19 February 2007

The dirt on "clean" fuels

FYI: Walked to work today. Too wet and slushy outside to feel entirely safe, and I sort of exploded an inner tube when I inflated my tires this morning. Whatever that brand is I bought last time, I need to stop buying it.

Anyway, thank you Gristmill:
Politicians do not appear to be comprehending the complexities
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"Most environmental types have become familiar with the many negatives of corn ethanol by now. [For example.] They are just now warming up to the negatives of biodiesel made from soybeans, which takes five times as much land as corn to produce the same gas mileage. Your average American would stuff about 15 acres of soybean oil into their car annually, removing a valuable food commodity from futures markets. [Yeah! We could by hydrogenating all that soybean oil instead!]
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"Second, I can convert my car to run on natural gas in a few days. Anyone can. Almost nobody does because they don't want to install a giant cylinder in their trunk and have to fill up every other day. This is an old idea that just refuses to catch on for lots of good reasons.
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A diagram of why hydrogen is so inefficient can be found here."

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2 Comments:

At 19 February, 2007 15:04, Anonymous Benjamin said...

I think that this is overly pessimistic. Corn-based ethanol is not the answer (although it may ultimately kick-start an ethanol boom), but if they can get develop a way to use a grass like miscanthus (http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=43379) then ethanol makes a lot of sense, at least for the short term. And I find that report on the hydrogen economy a little suspect. (The guy is an electrical engineer, for one, which suggests he has a little bias, and batteries are extremely unlikely to be used in applications like airplanes and ships.)

 
At 19 February, 2007 15:47, Blogger Jennifer said...

Did you check out the original Gristmill post? They have more information there; I just thought it was about time someone succinctly put the whole "oil=bad, alt. fuels=good" fad into perspective. Kudos to the original author, whose name I forget right now.

 

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