What is your view on ethanol as an alternative energy source to petroleum? How do you best produce it?

Ethanol is currently produced by fermentation of corn. There are other ways such as the fermentation of whole plants, like "switchgrass", a native North American grass. How ecology friendly is ethanol — its use, it production by various methods?

7 Responses to “What is your view on ethanol as an alternative energy source to petroleum? How do you best produce it?”

  1. cordefr Says:

    Ethanol from corn has the advantage that it is a renewable source, however it just doesn’t seem to be very environmental friendly.

    1) Its production is energy negative. It takes more energy to produce ethanol than is obtained from it.Adding the energy cost of the fertilizer (made chiefly from natural gas), and the energy costs (gasoline and/or diesel) to plow, plant, cultivate, and transport the corn for ethanol production, ethanol in total does not seem to save fossil fuel energy nor does it’s use reduce atmospheric pollution.
    2) Using grain such as corn for fuel, precludes it from being used as food for humans or livestock.
    3) In U.S. corn production, soil erodes some 20-times faster than soil is formed.
    4) Ethanol has less energy per volume than does gasoline.
    5) Ethanol is not so environmentally friendly as advocates would like to believe. While ethanol produces less carbon monoxide than gasoline, it produces just as much nitrous oxides as gasoline. In addition, ethanol adds aldehydes and alcohol to the atmosphere, all of which are carcinogenic. When all air pollutants associated with the entire ethanol system are measured, ethanol production is found to contribute to major air pollution problems.

  2. MojoMan Says:

    This will only be used in small amounts compared to what we consume as a nation. If we were to replace all of the oil used with ethanol we would have to plant corn over the entire nation of Africa and I don’t think the people there would care for that to much.

  3. Doctor J Says:

    It may actually be the chemical equivalent of a ‘perpetual motion machine’. Scientific analysis is still not sure whether or not more energy goes into growing and making ‘ethanol’ than is realized from it.

    Right now it only looks viable because the govt. is heavily subsidizing the cost. That alone should be a huge red flag that the ‘physics of energy production from ethanol’ just may not work. But, once the popular press and the politicians get an idea in their head, no matter how bad an idea it is, they will promote and spend the tax payers dollars on it. (remember the EV1? the electric car? BILLIONS of dollars were wasted on that government/media darling of an idea.)

    Best wishes.

  4. KrazyK784 Says:

    I think ethanol and biodiesel is a great way for the future. I worry about Brazil going to depend on ethanol (sugar as their sourse) I don’t know how much of the rainforest will be destroyed. to make biodiesel is actually really easy and a common person can make it. The best way to save a lot of money is to have halve biodiesel and half diesel. this will make your car run smoother and cleaner. I hope this helped you. I would like to talk to you more about it.

    my screen name is krazyk784

  5. vic420x Says:

    Ethanol is the future biofuel of the earth, its cheaper and make less pollution as compared to petrolleum. in the near future petrol is doom to finish and its price will sure rise up. We can use ethanol to produce derivative of petroleum products.
    there are various method we can produce ethanol. Basic chemistry, ethanol is produce by the fermentation of sugars by bacteria. Sources of sugar are the sugar can, beet roots and many other fruits. Brazil is one of the biggest producer of sugar can, as well as the largest supplier of ethanaol around the world. Brazillian are conscious about the situation, thats why they opt for cars using diesel and ethanol together.

  6. KyUtGuY22 Says:

    using ethanol as an alternative energy source means a lot of savings for the government to the consuming public. this means less expenses from importing this king of gas.

  7. kayla Says:

    umm.. I don’t know