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mus302

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Everything posted by mus302

  1. I was under the assumption that the automakers or the EPA actually did test on E85 to come up with the number. If the number they report on the website is just a calculated number then there is no incentive whatsoever to optimize the engine for E85. All the optimization goes to gasoline since once you have the highest possible gasoline number you will have the highest calculated E85 number.
  2. I like it. It provides for the incentive for the improvements in infrastructure that will be needed over time and would most likely garner much better bang for the buck than the system that we have now. I would also add a requirement of the automakers that within 5 years a certain percentage of their fleet would have to be flex fuel. I would also tinker with the way that the EPA certifies fuel mileage. Since the EPA tests both emissions and mileage on a reference fuel, the automakers have tweaked the cars to perform best on that reference fuel. I would make that reference fuel E10 since it is the most readily available fuel today and for the near term. I am open for ideas on how to structure the flex fuel vehicle mileage tests. At the moment they are optimized for the reference fuel and capable of burning E85. There has to be a way to structure the tests so that the optimization for both fuels is better. I know a lot of this doesn't specifically have to do with the blenders credit but the whole system needs to be tweaked so that all the policies that deal with ethanol are all working towards the same goals.
  3. If you were a station owner would you install a new tank for ethanol and put in a blender pump knowing that the only payback on the money invested is going to come from incentives for selling high level blends to the small percentage of the vehicle fleet that can handle high level blends?
  4. SacramentoE-85 You raise some very good points. That is the really big question. Of course it should probably be pointed out that one of the downsides of the current subsidy is that it continues to pay even after the upgrades are payed for. In other words say a terminal installs blending equipment for $1 million and then over the next few years collects $2 million in subsidies. There is probably a more effective way of getting the infrastructure built out. With that said I guess I have tipped my hand that I am not for maintaining the status quo. But as I have said before we know what we have now and it have been successful up to this point. This is a complicated issue that will require a lot of thought and a thorough understanding of the entire supply chain to decide on the best way forward.
  5. SacramentoE-85 said basically what I would say in regards to this issue. Interesting pdf. Actually, I said it could create a bottleneck in supply. Let's say you own a terminal that supplies a local area with fuel. You haven't spent the money to buy the tanks and blending equipment yet to be able to handle ethanol. Do you spend the money knowing that in a few months the tax credit may go away? Now if you decide not to add the equipment, where are the stations that want to sell E10 or E85 going to get it? They aren't. In that case you would be the bottleneck in their supply chain. That was 69 pumps in roughly 13 months. Hundreds you say? Interesting. Of course since the argument was that the amount installed in the 7 weeks after certification was about as much as for the 13 month period before it would really help if you could break that down into the number before and the number after. How exactly can that be since E85 gets the same money/subsidy as E10 on a ethanol/volume basis? Are the FFVs to patronize all these new stations going to magically appear as well?
  6. Again for the most part the oil companies aren't the recipient of the blenders credit. The terminal owners are since they are the ones that actually blend the ethanol with gasoline. And to be able to blend ethanol they have to invest large sums of money. This is from a report earlier in the year. “Since there was not a need for rail access to petroleum storage and distribution facilities before the induction of ethanol, most storage and distribution facilities are located along pipelines, not rail lines,” the researchers say. Because direct rail access to storage and distribution facilities is not prevalent, the researchers remark some terminal owners’ investment in rail spurs, unloading equipment, and piping to allow direct rail delivery of ethanol via rail. Current storage tanks, piping, and blending equipment must be converted for ethanol use only or new infrastructure must be installed. “To this end, a new 25,000-barrel storage tank costs $450,000 and takes 14-24 months to build,” the researchers say, proving this is not a quick or easy task. The blenders credit is the incentive for terminals to invest in blending equipment. If there are any terminals left that haven't installed the needed equipment, eliminating it could create a bottleneck in the supply chain. Additionally, the last time I posted on the number of E85 stations was on May 1, 2009. At that time there were 1991 stations according to Growth Energy. On June 29, 2010, which is about a week after the UL certified pumps for E85, there was 2160 pumps. So for the roughly 13 months before certification there were 69 pumps installed. The number today is 2223. So in the roughly 7 weeks since certification there has been 63 pumps installed. It seems to me that the stumbling block for more E85 pumps has been the lack of certification not the way the incentives are structured or what the ethanol industry has or hasn't done.
  7. Dan I don't believe that the carbon monoxide emissions or the particulate matter emissions regulations are the main issue here. I believe the main issue is the fact that they are considering counting the carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of biomass in the same way that they are counted in the burning of fossil fuels. From the original article. Originally, EPA’s proposed tailoring rule recommended that CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass should not be counted. “(The EPA) changed the rule at the last minute,” said Steve Jarvis, executive director of the Missouri Forest Products Association. “All throughout the hearing and rule-making process, there was not even a word about regulating green house gas emissions from anything other than those produced from fossil fuel production.” “This would be devastating to the Missouri timber industry,” Jarvis said. The environmental movement has been making a push to treat biomass the same as fossil fuels. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ngreene/scientists_to_congress_obama_c.html Treating short term sequestered carbon such as biomass the same as long term sequestered carbon such as fossil fuels is a dangerous road to head down.
  8. I don't know if that information is published anywhere. Lately the talk has been about BP getting $600 million to blend ethanol but that is a calculated number based on certain assumptions most notably that they blend everything at 10%. "Extrapolating from Energy Information Administration data on 2009 refining capacity, BP is estimated to have produced about 11.5 billion gallons of gasoline. If the company blended up to the 10 percent limit under current law, about 1.15 billion gallons would have been blended, translating to a $518 million tax benefit. In 2008, federally mandated ethanol production was 9 billion, and this year that figure rises to 12 billion. If BP's blending rises proportionally, that could put the company at about 1.3 billion gallons this year, for a tax benefit worth $585 million." It also assumes that every gallon that they refine they blend ethanol with. But since they don't send ethanol through the pipelines, the blending would occur at the terminal not at the refinery. Of course if BP owns a bunch of terminals that number could be higher but from looking at how they came up with the number it is far from solid. I wonder if a person could trace who is selling RINs.
  9. Serious talk of lowering or eliminating the VEETC started fairly recently. The API has opposed E15 for over a year. This was on April 1, 2009. Ethanol producers are seeking to increase the allowed 10% cap on ethanol in gasoline and have recently petitioned EPA to waive Clean Air Act constraints on this limit. They may also advocate legislative actions to remove those constraints. However, the research used to support the waiver request is preliminary in nature. API believes that comprehensive research on the impacts of blends higher than the current 10% ethanol limit should be completed and strategies to address potential market challenges should be ready before the limit is increased.
  10. The credit goes to the company that blends ethanol with gasoline. Do oil drillers blend ethanol with gasoline? No. Do refiners blend ethanol with gasoline? No. Ethanol is blended at the terminals and in some cases the terminal may be owned by the oil companies but in a lot of cases the terminals are owned by regional petroleum distributors. And those terminal owners had to install tanks and blending equipment to be able to handle ethanol. Really? The NPRA and the API are both opposed. I know because I am subscribed to their news feeds. Here are a few recent headlines and quotes. Let me know if you want links to any of them. NPRA Supports Bipartisan Congressional Letter to EPA on E15 NPRA's Drevna on UPI's "Outside View": Follow the Science on Increasing Ethanol in Gasoline NPRA Applauds EPA's Decision to Delay Action on Higher Ethanol Blends 36 Groups Ask Senate Leaders to Reject Increasing Ethanol in Gasoline The American Petroleum Institute (API), National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), The Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA), and Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) all signed. WASHINGTON, June 18, 2010 - "API is pleased with EPA’s decision to delay approval of the use of higher levels of ethanol in gasoline. As the impacts of higher ethanol blends will fall on consumers, API believes that no action regarding E15 should be made until its effects on emissions, engine durability and consumer safety have been confirmed through scientific testing." WASHINGTON, May 5, 2010 - The Auto Alliance, the American Petroleum Institute and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute urged EPA to delay action on the agency’s proposal to allow higher levels of ethanol in gasoline.
  11. Personally I am for both more E85 pumps and E15. And I do want to enrich the ethanol companies because if it isn't the ethanol companies that are being enriched it will be the oil companies and foreign oil producers.
  12. You mean other than the fact that the only vehicles that can legally run E15 are flex fuel vehicles?
  13. Yeah, I meant to the east. The mountains tend to stop the weather patterns which move from west to east from blowing that dirty air on to the east. So the dirty air just hangs there. Most parts of the country don't have to deal with those types of things.
  14. GM used to refer to ethanol as the Fuel of the Future. http://www.radford.edu/wkovarik/papers/fuel.html
  15. I am not sure that they could do that. California's situation with mountains bordering them to the west makes their emissions situation somewhat unique. For that reason they are the only state that can set their own emissions standards. Other states can adopt California standards but can't come up with their own.
  16. Or it could put them in a position where they can't make a profit and go into bankruptcy. If that happens the refiners like Valero, Sunoco, Marathon, and Murphy that already own ethanol plants will most likely buy more capacity. Now if the refiners own a large share of the ethanol production will there be more or less E85? My guess is less. Why would they support a product that competes with their core business. As an additive they can use ethanol as a hedge by adding more when profitable and less when not. That would give them an advantage over competitors that don't own ethanol production.
  17. I believe you are right. I think that ethanol is at least partially paying for the past mistakes of the oil industry. As you mentioned leaded gasoline is a good example. An even newer example is MTBE and the problems it caused with groundwater contamination.
  18. The average life span of a vehicle is assumed to 15 years. So they don't put much stock in the effects on vehicles older than that.
  19. ADM ran some of their trucks on 95% ethanol and 5% gasoline. They also added a small amount of Lubrizol to boost the lubrication properties of the mix. This was during the mid 1990s. http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/pdfs/casestudy_adm.pdf You may want to look into acetone. Seems like I saw something on acetone improving ethanol's cold performance but can't remember where I saw it.
  20. I always thought that the EPA stood for the Environmental Protection Agency not the consumer protection agency. The only question that matters is whether or not the use of E15, both short term and long term, meets emissions standards.
  21. GM has a rather checkered past when it comes to ethanol. My guess is unless they can develop a process that they can patent and make money off of they will continue to do as little as possible.
  22. Wesley Clark testified in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee today and was asked about the plan. Clark was questioned about the Growth Energy “Fueling Freedom” proposal announced last week that would phase out the blenders tax credit for ethanol and redirect those dollars toward increasing infrastructure like blender pumps. “It’s a concept, not a rigid proposal, with respect to timing,” Clark said, with regard to whether the idea should be implemented by the end of this year when the tax credit expires. He also said that the proposal should be tied to an energy bill. “If we can’t pass comprehensive energy legislation, we fully support the extension of current tax policies and the extension of the secondary tariff on foreign ethanol,” said Clark, “for five years, at the current rate.” This is from a DomesticFuel post and includes a link to an audio recording of his comments. http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DomesticFuel/~3/gxO_t6uQvEE/
  23. SacramentoE-85 You have to remember that the credits (RINs) can be carried over from year to year. And in every year that I can remember there has been more ethanol sold than what was required. So there should be excess credits floating around out there. The oil companies should be able to cut back on the amount of ethanol they blend with gasoline and use up some of their stored up credits without having to pay any fines. They could only do that for a while but it might be long enough to cause another shake up in the industry. The oil companies are really in the position of power in this situation.
  24. Basically they have two choices. Support what they know and what has worked pretty well up to this point. Or change direction with just 30 legislative days left in this session and the prospect of a radically different makeup in the next session. I like the Growth Energy plan but given the reality of the situation, if I was in charge I would play it safe and go with what I know. I just don't think there is enough time to hammer out the details of a new plan and get it right.
  25. Kohler is supposed to be introducing fuel injection and E85 compatibility on their 2 cylinder engines. They announced this plan about two years ago but have pushed it back. This is from a February 2010 press release. In 2008, Kohler also announced plans to develop the industry’s first EFI engines with a flex-fuel option. According to Litt (Cam Litt, marketing manager), this alternate fuel option, such as E-85, could be available to OEMs some time in 2010, once the business has completed the EFI conversion across the entire Command PRO twin-cylinder line. Added Litt: “In the future, our KOHLER EFI engines will also be E-85 capable, meaning the engine will be more adaptable to varying fuel formulations.” There is some documentation on the effects on emissions from using low level blends in 2 cycle engines. The best information I have seen is from a program run in Yellowstone park to lower emissions from 2 cycle snowmobiles. http://www.deq.state.mt.us/CleanSnowmobile/index.asp
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