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Retrospect Carbon Studies

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I do believe ethanol is headed for the evental rating of carbon negative and yes the other alternative energy sources will contribute to the endeavor at the farm, process plant, refueling stations, and distribution. Just switching the boilers to biomass will decrease carbon rating of the plant 30%. How about utilizing waste heat from power generators? CHP process equipment just starting to be utilized. Same for cogeneration.            

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In reference to the USDA report on Life Cycle Analysis of corn ethanol carbon emission as required by the RFS II legislation. By the law they must use 11 emission categories. This is the laughable part as it looks like they threw everything in the rating except the kitchen sink. I see of no other energy sources under the microscope in attempt to attach every indirect aspect of their energy production. So, many of these categories are highly subjective or basically wild ass guesses. I can only find four that should be included within a good and accurate measure. Fuel production, transport, tailpipe, and domestic farm inputs. Petrol only suffers two such measures of production and tailpipe. I will congratulate the USDA study as they have improved some of this rating stuff to a portion of reality, but come on. My guess the RFS II law was only allowed to pass if petrol supporters got to throw in all this junk upon the carbon rating. I supposed they thought they could beat up alternative fuel badly with this rating system and they we highly successful. Funny part is even so, ethanol has made incredible strides to go from something like a mere -22% to currently -43% carbon reduction on an energy basis. The energy basis rating is another false premise. The quality of fuel is highly important to ICE work performance. It is a proven fact that an optimized ethanol engine will match gasoline engine in a mpg rating. Thank you Cummings E85 engine real life test results and analysis. That in itself would boost the carbon rating of ethanol fuel 30%.

 

If you do a quick scale of the USDA report chart on comparing the 11 emissions categories, you will have a better handle on real life emissions of corn ethanol. Sure, it could be 10% off, but my micrometer and past experiences have rated this method better than 10% accuracy. Know the largest section of carbon emissions is the processing. This is the category easiest to improve. All indicators this will greatly improve. Much cheaper investment as compared to other investments of low carbon energy. Think of the challenge of engineering to utilize waste heat of other processing plants such as power production. Utilizing CHP equipment, biodigestor gas, wind energy, solar energy, biomass, and all the other biological components and processing changes that result in decreasing processing energy of ethanol. This category should go to zero effective emissions and probably dip to negative. Same for the production of fertilizer and farm energy needs radically decreasing with the use of wind, solar, digester gas, and biomass.

 

If you scale the important and four important categories and rate the eventual improvements of processing ethanol were sitting at -86% carbon rating. The USDA summary claimed a -76% rating was possible even with the current 11 emission categories and using a Btu measure. If we utilize ethanol properly as in optimized ethanol engines and rated the fuel per actual mileage measure it would easily go to carbon neutral fuel. Putting all the tricks to make it more so, would position the fuel deep into negative carbon rating. These tricks to make the fuel processing and farming less carbon intensive are commonly known and need only be refined by finding the best combination and implementation. Much of it already developed and need only be implemented across the spectrum. You throw into the mix expected cellulosic production, biological improvements, and know this fuel is definitely the way to go for transportation as far as GW concerns. No competition to biofuel to lower GW emissisons.  

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Also, given the broad indirect penalties of hypothetical international ramifications of ethanol production, shouldn't ethanol get a huge positive factor for wind power production? Yesterday, drove back from Springfield, IL at night and witnessed a sea of red lights flashing in unison.  It was eerie sight for a sleepy driver to come upon. Seemed to be a sea of wind turbines as far as the eye could see. All of them were on farm fields. We know farmer's fields produced most of the wind turbine power and all the corn. Isn't this an indirect benefit of corn ethanol? Wind energy is touted with extremely high ranking of low carbon energy. Most of it sits on farmers fields. some farmers own the equipment, other just rent, or gain dividends for the field use. So, I don't see the accounting within the eleven measures of carbon rating of corn ethanol for this extremely environmental energy gain. Farm fields are a tremendously valuable resource for wind energy. Can you image how far the value of farm fields would be pushed with wind power energy. Should wind power just be another co-product of ethanol? The methodology utilized to rate ethanol demerits with such indirect hypothetical criteria (destroying rain forests) they indeed to place much of the wind energy to the actual gain of farm production of ethanol. That accounting makes the most sense within reality.    

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