Friday, April 25, 2008

Texas Governor Rick Perry Seeks U.S. Ethanol Cutback Waiver

Calling the ethanol mandate of the federal government "misguided," Texas Governor Rick Perry solicited the government for a waiver on the renewable fuel standard. He's asking for it to be cut in half for Texas.

"We're diversifying our state's energy portfolio at a rapid rate, but this misguided mandate is significantly affecting Texans' family food bill," Perry said.

He added: "The artificial demand for grain-derived ethanol is devastating the livestock industry in Texas and needlessly creating a negative impact on our state's otherwise strong economy while driving up food prices around the world."

This is what almost always happens when the government enters into the marketplace. Think of the term "good intentions," and then add "unintended consequences."

These are already destroying lives of people across the world, and riots are ensuing and the government of Haiti has already fallen in response to the fallout.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is U.S. Government Responding Quickly Enough to the Ethanol Disaster?

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has finally commented on the ethanol disaster resulting from the corn subsidy's given to farmers to grow it.

He said the U.S. would be "moving away gradually" from corn-based ethanol development, although there is really no alternative, as far as ethanol goes as a biofuel, because cellulosic ethanol is still far too complicated and costly to be a viable alternative.

"The reason that cellulosic fuels like ethanol are not on the market in large volumes is not because we don't know how to make it in commercial quantities," Bodman said. "The production process at present is too complex and too costly, but I am confident that we can find the way forward."

The continuing discovery of oil, along with the new way oil may be produced, offers a much better future for energy than ethanol, or any other option at this time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tensions Continue Building as Ethanol Continues to Cause Increase in Corn, Food Prices

The misguided policy of artificially creating a legal level of ethanol biofuel use is reeking havoc across the world as food and meat prices continue to soar in response to the unintended consequences.

That's always the problem when fear and torment are used as tools to push through policies built upon personal agendas.

As Paul Haugens, vice-president for Newedge Trading said, "The food-versus-fuel battle is going to get bigger and it's a political year in the United States so I don't see anyone making any changes (to ethanol policy)."

Listening to the irresponsible comments by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer Tuesday confirms Haugens is right, as schafer said, "energy is the big issue as we look at those food prices."

No it's not! The subsidizing of growing corn for the pet ethanol project is by far the major reason for the increase in food prices across the world.

The impact of this policy is being called "a crime against humanity" by Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food; basing his assertion on the huge increase in food prices across the world.

Riots and protests are spreading globally, and the Haitian government was toppled last week because of when riots move senators in the country to fire the prime minister. It's going to get worse.

This foolish policy needs to be dropped now, as the growing number of oil discoveries show the hoax of Peak Oil is just that. There's no huge rush to get these things pushed through, as billions of barrels of oil have been discovered by Brazil, and new reserves in an area adjacent to the Canadian Sands could hold billions more. This doesn't include the billions awaiting to be taken out of the oil shales in the U.S.

Unfortunately, millions will suffer because of the newest government sponsorship of biofuels which are dubious at best, and deadly at worst.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ethanol News Weekend Roundup


Ethanol Being Blamed for Global Food Riots

New York Times columnist praised by Pulitzer board for 'clarity of vision' didn't foresee global food shortages that resulted from the realities of his vision.


Article off the mark about ethanol

I haven't found one peer-reviewed scientific journal says that corn ethanol is a source of green energy. The only scientist I can imagine saying ethanol is just fine is the one who works for an ethanol company.


'Closed-Loop' Ethanol Plant Plans On Hold

Plans for Dakota County, Nebraska's multi-million dollar "closed-loop" ethanol plant are "on hold".


Germany cancels plans to add ethanol to petrol

Amid growing fears that biofuel farming is harming the environment and driving up world food prices, Germany cancelled on Friday plans to mix more ethanol made from plants with petrol.


Ethanol is an environmental white elephant

I've read with interest the recent articles in the Times Union about ethanol. I was disappointed that you did not point out one fact that should raise much skepticism about the use of this product as a fuel: It produces about twice the carbon dioxide as simply burning the gasoline it replaces.


Ethanol pollution in Gulf of Mexico

While the search for alternative fuels is in full swing in many countries in order to reduce dependency on pollution causing conventional fuels an ironic situation is emerging where the rush in the United States to produce corn-based ethanol as an alternative fuel will likely worsen pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and expand the annual ‘dead zone.’


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Taxpayers Fork Out $82 Million to Range Fuels Inc. for Another Dubious Ethanol Project

More of our tax dollars are being wasted on another government-sponsored hope for utopia, as Range Fuels received $76 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, and another $6 million from the state of Georgia to help build its commercial cellulosic ethanol plant close to Soperton, Ga.

Some even have the nerve to call it "private funding." My question is: Where did the state of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Energy get their money from? So let's call it what it is: taxpayer funded.

Now the true private sector has also gotten involved, as Series B round of financing led by Passport Capital has landed another $130 million for the project.

All of this for an increasingly controversial, unproven source of bio-fuel, which is viewed by a growing number of people as causing more harm than good.

Concerning cellulosic ethanol, Range Fuels asserts its K2 process can use woody biomass for its source of ethanol, which uses 75 percent less water than corn-based ethanol. They also claim the K2 process yields far more ethanol per ton of biomass than biochemical processes.

They also say they will be able to produce ethanol at a cost far below the almost $2 per gallon it's currently produced for with corn ethanol production costs, as well as enzymatic processes.

Of course anyone can assert something in order to justify tax dollars being wasted on them.

The truth is the existing ethanol fiasco is already being discovered that it isn't worth the consequences and costs. This is why the government and others are desperately searching for an alternative before their failure is made open to the public.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Keeping up with Ethanol: News Around the Web

More on the high cost of Ethanol


Germany backs off biofuel plan

Germany's environment minister on Friday scrapped a plan to double the amount of ethanol that can be mixed into gasoline, saying that too many cars would be unable to cope with the change.


Downside of ethanol

As spring is here, we will soon see public service announcements on when to mow the grass and when to fill our vehicle gas tanks to reduce the pollutant ozone in our atmosphere.


Ethanol’s Unsexy Dilemma

Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, meaning a car filled with ethanol gets fewer miles per gallon. Accounting for this energy difference, at the time of publishing, E85 was retailing for a nationwide average of $3.56 a gallon compared with $3.28 for regular gasoline, according to the Automobile Association of America.


Pacific Ethanol reports on losses, plans for 2008

The net loss for the company's fourth quarter of 2007 was $14.7 million, up from $3.1 million the previous year, the company reported. The loss came despite sales growing from $80 million in the fourth quarter of 2006 to $130 million during the same quarter of 2007.


Times Writers Group: Ethanol, not the greenest option

"It takes more energy to make than it produces!" "It's driving up food prices!" "It's government meddling in the market!" "Those crazy environmentalists want to force us all to buy ethanol!"


Against the grain: What are they thinking?

All that glitters is not gold. And all that grows is not green.

That is the belated realization about grain ethanol -- in fact, about any ethanol whose feedstock is grown on cropland. Joe Romm has done a good job posting on this issue, including his report on the recent studies featured in Science magazine. I'd like to weigh in with a few additional points.


Kernel of ethanol's problems

Ethanol producers looked for a great year as the price of gasoline rose, making it more profitable to produce. But, despite rising sales, Pacific Ethanol Inc. lost $14.4 million last year due to high prices for corn, low prices for ethanol and losses on derivatives.Higher corn yields, higher ethanol yields?


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The High Cost of Ethanol

Here's an excellent article on exposing the high cost of the government ethanol policy which may end up being one of the greatest mistakes in U.S. history.

As the writer says, "An unholy alliance of environmentalists, agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians" has been promoting the fuel as the answer to the alleged environmental problems which it will supposedly be the answer to.

The usual denial of the "unintended consequences is wreaking havoc on the economy, food production and, perhaps most ironically, the environment."

I've said it before on Ethanol Fix, that this is no longer related to science or environmental realities, rather it's being embraced as a religion that requires faith rather than objectivity.

Some of the huge problems related to ethanol:

Increased food prices

Subsidized Corn takes away acres from other crops, increasing those prices

Increased feed prices

Increased meat prices

Employee Layoffs

Plant Closings

Distribution Centers Closing

Pressure on water supply

Ethanol less productive than gasoline as fuel

Hurts environment

Hurts third world

Deforestation across the world

Destruction of wetlands

Destruction of grasslands

Destruction of species

Displacement of small farmers and indigienous peoples

Loss of habitats that store carbon

Razing of rain forests

Michael Grunwald, in the latest issue of Time magazine said it this way:

"Deforestation accounts for 20 percent of all current carbon emissions. So unless the world can eliminate emissions from all other sources — cars, power plants, factories, even flatulent cows — it needs to reduce deforestation or risk an environmental catastrophe. That means limiting the expansion of agriculture, a daunting task as the world's population keeps expanding. And saving forests is probably an impossibility so long as vast expanses of cropland are used to grow modest amounts of fuel. The biofuels boom, in short, is one that could haunt the planet for generations — and it's only getting started."

The so-called environmentalists are in reality backing and promoting the destruction of not only the environment, but more importantly: human beings.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ethanol Plant Planned for Albany with $350 Million Price Tag

Plans for a new ethanol plant is in the works for Port of Albany, which will cost as much as $350 million.

Developing the plant, which will be situated on 18 acres on the west bank of the Hudson River, will be Albany Renewable Energy LLC.

The company said the ethanol plant will be able to produce up to 110 million gallons of fuel yearly.

The project is awaiting permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation before construction will be allowed to start. That will take anywhere from 6 to 12 months said officials from the company.

It's expected to be operational by the end of 2009.