Myth: Corn Ethanol is Great

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Gerry Miller, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

  2. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

  3. GravelyNut

    GravelyNut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,594

    Facts:
    Starch ( Corn ) Ethanol to oil : 1.3 out to 1 unit in
    Sugar ( Cane ) Ethanol to oil: 8 out to 1 unit in

    So why go corn in the first place? Sugar beets even come in ahead of corn and most places can grow them if they can grow corn. Must rotate the beets on a 1 in 4 year cycle, but still.

    A good resource online is http://www.journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_motherearth/meCh1.html
     
  4. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

  5. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

  6. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    Don't forget about switchgrass and panicum grasses. The nice thing about them is that they are perennials; and you might be able to get more then one harvest in a season. The switchgrass is a native praire plant that dosen't require a heck of alot of fertilizer and pesticides as well as being pretty drought tolerent. I dont remember the exchange rate, but your using less fuel to lay fert and plant seed as well as using less energy for fert production.
     
  7. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

    Hemp is a better choice that switchgrass just about any other plant. But there are still huge problems with using bio fuels. It cost so much money with using oil to produce Ethanol. This is pointed out in the first clip I posted.
     
  8. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    well, unless hemp is an order of magnitude higher then anything else in regards to energy potential; I dont see the US legalizing it anytime soon. Well yes, it costs alot of money, that why we still use dead dino, its cheaper to get. However, this isn't simply a cost issue, there are, i think, a couple political issues here as well. As long as we have to purchase necessary resources from abroad, we will be at their mercy. If it wasn't for the Saudis, nobody would (somewhat) moderate our good friends Iran and Venezuela in OPEC. How sad is that?
     
  9. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

    Not only is it cheaper to get, it leaves a much smaller carbon imprint. The point is, none of these are good choices or that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The switchgrass and hemp will remove the need for fertilizer and pesticides, but you are still going to need lots of oil to make the product and move the product to market. You can't use pipelines with these bio fuels, you need trucks to transport to local distributors.
     
  10. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    So what exactly are you getting at? Yea, bio fuels aren't that great, but until other technology becomes less expensive, we are kind of out of options. After we set up, we can use bio-fuels to help offset the energy needs of petroleum, not replace them. I agree, the pipeline issue is HUGE. It took some 40-50 years to create our distribution system for petroleum, and there is no way we can replace/augment that system overnight and on the cheap. These bio fuels are a step in the right direction, not the finish line.
     

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