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Posts tagged “ethanol”

By Robert Rapier on Aug 8, 2006 with no responses

Imagining the Future of Gasoline

The essay below was cross-posted to The Oil Drum. Mr. Khosla is opening up his ethanol ideas to public criticism, which is a good thing for all parties. We have been debating these issues via phone and e-mail for quite a while now, and it is time to open up the debate to a wider audience. Enjoy. ——————- One thing I strongly believe in is the issue of fairness. I enjoy a good scientific debate, and I find that the best debates are those in which opposing sides are honestly presented. With this in mind, below I present Vinod Khosla’s vision of our energy future. If you are like me, you will find aspects of agreement, and aspects of disagreement,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 29, 2006 with no responses

A Conversation with Vinod Khosla

Introduction and Background In my recent essay Vinod Khosla Debunked, I challenged Mr. Khosla to a written debate on his recent ethanol claims. Mr. Khosla e-mailed me shortly after that essay appeared, and offered to discuss the matter by phone. I wanted to first make sure he understood my objections, so we exchanged several e-mails in which I spelled them out. Finally, he called this morning and we spent about an hour and a half on the phone. There was very little small talk – no chit chat, jokes, or laughter. We got right down to business. I took a lot of notes, and I will try to reproduce the conversation. He encouraged me to report on what we talked… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 24, 2006 with 3 responses

Vinod Khosla Debunked

Update: Vinod Khosla and I have discussed his claims. That conversation is documented here. Who is Vinod Khosla? When an influential person begins to affect energy policy decisions – decisions that will have a huge impact on all of our lives – we better take a critical look at the claims that person is pushing. You can’t discuss ethanol for long with an ethanol proponent without having them mention the endorsement of Vinod Khosla. If you don’t know who Khosla is, here are a couple of blurbs from his Wikipedia biography: Vinod Khosla is an Indian American venture capitalist who is considered one of the most successful and influential personalities in Silicon Valley. He was one of the co-founders of… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 22, 2006 with no responses

Kicking the Oil Habit Road Trip

A recent e-mail brought my attention to a coast-to-coast road trip that is being sponsored by Kick the Oil Habit. The purpose of the road trip is primarily to raise E85 awareness and to promote E85 as “clean burning, American made fuel.” You can read a blog of the road trip here: Kick the Oil Habit Road Trip While I am dedicated toward the goal of energy independence for the U.S., E85 boosters are ignoring facts in their zest to promote E85. There is a great deal of misinformation and flat out factually incorrect information out there. For example, I just finished listening to a conversation between Mark Pike, who is the guy driving the E85 car cross-country, Tom Daschle,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 19, 2006 with no responses

Response to E-mail

I tend to get a wide variety of e-mails, a fair number of which detail issues that I seem to have overlooked. I received the e-mail below about a week ago after a brief exchange with the author, and I asked his permission to address it in a blog entry. He granted permission today, but wishes to remain anonymous. The reason for addressing this in a blog entry is that there are a number of issues here that come up fairly frequently in e-mails, so I wanted to address them publicly. First, his e-mail, modified to remove his identity: Robert, As history has shown, the more instability in the Middle East, the more unstable oil prices become. We have spent… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 2, 2006 with no responses

Summary of Archived Essays

I generally get a lot of e-mails asking for comments on biodiesel, butanol, or any number of subjects I have previously written about. But once an article goes into the archives, it is not nearly as accessible. I am about to be on vacation for a week, so I thought this might be a good time to review some previous articles on various subjects that have scrolled into the archives. Ethanol1. Grain-Derived Ethanol: The Emperor’s New Clothes Synopsis: In my first blog essay, I hit a number of the popular pieces of misinformation regarding grain ethanol. 2. Improving the Prospects for Grain Ethanol Synopsis:Here I looked at some potential breakthroughs that could make grain ethanol truly viable. 3. Ethanol from… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 26, 2006 with no responses

E3 Biofuels: Responsible Ethanol

Update: E3 Biofuels, with their promising ethanol technology, has declared bankruptcy. I hope it is clear that my opposition to ethanol has nothing to do with the fuel itself. If we could make sufficient ethanol with little or no fossil fuel inputs, ethanol could be a very important piece of a post-petroleum future. If ethanol could be produced with an EROEI of 3 or 4, as opposed to the current 1.0-1.3 or so, then ethanol begins to look attractive from a sustainability standpoint. My opposition to ethanol is due to the way we typically make it in the U.S., and is specifically focused on grain ethanol. We take fossil fuels and basically recycle them into ethanol in a very inefficient… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 23, 2006 with no responses

Ethanol Investing: Counterpoint

I just had an article published at Financial Sense . The article is Ethanol Investing: Counterpoint. In the article, I review the potential of ethanol as a fossil fuel replacement, then discuss the differences between the U.S. and Brazil that makes Brazil’s energy independence “miracle” possible, and I conclude by evaluating some risks in ethanol investing. I am starting to get a few e-mails about the article. Since you can’t comment at Financial Sense, I thought I would open up this thread for anyone who has any feedback. As always, constructive criticism is appreciated. If you have any questions about how some of the numbers are derived, spotted an error that needs to be corrected, or just want vent, this… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 20, 2006 with no responses

More Ethanol Critics Emerge

I am in the process of writing a pro-ethanol story (no, that’s not a typo). However, before I do, I want to highlight a pair of anti-ethanol articles that were just published. Thanks to Robert Schwartz for bringing these to my attention. The first article echoes many of the arguments I have made here on E85, and the second article discusses arguments I have made regarding Brazil’s “miracle”. It warms my heart to see that these arguments are picking up steam. The first comes from Car and Driver, and is entitled Tech Stuff: Ethanol Promises. The article opens by explaining that, like it or not, ethanol is going to increase its market share as a result of government mandates: The… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 30, 2006 with no responses

Joseph Miglietta On E85

Introduction Joseph sent me the following two pro-E85 essays after I published E85: Spinning Our Wheels. I have broken up his posts into Part I and Part II. I may make some comments later, but for now I will simply post them as written (with a bit of formatting). I plan on finishing up an essay specifically comparing the U.S. ethanol situation to that of Brazil, and hopefully will have it posted by the end of the week. I believe my calculations on this will provide a dose of reality to those who think Brazil’s ethanol program is the model for the direction we should take. Anyway, here is the pro-E85 position from Joseph Miglietta. Part I by Joseph Miglietta… Continue»