Friday, February 03, 2006

What's the Catch?

This article on alternative fuel seems promising.

I'm curious if there is a caveat somewhere that for the amount of ethanol needed the Rocky Mountains have to be plowed under to grow all of the necessary corn.

One question I would have is what would happen to the price of food if the appetite for fuel is competing for the same resources?

8 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

I've seen many calculations claiming that producing ethanol consumes much more energy than it creates, though I guess the calculations differ depending on whether or not you count the energy consumed in making the polyester pants of the engineer who designed the corn silo.

There was a story on NPR yesterday (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5184874) that featured a typically fatalistic Polish scientist who takes that line. It would be interesting to hear a debate on the issue, where the opposing points could be refuted/conceded in real time.

11:28 AM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

I've seen calculations to that effect also, but if the power for the processing comes from nuclear or some other non petroleum source, it would still reduce the dependence on oil. Obviously it is more expensive to do this, but it becomes more economically sound as the price of oil continues to stay high or rise.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"I've seen calculations to that effect also, but if the power for the processing comes from nuclear or some other non petroleum source, it would still reduce the dependence on oil."

That's a good point. Anyone know any good books on this?

1:33 PM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

I heard the NPR piece as well. The dude lost lots of credibility points with me when it was revealed that he factored in the energy it took to make the tractor which harvested the crops which made the ethanol (which lived in the house that Jack built).

3:18 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

What is we produced and sold ethanol at a loss just to screw the Saudis?

10:07 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"The dude lost lots of credibility points with me when it was revealed that he factored in the energy it took to make the tractor which harvested the crops which made the ethanol (which lived in the house that Jack built)."

I know what you mean, but one of the major failings of modern economics is that it often fails to take into account externalities. I don't know the specifics, but if the ethanol industry is large enought that it commands a few hundred thousand tractors into existence each year that wouldn't otherwise be there, why shouldn't it be part of the equation. If, as Hurtleg said, that tractor plant could be run on nukes, then it's a different story.

11:38 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

I also wonder whether those tractors are made in the United States, as it could have a positive ripple effect also.

My concern is that massaive agri-business will benefit from ethanol more than any family farm will.

1:22 PM  
Blogger John said...

Here is another interesting idea... Turkey Oil I wonder if this is another pie in the sky fantasy or if it could really be cost effective.

Note: This is their web site

http://www.changingworldtech.com/index.asp

9:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home