Thursday, March 23, 2006

Did Someone Just Pass Some (M)ethanol?

The truth is leaking out little by little, green fuel is -- well, may not be all it's cracked up to be. "Late last year in Goldfield, Iowa, a refinery began pumping out a stream of ethanol, which supporters call the clean, renewable fuel of the future.

"There's just one twist: The plant is burning 300 tuns of coal a day to turn corn into ethanol -- the first US plant of its kind to use coal instead of cleaner natural gas."

But don't panic yet, other ways of providing the necessary heat are percolating up to the surface:

"...[A] new ethanol plant in Nebraska [is] strategically located by a feed lot, using methane from cattle waste to fire ethanol boilers."

[Bonnie's Corner Cafe in Gas, Kansas. Thanks to for the photo.]

If you burn anything, including methane (natural gas), you will end up with some kind of carbon discharge, even with natural gas. Injecting the CO2 into the ground sounds like an interesting idea, as long as you can get it down deep enough. But is that economical? And even if you could do that, why not just harness the earth's molten core energy? Too expensive? Interesting stuff.

(Read more here.)


Anonymous franko said...

We need to use more geothermal heating/cooling for houses, as solar on our rooftops. If we switched off govt assistance to the established energy sector (which would raise the price of energy therefrom) and simultaneously switched on assistance for solar/wind/geothermal sources that would be a good start. By the way, I would recommend sunset clauses for the latter assistance circa 2030, as the one of the biggest problems with govt is the inertia inherent in its bureaucracy.

12:54 PM  

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