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Re: Fw: RE: E-M:/ Liberty Rewewable Fuels is undercapitalized



On 12/3/07, Timothy Caldwell <jtcaldwell1@gmail.com> wrote:

My concern with Liberty and other ethanol plants is not only about the carbon use required to grow, harvest, and transport the corn, ethanol, and manufacturing by-products to and from the plant. I am also greatly concerned  about water usage (by Liberty's estimate: 1200 gallons per minute which equates to 620.5 million gallons per year) that will in all probability deplete Ithaca's water resources. Although Liberty maintains that it will be tapping an aquifer below Ithaca's current aquifer, the company has also stated that if their wells go dry, they will tap into the town's water supply. 

Another major concern is the unsequestered CO2 that, according to Liberty, will be at least 315 tons per year. I have seen estimates from other sources that are in the 400-500,000 ton range. As you know, this summer the Supreme Court directed the EPA to treat CO2 as a pollutant. Since the Liberty plant filed before the Court's decision, it would be excused from the new EPA standard. The health hazards of CO2 have been amply documented. 

I am aware that other plant fibers can be used to produce better grades of ethanol, but the energy required to break down the cell walls is, in the cases I have read about, even higher than converting corn fiber, and there continue to be problems with acquisition, water usage, and distribution of the final product.

This problem is akin to the spiral of problems that arose when a number of WWII veterans returned to civilian life with morphine addiction. It was thought that the answer to breaking morphine addiction was heroin. When that proved incorrect, the methadone was created. Eliminating usage was discussed, but the easier route was thought to simply replace one addiction with another. If we want to reduce dependence on foreign oil or carbon-based fuels, then reducing the need for such fuels via reduction of the vehicles that uses the fuel needs to be the topic of discussion, not merely switching one addiction for another. It seems to me that wind, solar power, and conservation need to become a larger part of the solution. 

That is my long-winded reply to a simple question.


On Dec 3, 2007 7:52 AM, J. Timothy Caldwell <jtcaldwell@earthlink.net> wrote:


-----Forwarded Message-----
>From: ecothinker <ecothinker@comcast.net>
>Sent: Dec 2, 2007 8:22 PM
>To: 'Timothy Caldwell' < jtcaldwell@earthlink.net>, "'Alex J. Sagady & Associates'" <ajs@sagady.com>
>Cc: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>Subject: RE: E-M:/ Liberty Rewewable Fuels is undercapitalized
>
>Would you feel differently if Liberty's bio-source were different? Here's a
>different slant.
>
>
>
>
>
>A new study led by David Tilman, an ecologist at the University of
>Minnesota, shows that mixtures of native perennial grasses and other
>flowering plants provide more usable energy per acre than corn grain ethanol
>or soybean biodiesel and are far better for the environment. The research
>was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of
>Minnesota Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.
>
>"Biofuels made from high-diversity mixtures of prairie plants can reduce
>global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Even when
>grown on infertile soils, they can provide a substantial portion of global
>energy needs, and leave fertile land for food production," Tilman said.
>
>The findings are published in the Dec. 8, 2006, issue of the journal
>Science.
>
>The is study based on 10 years of research at Minnesota's Cedar Creek
>Natural History Area, one of 26 NSF long-term ecological research (LTER)
>sites. It shows that degraded agricultural land planted with diverse
>mixtures of prairie grasses and other flowering plants produces 238 percent
>more bioenergy on average than the same land planted with various single
>prairie plant species, including switchgrass.
>
>"This study highlights very clearly the additional benefits of taking a
>less-intensive management approach and maintaining higher biodiversity in
>the process," said Henry Gholz, NSF LTER program director. "It establishes a
>new baseline for evaluating the use of land for biofuel production."
>
>Tilman and his colleagues estimate that fuel made from this prairie biomass
>would yield 51 percent more energy per acre than ethanol from corn grown on
>fertile land. Prairie plants require little energy to grow and all parts of
>the plant above ground are usable.
>
>Fuels made from prairie biomass are "carbon negative," which means that
>producing and using them actually reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (a
>greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere. Prairie plants store more carbon in their
>roots and soil than is released by the fossil fuels needed to grow and
>convert them into biofuels. Using prairie biomass to make fuel would lead to
>the long-term removal and storage of from 1.2 to 1.8 U.S. tons of carbon
>dioxide per acre per year. This net removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide
>could continue for about 100 years, the researchers estimate.
>
>In contrast, corn ethanol and soybean biodiesel are "carbon positive,"
>meaning they add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, although less than fossil
>fuels.
>
>Switchgrass, which is being developed as a perennial bioenergy crop, was one
>of 16 species in the study. When grown by itself in poor soil, it did not
>perform better than other single species and gave less than a third of the
>bioenergy of high-diversity plots.
>
>"Switchgrass is very productive when it's grown like corn in fertile soil
>with lots of fertilizer, pesticide and energy inputs, but this approach
>doesn't yield as much energy gain as mixed species in poor soil nor does it
>have the same environmental benefits," said paper co-author Jason Hill, also
>of the University of Minnesota.
>
>To date, all biofuels, including cutting-edge nonfood energy crops such as
>switchgrass, elephant grass, hybrid poplar and hybrid willow, are produced
>as monocultures grown primarily in fertile soils.
>
>The researchers estimate that growing mixed prairie grasses on all of the
>world's degraded land could produce enough bioenergy to replace 13 percent
>of global petroleum consumption and 19 percent of global electricity
>consumption.
>
>The practice of using degraded land to grow mixed prairie grasses for
>biofuels could provide stable production of energy and have additional
>benefits, such as renewed soil fertility, cleaner ground and surface waters,
>preservation of wildlife habitats, and recreational opportunities.
>
>Source: NSF
>
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>
>  _____
>
>From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>[mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Timothy Caldwell
>Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 6:24 PM
>To: Alex J. Sagady & Associates
>Cc: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>Subject: Re: E-M:/ Liberty Rewewable Fuels is undercapitolized
>
>
>
>This is excellent news. Let's hope they continue to be under-capitalized.
>
>
>
>
>
>On Dec 2, 2007 2:46 PM, Alex J. Sagady & Associates < ajs@sagady.com
><mailto:ajs@sagady.com> > wrote:
>
>-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" < ajs@sagady.com>
>-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>The Gratiot County Herald is reporting "Liberty ethanol plant faces
>crisis" In its November 29 edition.    This is the corn to ethanol facility
>proposed for Ithaca, MI
>
>It seems they've started construction of their plant, but have only
>$33 million out of $233 million needed to build the plant.
>
>There has been a continual stream of articles in the financial press
>about the present glut of ethanol, problems in getting product to
>market and money drying up to construct ethanol plants.
>
>According to the article, work on the Ithaca plant is now at a
>standstill.
>
>The facility also went through a re-permiting for the air permit for
>the facility, changing the type of process equipment they would
>install.
>
>
>
>==========================================
>Alex J. Sagady & Associates         http://www.sagady.com
>< http://www.sagady.com>
>
>Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
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