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Bioethanol: Saving the environment by starving humans

How the World's Richest Governments Starve the World's Poorest People - Von Mises Institute

But how did this happen? With hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year on development aid and various antipoverty programs in the so-called third world, with an array of governmental and intergovernmental agencies designed to lift the planet's poorest out of earthly misery, and with no notable natural disaster affecting crops and agricultural production, how can a food crisis that threatens millions with starvation have come about?

This article is a great read. Pass it along to your eco-wacko friends and your dumbass McInsane-supporting pals.

-David

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All our vehicles run on

All our vehicles run on recycled vegetable oil and I make biodiesel in my garage. Saves about $500/month since my wife drives 60 miles to work round trip everyday.

We've been doing this for the last 5-6 years.

Reduce the Population

Whatever happened to Stanley Meyers water poweed vehicle?

Culture is Religion externalized.

It would not matter

one bit what the ordinary American did. We could throw money and food til dooms day but if the rulers have an agenda it will go their way. The only way poor people in poor countries will get anything is through private citizens working together around those in power.

Prepare & Share the Message of Freedom through Positive-Peaceful-Activism.

The Case for Alcohol

http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.net/node/518

WHY ALCOHOL FUEL?
THE TWO-MINUTE SUMMARY

1. Almost every country can become energy-independent. Anywhere that has sunlight and land can produce alcohol from plants. Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world imports no oil, since half its cars run on alcohol fuel made from sugarcane, grown on 1% of its land.

2. We can reverse global warming. Since alcohol is made from plants, its production takes carbon dioxide out of the air, sequestering it, with the result that it reverses the greenhouse effect (while potentially vastly improving the soil). Recent studies show that in a permaculturally designed mixed-crop alcohol fuel production system, the amount of greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere by plants—and then exuded by plant roots into the soil as sugar—can be 13 times what is emitted by processing the crops and burning the alcohol in our cars.

3. We can revitalize the economy instead of suffering through Peak Oil. Oil is running out, and what we replace it with will make a big difference in our environment and economy. Alcohol fuel production and use is clean and environmentally sustainable, and will revitalize families, farms, towns, cities, industries, as well as the environment. A national switch to alcohol fuel would provide many millions of new permanent jobs.

4. No new technological breakthroughs are needed. We can make alcohol fuel out of what we have, where we are. Alcohol fuel can efficiently be made out of many things, from waste products like stale donuts, grass clippings, food processing waste-even ocean kelp. Many crops produce many times more alcohol per acre than corn, using arid, marshy, or even marginal land in addition to farmland. Just our lawn clippings could replace a third of the autofuel we get from the Mideast.

5. Unlike hydrogen fuel cells, we can easily use alcohol fuel in the vehicles we already own. Unmodified cars can run on 50% alcohol, and converting to 100% alcohol or flexible fueling (both alcohol and gas) costs only a few hundred dollars. Most auto companies already sell new dual-fuel vehicles.

6. Alcohol is a superior fuel to gasoline! It’s 105 octane, burns much cooler with less vibration, is less flammable in case of accident, is 98% pollution-free, has lower evaporative emissions, and deposits no carbon in the engine or oil, resulting in a tripling of engine life. Specialized alcohol engines can get at least 22% better mileage than gasoline or diesel.

7. It’s not just for gasoline cars. We can also easily use alcohol fuel to power diesel engines, trains, aircraft, small utility engines, generators to make electricity, heaters for our homes—and it can even be used to cook our food.

8. Alcohol has a proud history. Gasoline is a refinery’s toxic waste; alcohol fuel is liquid sunshine. Henry Ford’s early cars were all flex-fuel. It wasn’t until gasoline magnate John D. Rockefeller funded Prohibition that alcohol fuel companies were driven out of business.

9. The byproducts of alcohol production are clean, instead of being oil refinery waste, and are worth more than the alcohol itself. In fact, they can make petrochemical fertilizers and herbicides obsolete. The alcohol production process concentrates and makes more digestible all protein and non-starch nutrients in the crop. It’s so nutritious that when used as animal feed, it produces more meat or milk than the corn it comes from. That’s right, fermentation of corn increases the food supply and lowers the cost of food.

10. Locally produced ethanol supercharges regional economies. Instead of fuel expenditures draining capital away to foreign bank accounts, each gallon of alcohol produces local income that gets recirculated many times. Every dollar of tax credit for alcohol generates up to $6 in new tax revenues from the increased local business.

11. Alcohol production brings many new small-scale business opportunities. There is huge potential for profitable local, integrated, small-scale businesses that produce alcohol and related byproducts, whereas when gas was cheap, alcohol plants had to be huge to make a profit.

12. Scale matters—most of the widely publicized potential problems with ethanol are a function of scale. Once production plants get beyond a certain size and are too far away from the crops that supply them, closing the ecological loop becomes problematic. Smaller-scale operations can more efficiently use a wide variety of crops than huge specialized one-crop plants, and diversification of crops would largely eliminate the problems of monoculture.

13. The byproducts of small-scale alcohol plants can be used in profitable, energy-efficient, and environmentally positive ways. For instance, spent mash (the liquid left over after distillation) contains all the nutrients the next fuel crop needs and can return it back to the soil if the fields are close to the operation. Big-scale plants, because they bring in crops from up to 45 miles away, can’t do this, so they have to evaporate all the water and sell the resulting byproduct as low-price animal feed,which accounts for half the energy used in the plant.

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Busting the Ethanol Myths

http://www.permaculture.com/node/490

Myth #1: It Takes More Energy to ¬Produce Ethanol than You Get from It!

Most ethanol research over the past 25 years has been on the topic of energy returned on energy invested (EROEI). Public discussion has been dominated by the American Petroleum Institute’s aggressive distribution of the work of Cornell professor David Pimentel and his numerous, deeply flawed studies. Pimentel stands virtually alone in portraying alcohol as having a negative EROEI—producing less energy than is used in its production.

In fact, it’s oil that has a negative EROEI. Because oil is both the raw material and the energy source for production of gasoline, it comes out to about 20% negative. That’s just common sense; some of the oil is itself used up in the process of refining and delivering it (from the Persian Gulf, a distance of 11,000 miles in tanker travel).

The most exhaustive study on ethanol’s EROEI, by Isaias de Carvalho Macedo, shows an alcohol energy return of more than eight units of output for every unit of input—and this study accounts for everything right down to smelting the ore to make the steel for tractors.

But perhaps more important than EROEI is the energy return on fossil fuel input. Using this criterion, the energy returned from alcohol fuel per fossil energy input is much higher. In a system that supplies almost all of its energy from biomass, the ratio of return could be positive by hundreds to one.

Myth #2: There Isn’t Enough Land to Grow Crops for Both Food and Fuel!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. has
434,164,946 acres of “cropland”—land that is able to be worked in an industrial fashion (monoculture). This is the prime, level, and generally deep agricultural soil. In addition to cropland, the U.S. has 939,279,056 acres of “farmland.” This land is also good for agriculture, but it’s not as level and the soil not as deep. Additionally, there is a vast amount of acreage—swamps, arid or sloped land, even rivers, oceans, and ponds—that the USDA doesn’t count as cropland or farmland, but which is still suitable for growing specialized energy crops.

Of its nearly half a billion acres of prime cropland, the U.S. uses only 72.1 million acres for corn in an average year. The land used for corn takes up only 16.6% of our prime cropland, and only 7.45% of our total agricultural land.

Even if, for alcohol production, we used only what the USDA considers prime flat cropland, we would still have to produce only 368.5 gallons of alcohol per acre to meet 100% of the demand for transportation fuel at today’s levels. Corn could easily produce this level—and a wide variety of standard crops yield up to triple this. Plus, of course, the potential alcohol production from cellulose could dwarf all other crops.

Myth #3: Ethanol’s an Ecological ¬Nightmare!

You’d be hard-pressed to find another route that so elegantly ties the solutions to the problems as does growing our own energy. Far from destroying the land and ecology, a permaculture ethanol solution will vastly improve soil fertility each year.

The real ecological nightmare is industrial agriculture. Switching to organic-style crop rotation will cut energy use on farms by a third or more: no more petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers. Fertilizer needs can be served either by applying the byproducts left over from the alcohol manufacturing process directly to the soil, or by first running the byproducts through animals as feed.

Myth #4: It’s Food Versus Fuel—We Should Be Growing Crops for Starving Masses, Not Cars!

Humankind has barely begun to work on designing farming as a method of harvesting solar energy for multiple uses. Given the massive potential for polyculture yields, monoculture-study dismissals of ethanol production seem silly when viewed from economic, energetic, or ecological perspectives.

Because the U.S. grows a lot of it, corn has become the primary crop used in making ¬ethanol here. This is supposedly ¬controversial, since corn is identified as a staple food in poverty-stricken parts of the world. But 87% of the U.S. corn crop is fed to animals. In most years, the U.S. sends close to 20% of its corn to other countries. While it is assumed that these exports could feed most of the hungry in the world, the corn is actually sold to wealthy nations to fatten their livestock. Plus, virtually no impoverished nation will accept our corn, even when it is offered as charity, due to its being genetically modified and therefore unfit for human consumption.

Also, fermenting the corn to alcohol results in more meat than if you fed the corn directly to the cattle. We can actually increase the meat supply by first processing corn into alcohol, which only takes 28% of the starch, leaving all the protein and fat, creating a higher-quality animal feed than the original corn.

Myth #5: Big Corporations Get All Those Ethanol Subsidies, and
Taxpayers Get Nothing in Return!

Between 1968 and 2000, oil companies received subsidies of $149.6 billion, compared to ethanol’s paltry $116.6 million. The subsidies alcohol did receive have worked extremely well in bringing maturity to the industry. Farmer-owned cooperatives now produce the majority of alcohol fuel in the U.S. Farmer-owners pay themselves premium prices for their corn and then pay themselves a dividend on the alcohol profit.

The increased economic activity derived from alcohol fuel production has turned out to be crucial to the survival of noncorporate farmers, and the amounts of money they spend in their communities on goods and services and taxes for schools have been much higher in areas with an ethanol plant. Plus, between $3 and $6 in tax receipts are generated for every dollar of ethanol subsidy. The rate of return can be much higher in rural communities, where re-spending within the community produces a multiplier factor of up to 22 times for each
alcohol fuel subsidy dollar.

Myth #6: Ethanol Doesn’t ¬Improve Global Warming! In Fact, It ¬Pollutes the Air!

Alcohol fuel has been added to gasoline to reduce virtually every class of air pollution. Adding as little as 5–10% alcohol can reduce carbon monoxide from gasoline exhaust dramatically. When using pure alcohol, the reductions in all three of the major pollutants—carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and ¬hydrocarbons—are so great that, in many cases, the remaining emissions are unmeasurably small. Reductions of more than 90% over gasoline emissions in all categories have been routinely documented for straight alcohol fuel.

It is true that when certain chemicals are included in gasoline, addition of alcohol at 2–20% of the blend can cause a reaction that makes these chemicals more volatile and evaporative. But it’s not the ethanol that’s the problem; it’s the gasoline.

Alcohol carries none of the heavy metals and sulfuric acid that gasoline and diesel exhausts do. And straight ethanol’s evaporative emissions are dramatically lower than gasoline’s, no more toxic than what you’d find in the air of your local bar.

As for global warming, the production and use of alcohol neither reduces nor increases the atmosphere’s CO2. In a properly designed system, the amount of CO2 and water emitted during fermentation and from exhaust is precisely the amount of both chemicals that the next year’s crop of fuel plants needs to make the same amount of fuel once again.

Alcohol fuel production actually lets us reduce carbon dioxide emissions, since the growing of plants ties up many times more carbon dioxide than is created in the production and use of the alcohol. Converting from a hydrocarbon to a ¬carbohydrate economy could quickly reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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Think about it

If everybody cut 1/3 to 1/2 of the meat they currently consume out of their diet, we wouldn't be hearing anything about bio fuels starving people. Most people in the US eat too much meat anyway. I'm too lazy to cite any sources right now, but look up the statistics on how much water and farmland go into producing and feeding meat animals if you are interested. It will blow your mind. Factor in the inefficiencies in both our digestive system and that of the animal we are eating, and you will realize that it is much, much more efficient to eat more plants than meat. Less beef = less silage, which means more room to grow food and bio fuels!

"The sinews of war are infinite money" ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

I disagree with the

I disagree with the vegetarianism, but you raise a good point, because the vast majority of our agricultural land is used for cattle production.

Hence corn going into ethanol is "starving" fewer people in a grain shortage than overproduction of beef.

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Support the Constitution of the United States

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Produce hemp and produce Levi's again in the States.

Sugar cane produces 8 times more alcohol per acre than corn, hemp is not as good as sugarcane, but it has other advantages.
grant

United States Sustainable

United States Sustainable Energy Corp has the solution. They have mastered the art of biocrude production. This is not ethanol, this process takes waste organic material, such as spoiled soybeans, african palm waste, and other organic feedstocks and produces a product that is astm certified usable biofuel. Check it out. SSTP

http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=sstp.pk

Things are only impossible until they are not.
-- Jean Luc Picard

Things are only impossible until they are not.
-- Jean Luc Picard

"Biofuels, such as ethanol

"Biofuels, such as ethanol made from corn, have the potential to provide us with cleaner energy. But because of how corn ethanol currently is made, only about 20 percent of each gallon is "new" energy. That is because it takes a lot of "old" fossil energy to make it: diesel to run tractors, natural gas to make fertilizer and, of course, fuel to run the refineries that convert corn to ethanol."

a simple sollution

Hemp:
http://www.rense.com/general49/could.htm

If the corrupt us government actually believed in it's own BS about the man made greenhouse gas causing global warming scam, they would be promoting hemp BIG time.

But since they know it is all a bunch of melarchy their only concern is with stealing more from the poor to stuff into their greedy Satanic pockets.

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Hey Archons', we are taking our planet back and there's nothing you can do about it!

Has anyone else noticed?

When I was in Spokane this past weekend I saw a gas station that had the prices listed and biodiesel was on there. $4.00/gallon for unleaded and get this -- $4.97 for biodiesel.

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"We will never give up. We will never give in." - Dr. Ron Paul

On the other hand, diesel

On the other hand, diesel engines can be easily altered to run on pure vegetable oil, which you can buy at Sam's Club for $3.25 a gallon.

When Rudolf Diesel introduced his engine in 1902, it burned two fuels. One was peanut oil. The other was hemp oil.

Still wondering why marijuana is illegal?

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Support the Constitution of the United States

SUPPORT OUR FOUNDERS' AMERICA
Support the Constitution of the United States

Diesels can also run on

Diesels can also run on ethanol

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beat them at their own game....

www.goldenfuelsystems.com

www.greasecar.com

when i was in college, the "Pig Man" came to the university commons kitchen's grease pit and collect 55 gallon drums of grease to feed to his pigs. he picked it up at no charge.

i'm finding you have to pay about .55cents/gallon for it now. another .20cents to make it and you're off and running.

This is complete BS!

This is complete BS!

Brazil only uses a little over 1% of it farm land to grow sugar cane for ethanol with no reduction in food crops. The United States could be energy independent using about 10 percent with no reduction in food crops.

People are starving because of poverty, lack of resources, and government meddling not because of ethanol production. This is just more big oil propaganda. Unfortunately lots of people are buying into it.

Just about every negative thing you have heard about ethanol is BS.

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I agree, and most Americans

I agree, and most Americans do not realize that, in addition to paying high prices, their tax dollars support the petroleum industry with government subsidies.

SUPPORT OUR FOUNDERS' AMERICA
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SUPPORT OUR FOUNDERS' AMERICA
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Not Quite

There are a couple problems with your argument. First, any land used to generate food-based crops for ethanol reduces food crops. The sugar cane that is used for ethanol in Brazil could have been used for consumption. This, of course, is far more serious when that food is a staple -- like corn.

Second, the verynegative thing I have heard about ethanol is not about ethanol itself -- it is about using corn to create ethanol. This is the biggest problem with this proposition: not that we are switching to ethanol, but that we are using one of the most inefficient crops to do it. It costs more oil to produce ethanol from corn than you get out of it. Sugar cane, on the other hand, yields somewhere around a 6 to 1 return (six gallons out for every one gallon put in). This makes far more economical sense.

Again, ethanol is not the problem. It is the fact that government is pushing corn ethanol. There are other excellent options that should warrant some attention. If they would legalize growing hemp, they could get a 8 to 1 return, and hemp is very easily grown even on bad soil. There is also research being done into using algae which could be grown anywhere, such as in the desert areas where farming is virtually impossible. This has the true potential to achieve what you are talking about: sustainable fuel production with no loss of crop land.

Sorry but this is another

Sorry but this is another rmyth it does not cost more oil or energy to use corn then we get out of it. Corn is not the most efficient but its not as bad as it made out to be. It's in the middle of the ethanol producing crops plus it's by product makes it very viable.

I see we're going to have to rehash this so when I get time I will answer all these arguments in more detail.

Sugarcane is not a staple. Please explain how using 1.2% of Brazil's farmland for ethanol production of a non food staple crop causes starvation? Brazil is 100% energy independent because of ethanol. Please folks do some research and stop repeating propaganda. Think, now who would benefit from shooting down Ethanol?

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Look Again

I did not say that sugar was a staple. I said it could be consumed. Corn is a staple, and therefore there are more problems.

Again, I am not against ethanol production -- not at all. I just think the government needs to get out of the way so that other, more viable options can be developed and promoted. Even if corn might work, the fact is that sugar, hemp, and algae have far more potential with little to no impact on current food crops.

I want to point out a couple more things about corn. Around here in Michigan, it has caused many farmers to switch to raising corn away from other food crops because of the monetary aspects. This results in less variety of foods and affects the cost. Further, corn is very expensive to raise because it is very hard on the soil and is also not a hardy crop. These are additional reasons for why corn is not a good option for ethanol production.

davidinliberty's picture

Thank you Khomar

I'm on here looking for logical answers to my questions, and finally someone produces.

-dave

"She's lower than the lowest whore outside the Holland Tunnel at 3am in fishnet stockings." - Michael Savage in reference to Dianne Sawyer

David Burns
Simi Valley, CA

davidinliberty's picture

I don't understand

I'm not criticizing you, I'm just confused. You said:

"The United States could be energy independent using about 10 percent with no reduction in food crops."

Using 10% of what? 10% of farm land? To do what?

And what do you mean by "no reduction in food crops?" How can you destroy food, or set aside farm land to make food for bio-fuel, and not see a reduction in food crops?

-dave

"She's lower than the lowest whore outside the Holland Tunnel at 3am in fishnet stockings." - Michael Savage in reference to Dianne Sawyer

David Burns
Simi Valley, CA

savagenation writes: "Using

savagenation writes:
"Using 10% of what? 10% of farm land? To do what?"

Yes 10% of farmland

"And what do you mean by "no reduction in food crops?" How can you destroy food, or set aside farm land to make food for bio-fuel, and not see a reduction in food crops?"

When you don’t utilize 100% of your farmland to begin with then there need not be any reduction in food crops. If there is famine then that creates a demand for food then more food will be grown. Sure Joe farmer my have stopped growing food to put in a crop for ethanol instead because of demand but it is hardly the cause of world hunger. 87% of the U.S. corn crop is fed to animals any way

We did a thread on this not long ago where I answered many of these questions in detail. I recommend a book called “Alcohol Can Be A Gas” by David Blume. He explodes these myths and the book is 30 years of experience and research and very well documented. He also has a website http://alcoholcanbeagas.com that has some excerpts dealing with this.

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davidinliberty's picture

That looks interesting

Have you tried it? I don't see the connection between what David Blume is proposing and your argument that everything I've heard about ethanol is B.S.

Where is the thread that discusses this further?

There's more: What is the cause of world hunger? I figure it's: not having enough to eat. That's simplistic, but I don't see how putting alcohol in your car solves that problem - even if it does help out in other areas. (Heck, I'd love to pay under $1/gallon - I commute 130 miles per day)

"Sure Joe farmer my have stopped growing food to put in a crop for ethanol instead because of demand but it is hardly the cause of world hunger."

I don't think demand is the reason that Joe Farmer stopped growing his crop for food. Please explain this point.

Thanks,
David

"She's lower than the lowest whore outside the Holland Tunnel at 3am in fishnet stockings." - Michael Savage in reference to Dianne Sawyer

David Burns
Simi Valley, CA

Here is the link:

Here is the link: http://www.dailypaul.com/node/49213

I'll answer more later when I have time...

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Food Supply

87% of the U.S. corn crop is fed to animals any way

Exactly. This is why using corn to create fuel is such a terrible idea. What happens to those animals fed on corn? They become... food --beef, milk, eggs, any number of food items that we consume every day. Corn is a staple food stock to our entire food supply. If the price of corn rises, everything else that is made from or dependent on corn for production will rise as well.

Again, it is not ethanol that is the problem -- it is the source of the ethanol that is the problem.

Thats where the propaganda

Thats where the propaganda comes in what they don't tell you is the by product from corn ethanol is still fed to the animals and it is a highly nutritious feed, or fertilizer to grow more crops. All your doing is separating the alcohol from it and leaving all the nutrients.

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Not ALL th enutrients but damn close. Your arguments are

all sound. Producing ethanol from agricultural waste products is a very efficient way to produce fuel. Any time you can harness mother nature to do the work you can come out ahead :)

h-daddy

eco-terrorists

Al K. Duh loves growing crops and hates our freedom.

"If we want to live in a free society, we need to break free from these artificial limitations on free debate and start asking serious questions once again." -Ron Paul, The Revolution: A Manifesto

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"...a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." -John F. Kennedy