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THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 13 May 2015, 21:48:17

KaiserJeep wrote:Last January I rented a Flex Fuel Vehicle in Wisconsin - a V8 powered Chevy Suburban (I know, I had reserved a more economical V6-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee, but this vehicle got substituted in a free upgrade when the Jeep was unavailable). E85 was widely available there, and advertised on signage. The remaining fuel was virtually all E10, and an occasional station advertised 100% gasoline - IOW there was choice available.

Pricing was significantly different - the typical ratio was $1.799/g for E85 vs. $2.399/g for E10. That is enough price spread to make it worthwhile to burn the E85 and had it been Summer, I would have done so. The mileage and range would have been reduced by approximately 25% but the E85 (called "corn fuel" by the natives :mrgreen: ) was consistently about 30-33% cheaper, and the vehicle's tank was large (we were adding 28-30 gallons per fuel stop).

However, the rental car agency warned us that if we parked outside in below zero weather, the Suburban might not start the next morning if it had E85 in it. Therefore we used E10 for the entire 2380 miles. The Suburban was the heavier 4WD model, and the engine was the 5.3L Eco-Tec V8, but it actually averaged 24.3 mpg in mixed highway/city usage, with EPA figures 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. I was surprised, the lighter V6 Jeep Cherokee would have had similar figures.


The E-85 sold in Michigan and Ohio and presumably Wisconsin all has pump labels stating (this fuel contains at least 70% ethanol) because in winter months they up the gasoline portion in the fuel to prevent cold starting problems. Not having a flex fuel vehicle I don't have any direct experience but I don't know anyone who has had winter problems using it and I am sure it would have made a media splash if it did happen around the Toledo area.
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Subjectivist » Thu 14 May 2015, 10:28:30

There used to be a lot of talk around here about Switchgrass ethanol but everything went quiet when the Bakken and Eagle Ford started producing mass quantities of oil. Now it seems just because they were quiet doesn't mean work stopped, four commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants are already built and as peak starts to bits us they will have the technology experience to build many more.

Next Generation is Here Today
In September 2014, POET-DSM held a grand opening for Project Liberty, a 20 million gallon per year facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The plant will use 285,000 tons of baled corn residue annually from within a 45-mile radius. Less than a week later, Quad County Corn Processors in Galva, Iowa, unveiled its "Adding Cellulosic Ethanol" technology, a "bolt-on" process that converts corn kernel fiber into 2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. In October 2014, Abengoa raised the curtain on its state-of-the-art biorefinery in Hugoton, Kansas. The facility will generate 25 million gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol, as well as 21 megawatts of electricity. The plant uses 1,000 tons per day of crop residues, providing $17 million per year of extra income for local farmers. As 2015 began, DuPont was putting the final touches on its 30 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa. The biorefinery, which will initially use crop residue as its feedstock, is expected to begin production in the first quarter.

http://www.ethanolrfa.org/pages/advanced-ethanol
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 14 May 2015, 10:36:53

The plant-process description is confused. Corn kernels contain simple carbohydrates, the material currently used to make 1st generation simple sugar-fermented ethanol. There is nothing in that process described that contains cellulose.

The other schemes are lies. We have been down this path for ten years here. There will never be cellulosic ethanol production. Wood fiber, hemicellulose and lignin, is one of the toughest materials known to man. The cost in electricity or acid hydrolysis to break the bonds and create a fermentable sugar are enormous. Claims for 2nd and 3rd generation technologies (GMO enzymes usually) have always been hooey. Graeme of course would differ and so have dozens of other promoters who have come and gone from peakoil.com over the last decade.

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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 14 May 2015, 12:04:11

You are out of date on this one, pstarr. Methanol (aka wood alcohol) is a commonly available fuel here in California. Not many people use it because it costs $8.40 per gallon presently, and is considered one of two racing fuels, the other being 130-octane aviation-grade leaded gasoline (which is over $12/g).

The corn remnants from ethanol production are normally mixed with chopped "silage" fibers as cattle feed - but can be processed again using enzymes to attack the fibrous kernel walls to produce methanol. This is typically NOT done because the material is more valuable as animal feed. Switchgrass, kudzu, common lawn clippings, and green algaes can also be used for methanol production.

I would have to drive 3.5 miles to get a methanol fill-up at a local Chevron station, and legally you could only fill up a race car on a trailer or loose fuel cans. (Actually nobody cares if you put it in your tank.) Modern methanol production is a catalytic process involving carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen (and energy) - wood fibers or cellulose is no longer required. I am not aware of anybody using methanol in a street vehicle - it has a 50% mileage penalty compared to gasoline, or E85 ethanol fuels which have a 25% mileage penalty.

Oddly enough, there ARE heavy trucks burning methanol - but it is misted into the intake air to avoid pre-detonation, to increase efficiency in very high compression engines. These diesel trucks also require post-combustion urea injection (DEF or "diesel exhaust fluid") to reduce tailpipe emissions, as otherwise they would produce lots of nitrogen oxides. (Water can also be used to cool intakes but methanol is preferred.)(When methanol injection is used in a diesel truck, the methanol is not considered a fuel.)

You can purchase diesel, biodiesel, gasoline, CNG, propane, hydrogen, and ethanol freely and use them legally on public roads. You can purchase methanol and 130-octane aviation gas only for off-road uses. You can purchase leaded 100-octane as a marine fuel, not legal for road use.

One of the reasons I was unimpressed with the documentary Pump was that there ARE stations here in Silicon Valley selling five or more fuel varieties. They do a good business because this is one of a handful of places doing a lot of transportation R&D.

We have restaurants competing for the BEV crowds with free chargers - fuel yourself and get a free charge for your car. I grant you, it is not the case everywhere in California.
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 14 May 2015, 13:36:30

KaiserJeep wrote:You are out of date on this one, pstarr. Methanol (aka wood alcohol) is a commonly available fuel here in California. Not many people use it because it costs $8.40 per gallon presently, and is considered one of two racing fuels, the other being 130-octane aviation-grade leaded gasoline (which is over $12/g).
Yes, $8.40/gallon is out of date. It may have been chipper for those gadabouts and swells motoring about the Estate in the '20's, good man.
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 14 May 2015, 13:42:18

Since you have to buy two gallons of methanol to cover the same distance as one gallon of gasoline, it is actually 4X as expensive. But they use it at Laguna Seca and Sears Point a lot. Oddly enough, the flames are colorless - drivers and cars can be splashed with fuel and burn, and in the sunlight, the only way you can tell is when they start smoking. 8O

By the way, in the mid 1940's, my Grandfather got busted for selling gasoline for $0.05/gallon during rationing. He found a spot where there was a pipeline dripping in the North Bay at a tanker offshore loading dock. Thinking quickly, he sat a 55-gallon drum underneath in a hole in the ground, strategically positioned so that the drip went into the open bunghole. Then once he had filled his tank, he sold any left over. The judge was not very sympathetic, he got six months of weekend confinement (his railroad job was considered essential for the war effort).

I mention this because the vintage of car you showed is from the days of $0.02/gallon gasoline. :mrgreen:
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 May 2015, 08:20:13

I'm not sure what methanol has to do with anything?

The article is about cellulosic ethanol, using enzymes to break down the cellulose in cell walls to get at the carbs.

The "corn kernel fibre" is the "skin" of the corn kernel left over after dry milling (not distilling). Milling removes the corn starch and germ and what is lift is cellulose with some starch attached that couldn't be removed. Probably barely qualifies as cellulose because of the leftover starch, but hey...

That's my take anyway.

http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles ... to-ethanol
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 May 2015, 08:34:16

Here is a story about using distillers grains
http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles ... ze-rapidly

Just from memory DDGS contain about 40% fiber and 40% protein. The high protien is what makes them valuable as feed, not sure what the process does to the protien or if it is still usable post production.
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 15 May 2015, 08:54:24

Pops wrote:Here is a story about using distillers grains
http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles ... ze-rapidly

Just from memory DDGS contain about 40% fiber and 40% protein. The high protien is what makes them valuable as feed, not sure what the process does to the protien or if it is still usable post production.


The protein is accessible to the livestock, but no mammal raised as livestock is able to survive on protein alone. I read a study back around 2005 about the disaster caused when one of the big hog farms (my spouse grew up on a Hog Farm so I pay attention) got a great deal from an Ethanol plant for WDGS. They were close enough that the plant didn't have to dry it first which gave them a big discount price wise. The hogs love the stuff, but they can't digest the fiber so nearly all of the food value was in the Protein. Protein has an appetite suppression factor because the body can only process a certain amount before it starts damaging the kidneys from excess Urea and Ammonia being produced in the blood. As a result the hogs ate until full but started rapidly loosing weight. The solution is easy, mix grease, kitchen waste, or whole cracked grains back in to supply the hogs with food calories in addition to the appetite suppressing corn Protein. Also the protein in corn is not complete for most mammals so they could not live on it exclusively even if it did not suppress appetite.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 May 2015, 09:16:22

I didn't say anything about feeding exclusively DGS.

In fact I'm pretty amazed any large operation would feed straight anything without regard to analysis.
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 15 May 2015, 09:43:39

Pops wrote:I didn't say anything about feeding exclusively DGS.

In fact I'm pretty amazed any large operation would feed straight anything without regard to analysis.


It wasn't that large of an operation and some people lack common sense ;) Like I said the solution was easy once they understood the problem, hogs will eat dang near anything so a simple addition to the WDGS fixed everything and still saved them a lot on feed costs.

Strange aside. I saw recently that some big cities have banned farmers from buying restaurant scraps as feed for fear of flu infected humans infecting the pigs feeding on the scraps. Given that any big operation is bound to be worried about infecting their herd it seems like a rather stupid law as it means all those scraps now end up in a landfill instead.

Back on topic, WDGS and DDGS are wonderful feed supplements for cattle and hogs either mixed with other feed types or fed on a rotating schedule. Either way they put a big hole in the whole food vs fuel debate on Corn Ethanol, only the starch component is used by a conventional process plant and the high value components (corn oil and protein) are used for food. Cooking oil for Humans and Livestock feed specifically. The real bonus for Cellulosic plants making ethanol is not the small fiber component of the distillers grains, it is the corn stover. The leaves and husks are easier to break down than the stalks, but all of it gets baled and then ground before being treated with proprietary enzymes to pull the cellulose molecules apart into glucose.

If they can perfect the process for breaking the cellulose down that would overnight allow the world to feed millions or even billions more animal life by converting indigestible fiber into digestible glucose.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 May 2015, 09:51:33

The thing about ruminants (not pigs of course) is they have gut bacteria that can break down the cellulose in grass (or fiber in DDGs) and turn it into carbs. You can feed cattle sawdust and their guts can break it down to get a few carbs, ditto chicken litter, cotton burr, almond hulls, etc. But grass (or sawdust) doesn't contain much protein, legumes like alfalfa do but they are expensive.

Ruminants get their protein naturally by digesting the very gut organisms that convert the cellulose to carbs, how's that for a thank you? LOL

The limiting factor then is usually protein. So it is important when mixing a supplement or a total replacement ration, to pay attention top "bypass protein" (the protein that bypasses the gut going straight to the small intestines), which is why most feedstuff is categorized first by protein content rather than carbs and why the concentrated protein in DDGs is valuable.
Last edited by Pops on Fri 15 May 2015, 11:04:23, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: rearranged my disorganized rant
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Subjectivist » Fri 15 May 2015, 10:17:17

I pulled up an application yesterday online of stations all around Toledo and only found one officially selling E-15. Almost every station not on the waterfront for the marina users sells E-10. Given more ethanol plants are still being built they will either have to convince the gas stations to start selling E-15 or find other customers somewhere for all this new Ethanol to come onto the market.

I lost the link I used but I am sure there are others online, how much E-15 is around where you live?
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Re: THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Unread postby Subjectivist » Fri 22 May 2015, 17:00:23

Where do you think the EPA will come down on their requirements?


The EPA punted in 2013, then again last year. Now at least the EPA seems ready to resume its responsibilities. The agency sent its proposal over to the White House Office of Budget and Management earlier this month, but no word has leaked out. The June 1 proposals will not be finalized until November.

Some biofuels producers argue that the agency should push past the 10 percent blend wall. The EPA has already approved E15 — a blend of up to 15 percent ethanol — for light duty vehicles, including trucks, SUVs and cars, made in model year 2001 and since then. Flex-fuel vehicles can also tolerate blends of up to E85. But there are questions about whether some older vehicles built before 2001 could potentially be harmed by higher blends. Automakers have threatened to void warranties for these cars if they use ethanol blends higher than E10.

The oil industry, which opposes raising the RFS, argues that the infrastructure for distributing blends higher than E10 does not exist and would be very expensive to put into place. Outfitting a gas station with E15 and E85 pumps brings added cost. Since 95 percent of gas stations are owned by independent operators, the chances that they will make this investment are very slim. Oil company and gas station operators say it is the biofuels industry that should make this investment. No one has been able to resolve this stalemate.

http://www.fuelfreedom.org/ethanol-indu ... pa-ruling/
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Re: 403 Forbidden

Unread postby pstarr » Mon 25 May 2015, 23:43:37

Graeme wrote:Now that I can access site again, I will try to post a few of the best articles I can find on a daily basis perhaps not as many as I did before. I'm fine. Hope everyone else is OK.
Welcome back Graeme. It's nice to have an optimist among this depressed group. But please do us all a favor and lay off the ethanol. :lol:
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Re: 403 Forbidden

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 26 May 2015, 18:19:45

Pstarr, Like your wicked sense of humor, and I'm aware of ethanol's shortcomings. But in spite of these, we need biofuels partly to displace oil and mainly to reduce emissions.
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Re: 403 Forbidden

Unread postby pstarr » Tue 26 May 2015, 18:46:08

Perhaps no yet aware enough.

Ethanol is produced from corn grown on land (displacing local ecosystems and animals) with diesel-powered tractors and converted to fuel with coal/NG-fired electricity. (there is no hydro in the Great Plains). Ethanol has an net-energy return of about 1 . . . virtually none/nada/zero of the solar insolation-photosynthesis replaces the fossil fuels used to make it. Plus it destroys local ecosystems and animals.


But we have been through this a 1,000 times and it appears we will do so another 1,000 times. So yucks and laughs all around. :)
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Re: 403 Forbidden

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 26 May 2015, 19:46:28

See biofuel thread then.
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Re: 403 Forbidden

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Wed 27 May 2015, 20:08:27

I thought P was talking about slow combustion ethanol lol!
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Re: 403 Forbidden

Unread postby davep » Thu 28 May 2015, 04:07:44

pstarr wrote:Perhaps no yet aware enough.

Ethanol is produced from corn grown on land (displacing local ecosystems and animals) with diesel-powered tractors and converted to fuel with coal/NG-fired electricity. (there is no hydro in the Great Plains). Ethanol has an net-energy return of about 1 . . . virtually none/nada/zero of the solar insolation-photosynthesis replaces the fossil fuels used to make it. Plus it destroys local ecosystems and animals.


But we have been through this a 1,000 times and it appears we will do so another 1,000 times. So yucks and laughs all around. :)


Ethanol is currently produced using corn in a crappy way, mainly due to the corn lobby. That doesn't mean it can't be produced differently.
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