No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

How Green Is Your Ethanol?

by @ 5:12 on February 10, 2009. Filed under Corn-a-hole, Energy.

With apologies to the New Christy Minstrels:

Green Green it’s green they say
on the far side of the hill
Green green I’m goin’ away
to where the gas is greener still

a Well I told those Greenies when they said "use the corn!"
Dontcha know it’s a fool’s game you play?
You’ll up food prices, need a huge subsidy
And not supplant one barrel of oil

Remember all those ethanol commercials?   They used to tell us about how efficient it was because we grow it and how much greener it was than using fossil fuels.

We saw the folly of the first “benefit” a year plus ago as ethanol use contributed to a doubling of corn prices which resulted in dramatic increases in all food that contained corn or corn products.   Now we have the University of Minnesota throwing cold water on the latter.

In a study to be fully released later this week, The U of M concludes:

The researchers found that depending on the materials and technology used in production, cellulosic ethanol’s environmental and health costs (19 to 32 cents per gallon) are less than half the costs of gasoline (71 cents per gallon), while corn-based ethanol’s costs (72 to about $1.45 per gallon) range from roughly equal to about double that of gasoline.

Gosh, that’s odd.   I thought gas was the evil, anti green fuel.   Who would have thought that ethanol was a horribly ungreen fuel?   The answer is anyone who would do a little research past seeing the word “green!”   The problem with corn based ethanol has always been in what it takes to grow the corn and turn it into fuel.   Unfortunately, few people want to educate themselves and look only at the core product and what they believe comes out of a tailpipe.   Even the authors of the research see the myopia:

“To understand the environmental and health consequences of biofuels, we must look well beyond the tailpipe to how and    where biofuels are produced. Clearly, upstream emissions matter,” Hill says.

“Green” has become a pixie dust that changes anything it touches into something no longer questionable as to its economic quality or its usefulness.   Putting doggie doodoo into a bag and calling it “green” may make some folks feel good but it has no value to me as a pillow.

H/T Glenn Beck

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