal, nationwide. That’s the effect of a couple of months of One Million gal/day.


     

    Well, count me among those who doesn’t believe the SPR release has anything to do with today’s gasoline prices. In fact, the price rose after initially dropping, and spent much of the summer higher than it was prior to the announcement.

    The real impact on gasoline prices now is that demand is soft due to the economy, and summer driving season is over. If you check EIA data, you will see that gasoline prices always fall in the fall. So your logic is faulty in my opinion by attributing that drop to the releases.

    RR

    [link]      
  50. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    :) okey, dokey, then.

    [link]      
  51. By Kit P on October 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    “a government-forced transfer of wealth from the rest of the country to the Midwest.”

    But is okay to transfer the wealth to Texas or the Middle East? RR has been a shill so long for vested interest that he is worried about a little competition.

    “Here is the analogy.”

    Here is what is wrong with that analogy. Corn producing regions of the US are very large. American farmers are so good at producing corn that it has been a depressed commodity requiring government subsidies. By finding a new market for corn the value of the commodity has been increased which the government now taxes.

    States could grow sugar cane or sugar beets. Every state could grow something or find same way to may a small fraction of the transportation fuel. The bottom line is producing renewable energy has been achieved with lots of room to expand.

    Good policy! It works and we are learning what we need to learn.

    “The federal government issues a mandate saying that 10% of our electricity must come from solar power.”

    That would be a stupid policy because it is impractical and expensive. However, states with good solar resources have RPS that specifies smaller more practical requirements. The feds provide other incentives that help solar. Good policy! It works and we are learning what we need to learn.

    When policy works and meets the intended goal, than I think it is good policy. There will always be people who move the goal post so they can declare something failed policy.

    Here the problem for people like RR. Once something works, the next thing has to work better. That is the purpose of R&D. Real engineers do not spend a lot of time being innovative. If you look back after 20 years maybe it looks innovative but it was continuous improvement one day at a time. I would never specify a fuel cell instead of an ICE until such time the R&D shows it is better.

    So now we are doing it! Now RR spend all his time arguing about some aspect of distribution of wealth. 

    [link]      
  52. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Yep, it’s the 21st Century. Not a good time to be wedded to the “old ways.” :)

    [link]      
  53. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Kit P said:

    “a government-forced transfer of wealth from the rest of the country to the Midwest.”

    But is okay to transfer the wealth to Texas or the Middle East? RR has been a shill so long for vested interest that he is worried about a little competition.


     

    You really do disgust me to say something like that. I can’t imagine what you must be in real life with those social skills. You have been booted before for lying, and yet here you go again. First, it is ludicrous to call me a shill or to suggest that I am “worried” about competition. Look up the definition of shill. You fit that definition far better than I do. My record is out there for the world to scrutinize; yours isn’t. 

    Second, how many times have I written negatively about the wealth transfer to the Middle East? So many times that you are pathetic for suggesting that I think that’s OK. As far as transferring it to Texas, that’s not the issue. I wouldn’t have an issue with transferring it to Iowa if we had a choice in the matter and Iowans were taking the same medicine as everyone else. But that isn’t the case.

    “Here is the analogy.”

    Here is what is wrong with that analogy. Corn producing regions of the US are very large.

    Remember when you deferred because you didn’t know enough about the subject? You should probably do that here. In order to produce ethanol economically, you need more than just a corn producing region. You need a region with very high yields that has fertile soil and ample rainfall. That’s why — even though you can grow corn in Arizona — that there is no ethanol industry there.

    “The federal government issues a mandate saying that 10% of our electricity must come from solar power.”

    That would be a stupid policy because it is impractical and expensive.

    This is no different at all from our Renewable Fuel Standard that you think is so peachy. Your inconsistency is just mind-numbing.

    Real engineers do not spend a lot of time being innovative.

    That’s just idle speculation from someone who wishes he was a real engineer, and really doesn’t have a good idea of what they spend their time doing.

    Now, you better watch your step. And if you ever call me a shill again — you will never post on this board again. I hope I made myself clear.

    RR

    [link]      
  54. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    You’ve called me a shill many times, Robert. What’s the difference?

    [link]      
  55. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Rufus said:

    You’ve called me a shill many times, Robert. What’s the difference?


     

    I have said many times that your writings are indistinguishable from that of an ethanol lobbyist. That is a factual statement. To call me a shill is to ignore many of the things I have written, and suggest that I have some sort of vested interest. Big difference. I have written many times about the dangers of our oil addiction. Can you point me to anywhere that you have written about the negatives of our ethanol policy?

    Kit went there because he disagrees with me about ethanol policy. Therefore he thinks it is OK to call me a shill. He never considers that maybe he is just wrong or incredibly inconsistent (which he is). To call me a shill is to ignore my entire body of work, but then again I maintain that Kit isn’t that good at interpreting evidence and coming to rational conclusions.

    RR

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  56. By Kit P on October 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    “You’ve called me a shill many times ”

     

    Never believed it Rufus, you certainly fit the profile of someone retired from insurance and just interested in renewable energy. You do go research but sometimes have conceptual lapses. I could be a shill for the coal industry but they do not pay me. I study the coal industry under the category of knowing the competition. I could be a shill for the nuclear industry but I am upfront about being an engineer in the nuclear industry.

    [link]      
  57. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Kit P said:

    “You’ve called me a shill many times ”

     

    Never believed it Rufus, you certainly fit the profile of someone retired from insurance and just interested in renewable energy.


     

    So you conclude that the guy who has only ever written positive things about ethanol and has never admitted to even the tiniest issues with ethanol is not a shill, but the guy who has written on the pluses and negatives of every energy source under the sun is a shill? One wonders at the logic you use (or don’t) to come to your conclusions.

    I am upfront about being an engineer in the nuclear industry.

    Wink, wink. I think most of us know that you are an engineer in the same way that the garbage man is a sanitation engineer.

    RR

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  58. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    No, I never really criticize ethanol; just like I never, really, criticize oil. Or tangerines. Or red-headed people. They are what they are. Present.

    I’m not a big fan of some of the people in the oil industry, and I’ve criticized Them; just like I’ve criticized Bob Dinneen, and a few others in the ethanol industry. But, I don’t do it a lot, because I realize they’re just doing their job. What they’re paid to do. Represent their Company/Product/Industry.

    I’m relentless in my support of ethanol because I think we’re right at “peak oil.” I think the U.S. is going to have several (and, this is more than two, or three) tough years as it adjusts to ever more expensive petroleum, and petroleum products.

    And, because, I think, right now, ethanol is our best shot to mitigate our coming crisis. We have it now, We can produce more of it, and it fits in with our present infrastructure.

    Some people speak of things that would take many years to come even close to the place where ethanol is, Now. I don’t think we Have Many years. I think we have only a Few years to “pop a serious cap.” And, by “Few” I mean a whole heck of a lot less than 10.

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  59. By rrapier on October 7, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Rufus said:

    No, I never really criticize ethanol; just like I never, really, criticize oil.


     

    When Pimentel or Searchinger published a negative paper on ethanol, you went to great lengths to paint them as being in bed with oil companies. You did quite a bit of character assassination on those guys, and they way you did it was to try to associate them with oil. If you like, I can pull up quite a few posts from you where you did this, on multiple message boards. So, I don’t buy that line.

    RR

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  60. By Rufus on October 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Searchinger? Well, while you’re at it, put up his, and Fangione’s association with the Nature Conservancy, and its ties to Oil – especially, Charles, and David Koch.

    It was a hit piece. It was all could be, might be, etc. etc. That work has been totally discredited just like I said it would be from the first reading. It was just too obvious.

    Mr “the U.S. can carry 50,000 people” Pimental? He was pushing Coal to Liquids the whole time. If you actively google it you can find it.

    In 2007 Pimental, and Patzek were re-releasing their work from 2003 that was, already, completely outdated by the FACTS at the time. That’s the type of thing that needs discrediting.

    Go on back. Bring it up. We’ll compare as to who was right, and who was wrong. I can’t wait.

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  61. By rrapier on October 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Rufus said:

    That’s the type of thing that needs discrediting.


     

    Well, that’s just it. You weren’t trying to challenge the work. You worked on assassinating the characters, which was the issue I had with your comments. And you did so by making some claims that were not true relative to Searchinger funding. I mean, you tried to suggest that any work out of Stanford that you disagreed with was suspect because Stanford got a big donation from BP. Come on. You still want to claim you haven’t criticized oil, when you suggest that anything oil companies fund is rotten?

    RR

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  62. By Rufus on October 8, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Of course I was challenging the “work.” And, you jumped all over me. I said at the time that he was just stringing together a bunch of “could be’s, might be’s, and May be’s.”

    And, Tim Searchinger was (still is?) connected to Nature Conservancy, and they are, largely, funded by oil, specifically the Kochs.

    As for the BP kerfuffle, you’ll have to refresh my memory on that one. I remember some sort of nonsense coming out of Stanford not too long after BP announced their big $500 Million whoop de doo.

    Robert, I don’t drink “Anyone’s” Koolaid. I’m not a Global Warmist, nor am I a “Tea Partier.” I’m an “experienced” Republican who will probably vote for Obama this go-round (not because of biofuels, but because of Healthcare.)

    873,000 people have gone “Part-time” in just the last two months.

    I think the country is approaching “crisis” stage. What we are talking about will, quite likely, look like small potatoes in the coming couple of years. But, $4.00 Gasoline during a time of 12% unemployment is going to be devastating.

    I think it’s time we all got our “eyes on the ball.”

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  63. By Wendell Mercantile on October 8, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I just don’t see much downside to the U.S. promoting a homegrown addition/substitution for gasoline that you can put in your Chevy, and also your cocktail. :)

    Rufus~

    They why aren’t you as enthusiastic about using American natural gas (the feedstock from which corn ethanol is made), methanol made from American coal and natural gas, or dimethyl ether (DME) as motor fuels? Or even funding research on direct methanol or ammonia fuel cells?

    What would be the downside of promoting those American fuels — other than you would upset Big Ag, Big Corn, and Big Ethanol?

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  64. By Kit P on October 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Wendell are you saying that there is not funding for R&D for other alternatives? The reason I enthusiastic about corn ethanol is that it works so well America. I can use E10 in my old PU without a large increase in cost. I think it is great if some use CNG. It is a good way reduce imported oil. However, not many do it.

     

    “Big Ag, Big Corn ”

     

    Wendell you make up weak reasons to be against what is working and get enthusiastic about what does not. Solution have to both work and be affordable. Perfect is the enemy of good.

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  65. By rrapier on October 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Rufus said:

    Of course I was challenging the “work.” And, you jumped all over me. I said at the time that he was just stringing together a bunch of ”could be’s, might be’s, and May be’s.”

     

    Since you made me waste time on this, let’s review. In a thread in which Tad Patzek talked about ethanol’s energy balance, you got the first comment in after the post, which was simply: Ted Patzek: Founder, and Director of UC OIL CONSORTIUM. Later in the thread, you wrote I just can’t make him out to be anythng but an oil company shill.

    That whole thread is a perfect example of you making numerous character attacks and insinuations that were completely unsupported. ConocoPhillips donated $22.5 million to Iowa State for biofuel research (which you can read about here). You wrote “Searching led a team from Iowa State University which received $22 Millin from Conoco, I believe it was.” So you are trying to smear Searchinger on the basis of a donation from COP for biofuel research. Had nothing to do with him, and was for biofuels for crying out loud. But you sought to shed doubt on Searchinger on the basis of that donation because it came from an oil company. Shameless. That whole thread is a perfect example of the sorts of tactics and double-standards you used, and yet here you claim you don’t talk negatively about oil.

    You frequently made totally unsupported attacks, such as when you claimed that Big Oil was funding a disinformation campaign about ethanol, or that Shell was funding Patzek’s “lobbying efforts” or that Patzek wasmaking hundreds of thousands/yr from his big oil lobbying efforts.” I challenged you on these claims, you couldn’t support them. You could provide no links to support your baseless claim. But then a week later in a totally unrelated thread you came up with this one:

    I said I’d “Name Names” when I had them. here goes:

    Handling the Ethanol smear campaign for the oil companies –

    DUTKO WORLDWIDE

    Clients/connections include: Citgo, Shell, Exxon Mobil, etc., etc.,

    SAUDI ARABIA, and Sen. John McCain.

    On the Grocers’ side it’s GLOVER PARK GROUP.

    My response speaks for itself.

    Now, as I have said before, even if you are an ethanol lobbyist you are free to post here and make your points. But don’t act like your posts have looked like anything other than those from an ethanol lobbyist. You tried to smear oil companies and tried to link researchers to oil companies at every turn, and you were comically one-sided in your defense of ethanol. All one has to do is read through the linked exchanges to see that.

    My standard is something like this: Does this person post anything different than a paid lobbyist would post? In your case, I can’t say that you have ever posted anything about ethanol inconsistent with Bob Dineen’s positions. Me, I have posted a lot of things contrary to the oil lobby’s positions.

    RR

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  66. By Rufus on October 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Patzek Did get hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Big Oil companies through his Oil consortium, and he did print things in 2007 that had already been proven false by the Facts on the Ground. So,

    1) He got Hundreds of Thousands from Big Oil,

    2) And, he misrepresented the facts about ethanol.

    What would YOU think?

    As for being a pretty much 100% Proponent of ethanol? Well, I guess I’ll have to plead guilty to that one. I just don’t see much downside to the U.S. promoting a homegrown addition/substitution for gasoline that you can put in your Chevy, and also your cocktail. :)

    Guilty as charged, Your Honor.

    Hic

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  67. By SplatterPatterns on October 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    The language gets tricky with use of a term like “target”
    and the date for realizing them differs, though not that substantially, but I’d
    quibble about the statement in the summery, “California
    recently set the most ambitious targets of any state, requiring one-third of
    its electricity come from renewables by 2020.”

     

    “In 2010, the Legislature established the goal of having 50
    percent of Alaska’s power
    generation from renewable resources by 2025.”

     

    http://www.adn.com/2011/10/07/…..r-the.html

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  68. By Kit P on October 8, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Splat when it comes to actually making electricity with renewable energy based on policies that get new capacity built, Texas is the winner. Texas had the first RPS in 1998 which was fairly modest but now is a clear leader in wind.

     

    I looked at a spread sheet on the CEC web site when California was bragging about 500 MWe of new capacity. However, 430 MWe was built in other states. That is okay if that is what the people in California want but it seems odd that it not something that California leadership is bragging about.

     

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  69. By Wendell Mercantile on October 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    The reason I enthusiastic about corn ethanol is that it works so well America.

    Your enthusiasm about corn ethanol means you are enthused about Corn Belt politics, back-room shenanigans, and insider manipulation of the commodity markets — for there would be no corn ethanol without them.

    Had normal market forces been allowed to play out, you would not be buying E10 for your old pick-up.

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  70. By Rufus on October 8, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Wendell, we Import nat gas.

    We Export ethanol.

    Eventually, we won’t even use nat gas in ethanol production (except for a small amount for the fertilizer that grows the corn (which, itself, eventually won’t even be the majority feedstock in ethanol.)

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  71. By moiety on October 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Rufus said:

    Patzek Did get hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Big Oil companies


     

    I don’t get such money from big oil. But I do get a quality of life unsurpassed by anything on this blue sphere largely thanks to big oil. What are you trying to say?

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  72. By Rufus on October 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Just that he was making claims about ethanol that he had to know, at the time, were untrue.

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  73. By rrapier on October 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Rufus said:

    Wendell, we Import nat gas.

    We Export ethanol.


     

    But for very different reasons. We export ethanol because they can’t sell enough E85 here. So we import natural gas because of high demand, and we export ethanol because of low demand — not because it can’t be used here in the U.S. Were there a robust E85 market, we might very well have to import ethanol.

    I suspect a lot of these ethanol exports are gaming the system and getting the VEETC. We shall see next year whether those exports continue.

    RR

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  74. By rrapier on October 8, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Rufus said:

    Patzek Did get hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Big Oil companies through his Oil consortium, and he did print things in 2007 that had already been proven false by the Facts on the Ground.


     

    What you said was that he was getting money from Big Oil to lobby against ethanol. In fact, his oil consortium does oil-related projects. That’s what the funding is for. He is a peak oil advocate, and quite concerned about future supplies, but he happens to think ethanol is not much of a solution.

    Instead of being content to argue against his points, you chose to smear and attempt to assassinate his character. That is what I took issue with. You did the same thing with Pimentel, and you did the same thing with Searchinger.

    RR

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  75. By Rufus on October 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    No, let me give This example, Again:

    In his 2003 work, Patzek “correctly” came to the conclusion that with the hybrid seeds At That Time the max yield would be 2.7 gal/bu. No problem so far. And, he used a reasonable 130, or so bu/acre. Again, no problemo.

    However, when he re-released his work in 2007 he Did Not take note of the fact that the Seeds had improved, and that some companies, such as Poet, were now getting up to 3 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn. Nor, did he update the per acre yield to the then average of 150 Bushels per Acre.

    Now, the fact is, Ted Patzek is too good a scientist to make this kind of “Mistake.” The only conclusion a reasonable person could draw was that he was promoting an Agenda.

    As for “imports vs exports:” it’s very simple – Imports = Money OUT

    Exports = Money IN.

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  76. By moiety on October 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

     Rufus said:

    Just that he was making claims about ethanol that he had to know, at the time, were untrue.

     

    I agree but for all the wrong reasons. You are still saying nothing.
     

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  77. By Rufus on October 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    And, Pimental: He would go to debates to present the anti-ethanol viewpoint carrying a beaker of fuel made from coal.

    And, Searchinger, with his degree in law, not science, presented a paper that was devoid of any “proofs” of the arm-waving allegations he was making. The paper was a mess. One sentence would be about the inevitable deforestation in Brazil from corn planting in Iowa (with no proofs) followed by a ramble in the next sentence about peat moss in Malaysia, and Palm Oil. It was just a bad joke.

    And, of course, serious scientists took up the subject, and, eventually after doing real “science” totally discredited the entirety of his screed.

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  78. By rrapier on October 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Rufus said:

    However, when he re-released his work in 2007 he Did Not take note of the fact that the Seeds had improved, and that some companies, such as Poet, were now getting up to 3 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn.


     

    And I have given you a perfectly reasonable answer for that. I suspect that he is taking the long view and not updating on the basis of information that may not be sustainable. I think that’s perfectly reasonable. You, on the other hand, always thought he should take the most optimistic numbers from the most optimistic press releases you could find: “Hey, Corn Plus says they are doing X, yet Patzek is using different numbers. He is dishonest.”

    As for “imports vs exports:” it’s very simple – Imports = Money OUT

    Not when we have to backfill the exports with imports. A gallon of ethanol exported from Iowa is 3/4ths of a gallon of gasoline they imported but shouldn’t have had to.

    The paper was a mess.

    And yet somehow the paper passed peer review in Science. None of the rebuttals you kept posting met that standard.

    RR

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  79. By Rufus on October 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    And, yet, it turned out that I was exonerated, and Searchinger was debunked. “Science,” and “Nature” have, quite simply, turned into nutball publications (and, also, with an agenda, that is not quite what is advertised, I suspect.)

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  80. By Rufus on October 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    One problem you’re overlooking, big time, Robert, is that: In Iowa, just as in the other 49 states, only a small percentage of the cars/light trucks are flexfuel.

    Detroit has built quite a few ffvs in the last couple of years, but they send just as many to states like Ms that have hardly any E85 pumps as they do to Iowa, and Minnesota, which have quite a few.

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  81. By rrapier on October 9, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Rufus said:

    And, Pimental: He would go to debates to present the anti-ethanol viewpoint carrying a beaker of fuel made from coal.


     

    It doesn’t take much for you to slip back into old habits, eh? Got a link? I mean, I have interacted with Pimentel quite a bit, and he has never mentioned CTL to me.

    RR

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  82. By rrapier on October 9, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Rufus said:

    One problem you’re overlooking, big time, Robert, is that: In Iowa, just as in the other 49 states, only a small percentage of the cars/light trucks are flexfuel.


     

    Not overlooking it at all; I have actually written about it.

    But E85 sales are picking up in Iowa:

    The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) reported a 40 percent
    increase in E85 sales in Iowa during the second quarter of the year.

    The nearly 3.7 million gallons of E85 sold during the quarter set a new
    all-time record for Iowa E85 sales. Figures released by the Iowa
    Department of Revenue showed sales by Iowa retailers reached 3,697,199
    during the period from April to June.

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  83. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Well, I watched a video from around 2007 when he did that exact thing. Had his little beaker of liquid coal, and spent his summation extolling CTL over ethanol. I’m not going to mess with it, but you might google: Pimental debate ethanol Coal to liquid, or something like that.

    What is happening in Iowa, the same as several other states, I’m sure, is that Ford, and GM are selling more, and more FFVs, there. So, even with the fairly crappy price spreads this year, sales were rising from an, admittedly, fairly low base.

    GM, and Ford committed, at one time, to have half of their vehicles FF by 2012.

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  84. By rrapier on October 9, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Rufus said:

    And, yet, it turned out that I was exonerated, and Searchinger was debunked. “Science,” and “Nature” have, quite simply, turned into nutball publications (and, also, with an agenda, that is not quite what is advertised, I suspect.)


     

    Bob Dinneen calling these studies bunk is not the same as debunking them. Show me some peer-reviewed literature in which they were debunked.

    But whether they are or where proven to be wrong, that doesn’t exonerate you from smears and character assassinations. Those have nothing to do with arguing the points.

    RR

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  85. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 12:27 am

    I’m getting a feeling, though, that they’ve hit a glitch with their small, turbocharged engines. I’m thinking they might have to go back to a “true” ethanol sensor in the fuel line, rather than depending on the O2 sensor to set the fuel mixture, if their goal is comparable mileage on E85, and Gasoline.

    I think I read that Ford is going that route in their little super-duper flexfuel Focus in Sweden – along with a block heater. Ethanol just purely hates cold weather (gasoline ICEs aren’t too crazy about it, either.) I don’t know if the block heater has any advantages over the, to be released this year, heated injectors, or if Ford just wanted to get something on the market, now.

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  86. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 12:35 am

    I think there has been some “peer-reviewed” stuff that shot him down, but the most telling thing to me was that even the State of California, that embraced his silliness with open arms, and wet slobbery kisses, has backed away from him.

    I mean, the whole proposition was silly from the start, with close to Two Hundred Million Acres lying Fallow, in the U.S., and Brazil, alone.

    Anyhoo, moving forward; Arkansas kicked Auburn’s butt, tonight. Life ain’t All bad. :) Later, have a good’un.

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  87. By rrapier on October 9, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Rufus said:

    Anyhoo, moving forward; Arkansas kicked Auburn’s butt, tonight. Life ain’t All bad. :) Later, have a good’un.


     

    Not much beats OU 55, Texas 17. Well, except for the fact that Texas shouldn’t have gotten that 2nd touchdown. :)

    RR

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  88. By rrapier on October 9, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Rufus said:

    Well, I watched a video from around 2007 when he did that exact thing. Had his little beaker of liquid coal, and spent his summation extolling CTL over ethanol. I’m not going to mess with it, but you might google: Pimental debate ethanol Coal to liquid, or something like that.


     

    Well, we do have lots of coal, and since you aren’t concerned about greenhouse gases I would think you would love CTL. Domestic coal creating domestic jobs and reducing oil imports.

    RR

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  89. By Wendell Mercantile on October 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

    But I do get a quality of life unsurpassed by anything on this blue sphere largely thanks to big oil.

    I’d say you’ve made a strong point there Moiety.

    Were it not for coal and oil, we’d still be a society of subsistence farmers and hunter-gatherers resorting to cutting down and burning the few trees remaining so the entire world would now be as denuded as is Haiti, the Levant, and large tracts of Africa from the Sahara north.

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  90. By Wendell Mercantile on October 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

    …but they send just as many to states like Ms that have hardly any E85 pumps as they do to Iowa, and Minnesota, which have quite a few.

    Rufus~

    Yet Mississippi has an abundance of biomass from which to make fuel. Why are the leaders and entrepreneurs is your state so reluctant to embrace biofuels and E85 fuel stations?

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  91. By Kit P on October 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    “Had normal market forces been allowed to play out, you would not be buying E10 for your old pick-up. ”

     

    First I think E10 is a better fuel than E0. Second I do not particularly care who makes it as long as we do it here. I would like to take a stick and sharpen it. Take the sharp stick and heat the end until red hot and glowing. Then shove it right in the left eye of Chavez.

     

    “Socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez condemned on Saturday the “horrible repression” of anti-Wall Street protesters …”

    Wendell gripes’

    “Corn Belt politics ”

     

    Love em. Beats rust belt politics of corrupt union leadership out for themselves, or school teacher unions not interested in educating kids, or California watermelon politics who taxed us of a jobs.

     

    One thing Wendell has been wrong about the amount of corn they grow in Benton County Washington. Benton County was also go at counting votes. Got the same number within 5 during the recount in just a few days. The ‘big’ city found enough new votes to change the statewide results but they had to wait until all the other results were reported.

     

    By carefully picking where I live my family enjoys good schools and low property taxes. Clean air and good productive jobs. Low crime and not much of a drug problem. Politics is not a big deal, idiots get booted. Rufus knows what I mean.

     

    I have read lots of research including papers including from Cornell and UC Berkeley. The purpose of doing research is too determine better ways of doing things not winning a debate.

     

    My conclusion ten years ago was that corn ethanol was 75% better but could be 90% better in the context of feeding animals and making transportation fuel. The purpose of LCA is to identify good choices and then making them better. In the context of importing energy, 95% better but could be 100%.

     

    Then there is the anti-ethanol arguments on the national level. It mostly consists of a series of 1% arguments assuming they have any merit at all. I live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and when I was in the navy sometimes it would be in my front yard with a storm surge. Also experienced record floods on the Susquehanna River. NPR had a segment about about how corn ethanol was destroying the fragile environment of Chesapeake Bay.

     

    What Chesapeake Bay watershed does not have is a corn ethanol industry but it does have Washington DC full of people who say the dumbest things. I have always been interested in history and geology so I like to study places I go. What I find interesting is that many who have lived someplace do not know much about where they live, No not clueless valley girls, your senators & congressmen but because they were educated by politically correct college professors whose idea of academic freedoms is parroting what they feed you.

     

     

    That’s right I have no social skills. I would rather be interrogate by the CIA than sit through a black tie dinner with Al Gore as the key note speaker constrained by civil behavior not to jump up and yell BS. At least American farmers understand the difference between BS and CS.

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  92. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I looked into CTL early on. I didn’t like what I saw. Very polluting, very expensive, and, in the end, using a finite resource that is not nearly as plentiful as some would lead us to believe.

    Coal has been a wonderful thing for this country, and mankind in general. But, it is Not “unlimited.” (they say those big mines at Powder River Basin will be played out in 20 yrs. The next mines will be more expensive.)

    My feeling is that we should be “judicious” in our use of finite fuels, and start moving toward renewables fairly quickly.

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  93. By savro on October 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Rufus said:

    I looked into CTL early on. I didn’t like what I saw. Very polluting, very expensive, and, in the end, using a finite resource that is not nearly as plentiful as some would lead us to believe.

    Coal has been a wonderful thing for this country, and mankind in general. But, it is Not “unlimited.” (they say those big mines at Powder River Basin will be played out in 20 yrs. The next mines will be more expensive.)

    My feeling is that we should be “judicious” in our use of finite fuels, and start moving toward renewables fairly quickly.


     

    It seems like you’re moving the goal posts here compared to the following statement you made earlier in this thread:

    Rufus said: I’m relentless in my support of ethanol because I think we’re right at “peak oil.” I think the U.S. is going to have several (and, this is more than two, or three) tough years as it adjusts to ever more expensive petroleum, and petroleum products.

    And, because, I think, right now, ethanol is our best shot to mitigate our coming crisis. We have it now, We can produce more of it, and it fits in with our present infrastructure.

    Some people speak of things that would take many years to come even close to the place where ethanol is, Now. I don’t think we Have Many years. I think we have only a Few years to “pop a serious cap.” And, by “Few” I mean a whole heck of a lot less than 10.

    And even if you think that ethanol is “better” than CTL, I’ve seen you say many times that you favor an “all of the above” approach to help mitigate the effects of peak oil as quickly as possible. So I still don’t understand why you’re so against CTL even if it’s not perfect because coal is a finite resource.

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  94. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I’m not “So” against CTL. I just don’t think it’s a “winner.” Someone asked, upthread, why I didn’t support it. I looked, back around 2005, at what Sasol had done. I came away that the Capital Costs, and Labor Costs were very high, and that there was a lot of pretty nasty waste left over. Then I got to reading about Coal, the PBR in particular, and decided that ethanol was a much better proposition.

    I do like seeing a little money (a lot, actually) spent on Wind, and Solar, and am curious if we’ll ever do anything with this big old River over here on my left. It’s flowing a lot of energy right through the heartland of the country, and it seems like we ought to be able to tap into a little bit of it. I, also, think “Ocean Current,” and “Tidal” are interesting propositions.

    I’m just not real strong on Non-Renewables. Seems like we need to be a little conservative with those.

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  95. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    And, I keep thinking about those 30,000,000 Acres of Farmland that we’re Paying Farmers Not to Farm.

    It just seems like such a waste.

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  96. By savro on October 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Rufus said:

    I’m not “So” against CTL. I just don’t think it’s a “winner.” … Then I got to reading about Coal, the PBR in particular, and decided that ethanol was a much better proposition.

     

    But ethanol on its own won’t be enough, according to many of your earlier posts here. So even if coal isn’t “as good” as ethanol, we still need CTL to assist your beloved ethanol in its war against peak oil.

    I do like seeing a little money (a lot, actually) spent on Wind, and Solar, and am curious if we’ll ever do anything with this big old River over here on my left. It’s flowing a lot of energy right through the heartland of the country, and it seems like we ought to be able to tap into a little bit of it. I, also, think “Ocean Current,” and “Tidal” are interesting propositions.

    The crisis you keep talking about is a liquid fuels crisis. How exactly is wind, solar, ocean and tidal power going to help out, unless you’re talking about electrifying the nation’s fleet? The only other option is to use that wind, solar, ocean and tidal energy to displace coal and natural gas used for producing electricity and instead use that NG and coal to power our vehicles. But for some reason you don’t like that because it’s not on par with your beloved ethanol.

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  97. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Well, for one thing, we save a Ton of Diesel by Expanding, and Electrifying our Intercontinental rail system. I mean, you’ve got to admit, the idea of shipping Coast to Coast by Truck IS ludicrous.

    Also, no use to ignore an “impending” crisis while we’re solving the present one.

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  98. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    As for liquid fuels, we’re, probably, pretty much hosed for a couple of years. The Political Uncertainty around Obama, the Tea Party, and Ethanol has set cellulosic development back pretty good.

    Now, we have a couple of plants that have a possibility of being viable starting to get built. I imagine we’re going to “stop and wait,” now, to see how they work out. We should be in about our sixth, or seventh year of recession by the time we start to learn anything there. Then, money has to be raised, and more projects started (if the politics/price of oil/etc are favorable.

    It’s not going to be a “day at the beach.”

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  99. By savro on October 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Rufus said:

    As for liquid fuels, we’re, probably, pretty much hosed for a couple of years. … It’s not going to be a “day at the beach.”


     

    Yet you don’t think that natural gas or CTL should have a seat at the table. Only ethanol, ethanol and more ethanol. Go figure.

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  100. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Sam, it’s not My call. I’m just an anonymous blogger with a “free” opinion (that’s gotta tell you something, right?)

    If somebody gets a GTL, or CTL thing going, then “God Bless’em.” It’s just not something that I, personally, would want to put money into (if I had any, which, once again, is pretty much just a theoretical construct.) :)

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  101. By Kit P on October 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    “But ethanol on its own won’t be enough, ”

     

    Good news for you. We have enough for now. We are not running out of anything. Several hundred years after you and Rufus die maybe people will have something to worry about. Of course that does not keep folks from worry now. There is no crisis.

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  102. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Keep in mind, though, that we were able to build out about 13 Billion gal/yr of ethanol capacity in just a couple of years once the politics got right.

    Once they figure the cellulosic deal out, (and, the other factors fall in line,) I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t repeat that. It could explode awfully fast.

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  103. By savro on October 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Rufus said:

    Sam, it’s not My call. I’m just an anonymous blogger with a “free” opinion (that’s gotta tell you something, right?)

    If somebody gets a GTL, or CTL thing going, then “God Bless’em.” It’s just not something that I, personally, would want to put money into (if I had any, which, once again, is pretty much just a theoretical construct.) :)


     

    I’ts just too hard for me to buy the above, Rufus. You sit here harping about how good ethanol is, how badly we need to ramp it up etc. or else… and then the minute you’re shown that your logic should apply to other liquid fuels you play the “it’s not my call” and “I’m just a regular Joe” card.

    You also say you’re a big fan of a wide array of alternatives — but only when it’s for electicity. As to liquid fuels, the only thing that is worthy enough to replace oil is ethanol. But the most ironic thing about all this is the fact that you’re so afraid of peak oil, but picky on alternatives to oil and not picky on alternative sources for electricity.

    Seriously, what conclusion do you expect everyone to come to about your motives?

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  104. By Rufus on October 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Well, Sam, you’ll just have to make of it what you will. I think ethanol is the correct answer, and I think GTL, and CTL are the “incorrect” answers. That’s the conclusion at which I’ve arrived.

    I like the distributive aspects of ethanol production. The potential to bring prosperity to all of the South, and, possibly some Western States. I like that it comes from a Renewable Feedstock, and that it’s totally compatible with our existing infrastructure (especially our automotive fuel systems, and our filling station infrastructure.)

    And, I especially like it around the holidays as an enhancement to my eggnog. :)

    And, I remember a couple of years back when we were paying $13.00/kcuft for nat gas, and $150.00/Ton for Thermal Coal delivered to Ms. You just can’t make me get enthused about the prospects of GTL/CTL. Sorry. :)

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  105. By Wendell Mercantile on October 9, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Keep in mind, though, that we were able to build out about 13 Billion gal/yr of ethanol capacity in just a couple of years once the politics got right.

    Rufus~

    You are correct about that — the corn ethanol build out was only because of politics, and not because ethanol makes thermodynamic or basic economic sense. Had the buildout been a function only of ethanol’s merit, you’d still be waiting for that buildout to begin.

    Only time will tell if the allocation of Federal resources was wise or political folly, but my personal opinion is that we’d have gotten much more bank for the buck by applying that money to other areas such as CTL/GTL and basic research on methanol or ammonia fuel cells.

    Even sending the resources we’ve spent on ethanol to basic scientific research on clean fusion power would have likely returned more long-term benefit. Even you must realize the long term solution to the world’s energy woes will be clean fusion.

    As for liquid fuels, we’re, probably, pretty much hosed for a couple of years. The Political Uncertainty around Obama, the Tea Party, and Ethanol has set cellulosic development back pretty good.

    Why do you assume (incorrectly) that cellulosic is the only solution to liquid fuels? In WW II the Germans — in only a matter of months — built several large plants for making synthetic fuel from coal.

    There are so many good motor fuel options, yet you seemingly remain fanatically wedded to ethanol.

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  106. By Rufus on October 10, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Fusion?

    Really?

    Do we use the Methane Clathrates for that?

    Or Thermal Coal?

    Holy Moly!

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  107. By Rufus on October 10, 2011 at 12:41 am

    I checked my Owners Guide. Fusion is not an approved fuel.

    Ethanol, however, is.

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  108. By rrapier on October 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Kit P said:

    “But ethanol on its own won’t be enough, ”

     

    Good news for you. We have enough for now. We are not running out of anything. Several hundred years after you and Rufus die maybe people will have something to worry about. Of course that does not keep folks from worry now. There is no crisis.


     

    If you were correct, oil would still be $20 a barrel. There is a good reason that it isn’t, and you fail to grasp that, or the impact $100 oil has had on people and businesses.

    RR

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  109. By Kit P on October 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I am correct. For all who want to have a drama leave me out. We are not running out of oil. Yes, I know there are some who pay more to park their car a day then I spend on gasoline in a month but we are not running out of parking spaces.

     

    I grasp that some make poor decisions but if you can not figure it out I will be glad to teach how to balance a budget and plan ahead.

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  110. By rrapier on October 10, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Kit P said:

    We are not running out of oil.


     

    That’s a comic book argument. Nobody thinks we are running out of oil. As I have written many times, we will run up against problems — the kinds of economic problems we are seeing now — while there is still enormous amounts of oil to be produced. The problem is more complex than “we are running out of oil.”

    RR

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  111. By Wendell Mercantile on October 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Fusion is not an approved fuel.

    Rufus~

    You’re right, no car will likely run on direct fusion energy, but workable, clean fusion power and the limitless amounts of electricity it would bring us, would enable us to produce a vast panoply of inexpensive liquid fuels.

    Have you no vision, sir?

    We are not running out of oil.

    Kit P.

    You’re right too, we are not running out of oil. In fact, two-hundred or a thousand years from now there will still be oil in the ground.

    But we are running out of oil that can extracted from the earth and turned into liquid fuels at a price that most most people will be able to afford.

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  112. By paul-n on October 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    We are not running out of oil.

    This, of course, depends on how you define “we”.  

    If you are talking about the US, well, the numbers speak for themselves;

     

     

    The US has been running out of oil for some time.  It is only by the willingness of other countries/companies to sell some of their oil to the US that the difference is made up.  And that is a big difference, for every barrel produced, two are imported.  

    So, if anything should disrupt a major portion of those imports, then, effectively, the US will be running out of oil. 

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  113. By Kit P on October 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    “This, of course, depends on how you define “we”.   ”

     

    Now you sound like Rate Crimes Paul. Just supposing here but if we rationed California gasoline use to domestic production. Car pooling would go up, smog would get better. Surfer who could no longer drive to the beach would be demanding new oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel.

     

    There would also be a new class of Californians. Workers with a sense of accomplishment and unemployed state legislature people.

     

    The point I like to make over and over is that there is no current crisis and we will figure how to deal with things in the future.

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