Monday, July 7, 2008

ethanol is dead. long live biofuels

ethanol, the first biofuel widely available in the US, is dead. or soon will be. the future for biofuels is brighter than ever.

it has been blamed for increased fuel prices, increased crop prices, increased environmental issues, and is frankly an idiotic technology that has only stuck around as long as it has because of corrupt shortsighted policymakers.

why would anybody ever want to convert food into automotive fuel?

if you were silly enough to want to convert food into fuel, why would you choose to convert it into a fuel that is incompatible with your fuel distribution network and most of the cars in the country (at great than 10% concentration)?

why would anybody ever make a fuel that takes more energy to produce than you get out of it when you use it?

ethanol production to date has been a demonstration of how to transfer money from taxpayers into the pockets of chemical companies while producing negative societal and environmental impact and conveying the image of being pro-America, pro-Farmer.

these factors together are slowly seeping into the general consciousness of the nation and will ensure that the future of biofuels won't include ethanol. all of these problems will be linked with the word ethanol. people will rally against ethanol. any politician trying to support ethanol will be booted out.

but the national consciousness has a very simplistic understanding of technical issues, so future biofuels will suffer from no related image problems. the promoters of the next generation of biofuels will just have to make sure that the name that their technology comes to be known by sounds nothing like ethanol.

so, biobutanol could have image problems, but the branded bioadditives that will be distributed by fuel companies will do just fine.

given today's high fuel prices, any biofuel that doesn't rely on food or fuel for its production can't help but succeed.


liamk said...

theres so much stuff that I hear about for the first on your turning food into fuel!
I don't know much about all this technical stuff,but I've been to America and I've eaten your food and if you what you put in your cars is half as good as what you put in Scot's tourists then, er, you're going to have cars with ice cream and burrito's in your tanks.
bro, I wish more people commented on your blog so that I knew folk who could actually appreciate all this stuff was reading it!
I will check out whatever you next blog about and leave a thoughtful, informed comment.
(in the meantime, Behi, please say something clever!)

TheBehst said...

um, clever as in eat beans and turn your food into gas?

howsabout, she's a butanol, but too high maintenance for me?

or did you want me to say something actually intelligent about biofuels, like biobutanol sounds like a winner being compatible with our cars and distribution systems.

but how do you keep the price of tortillas down?

shaun said...

they claim biobutanol can be made from waste streams more easily than ethanol can for reasons i don't understand, so there is no competition with the tortilla feed market.

she is a butanol. hilarious.

liamk said...

she is a butanol. that is absolute genius. you are the biobutanol of blog commenter's.

liamk said...

hey, check it out!

shaun said...

speaking of biofuels and the UK, i wonder why there isn't more discussion of horses and horse carriages.

they could easily keep up with london traffic speeds and it'd be an easy way to get around the congestion charge.

i wonder what sorts of tax incentives you could get by registering a horse carriage as a low emission vehicle in the UK.

you'd definitely save money on petrol and you wouldn't have to rely on batteries made out of nasty chemicals like nickel or lithium.

liamk said...

I've been around horses mate,they ain't low emission.
(ohhh, the obvious joke!)
Hey, I fully agree. Bikes, horse and carriages,people walking everywhere,clean and safe public transport. It would be so nice.
If only there was a country somewhere so smart and advanced that the main shopping street in it's capital city was converted from a four lane dual carriage way to pedestrian precinct with clean, safe public transport...