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Posts tagged “ethanol”

By Robert Rapier on May 28, 2006 with no responses

Miglietta’s Closing Statement

Introduction Joseph sent me a pair of essays: The one below and one on E85. I will post the one on E85 within a few days. I don’t plan to post a rebuttal to the following essay, but I will address one item in the comments below the essay. Previous Essays Ethanol Debate Challenge Miglietta First Response Rapier First Response Miglietta Second Response Rapier Final Response Miglietta’s Second Response My closing Statements On The Ethanol Debate I am sure that in the coming years we will address conservation gradually ever more with more efficient, and fuel-diversified vehicles, including hybrids and plug-ins. Also, public transportation may assume a more important role. Oil reserves, even with China and India’s ever-increasing consumption, may… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 24, 2006 with no responses

Rapier Second Response to Miglietta

In Joseph’s second response, he didn’t bring up new material related to ethanol that wasn’t addressed in my first response. He did bring up some other issues that are worth addressing, but this response will be briefer than my initial reply. Joseph’s responses are in block quotes below. JM: Mass transportation has been around with us even before the advent of personal vehicles. I find mass transportation acceptable as a free choice but not as an imposing substitution to our personal vehicle. If the time came that we no longer have this choice, then I consider we reached a point of regression; we have failed in our ability to make technological advancement. But I consider our resourcefulness inextinguishable. The problem… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 18, 2006 with no responses

Rapier Response to Miglietta

Introduction First of all, I would like to thank Joseph Miglietta for taking up my Ethanol Debate Challenge. I firmly believe that the best way to get to evaluate some of these claims is by having an open debate, with both sides presenting their arguments, and defending them from criticisms. If you are already an ethanol believer, you aren’t going to be convinced by FAQs from the American Petroleum Institute. Likewise, if you are already an ethanol skeptic, you aren’t going to be convinced by FAQs from the American Coalition for Ethanol. But, head to head exchanges offer a chance to critique the other side and determine whether the arguments hold up. I agree with some of what Joseph writes,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 15, 2006 with no responses

Joseph Miglietta Response to Ethanol Debate Challenge

Introduction Joseph Miglietta, a chemical engineer and chemist, responded to my Ethanol Debate Challenge. I look forward to the exchange of ideas. His response is posted below, with nothing changed except for some formatting. Joseph, if you need me to modify this post in any way, e-mail me. My e-mail address is listed in my profile. I agree with some, but not all of what he writes. My response will be posted within a few days. As always, comments are still open to all. Feel free to add your own comments in favor of or against Joseph’s argument. Let’s just keep it civil, regardless of which side you take in the debate. If anyone wishes to build a comprehensive argument… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 11, 2006 with no responses

Ethanol Debate Challenge

Suggested Debate Guidelines My opinions on grain ethanol are clear from my previous essays. I object to grain ethanol because I feel it is a tremendous misallocation of time, money, and resources, while the benefits are marginal (and may even be harmful). I believe there are far better uses for our alternative energy dollar, and grain ethanol in the long run is a dead end (unless you use coal to make it, but there are probably better uses for coal). But it seems that I have some critics (see next section). So, I want to give them a chance to have their claims examined in a public forum. I offer the following debate challenge to any ethanol advocate willing to… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 8, 2006 with 1 response

Daschle and Khosla Ethanol Propaganda

I just read an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times by Tom Daschle and Vinod Khosla. The editorial is Miles Per Cob, (1) and is one of the dumbest things I have run across in a long, long time. I can’t actually believe such garbage makes it into print, and I have to wonder whether it will actually convince anyone. Let’s break it down. Our addiction to oil underlies the greatest threats to our country’s stability and prosperity: we pump billions of dollars into fundamentalist “petrolist” regimes in the Middle East and release into the atmosphere carbon from petroleum products, perpetuating global warming and aggravating natural disasters from the Gulf Coast to the Indian Ocean. OK, I am with… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 7, 2006 with no responses

60 Minutes – The Ethanol Solution

I just finished watching the 60 Minutes piece on ethanol production. Wow. What a puff piece. I thought at least I might see some attempt at balance. But there was no mention of the disadvantages at all. It makes you wonder why ethanol is the least bit controversial. Let’s break the piece down a bit. Dan Rather on Brazil Rather pointed out that Brazil has virtually stopped importing foreign oil by switching to ethanol. He said ethanol is cheaper and cleaner. He had Berkeley professor Daniel Kammen on, who said that Brazil made a commitment to ethanol, and then followed through. So, if Brazil can do it, why not us? Right? Or was Brazil able to do it for reasons… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 12, 2006 with no responses

Challenge to Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture’s Ethanol Claims

Disclaimer First, I want to make a little disclaimer. In this essay, I will again be discussing the energy balance of gasoline versus ethanol. I am not doing this to suggest that gasoline is a great fuel of choice, but merely to show that grain ethanol is not. Gasoline has its own set of baggage, most notably that it is not sustainable. But the purpose of this essay is merely to examine claims from ethanol advocates who would have us believe that ethanol is actually more energy efficient to produce than gasoline. Correspondence With Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture Following my last posting on the energy balance of corn ethanol versus gasoline, I got into an e-mail exchange with an official… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 8, 2006 with 12 responses

Energy Balance For Ethanol Better Than For Gasoline?

Surely you have heard the claim. Proponents of ethanol will claim that it takes less fossil fuels to produce a BTU of ethanol than to produce a BTU of gasoline. Here is the claim from a Minnesota Department of Agriculture site (1): A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service Report number 814 titled “Estimating The Net Energy Balance Of Corn Ethanol: An Update” was published in July of 2002. The Conclusion states in part: “Corn ethanol is energy efficient, as indicated by an energy ratio of 1.34; that is, for every Btu dedicated to producing ethanol, there is a 34-percent energy gain.” A similar study done in 1995 indicated only a 1.24 energy ratio. The concept of… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 30, 2006 with no responses

How Reliable are Those USDA Ethanol Studies?

Introduction The pro-ethanol contingent is quick to point to certain studies published by the USDA to support the claim that the energy balance of grain-ethanol is positive. Many anti-ethanol advocates will point to studies by Professors Pimentel and Patzek (1) to support claims that the energy balance is negative. Say what you will about the Pimentel and Patzek studies, but they have one thing going for them that that USDA studies do not: They have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Why does this matter? Peer reviewed papers have been examined by reviewers familiar with the subject matter (but who are not colleagues of the authors) who are looking for deficiencies or gross errors. Peer review is no guarantee that errors… Continue»