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

Enviro-Mich message from "Alexander J. Sagady" <ajs@sagady.com>

At 06:08 PM 06/30/2006, you wrote:
>Enviro-Mich message from Rane Curl <ranecurl@engin.umich.edu>
>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.

I'm presently evaluating an ethanol plant air pollution permit for a 
110 million gallon per year facility in west central Illinois.   You can 
be sure that most new plants will probably be in this size range.

The lower heating value (LHV) of ethanol is about 76,000 BTU per gallon.
As a result, this facility will produce ethanol as fuel of about
8.36 E+06 Million BTU per year   (8,360,000 million BTU/year)

However, to produce this much ethanol the facility will burn up to 
3720 million cubic feet of natural gas.   At a low heating 
value of 930 BTU per cubic foot, this is equivalent to 
3.45 E+06 Million BTU per year.....making this facility a real 
natural gas energy hog that you and I compete with when we 
purchase natural gas to heat our homes.

If you were to replace the natural gas to burn in the ethanol
plant with burning plant production instead, you'd have to 
take about 45 million gallons of ethanol to burn out of every 110
million gallons of ethanol you produced leaving only 65 million 
gallons per year to sell.

This does not count all of the fossil fuel energy or equivalent BTU value of 
process inputs to grow the corn 1.1 million tons of corn this facility.

The process of fermentation itself is a little like combustion as this 
facility's fermentation process will release considerable carbon dioxide
and that doesn't include the carbon dioxide that will be released when the 
ethanol is burned.  This does not include the carbon dioxide released from 
the thermal oxidizers and dryers at the ethanol plant.

All carbon dioxide emissions are bad for the global warming problem, even if such 
emissions come from renewable resources.  This also doesn't count the 
methane and ethane released by fermentation which are also greenhouse 

The primary reason the facility is being built is taxpayer subsidies.  The taxpayer 
subsidies exist because there is a glut of corn on the market and
the power of the agriculture lobby, and the glut
of corn exists because of our national brain-dead policy approaches to agricultural 

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy, 
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and 
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf 

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