POLITICALLY INSPIRED, MARGINALLY EFFECTIVE, CORN-TO-ETHANOL PROGRAM

In the 2016/2017-crop year, the US had 85.8 million acres planted with corn, of which 31.4 million acres were planted to produce ethanol. The corn production was 14.440 billion bushels, of which 5.30 billion bushels were for corn to ethanol. The 169 bushels of each acre yielded 478 gallons of ethanol. Ethanol blended with gasoline was 14.80 billion gallon, about 10% of the gasohol fuel for vehicles. See table 1.

https://www.agmrc.org/renewable-energy/renewable-energy-climate-cha...

 

Below is a summary of US corn production for ethanol for 2016/2017.

 

Table 1/Corn

2016/2017

Planted, million acre

85.8

Crop + in stock, billion bushel

16.178

In stock, billion bushel

1.708

Crop, billion bushel

14.470

Bushel/acre

169

Planted for ethanol, million acre

31.4

Corn for ethanol, billion bushel

5.30

Ethanol production, million barrels/d

0.98

Gal/barrel

42

Ethanol production, billion gal

15.02

Gal/acre/y

478

Wet and dry mill average, gal/bushel

2.83

Ethanol used for fuel, billion gal

14.80

Gasoline, billion gal

133.20

Gasohol, billion gal; per EIA

142.85

Ethanol, Btu/gal, LLV

76330

Mileage, using 100% ethanol, miles/gal

28.3

Miles/y/acre

13385

Acres/car, using 100% ethanol

1.0

SUMMARY

 

Energy Production: 

Ethanol from corn is a very inefficient process. The energy production is only 9% greater than the energy inputs, excluding the energy credit of co-products. If that credit is included the energy production is 20% better. In comparison, gasoline from crude oil is a very efficient process. The energy production is 335% greater than the energy inputs. See table 2.

 

CO2eq Reduction:

- Because combustion CO2 of E10 is classified as “biogenic from an annual crop”, it is not counted, per EPA.

- Because “Other“ CO2 to produce ethanol is from fossil fuels, it is counted, per EPA. See figure 1 of URL and table 3.

- It takes about 1.0355 gallon of E10 to travel the same distance as on 1.0 gallon of gasoline.

- US CO2eq was 6511 million mt in 2016, or 5795 million mt after sequestration.

 

https://yosemite.epa.gov/Sab/Sabproduct.nsf/F100AC5CD4A083F985257E1...$File/Kim+and+Dale+2013+paper+on+Annual+Crops.pdf

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissi...

 

CO2 Reduction Versus Gasoline

Gasohol

Gasoline

CO2 Change

Ethanol used for fuel, billion gal

14.80

Ethanol combustion CO2, lb/gal

12.72

Ethanol cropping, process, transport CO2, lb/gal

13.56

Ethanol combustion CO2, million mt

85.4

Ethanol cropping, process, transport CO2, million mt

91.0

Gasoline CO2, lb/gal, including upstream

24.684

24.684

Gasoline used for fuel, billion gal

133.20

Gasoline/gasohol Btu ratio; 116090/112114

1.0355

Gasoline combustion CO2, million mt

1491.4

Total fuel, billion gal

148.00

142.93

Gasohol CO2, billion mt; 85.4 + 91.0 + 1491.4

1667.8

1600.3

67.5

Gasohol CO2, billion mt; 91.0 + 1491.4

1582.4

1600.3

-17.9

 

Cost of CO2 Reduction/Metric Ton: 

The rack price of gasohol (E10, LHV 112114 Btu/gal) was $2.21/gal and of ethanol (LHV 76330 Btu/gal) was $1.40/gal, in Nebraska, in June 2018. However, the ethanol price should be increased due the costs of 1) transport to Texas refineries, 2) blending and 3) transport to Nebraska, which likely would increase the price to about $1.70/gal (assumed).

 

This low Btu/gal fuel is blended with gasoline to make E10 gasohol (90% gasoline/10% ethanol, LHV 112114 Btu/gal), which has 3.55% less Btu/gal than gasoline (LHV 116090 Btu/gal).

The calculated rack price of gasoline would be about 1.0355 x 2.21= $2.288/gal.

The calculated cost of gasohol would be about 0.1 x 1.70 + 0.9 x 2.27 = $2.213/gal, i.e., the assumed price of ethanol was correct.

http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/66.html

 

- Ethanol adjusted cost/y = 14.8 b gal x $1.70/gal = $25.16 billion/y

- Gasoline cost saved/y = 14.8 b gal x 76330/116090 x $2.288/gal = $22.27 billion/y

- Fuel cost increase/y = 25.16 - 22.27 = $2.89 billion/y  

- CO2 reduction cost= (Cost increase, $2.89 b)/(CO2 reduction, 17.9 million mt) = $161/mt (fuel only).

This takes into account the CO2 credit for co-products and the credit for biogenic not being counted. If the CO2 credits were not applied, there would be a significant net gain in CO2.

Ethanol from Corn Program Damages the Environment:

The cropping of 30 million acres has harmful environmental effects that far outweigh any benefits from the program.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/epa-released-a-long-del...

http://dailycaller.com/2018/08/04/epa-ethanol-mandate-environment/

https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm?dirEntryId=341491

Conclusion: 

There is no rationale, other than politics, to spend about $20.7 billion dollars, plus billions of federal and state subsidies, tax savings due to interest deductions and depreciation write-offs, to have over 30 million acres in corn production, and maintain, operate, and renew the farm equipment and infrastructures for the ethanol-from-corn program.

ANALYSIS

Ethanol Production: 

It takes about 914414 Btu of various energies from fossil fuels and chemicals made from fossil fuels to produce 1 million Btu of ethanol, well-to-pump basis. The CO2 emissions associated with those processes has to be counted because it is not biogenic, as from an annual corn crop. See figure 1 of URL.

https://yosemite.epa.gov/Sab/Sabproduct.nsf/F100AC5CD4A083F985257E1...$File/Kim+and+Dale+2013+paper+on+Annual+Crops.pdf

Energy multiplier = Energy outputs/Energy inputs = (1000000, ethanol + 97301, co-products credit)/(914414, various energies and chemicals) = 1.20. See page 4 of URL and table 2.

https://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/lcfs/042308lcfs_etoh.pdf

 

Co-Products: 

The corn to ethanol conversion process also produces co-products, such as distillers’ grains for livestock feed and carbon dioxide used in the food and beverage industry as well as industrial uses. This means the energy used in the production of these products, about 97,301 Btu, must be factored in as energy credits when quantifying the ethanol energy balance.

 

Ethanol and gasoline are compared in the below table. The co-products for gasoline production were set at zero, whereas, in fact, many products, other than gasoline, are produced from crude oil.

 

If the energy of all those co-products were credited, the gasoline multiplier would be significantly greater.

 

The USDA insistence on crediting for co-products is to make the corn-to-ethanol program look somewhat better on paper. The program is essentially a subsidized, make-work program for the agro-industrial complex.

 

Table 2/Energy outputs

Ethanol

Ethanol

Gasoline

w/credit

wo/credit

wo/credit

Fuel, Btu

1000000

1000000

1000000

Co-products

97301

0

0

Total

1097301

1000000

1000000

Energy inputs

Various energies and chemicals

914414

914414

230000

Energy multiplier

1.20

1.09

4.35

 

Crude Oil: 

There are a myriad of uses for crude oil that affect our lives. Replacing crude oil with biofuels likely is not possible on land, but may be possible in the oceans, such as with a million square miles of kelp farms.

 

An additional challenge is the replacement of coal, gas and nuclear with 1) biofuels, 2) wind and solar, etc., and also providing electricity for heat pumps for buildings and transportation, which, in the real world, is not as easy and less costly as 100% RE proponents claim it to be.

https://www.biblemoneymatters.com/7-important-uses-for-crude-oil-an...

 

According to the Energy Information Administration, here are the major co-products from refining a barrel of crude oil:

 

- Gasoline (for cars) – 44%

- Heating Oil (for buildings), and diesel fuel – 19%

- Other products – 15%

- Jet fuel – 8%

- Propane – 6%

- Residual fuel oil (powering factories, fueling large ships, and making electricity) – 5%

- Asphalt 3%

 

NOTES:

- The US does not have significant additional acreage for corn production.

- The US had about 269 million motor vehicles in 2016, including about 113 million registered automobiles.

- At present, almost all 113 million automobiles use gasohol (90% gasoline/10% ethanol). If gasohol were 85% gasoline/15% ethanol, as advocated by ethanol promoters, at least 15.7 million additional acres would be required for corn production.

- The embedded energy for the entire infrastructure to produce corn and ethanol, and its continued renewal, requires billions of dollars of investments each year.

- Much more efficient biofuels production processes need to be invented. Gasohol, E10 = 90% gasoline/10% ethanol, by volume. The Btu of the ethanol would displace only 76330/116090 x 10 = 6.58% of the gasoline Btu.

- It would be much easier, and much less costly, to increase the mileage of the 115 million passenger vehicles, than have the politics-inspired, subsidized, environmentally destructive, marginally effective, corn to ethanol program.

https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/fuel_comparison_chart.pdf

http://acmg.seas.harvard.edu/people/faculty/mbm/Ethanol_chapter1.pdf

http://www.cleanfuelsdc.org/pubs/documents/EnergyBalanceIssueBriefM...

http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/ethanol.aspx

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/1724

CO2 Emissions of Ethanol, Gasoline and Gasohol E10, Well to Wheels

 

The values in table 3 are based on the following:

 

- Ethanol includes the CO2 benefit of co-products.

- Gasoline does not include the CO2 benefit of co-products.

- The gasoline upstream factor is an EPA value.

- LHVs of fuels. See URL

https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/fuel_comparison_chart.pdf ;

- E10 combustion emissions 0.1 x 12.720 + 0.9 x 19.640 = 18.948 lb CO2/gal, about the same as gasoline. See table. 

- Ethanol production CO2. See page 6

https://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/lcfs/042308lcfs_etoh.pdf

- E10 fuel density. See page H-3

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-02/documents/exhibi...

- E10 upstream emissions 0.1 x 13.556 + 0.9 x 4.910 = 5.775 lb CO2/gal

 

CO2 Reduction Benefit of Ethanol from Corn Program is Minimal

 

The below table shows the results with ethanol COMBUSTION CO2 counted and not counted.

If not counted, ethanol CO2/gal, well to wheels would be 23.451 lb.

If counted, 24.723 lb.

If 100% gasoline, 24.550 lb.

 

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-02/documents/exhibi...

http://www.patagoniaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/How-muc...

https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/97369/Thesi...

 

Table 3

Ethanol

Gasoline

Gasohol, E10

Gasohol, E10

Gasohol, E10

100%

100%

90% gasoline

10% ethanol

Total

Combustion CO2, lb/gal, counted

12.720

19.640

17.676

1.272

18.948

Combustion CO2, lb/gal, not counted

0

17.676

0

17.676

Inch3/gal, definition

231

231

231

Cm/inch, definition

2.54

2.54

2.54

Cm3/gal

3785.411

3785.411

3785.411

LHV, Btu/gal

76330

116090

112114

Joules/Btu, definition

1054

1054

1054

LHV, MJ/gal

80.45

122.36

118.17

Density, g/cm3

0.789

0.749

0.746

Weight, kg/gal

2.987

2.835

2.824

Heat content, LHV, MJ/kg

26.94

43.16

41.84

Upstream factor, well to pump, per EPA

1.25

Upstream CO2, well to pump, lb/gal

Production CO2, well to pump, g/MJ*

76.5

Production CO2, well to pump, g/gal

6155

Gram/lb

454

Production CO2, well to pump, lb/gal

13.556

4.910

4.419

1.356

5.775

Total CO2, well to wheels, counted

26.276

24.550

22.095

2.628

24.723

Total CO2, well to wheels, not counted

13.556

22.095

1.356

23.451

*Includes 10.4 g/MJ credit for co-products

APPENDIX 1:

Here is a comparison of a Toyota Prius, 54 EPA combined versus an average new car at 28 mpg EPA combined, using different fuels.

 

- The Prius, with E100, would use 0.78 acres equivalent; the average car (much less efficient than the Prius) would use 1.51 acres equivalent.

- The table clearly demonstrates the benefits of increased mileage. See table 4.

- The current ethanol is mostly used in gasohol E10 (90/10) which requires 31.4 million acres in corn. If E100, 314 million acres would be required.

- The present ethanol from corn program is merely ludicrous regarding cost, energy return and CO2 reduction. Using 100% ethanol, as in Brazil, would be impossible.

 

Table 4

Gasoline

E10

E100

Gasoline

E10

E100

 Prius

 Prius

 Prius

Avg Car

Avg Car

Avg Car

Gasoline heat content, LHV, per EPA

115000

112114

76330

115000

112114

76330

Mileage, EPA combined

54.00

52.64

35.84

28.00

24.37

16.59

Energy from tank, Btu/mile

2130

2130

2130

4107

4107

4107

Required fuel, gal

1.00

1.03

1.51

1.00

1.03

1.51

US average ethanol/acre, gal

478

478

478

478

478

478

US average car travel, miles

13384

13384

13384

13384

13384

13384

Fuel required, gal

248

254

373

478

490

720

Acres equivalent

0.52

0.53

0.78

1.00

1.03

1.51

APPENDIX 2

World crude oil production could be replaced biodiesel produced by about 400 thousand square miles of kelp farms. The replacement of the world coal and gas production would require additional sea area, for a total of at least one million square miles.

 

World Crude Oil Production

Barrels/d, million

100

Gal/barrel

42

Gal/d, million

4200

Btu/gal, million

0.136119

Btu/d, trillion

571.7

Biodiesel from kelp, gal/acre/y

6000

d/y

365

gal/acre/d

16.438

Btu/gal, million

0.136119

Btu/acre/d, million

2.23757

Sea area, acres

255500000

acre/sq mi

640

Sea area, sq mi

399219

APPENDIX 3

Here is a comparison of two identical cars, one with E10 and the other with gasoline. They require the same 2732 Btu/mile to the wheels for motion. The gasoline vehicle, an efficient hybrid, gets 42.5 mpg on gasoline at 116090/gal, LHV. The E10 vehicle would need 116090/112114 = 1.035 gallon of E10 to have the same Btu to work with, i.e., it gets about 3.5% less mileage per gallon of E10.

 

- The total energy input (source to wheel) is 6375 Btu/mile, if E10, and 3800 Btu/mile, if gasoline, at 42.5 mpg.

- It takes 141291 Btu/gal for all energy inputs, other than combustion, if E10, and only 37141 Btu/gal, if gasoline.

- About 1.035 gallon of E10 is required to replace 1.0 gallon of gasoline. See page 2 of URL and table 7.

- The combustion CO2 of ethanol (12.72 lb CO2/gal) is not counted, because it is “biogenic from an annual crop”, per EPA.

http://www.cleanairchoice.org/fuels/E85C02Report2004.PDF

 

Table 7

E10

 

Gasoline

 

 

 

 

CO2

 

 

CO2

 

 

 

lb/gal

 

 

lb/gal

Life cycle factor

 

 

 

 

 

1.2568

Lifecycle, incl. corn, Btu/gal

261650

26.276

 

Lifecycle, incl. crude oil, Btu/gal

 

161481

24.684

Life cycle less combustion, Btu/gal

141291

0.54

13.556

37141

0.23

5.044

Combustion, HHV, Btu/gal

120359

0.46

12.720

124340

0.77

19.640

Combustion, LHV, Btu/gal

112114

 

116090

 

Required gallons 116090/112114

1.035

 

 

 

 

 

Required gallons

116090

 

 

Mileage, mpg

41.0

 

 

42.5

 

 

Motion, Btu/mile

2732

 

 

2732

 

 

Other, Btu/mile

3643

 

 

1068

 

 

Source to wheel, Btu/mile

6375

 

3800

 

APPENDIX 4

Various medical studies claimed fat in beef caused atherosclerosis in the US population. In response, in 1986, the USDA made some changes regarding the feeding of corn to cattle to reduce the fat content in beef.

 

- Feedlots would be allowed to feed corn to cattle for 3 weeks before slaughter, instead of usual 8 weeks.  

- Instead of the usual three categories of Prime, Choice and Select, Prime was eliminated and Choice was elevated to Prime, and Select was elevated to Choice.

 

The explanation was it would be “healthier” for the public. However, those measures eliminated the beautifully marbled, sweet tasting, great American beef. The resulting beef became tougher, tasted like cardboard.

 

It appeared, three weeks was not enough for cattle to adjust to the change in corn feed. They often had diarrhea when slaughtered causing beef to be covered with e.coli bacteria. Those bacteria were ground into hamburger meat for food chains. People started to get sick from eating rare hamburgers. Restaurant chains were advised not to serve rare hamburgers.

 

- Various medical studies finally revealed fat causing atherosclerosis had been wrong, and revealed fats in moderation are good for you. Thus our great American steaks were destroyed based on nonsense.  

 

After the USDA measures reduced the demand for corn, corn growers were devastated, so the USDA came up with the subsidized “ethanol from corn” program to increase corn demand, corn prices and farmer incomes.

Views: 142

Comment

You need to be a member of Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - Maine to add comments!

Join Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - Maine

First Prize

NE Book Festival

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

Not yet a member?

Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

Task Force membership is free. Please sign up today!

© 2018   Created by Eben Thurston.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service