• 26
Who knew a little bit of biofuel could be so contentious? The brouhaha over changing the national ethanol blend level from 10 percent to 15 (so, going from E10 to E15) has brought out the knives, with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) saying the EPA's delay is a dereliction of duty while others are calling for even more delay testing. Today, a new study commissioned by the RFA and conducted by Ricardo might douse some of those fires – more likely, though, given the history, it'll just make things flare up again. Here's the short version of what Ricardo found:
Based on the engineering analysis performed, the conclusion of the Ricardo study is that the adoption of E15 as the blend limit for standard US pump grades of gasoline should not adversely affect vehicles manufactured between 1994 and 2000 in terms of their performance and durability based on normal specifications and usage profile. As such it can reasonably be concluded that these vehicles do not represent an obstacle to raising the blend limit to E15 from the E10 that currently forms the basis of much of the commercially available US gasoline motor fuel.
The RFA asked Ricardo to investigate the older vehicles because most of the DOE's work was looking at new (2001-present) vehicles even though about 25 percent of the vehicles on the road are from 1994-2001. The ethanol industry is, of course, happy with this result. Now, what will the response be?

[Source: Ricardo Inc. | Image: cote - C.C. License 2.0]

PRESS RELEASE

Ricardo Research Shows E15 Poses Minimal Risk to Older Vehicles

In a landmark research study carried out by Ricardo for the Renewable Fuels Association, the potential impact upon older vehicles - assembled in the crucial 1994 to 2000 model years - has been evaluated of raising the ethanol blend limit of standard pump grade gasoline from E10 to E15

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- While significant research efforts have been made to date in studies sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and other government and industry bodies evaluating the potential impact of E15 on 2001 model year and newer vehicles, minimal engineering analysis has previously been focused on earlier model year vehicles. The proportion of vehicles manufactured in this era but still in use today is however significant; the model years 1994 to 2000 inclusive represent a total of 62.8 million vehicles or approximately 25 percent of the current overall U.S. light duty vehicle fleet. With the interests of such a potentially large stakeholder group overlooked by previous studies, it was considered essential by the Renewable Fuels Association to quantify the risks to older vehicles of a proposed increase from 10 to 15 percent in the allowable ethanol content of standard pump grades of gasoline.

In keeping with the spirit of Environmental Protection Agency's longstanding policy, a "reliable statistical sampling" approach to the analysis of the national fleet was used. Sales trends by both calendar year and model year were studied to identify the highest volume sales of the automotive manufacturers between 1994 and 2000. Six automotive manufacturers were identified as representing the overwhelming majority of vehicles sales for the study period, and the top selling platforms of these manufacturers thus became the focus of the Ricardo study. This approach enabled Ricardo to carry out engineering analysis without individually inspecting or testing each of this very large number of vehicles.

Based on the engineering analysis performed, the conclusion of the Ricardo study is that the adoption of E15 as the blend limit for standard US pump grades of gasoline should not adversely affect vehicles manufactured between 1994 and 2000 in terms of their performance and durability based on normal specifications and usage profile. As such it can reasonably be concluded that these vehicles do not represent an obstacle to raising the blend limit to E15 from the E10 that currently forms the basis of much of the commercially available US gasoline motor fuel.

"Older vehicles represent a significant yet previously comparatively under-researched element of the US national vehicle fleet," said Kent Niederhofer, president of Ricardo, Inc. "In considering the potential risks and benefits of increasing the current ethanol blend ceiling in regular gasoline from 10 to 15 percent it is crucial that the interests of the potentially very large stakeholder group represented by the owners of these vehicles are investigated. While many previous studies by Ricardo and others have evaluated the impact of higher ethanol blends on newer vehicles, this study demonstrates for the first time that raising the blend ceiling to E15 is likely to have a negligible impact on vehicles manufactured between 1994 and 2000."

About Ricardo

With technical centers and offices throughout Europe, the United States and Asia, Ricardo provides strategic consulting and engineering expertise ranging from vehicle systems integration, controls and electronics, and hardware and software development, to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel-cell powertrain technologies. Ricardo's customers include the world's major automakers and suppliers as well as manufacturers in the military, commercial, off-highway and clean-energy sectors. The company also serves in advisory roles to governmental and independent agencies. Ricardo's U.S. operation, Ricardo Inc., is headquartered in Van Buren Township, Michigan. Ricardo plc posted sales of $300 million in financial year 2009 and is a constituent of the FTSE TechMark 100 index -- a group of innovative technology companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit www.ricardo.com.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is a national trade association for the U.S. ethanol industry. It promotes policies, regulations and research and development initiatives that will lead to the increased production and use of fuel ethanol. RFA membership includes a broad cross-section of businesses, individuals and organizations dedicated to the expansion of the U.S. fuel ethanol industry. The organization serves as a voice for the ethanol industry, providing advocacy, authoritative analysis, and important industry data to its members, Congress, federal and state government agencies, strategic partners, the media and other opinion-leader audiences
.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am working on this exact thing for the DOE for my graduate thesis. Will post results when finished. Until then, here is a link.

      http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=7667531
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ok the way I see it...fuel prices going up and fuel mileage going down. Also studies have shown that ethanol does not burn as clean as other fuels. So you ave to purchase more fuel to go the same distance giving good old Uncle Sam more of your hard earned tax money.
      jr3261
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll bet that these are the same floks that ride around in their Suburbans with the bumper sticker claiming that "Oil Wells Are NOT The Solution!" Here's to you Al Gore, you got us. We are all suckers!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      So a study commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association supports using a higher percentage of their product? Wow! Who could have predicted that outcome?
      • 4 Years Ago
      What will the resonpse be? Endless whining, bitching, and moaning from all the usual suspects. All served up with a boatload of falsehoods and outright provably wrong lies.

      But that's nothing new. So in the end it will be status as normal.
      Kelly
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ricardo used to be a well respected outfit. Whatever the price is to tarnish that image, RFA paid.
      I challenge you to actually look at the "study": http://ethanolrfa.3cdn.net/934abeccc70545542f_96m6bugqf.pdf
      They pulled a bunch of fuel tanks and lines on vehicles from a junkyard that they have no history on (except to assume they might have used E10 because they are in MI) and found no corrosion or other problems. Somehow they conclude that this equipment, that never saw a drop of E15, is suitable for use with E15.
      No peer review, no actual testing, just rhetoric. This "study" not science, this is more political nonsense from the corn lobby.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Kelly
        Ricardo used to be well respected, until they said something I disagree with.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Carney is right. Why are they wasting their time and money funding their own studies and stirring up the war mongers on both sides for this issue. If they want to get more ethanol out there, they should be fighting to make all vehicles sold in America fully FFV.

      Then they can put up e85 stations and sell all they want to.

      Stupid to stir up a fight you can't win.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dave,

        If for whatever reason a gave the impression I'm attacking you or anybody else, please excuse me. It was not my intent.

        I did read you post, and I do agree with you that mandating all (or most) new cars to be FFV would be better. I think it should have been done long ago.

        I'm contributing with another perspective from a foreigner that lives in a country where there is a really big alternative fuel industry and market. (Brazil displaces now more than 50% of gasoline consumption with 10 million FFVs, selling HE100 and Gasoline_C that is a blend in the E20 to E25 range).

        I'm pointing that it's not so much in the producer interest to produce and lobby for the best American interest. Most of them just want to maximize the return on their assets.

        Best American interest have to be defined by the "We the people" through those democratic institutions like government (representing society). For some strange reason, many posters confuse it with being socialist or communist.

        Displacing foreign oil through locally sourced liquid fuels like ethanol won't happen spontaneously. It's a fact of life, and a logical corollary of all legal, technical and market landscapes that developed over more than a century favoring oil. It won't happen till it's too late. Late to avoid economic distress and social unrest.

        That said, society must act (through government), to foster alternatives as in fact it's being done. There is research, development and POCs in many directions. Biomass-Ethanol and FFV is just a low hanging fruit in this path.

        As the "Blend Wall" is imminent no more private investments on new plants mostly of second generation ethanol would be reasonable, unless there is a market to sell this new extra production volume.

        This is the situation NOW. May be in 2015 when GM and Ford sell 50% or more of the LDV as FFV it won't be a problem anymore. In my point of view, there is no single justification for reaching that level right now.

        The point are:
        1) There is a legitimate need to raise this level NOW, even though it could have been dealt with in the past in some other way;

        2) Raising the admissible amount of blended ethanol to 15% is not a real problem, despite all the FUD being spread. Ricardo's stamp is OK but was not really needed. This points to the lack of trusted reviewers when those conflicting lobbies act;

        3) Decisions should be taken based on what is best to the whole society, not just this or that SIG and their lobbies; (That demands ability to seek for truth and trust to show the truth and be believed!)

        4) Immediate opening of market for this new ethanol with E15 or even E12 is the least costly action on public interest, and does not preclude a future FFV mandate.

        I do agree, that this (E15 advocacy) is not the most desirable path, but I'm unable to comment on American internal political process that led to this.

        I do believe also that the public should know what they are paying for and the level of blending should be always explicit, as well as octane rating.

        Public deserves an economical compensation for the BTUs/gallon lost. (~4,5% for E15 over E0, ~3%E10 over E0).

        Regards.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @CelsoS,
        Did you even read my post? I was NOT addressing whether or not ethanol was good. Read the post again.
        I was addressing whether this study was productive and would acheive the desired results of the ethanol lobby. You CAN NOT win this argument. Look at all the posts following this one and notice how people react to a study sponsored by the ethanol lobby! They immediately dig in and dismiss it. And big oil money goes into campaigns to discredit it...mostly by scaring people that it will damage their car.

        You can't win this argument because you have to prove a negative. You have to prove that ethanol will not hurt older cars and you can NOT do it in the minds of the people who feel they are at risk. They are not willing to hope that this study is right (compared with all the other studies which say ethanol is bad)....and they won't be left footing the bill to rebuild the engine for their old car which they can't afford to get rid of in this economy!

        Now, lets look at the side for building all vehicles as FFV. Then, all you have is the money from the oil lobby fighting with the money from the ethanol lobby. And the ethanol folks can wrap themselves in the flag and talk about energy security and American jobs. You're not scaring any body and you don't have people up in arms fighting you because you're "forcing them to put ethanol in their cars and tear them up".

        But will they do this? No. They just love to pick a fight about adding another 5% to the existing gas supply and then watching everyone go crazy! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.

        I am not even talking about whether or not ethanol is viable, I'm laughing my ass off at the stupidity of the ethanol lobby and their idiotic tactics.

        Do you want to be "right" or do you want to sell more ethanol? Your choice dipshits.
        • 4 Years Ago
        oops... correcting

        "If for whatever reason I gave ..."

        "In my point of view, there is no single justification for NOT reaching that level right now. "

        "The POINTS are:"
        ...
        • 4 Years Ago
        CelsoS,
        I apologize. You did nothing wrong and I assumed an attack when you clearly didn't make one. I am frustrated with some things that we keep doing that make no sense and it is starting to show. :-)

        I am very familiar with Brazil and your ethanol industry. I spent 5 years doing a great deal of business down there and I love Brazil (after traveling the world many times, Brazil is the only country I would consider living in besides the US :-) .

        In the 70's, there were oil shocks and we could have gone down one of two paths: 1) increase our military presence in the middle east to secure more oil or 2) go very hard after alternatives.

        We chose option 1 and Brazil chose option 2 and I think we're starting to pay the real cost of that now while Brazil is starting to reap the benefits of going with the alternative.

        Today, there are no idiots running around shouting death to Brazil or flying planes into buildings in Sao Paulo and we have every half wit fanatic on the planet trying to find a way to screw with us.

        To be fair to our US policy makers of the time, Brazil doesn't have our military so therefore they didn't have the military option as easily and we don't have sugarcane growing out of our ears for cheap ethanol. Of course, we might have plenty of alternatives today if we spent even 1/4th the money on alternatives that we spend on military which is an option we are too STUPID to consider. People scream bloody murder because we gave out $2.4Billion in LOANS to EV and battery companies, but they consider it perfectly reasonable to spend $1.03TRILLION on our military in 2010.

        Go figure.

        My problems with the ethanol lobby are numerous and I won't get into them here. To me, the bottom line is that we need to be pushing for FFVs and stop fighting about the E15 issue, in the US, because it has become such a political loser here and only makes people hate everything ethanol.

        We Americans are RABID about having our choices and not letting anyone tell us what we have to do. FFVs allow choice.
        Mandates for E15 are like religious arguments here: You can't really win even if you "win"...all you do is create enemies who come back and fight you on everything else you do for the rest of your life.

        I was thinking that one possibility that might...MIGHT....get by here would be to make all regular unleaded be E15 and let them make that middle grade stuff E10. Hey, people could still get their lower ethanol levels...they just have to pay for it. A sneaky way to get in a gasoline tax! ROFL And still a choice :-)

        • 4 Years Ago
        You want to know why ?

        They need to be able to sell the ethanol or they won't invest and produce it. That's why.

        Locally producing ethanol using is a National policy to displace foreign oil consumption (and enhance "energy security", and enhance farming income, ...). It's stupid to have a policy and try to sink it at the same time.

        RFS was successful. RFS2 allows for just a bit more of first generation (corn) ethanol, and demands most extra volume from advanced (cellulosic,?). To be successful technology has to be developed, proved, scaled, and deployed. Deployment demands big capital expenditures in times of big economical distress and lack of financing.

        Why would anyone invest in an alternative that benefits the nation with all the cost and limited return if the nation won't even allow it to reach the market ? (remember it's not an ethanol well somewhere in Texas, it has to be produced!) .

        EPA won't allow the use of other fuel that is not certified ... looks like an undue protection for oil ... The incumbent (oil) has all the cards and benefits from this monopolistic grip on energy supply. That's why it cost so little to produce and comparatively so much at the pumps. Just compare the US$ cost of the BTU from gasoline, electricity and coal ...

        What a wonderful business. No wonder Oil companies don't want anybody messing with there markets, No wonder every effort is made to avoid elasticity-of-substitution.
        ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasticity_of_substitution). BTL, CTL, GTL, NTL and so many people with nothing else to do, but tell how it never should be done ...

        No renewable can compete against fossils if true costs are hidden as it is today.
        (Maybe oil is still cheap even after a honest accounting of indirect costs.
        Finance health care from coal and oil induced diseases from a tax on coal and oil, and soon enough it won't be so cheap! If economic - US$ - meltdown due to bleeding trade imbalance is accounted for ... or due to a sudden new embargo or other scarcity reason...)

        Ethanol barely does it, while arbitrating lower local energy cost (NG, Coal) and converting it into desirable liquid fuel similar to gasoline. (BTW, EROI; the 70% energy content compared to gasoline; etc. are irrelevant here! If it could aggregate primary energy as sugar cane it would be fine, but it does the job with corn anyway, and will do even better with the new second generation fuels. "It's the economy, st***d!").

        FFV should have been mandated long ago to open the fuel markets. It's so easy, so cheap, so proved ...

        It can be done in an emergency quickly and at a reasonable cost, if the need arises. A rough conversion is done by a small box that intercepts the oxygen/lamda sensor and injector pulses and adjusts them. It's rough cause it won't adjust spark timing. In modern engines it's so easy. There is no excuse for not mandating fuel compatibility (may be even with methanol, despite it's toxicity) in all fuel line materials.

        Please look south for Brazilian experience where we have been using blends higher than E15 since the 70's, and there is currently a "small" POC (proof of concept) of more than 10 million FFVs on the roads, using hydrous-E100 and E20-25.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil - "Historical evolution of ethanol blends used in Brazil (1976–2010)"

        I would like to know why is there a need to pay Ricardo consulting just to stamp with it's highly regarded reputation what is already widely known by everybody including your "Big 3" and most of the other players of this market. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible-fuel_vehicle#Brazil).

        Due to the relative merits of fuels and batteries, even with the electrification agenda and the displacement of short-range fuel-energy needs, there will always be some demand for fuel powered long range short time refueling vehicles. The money spent on this biofuel agenda will still be useful. Both agendas add up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks. They may win, but at too high a cost, and with too little gain, at least for the environment, economy, and world, for the effort that could have been applied to pushing for an FFV mandate.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What BS. Whats next ?

      High Fructose Corn Syrup ... sorry ... corn sugar is good for health ?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Carney,
        That is a very big gamble to take with your health. This is starting to sound more and more like the tobacco industry and their decades of denial. I'm not willing to gamble my health with it, but that's a choice for everyone to make.

        Here is a very straightforwards study from Princeton that I'm sure not going to ignore:
        (from http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/)

        " In results published online Feb. 26 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity.

        The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

        The second experiment -- the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals -- monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet.
        "

        Me? No way in hell...I'm out of the HFCS eating business.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Here's something:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/6-biggest-food-myths_b_720836.html#s141855

        "The idea that high-fructose corn syrup is any more harmful to your health than sugar is “one of those urban myths that sounds right but is basically wrong,” according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group. The composition of high-fructose corn syrup is almost identical to table sugar or sucrose (55 percent fructose, 45 percent glucose and 50:50, respectively). Calorie-wise, HFCS is a dead ringer for sucrose. Studies show that HFCS and sucrose have very similar effects on blood levels of insulin, glucose, triglycerides and satiety hormones. In short, it seems to be no worse—but also no better—than sucrose, or table sugar. "
        • 4 Years Ago

        I've seen this presentation listed below where it's stated that Fructose does cause metabolic problems.

        Sugar == Sucrose == (1glucose + 1fructose) 50%:50%;
        HFCS has more fructose than glucose.

        "Sugar: The Bitter Truth

        First Aired: 7/27/2009
        89 minutes

        Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin. (#16717)

        http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=16717
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM
        "
        • 4 Years Ago
        HFCS is unfairly targeted for criticism. It's just sugar, no better or worse than any other sugar.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dave D, interesting study. Of course the second study is irrelevant - what's actually interesting is the first study - a direct sucrose vs. HFCS comparison. We'll have to see whether there's more to this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        HFCS is pro fat, and pro cancer.
      • 4 Years Ago
      10% Ethanol was not economically feasible, so let's go to 15%.

      1. Farmers are subsidized
      2. Producers are subsidized
      3. Makes our food cost more
      4. less energy content in ethanol vs. gas. significantly less
      5. some, like a Cornell study, argue that it takes more fossil fuel to farm, transport, and refine ethanol than the energy content of the final ethanol (a net energy loss)
      6. "there isn't one grain in the world sold in the free market (meaning energy)" includes Brazil
      7. EPA studies show that by using ethanol, VOC and NOx emissions increase. California's ARB wants to stop using it, but the EPA won't let them.
      8. Uses lots of groundwater. If irrigated farming, lots and lots.

      Bryce's book GUSHER OF LIES
      chapter 12 entitled THE ETHANOL SCAM
      has 222 footnotes. I looked them over. Pretty credible sources including about 1/3rd from our own government agencies.

      Now, start screaming and tell everyone how Bryce is a moron, and financed by the oil companies, and a _________ slimebag. If you are open-minded you will read both sides of the argument like I did. Being a scientist, this one made more sense to me. Sorry.

      ps. My boater friends hate it. Scream about it. Screws up their engines and fuel tanks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Carney, you crack me up. global death cult-surely you are not talking about small sects of Islam.
        9/11 was an inside job, the muslims were the patsies.
        The previous bombing of the WTC was FBI.
        The Murrah building bombing was ATF.
        The X-mas underwear bomber was a government operative.

        There are plenty of reasons for people to hate Americans, but being free isn't one of them.

        and don't you know human psychology? People hate to be forced. They will resist it even if it is a good idea.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That is why ONLY regular grade should be E15.
        Let premium be ethanol free.
        and mid-grade, via blender pumps, would be 7.5% ethanol.

        Older cars should not be using regular anymore. Motorcycles & boats can use premium if they like.
        • 4 Years Ago
        To your boater friends, wah. We're in a struggle with various factions of a global death cult using hundreds of billions of our oil purchase money to spread its extremism and make war on us, and your buddies are whining about their high priced toys? That's the spirit that won World War 2. I do think we need to bow to political reality, and just make sure new boat engines in future can handle ethanol, by simply requiring that manufacturers do so.

        As for the subsidies, who cares? If subsidies are what it takes to switch to a fuel that does not fund our enemies, that's what it takes. Furthermore, the combined total value of our subsidies equals less than $10 billion, compared to hundreds of billions each year we directly spend on OPEC oil.

        And I love the supposed concern for free market purity from OPEC's useful tools. They're strangely silent about OPEC's far more egregious violations of free market principles. OPEC's oil industries were state-socialist from Day One or were "nationalized" later - that is, had the government steal, by force, the wells, drills, refining equipment, etc. that was owned and paid for by private property owners, usually from right here in the USA or elsewhere in the West. OPEC oil industries are government monopolies - no private competition is legally permitted. They produce their oil, not in accordance with market demand, but in response to orders from the government oil ministry. Each OPEC oil minister meets with his peers to conspire to set prices artificially high by restricting production at artificially low levels. This imposes a giant "tax" on the rest of the world, including us. Compared to that, what's a subsidy?

        The "Cornell study" you refer to is by a crank named David Pimentel, who is an insect ecologist, not an expert on energy or biofuel, but who, like Noam Chomsky, is best known for crazy writings far outside his field of expertise. To give you an idea of his credibility, he blames pollution for 40% of all world deaths, opposes all beef production and all modern agriculture (such as the Green Revolution that has saved billions from death), wants to slash the US standard of living by half, and even rails against dogs and cats.

        The paper in question that Bryce relies on was refuted the year after it was published by Butler, an MSU biofuel expert (and six years before Bryce wrote his book, so Bryce has no excuse). Among the many fatal flaws:

        1. Using decades-old, or inefficient Third World, statistics on what it takes to grow corn or make fertilizer, and how much corn is yielded per acre, rather than modern or first-world stats;

        2. Ignoring the reality that an ethanol corn byproduct is used as animal feed, feed which would need to be grown anyway;

        3. Wrongly assuming that ethanol corn is irrigated, when only 16% of all corn is and no ethanol corn is (fatal to his case, because he assigns a decisive energy cost to irrigation).

        Over and over, Pimentel's quack papers are swiftly refuted in the refereed literature by real experts. He and his oil-executive collaborator, Patzek, are isolated.

        Look at this chart - no other modern-day writer on ethanol shares their conclusions about ethanol's energy balance:
        http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/pdfs/43835.pdf (page 4).

        Not only that, they have had the humiliation of their methodology being publicly corrected:
        http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/pdfs/brief_comparison_pimentel_patzek.pdf

        But that doesn't seem to prevent them from being spammed all over the debate for years afterward by oil-funded think tanks.

        Furthermore, "Science", which along with "Nature" is the most prestigious peer-reviewed journal on Earth, did a comprehensive survey of the entire body of published literature on the subject of energy in-energy out for ethanol in the most relevant form - fuel in vs. fuel out, and found that for each unit of petroleum used to make it, you get at least ten and even twenty barrels of ethanol.

        But it's not just a matter of dueling papers and disagreeing professors. You just have to use common sense. If ethanol took more energy to make than it yields, it would cost more to make than its retail price, and thus would require a subsidy equal to its price to be remotely viable. But it sells for around $2.15 and the subsidy is only about 50 cents. Furthermore the subsidy merely serves to wall off even cheaper Brazilian ethanol. So basic numeracy would show that claims of greater energy needed to make than yielded to be an easily seen-through, clumsy falsehood.

        You'd know all this if you'd read "Energy Victory" b
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oil companies are subsidised
        Oil pipelines are subsidised
        Oil refineries are subsidised
        The price of oil and fossil fuels are responsible for 99.95%of the increase in the price of food.
        BTU'S per gallon tell you one thing only. How much heat you will get if you 100% combust one gallon of whatever. It has no bearing on fuel economy. Even if it did ethanol is over twice as efficient obtaining thermal efficiency ratings of 45 to 50% over 100 years ago in government testing. A properly built ethanol engine will get better mileage than gas or diesel. The EPA proved that many years ago when they increased the mileage of a Volkswagon TDI engine by 25% by running it on ethanol. The ethanol made so much more torque they regeared the drivetrain to maintain the same performance and increase the mileage even more. Look it up. There is an ASE tech paper on it.
        Mother Eath News proved over 25 years ago that convering from gas to pure ethanol you should not expect more than a 5% max difference in mpg without any mechanical mods to the engine and when pulling a 2000 lb load in their pickup they got 16% better mileage on ethanol than on gas, again because ethanol is far superior to gas or diesel at making power.
        If you knew the truth you would know that it is gasoline that is an energy negative venture. It takes about 15% + more energy to get every gallon of gas into your car than you will ever get out of it by burning it in an internal combustion engine.
        Ethanol burns much cooler also so NOx emissions always go down in every test I've read about. The VOC emissions are not from the ethanol they are from the gas and the emissions are reduced so much by the ethanol that it more than makes up the difference at the pump which is the only place increased VOC has been measured.
    • Load More Comments