Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

Results for: “food versus fuel again”

The Peak Oil Estimate You Won’t Believe: A Tale Of Two Sigmoids

How much oil might the world ultimately produce? This estimate will surprise you.

Renewable Energy Versus Wildlife Conservation

Every energy source has a downside. Renewable energy is no exception. This week Russ Finley looks at the downside of wind power, and the attempts to trivialize it.

The Unintended Consequences of Government Mandated Biofuel Consumption

Thanks to a growing demand for food driven by an increasing population and improving standards of living, along with the conversion of grains into fuel, the world has to break harvest records every year to keep up.

Food Versus Fuel – Again

Upcoming I am off to Malaysia on Saturday for a business trip. I will actually spend some time in Bintulu, so I am looking forward to driving by and seeing Shell’s gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant there. I am unsure about my prospects for Internet access over the following week. When I was in India, I was without Internet for eight days, but I have been told that most likely I will have Internet for the duration of my stay. But this is a business trip, so I probably won’t have all that much time to write anyway. I do have three essays in the pipeline that I will trickle out while I am gone. The first is a guest essay from… Continue»

The Lesson from Rising Ethanol Prices

I thought it was a bit humorous recently — when corn ethanol prices dipped and were cheaper than both sugarcane ethanol and gasoline (even when adjusted for lower energy content)  — that some corn ethanol proponents pointed to this as a watershed event. Their underlying message, which was repeated almost daily in the comments on my blog, was that corn ethanol had now reached the point of permanent price competitiveness with gasoline. But I have repeatedly warned about price volatility in the energy business; that nothing is permanent. Today natural gas is $4 per million BTUs, but a few years ago it was $15. Oil has traded between $10 and $150 over the past decade. And corn — upon which… Continue»

Thoughts on an Ethanol Pipeline

Local Production for Local Needs I currently live in Hawaii, and one thing I hope to help facilitate is for Hawaii to become more sustainable in food and energy. We have the natural resources here to be largely sustainable, but we depend on outside sources for around 90% of our food and energy. Currently, fuel and power in Hawaii are provided by Southeast Asia and from as far away as the Middle East. Of course we do this for the same reason many countries are dependent on imports for their food and energy: That is cheaper than the alternative of self-sufficiency. But from the perspective of risk, regions with such high dependence on others for their basic needs can quickly… Continue»

Final Thoughts on Methanol

The previous essay on methanol versus ethanol resulted in a number of interesting comments. It was one of the best discussions we have had around here in a long time. Many issues were raised in the resulting discussions that warrant some clarification. So I thought I would make some final comments regarding some of the issues that were raised. Conflicts of Interest In a story at BiofuelsDigest – Methanol: Biofuel to love or hate? – it was suggested that I might have a conflict of interest here in my defense of methanol. That is certainly a legitimate question to ask, and I don’t mind answering it. The fact is that I have zero financial interests in methanol. My company has… Continue»

Methanol versus Ethanol: Technical Merits and Political Favoritism

The previous essay sparked a lively discussion about the potential of methanol as a fuel, so I decided to write an essay particularly devoted to methanol. I was especially motivated to write this because of hypocrites who profess to be all about renewable energy and weaning the U.S. off of foreign oil – which explains their rabid support for corn ethanol – and then when the conversation turns to methanol they start to bad mouth it. When talking about methanol, hypocrites will tell you that “it is toxic.” But these people have never raised that issue over highly toxic denatured ethanol. They speculate that capital costs will be low for cellulosic ethanol but high for methanol. They complain about the… Continue»

Critiquing Robert Zubrin on Energy

A couple of weeks ago, I said that I would be working on several posts. One of them, a book review for Robert Bryce’s new book, Gusher of Lies, is finished but I won’t post it until the book is officially released on March 10th. Beyond that, I was going to write a post on refinery economics, which I have yet to do, and a post critiquing Robert Zubrin. So here’s the post on Zubrin. I haven’t read Zubrin’s energy book – Energy Victory- so this critique is based mainly on a very long article that he wrote about his ideas. A bit of trivia that I have mentioned before, many may know that Zubrin is a passionate advocate for… Continue»

Unintended Consequences

The Politics of Biofuels In response to a recent query from an independent student newspaper in the UK, I wrote up this editorial piece on the politics of biofuels. The original can be found here. One of the intentions was to explain for European readers why the U.S. and the EU have begun to diverge on their biofuel policies. In the U.S. this is mostly a political issue, because our primary biofuel is home grown. In the EU, biofuels are mostly imported, so the EU can take a more objective view. Introduction Government policies often generate unintended consequences. This has turned out to be the case with the aggressive biofuel policies pursued over recent years by the European Union and… Continue»