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Author Topic: Ethanol  (Read 7239 times)

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Re: Ethanol
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2017, 07:33:39 pm »
Eddie asked,


My flawed world view?

I was talking about the current agricultural boondoggle that results in government money being thrown into growing many thousands of acres of GMO corn on land that is already worn out, just to make ethanol at an EROEI that's barely over 1:1 by the most generous estimates.

It's just a Big Ag scam that puts money into Monsanto's bank account, and that of a number of congressmen, no doubt.

I have no allegiance to the fossil fuel industry, beyond driving a car, which I expect you also do from time to time. What pisses me off is you calling me names. My informed opinion is that it's a bad idea to keep making ethanol from GMO corn.

My view is not based of on fossil fuel propaganda. It's based on understanding EROEI, and on understanding how using all that ammonium nitrate and glyphosate poisons the land and the water.


A world view includes many other assumptions that are corollaries to your belief that, for example, published ERoEI numbers, as in the "low positive" EroEI allegations in your referenced article,  are valid. So, I will limit this discussion to Energy Return on Energy Invested.

First of all, the term "ERoEI" is a deliberate misnomer. It actually refers to MONEY returned for MONEY invested. It is doubletalk to claim the energy units required for the production of ethanol from whatever are X:1.

WHY? Because along absolutely every step of the way to get that ethanol, assumptions are made that PETROLEUM PRODUCTS are required to obtain the processed ethanol. THAT IS A LIE. But, if we proceed from that flawed assumption, you can get some very low ERoEI numbers from a plant that requires chemical fertilization, plowing, has slow growth, is not temperature tolerant, cannot be grown all year round, ETC.

But all the above is not even my biggest complaint about the lack of scientific objectivity involved in making ERoEI assumptions (i.e. ENERGY UNITS, not SUBSIDIZED, or otherwise, dollars).

You as a scientist, will not dispute the FACT that every cubic inch of soil has over 50 million microscopic critters in it. Do you REALLY think that our science can accurately compute the energy in versus the energy out of that bioactivity? You KNOW we CANNOT.

When a plant is growing, the soil it is in is bioactive, or the plant dies. I am not just talking about nitrogen fixing bacteria, available water, potassium and phosphorous. That is the super simplistic world view that has gotten us into this mess.

The flawed thinking which assumes that is all a crop needs to grow is the simplistic science that leads to quantifying the "energy" inputs. That is inaccurate, to put it mildly. THAT is the flawed thinking that leads to quantifying crop "yield" by weight, instead of by nutrients.

SCIENCE is NOT supposed to DO THAT! Science is supposed to add and subtract EVERYTHING that is going on in the bioactivity in order to properly determine how much ENERGY is going in to grow that crop and how much is available in the crop product SUSTAINABLY.

In the case of ethanol ERoEI, the calculations flat REFUSE to do soil comparison yield due to microbial activity or the lack of it. They don't want to go there (chemical fertilizers inhibit microbial activity BUT increase crop WEIGHT while decreasing crop nutrients) so they DON'T. Yes, the BT GMO corn grown for ethanol is practically inedible so the nutrient content should theoretically not be a factor. The factor should be starch, which is what the ethanol is produced from.

But it HAS been conclusively proven that rich bioactive soils produce a higher percentage starch content in corn than straight chemical fertilized crops. So, even if the WEIGHT of the corn might be greater with all the fossil fuel CRAP used, increased starch percentage is certainly NOT a guaranteed benefit of increased weight.

The depletion of soils by mono cropping ethanol constitutes world class crocodile tears from Big Ag when they never gave a DAMN about that for food crops (although they certainly should have!). There certainly IS a way to grow corn without depleting the soil, but the fossil fuel industry and Big Ag ARE NOT INTERESTED IN SUSTAINABILITY.  That is why any talk of soil depletion caused by growing ethanol is a red herring.

The ERoEI concept, as I have discussed in the past, does not even have a STANDARD in the scientific community, other than what the Charles Hall gang (i.e. fossil fuel industry funded happy talkers for oil and doom and gloomers for Renewable Energy in general and ethanol in particular) publish.

DON'T tell me there is some kind of tidy ERoEI Joules in and joules out formula out there because there AIN'T!

DON'T tell me the fossil fuel industry hasn't been gaming ERoEI numbers against ethanol because they ARE!

This brings us to your assumption that the article you just quoted has scientifically accurate energy numbers. THAT is just one part of your world view, that I contend, is flawed.

You believe a plethora of falsehoods about thermodynamics because Capitalism wants you to view products with a very precise bit of cherry picking for costs and profits. It all goes back to money, not energy. Published ERoEI numbers are baloney. Fossil fuels, ALL OF THEM, require more energy to go from source to processed product than the energy in the product. That is blasphemy to your world view. You laugh when you read that. And the reason you laugh is because you firmly believe the fossil fuel industry has "profited" (along with civilization) from them. They have stolen from the biosphere. They have used the air water and land as an open sewer.

But you read one article about "low positive" ethanol EroEI and depleted soils and immediately pass judgement on a program that just last year reached its biofuel goals (set nearly ten years before) for the first time.

That is because you have a flawed world view. You were, as we all have been, propagandized by inaccurate science passed off as "reputable" energy mathematics.

I don't ask you to agree with me. I just ask you to be more aware of the depth with which you assume published data is "reputable" without a second thought.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 10:22:54 pm by AGelbert »
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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