More on biofuels

More on biofuels

reader response

I have to respond to the article from Mr Meyer regarding his support of biofuels. Mr Meyer neglects to mention a few things about biofuels. I will make myself perfectly clear and say that I am no fan of biofuels, especially ethanol, as I consider alcohols, except for maybe nitromethanol (which is only really useful in drag racing) to be perfectly horrid motor fuels. The reasons follow:


1. There is less energy in a gallon of ethanol than in a gallon of gasoline. Ethanol has 76,000 btu’s per gallon and gasoline has 144,000 btu’s per gallon. This means you get much less fuel mileage using alcohol.


2. Transportation. While gasoline can be transported using pipelines, ethanol cannot and must be trucked using special tankers. This is much more inefficient than using our network of pipelines.


3. Alcohol based fuels are a net energy negative. It takes more energy to distill alcohol than the energy it provides. So in producing it, you save nothing and in fact cost the world market energy.


4. Lastly, despite Mr Meyer’s protestations aside, diverting what would normally grown as feed corn and human food WILL have an effect on overall prices. If world wide demand is rising and there is less of a product, the price rises. he is correct in saying it is not the ONLY factor, but it is still a factor.


5. Alcohol based fuels are hygroscopic. They will absorb water and therefore have a very short shelf life vs gasoline, While this not so much a problem with a daily driver, you won’t be too happy storing your lawnmower or classic car with a tank full of alcohol. In fact, race engine that are designed to burn alcohols are stored “pickled” (run for a short time with gasoline to coat the parts) in order to avoid corrosion and water.


6. Volatility. Ethanol is more volatile than gasoline, which means it will evaporate at a much lower temperature than gasoline. This means more of it will get sent into the atmosphere than will gasoline under the same conditions. This means that ethanol can pollute MORE than will gasoline.


7. Here is another point about alcohol based fuels noone has considered. Being grown, Our fuel “independence” would then be subject to the whims of mother nature. Floods, drought, disease would all play a factor in the price and supply of our newest fuel source.


Despite the protestations of the environmental whackos, and those with a financial stake in the industry, using alcohol based fuels is a bad deal for all of us.


Jim Caron



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