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Re: [o2michigan] Re: E-M:/ Hydrogen is the future ...



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Enviro-Mich message from Rane Curl <ranecurl@engin.umich.edu>
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On Fri, 30 Jun 2006, Wayneapple@aol.com wrote:

I continue to be amazed at how a small number of short-sighted, often interest-funded individuals such as Mr. Hayden and David Pimentel (of the ethanol is a net energy loss fame) continue to get so much following and air play.

A more recent analysis of the net energy for ethanol production finds a small net gain - but so small that it would be uneconomic and useless if the process were to be run without fossil fuel input. There are enough of these analyses now to have confidence in the result (given the assumptions). I see nothing "short sighted" or "interest-funded" about these engineering studies. If anyone does, they should produce their own study showing what might be errors in the previous studies. Baseless criticism does nothing to advance a solution to the problems.


Solar energy has always been our primary energy source. All we are trying to
do now is get smart enough  to not have to wait a couple of million years to
harness it(ie use of fossil fuels).

The way to use solar energy is via liquid fuels from cellulose (not necessarily ethanol - ethanol get all the attention because there exists an ethanol industry that arose to produce beverages - that does not mean that it is necessarily the best process for producing liquid fuels). The reason why this is better than photovoltaics is that it does not require an investment in photovoltaic equipment, which is quite expensive (and requires a lot of energy), and does not produce hydrogen, which is more expensive to produce and handle, as well as more dangerous, than liquid fuels.


...snip...
The consensus of scientists is that we can no longer afford to burn fossil
fuels(everyone should see " An Inconvenient Truth"). If we can't do it with
renewables, I don't think that we, as a species, will make it.

It may, in fact, be the case that we will not make it unless we reduce population and adopt a much less energy intensive lifestyle, in addition to developing efficient and economic alternatives to fossil fuels. I fear that what many are thinking of in terms of renewable energy sources is based on an assumption we can maintain our rates of population growth and economic expansion. Some think we have already gone beyond the carrying capacity of the earth.


--Rane L Curl


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