December 11, 2006
Local Ethanol Refinery in the Works
The Business Journal is reporting that ground has been broken for an Ethanol plant in in Longview.
Production is still 18 months away.
Time to buy Oregon corn futures?
December 11, 2006 1:32 PM
Or futures for engine maintenance companies.
Expect the life span of engines to degrade by about 20-30%. :0
All for a more costly, barely cleaner, fuel that tears up vehicles.
I'm in no way a fan of Ethenal unless people do what I do ie. - "race on the weekends, transit for everything else" otherwise Ethenal is bad news.
It's kind of sad, considering I noticed one of the reasons our fuel prices are kept as low as they are with the silly regulatory rules like requiring a "gas pumper person" is the fact that most of it comes from local areas. Local areas also however produce really dirt gas.
...bad situation. I guess it balances out the fact that we have wind and hydro... :(
December 13, 2006 8:52 AM
Terry Parker Says:
It takes nearly a gallon of fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol from corn and bring it to market. Do to the corrosive nature of ethanol, it must be transported by tanker (truck, train or boat) and not through a pipeline. The corrosive nature of ethanol also can shorten the engine life on many vehicles. Furthermore, using ethanol vs gasoline reduces the MPG for most vehicles by 10 to 15 percent (check with a certified auto service representative if you are a disbeliever). All the ballyhooing about ethanol helping to improve air quality and the environment is offset by adding more trucks to the road, more farm machinery working to produce the product and motor vehicle engines running less efficient and not at peak performance. Promoting ethanol is scamming the public.
December 13, 2006 10:33 AM
Bob R. Says:
I agree... it has yet to be shown that corn-based ethanol is anything other than a waste of good cropland, and for the modest local air pollution savings gained, there are other better alternatives available.
Brazil has been doing interesting things with other sources for ethanol, such as sugar beets. I'd like to know more about their overall results.
- Bob R.
November 30, 2007 1:05 PM
Ryan E. Says:
Well, nearly every economic study has shown that ethanol is not a viable alternative to gasoline for two reasons; first, it requires more energy input than it yields. However this energy input is in the form of electricity, and when the cost of electricity is roughly around 5-7 cents per KW hour, it can still break even economically. Second, the feedstock for ethanol production is typically a agricultural product typically used to feed people. However again, when any biofuel is produced using an agricultural good, a bi-product is produced that is typically used as a livestock feed. Therefore, a majority of said product (roughly 75%) is still producing food through a more attenuated food chain. That corn-fed beef is really good, thanks much to ethanol refineries that are able to provide low-cost feed. Still, though, the argument persists, so the question remains: is there an ethanol alternative? Yes, cellulosic ethanol, an ethanol derived of waste products such as urban green clippings, forest fuels, straw, and other biomass can be produced at a higher cost and more difficult means of production. The problem here is the level of technology developed is not sufficient to produce this cellulosic ethanol economically.
But, taking a step back and answering Bob R's question, Brazil was very successful with their ethanol program since the oil shocks of the 1970's (you geezers remember that). Brazil paying roughly 60% of their GDP for petroleum imports. In the uncertainty of petroleum futures, they began utilizing their huge sugar production capacity to produce ethanol, mainly because they had a cap on how much sugar they could produce to export onto the international marketplace. They reduced petroleum imports by 40% in a few years, increased income, distributional equity, employment, and GDP.
The PNW has a huge agricultural advantage for sugar beets and cellulosic ethanol feedstock, as well as canola for biodiesel, taking advantage of these sources would surely revive an ag based economy, as prices and income would definitely increase in the region, while also stimulating a brand-new local industry. So, we as oregonians and PNW's should be fostering this new market opportunity. Although it is still in it's infancy both in terms of market size and production technology, it is showing a positive future, and with some solid support, could become a major player in the sustainability of our economy and environment.