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THE Ethanol Thread pt 3

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby Pretorian » Wed 08 Aug 2012, 14:53:33

Lore wrote:Too late for corn....
(Reuters) - Rain and cooler temperatures in the drought-stricken U.S. Midwest crop belt will provide relief for late-season soybeans, but the change in the weather is arriving too late to help the already severely damaged corn crop, an agricultural meteorologist said on Wednesday. ...
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/ ... I320120808
My questions are, will this persist and is this the new regimen that we're shifting into? How many years can the current world population exist under decreasing crop output?

Most of world's calories and protein are fed to the cattle and pets, so... Even with a decreasing production population can be rising well into the 10 digits. As meat will be increasingly expensive and scarce, at some point human flesh won't be discarded anymore, simply for economical reasons. Just like now the value of organs of an average human exceeds, by far, his economic potential , it will be the same for his meat, bones and offal. And mind me reminding you, it's much easier to train 1 butcher than a whole team of surgeons.
Last edited by Ferretlover on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 15:25:01, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Deleted excessive requoting.
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby Lore » Wed 08 Aug 2012, 21:02:29

There are certainly vegan protein substitutes. Although I doubt very much that crops of field corn will be turned into sources higher in protein to feed the world. Much of the land, education and machinery is geared to the selective monoculture production of specific crops. Without a source of fish, pork, beef, chicken, etc., it will be much tougher in a world under a food security threat to obtain the calories needed to sustain a healthy life. Look for a return of the great famines of India to visit us once again.

While the US population can live with a 40% reduction in yields, for a while, the rest of world cannot.
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby dohboi » Thu 09 Aug 2012, 11:06:24

I have a small family farm in NW Arkansas. Our county has been hit the hardest in the state. My field and back yard look something like the desert. The only green spot on my 5 acres is where the septic sytem lines are. Grain prices are going up .25cents a week, 1 month ago it was $8.80 a bag and last week it was up to $10.05. My garden totally failed because of no rain and I can not water because if I do the well runs out of water after about 40 minutes. The grasshoppers and locusts are of biblical proportions. They ate a 30 ft long row of green beans down to sticks over night just when they were starting to produce.. Needless to say the 5 quarts of green beans I put up won’t last my family of 5 for a year. The bugs stripped cabbages to the core and brussel sprouts down to the stem. I got 4 ears of corn out of 6– 65ft rows The only thing that did well was my onions and potatoes. It got too hot, too dry, too fast… The farms around me grow for the canning companies and none of the soybeans, corn, wheat or green beans did anything. Nobody has hay for their beasties and I am having to pay $17 a bale for small square bales that are being shipped from out of state. Normally we would get 3 cuttings of hay from our pastures and this year we were lucky to get 1… While they say 5% increase well just for example look at McDonalds. Their $1 McDouble is now $1.19 now when I went to school that was a 19% increase and it happened overnight. Not a nickel at a time. You could get hamburger on sale for $2 a pound and now you are lucky to get it on sale for $3 a pound. That is a 50% increase. NOBODY is going to tell me it is just a little drought!!!


From A Close-Up Look at the 2012 Drought
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby Pops » Fri 10 Aug 2012, 11:04:54

OUch!
USDA corn forecast is 10.7B bu, a 6 year low.
Corn jumped to $8.50 and USDA says it could go to $8.90/bu
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby dinopello » Fri 10 Aug 2012, 13:07:44

This is a bit off topic, but these systems are all interdependent and should we allow the water to go to the highest bidder, this could get 'interesting' over time.

Oil companies desperately seek water amid Kansas drought

Oil companies drilling in the drought-ridden fields of southern Kansas are taking desperate measures to get the water they need to tap into the state's oil reserves.

Huge amounts of water are required to extract oil, especially when companies use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which requires millions of gallons of water to crack the shale rock and bring oil to the surface.


Some companies are paying farmers for any remaining water they have left in their ponds, drilling their own water wells, digging ponds next to streams or trucking in water from as far away as Pennsylvania -- all of which is costing them a handsome sum of money and time.


To the oil companies, it's worth it. With oil prices hovering around $90 a barrel and the cost to produce a barrel of oil only around $15, the profits are huge, said Gordon, whose company is still aggressively leasing mineral rights, which gives it rights to drill on certain properties.
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby Pops » Fri 10 Aug 2012, 16:21:11

Turns out prices for sept actually fell today by 18¢ to $8.00 and feeder cattle rose some, yea haw.
--

Yeah Dino, the leakier the XL pipe is the better for drillers. :^\
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Wed 15 Aug 2012, 16:18:29

The Drought and the Biofuels Disasterby ROBERT BRYCE

America ’s corn ethanol sector now consumes about as much grain as all of this country’s livestock. About 4.6 billion bushels of corn will be used for livestock feed this year. Thus, American motorists are now burning about as much corn in their cars as is fed to all of the country’s chickens, turkeys, cattle, pigs, and fish combined.

Need another comparison? This year, the American automobile fleet will consume about twice as much corn as is grown in the entire European Union. Put another way, the U.S. ethanol sector will burn almost as much corn as is produced by Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and India combined.

Need another comparison? This year, the U.S. is now using about 13 percent of global corn production—that’s about 4.6 percent of all global grain production—so that it can produce a quantity of ethanol that contains the energy equivalent of about seven-tenths of one percent of global oil needs.
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby dohboi » Thu 16 Aug 2012, 09:56:16

Nice string of stats. From what I hear, even in non-drought years, many rural communities were worried about how much local water ethanol operations were gobbling up. In this extreme drought year, it must be even worse.

I just heard a plant ceased operations in southern Minnesota.
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby ritter » Thu 16 Aug 2012, 11:38:22

Growing corn powered by oil to make ethanol to put in our gas tanks never made much sense to me.
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Obama EPA to Decide on Bush Ethanol Mandates

Unread postby Pops » Mon 12 Nov 2012, 09:09:30

Bloomberg: Ethanol Going Ugly Turns Bush Plan Into Obama Test
U.S. ethanol production is headed for the first decline in 16 years, jeopardizing the nation’s drive to boost alternative fuels, as higher costs and lower demand close plants.
Shrinking distilling margins have resulted in a 14 percent drop in output this year to 827,000 barrels a day, or 12.7 billion gallons annually, Energy Department data show, 500 million gallons short of the amount refiners are mandated to use under a 2007 law that calls for escalating consumption of the biofuel. That would be the first yearly decrease since 1996.

(h/t Leanan)
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Re: Obama EPA to Decide on Bush Ethanol Mandates

Unread postby Plantagenet » Mon 12 Nov 2012, 12:56:24

Obama supports increased use of ethanol in gas.

Just this last June the EPA increased the amount of ethanol in gasoline to 15% from the old 10%. Even more recently, the EPA mandated that gas stations who sell E15 can only sell gasoline in amounts greater than 4 gallons, in another attempt to make consumers buy more of the stuff.

It seems almost unbelievable---who ever imagined the government would actually mandate how much gas you have to buy when you go to a gas station? Next thing, they'll be telling people they have to buy health insurance.

Obama panders to ethanol industry with new E15 standard
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Re: Obama EPA to Decide on Bush Ethanol Mandates

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 16 Nov 2012, 15:53:40

The Obama administration announced today that it will not reduce or rescind the EPA requirements mandating use of corn ethanol dating back to 2007. It also will not reduce or change the new obama rules raising the amount of ethanol in gas to 15% (E15) and mandating minimum gas purchases set up earlier this year.

The BO people say the 2012 summer drought and the concomitant inflation in food prices are not causing enough hardship to reduce the corn ethanol mandate.
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Re: Obama EPA to Decide on Bush Ethanol Mandates

Unread postby Lore » Fri 16 Nov 2012, 18:02:26

Good luck on this if we have a recurrence of last years weather. Making it two years back-to-back for significant crop failure. There is enough in storage I guess for the next 12 - 18 months to cover the shortfall, then that's it!
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Re: Drought spells beginning of the end for corn ethanol?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Mon 03 Jun 2013, 19:44:27

study predicts rising irrigation costs, reduced yields for US corn
If the climate continues to evolve as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United States stands little to no chance of satisfying its current biofuel goals, according to a new study by Rice University and the University of California at Davis.
The study published online in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology suggests that in 40 years, a hotter planet would cut the yield of corn grown for ethanol in the U.S. by an average of 7 percent while increasing the amount of irrigation necessary by 9 percent.
That could sharply hinder a mandate set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) that by 2022 the nation derive 15 billion gallons per year of ethanol from corn to blend with conventional motor fuels,
...
The production of one liter of gasoline requires three liters of water, according to the researchers. The production of one liter of corn ethanol requires between 350 and 1,400 liters of water from irrigation, depending on location.
Image
"Two maps simulate irrigation needs (top) and yields (bottom) anticipated for ethanol corn crops in the 2050s if predicted climate changes come to pass. Red indicates a detrimental effect, where irrigation needs would increase and yields would decrease."
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Ethanol And Central Planning

Unread postby Pops » Fri 09 Aug 2013, 09:05:19

Surprisingly the EPA has announced it might actually reduce the biofuel mandate.

In 2007 congress set a mandate that requires refiners to sell an increasing volume of biofuels, this includes blending ethanol in gasoline. The idea was that "foreign oil" was a threat and ethanol would save us. The EIA advised that oil prices would fall back to "normal" and demand would grow forever. So we have a mandate for biofuels use that increases forever or at least until 2022.

There is a limit to how much ethanol can be blended into gasoline without doing damage to older engines. This limit has been set by the EPA at 10% it's called the "Blend wall".

Now if the EIA had accidently been right and consumption of gasoline had continued to increase forever there would have been no problem, increasing consumption would have prevented refiners ever reaching the 10% "blend wall". Turns out peak oil was the real threat. With yearly average prices now at all time highs, demand destruction has kicked in, reducing gasoline consumption to a 14 year low.

The upshot is the mandate for increasing ethanol use is close to the blend wall. Either the 10% gasoline content limit must be raised or the ethanol mandate must be lowered.

I really thought the blending limit would be raised, that's been the talk (hope) for a year or two in the Ag press. Turns out that the Koch boys won out and the mandate will be lowered instead:
As a result, on Tuesday the agency said that next year it would take the unprecedented step of seeking to reduce the amount of renewable fuel that the oil industry must use, saying it "does not currently foresee a scenario in which the market could consume enough ethanol."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 92732.html

--
Some other stuff:
The EPA authorized E15 (15% ethanol) a couple of years ago but along with E85 retailers must invest in different facilities to sell it and they aren't. E85 is a loser for the consumer because the miles per gallon is lower (less energy in an ethanol gallon) but since the mandate supports the too high price - miles per dollar is lower.

There is also the bit about credits, this is t0o mind numbing even for me to write about so I'll C&P:
A side effect of the blend wall is the recent “RINsanity” of skyrocketing biofuel credit prices. The EPA assigns a unique Renewable Identification Number (RIN) to every gallon of ethanol produced and a credit for each gallon sold as motor fuel. Refiners who cannot blend enough ethanol to meet their quota can use surplus credits accumulated during previous years or purchased from other refiners.

Because the blend wall makes the annually increasing quota more and more difficult to meet, RIN credits are suddenly in high demand. Credits that cost only 2-3 cents a gallon last year now sell for about 70 cents. Consumers ultimately pay the cost — an extra 7 cents for each gallon of E10 sold, or an additional $11.7 billion in motor fuel spending in 2013, according to commodity analysts Bill Lapp and Dave Juday. Ouch! Ethanol was supposed to reduce pain at the pump, not increase it.

http://www.globalwarming.org/2013/05/07 ... literally/

--
So, after spending a day, on and off, writing this, I see the WSJ article has updated their piece saying:
The Environmental Protection Agency said it would lower the mandated consumption of alternative fuels, but it didn't say whether that would specifically include reducing corn-ethanol consumption.

LOL, that means they will probably NOT reduce the mandate for corn ethanol after all but be forced to admit the reality that cellulosic ethanol just aint gonna happen. The mandate by 2022 was for 21 MM gallons with 6 being cellulosic, since none has been produced commercially to date a court forced the EPA to reduce the quota to 0.
http://energy.nationaljournal.com/2013/ ... hp#2315982

And of course the next logical step would be to reduce Brazilian cane ethanol use by regulation or tariff - even though cane ethanol returns more net energy than corn but gotta keep Grassley happy.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/07/1 ... 7F20130712

--
Crap, my head hurts. I thought I was gonna make a nice concise roundup post, LOL


Lots of great responses to the National Journal article
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Re: Ethanol And Central Planning

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 09 Aug 2013, 10:37:31

Brazil mandated almost all ICE's would be flex Ethanol fuel compatible a long time ago and as I understand it PRC China has done the same thing with Flex Methanol fuel compatibility. Despite the fact that all GM cars and light trucks sold in Brazil are E-85 by mandate they resist making the same standard in the USA market. The cost difference between an E-85 and E-10 car manufacturing is really trivial, under $300.00, but when they sell them to the consumer they mark the price up far more than $300.00 needed to cover the costs. There are no additional labor costs, the same workers install slightly better components in the same manner as the 'standard' components.

When I saw the thread title I was expecting to see that the EPA was following the Brazil/PRC route by mandating all cars sold in the USA would be flex fuel capable. That would allow the ethanol mandate to stay in place and might actually help out the average consumer a few years down the road.

Oh well guess it is too much to expect the Federal Government to go against the wishes of GM.
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Re: Ethanol And Central Planning

Unread postby Timo » Fri 09 Aug 2013, 11:34:28

I see an emerging market for the use of excess biofuel, competing with Red Bull. If you can't burn it, drink it. And then burn it! This concept completely redefines the understanding of internal combustion! :evil: The Ultimate Energy Drink! 100% Organic!

Sorry. That's just the way my mind works. Good info, and definitely worth paying attention to.
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Re: Ethanol And Central Planning

Unread postby basil_hayden » Fri 09 Aug 2013, 13:16:05

Considering the blend wall issues and the estimated 26% less corn crop potentially this year, it's clearly time to stop driving around on food.
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Re: Ethanol And Central Planning

Unread postby rollin » Fri 09 Aug 2013, 14:06:19

I find it very disturbing that one of the only alternative energy mandates set by the federal government only supplies profit, not any real net energy.
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Re: Ethanol And Central Planning

Unread postby Timo » Fri 09 Aug 2013, 14:16:25

rollin wrote:I find it very disturbing that one of the only alternative energy mandates set by the federal government only supplies profit, not any real net energy.


Ditto!

Fortunately, this isn't the only area of alternative energies where the Feds have invested their interests and $$$. But as far as mandates go, this one in particular is completely nuts, and was driven to adoption by midwest big ag interests, and the Congress they bought.
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