Is ethanol (E10,E85) the new aquaculture?

Posted: 10/12/2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,
This was an interesting question that popped into my mind earlier today. Is ethanol the new aquaculture? What brought the question to mind was a report on the available feedstock and processing methodology and availability for the distillation of our new alcohol fuel. The USDA report, Federal Biomass Board Releases Feedstock’s Report (below) came to the conclusion that “new technologies resulting from research are the linchpin to developing a sustainable biofuels industry…” Interesting choice of words for these college boys. I bet it took a lot of taxpayer money to figure that one out.

The actual paper is a rather lengthy 167 pages long, and provides no wowser conclusions, but the general idea seems to be that we should keep investing more money into researching ways to do what we already know how to do. One of the things that brought the aquaculture reference to mind was the prolonged availability of a renewable source of this feedstock. During the early 70s, while at school, I recall a biology instructor touting the fact that aquaculture was the solution to the worlds nutrition needs. We could grow and harvest all the fish we needed, right from the world’s oceans and solve the hunger problem. At least that’s what he said.

So where are we today with solving the worlds hunger? Instead of fat and happy little children running around the plains and jungles of Africa we have starving and diseased children, dying by the truckload because we cannot feed them. Lot of good all those fish are doing, huh teach? Instead of aquaculture being the salvation of the world of nutrition, we have severely depleted stocks of fish, of which we now have to control the harvesting of. Domestic production of salmon and other farmed species are fraught with disease and illnesses leading to a less than stellar result for the industry.

Are we going to come to the same conclusion over the use of ethanol? Will we at some point and time realize that by requiring the use of plants to power our transportation we will at some point deplete the available resources? It will come to that point you know. We have a need by the environmentalists to save the forests, and a need to feed the hungry resulting in a bad per if you use food crops as fuel crops. The energy companies are going to be stuck between two immovable positions.

But of an even greater point, why is it that nobody seems to be addressing the fact that ethanol causes just as much pollution as petro based fuel does? Biomass is carbon based, just like oil. In fact, oil can be considered to be just a super concentrated supply of plant material. All of the stuff except the carbon is weeded out. But because of the UN’s desire to implement taxation on a world basis, fossil fuel, as oil is now called, has become the bad boy in the field of energy production. It used to be that nuclear power was the bad boy on the block. Nobody wanted it.

The big question here is who will blink first? Comrade Gore and his cronies at the UN, or the American taxpayer who is footing this increasing research machine? I’m betting it will be the taxpayers of this country. It appears as though Europe is already starting to see the error of its decision to enter into the cap and trade world. Their CO2 emissions are increasing, not decreasing, as they were supposed to have done. The same will be happening here, and our energy costs are going to rise because of it.

Biofuel feedstock will be subject to the same market demands as any other commodity, and as such will suffer from fluctuating prices. As 2022 approaches the demand for more and more feedstock to meet the government imposed mandates will soar to new levels, and the price will soar as well. The end result will be a higher cost for an inferior fuel. I’m on my fourth tank of E10. My mileage went from 23-25 mpg while driving around town down to 20-22 mpg. And the car doesn’t run as well as it did either. the smooth shifting and rapid acceleration seem to be gone.

I’ll let you know how things turn out after I can afford to have the motor looked at. I want to make sure it’s the fuel and not some other problem before I think about suing the government to pay for the repairs.

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