Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Search Results for: “ethanol

More on the immorality of ethanol

I have a backlog of energy articles. That allows me to group comments together. Today’s focus: the morality of ethanol assessed based on the damage it causes.

12/17/14 – CBS Minnesota – U of M Study Finds Ethanol Worse for Air Quality Than Gasoline – When measured at the tailpipe, ethanol-laden gasoline measures about the same as regular gasoline. Study from the University of Minnesota says that when you count all of the inputs to grow corn and turn it into ethanol it is far worse for the environment than plain gasoline.

The point?

Read more…

Ethanol makes global warming worse

A new study funded by the federal government reached the conclusion that ethanol made from residue after corn harvesting releases 7% more greenhouse gases that straight gasoline.

The reason for the surprise is that the study considers the ancillary effects of biofuels. For example, when the residual is left on the ground, it improves the soil’s ability to absorb CO2. When the increased CO2 from non-absorption into the ground is considered, biofuels make the environment worse.

You can read more:

Doubling greenhouse gas

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Another unintended consequence of ethanol – loss of wildlife due to loss of habitat

Update: Welcome to those arriving from Million Dollar Way. Hope you enjoy the read. There are plenty of other posts here on ethanol, energy in general, and especially peak oil foolishness. (Thanks for the link!)

It doesn’t compare to forcing the poor to pay lots more so they barely have enough food to stay alive, but there is another unintended consequence directly caused by turning corn into gasoline.

The loss of grassland has reduced the number of game birds, with a resulting drop in hunting and the associated slump in economic activity.

The Dickinson Press has a report:  Ethanol’s rise can mean loss of hunting lands.

It used to be that one particular motel in Fairbury, Nebraska would be packed every day of the week for the first two weeks of the pheasant season and then all weekend for several more weeks. Now, there are a few hunters that show up occasionally.


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Reality finally impacting ethanol requirements

The EPA has reduced the amount of ethanol that must be used in gasoline. The federal requirement is based on absolute volume of ethanol and not the amount of gasoline sold. Thus, even though gasoline use dropped instead of rising, the amount of ethanol has to increase. This would force us to use E15, which would damage many auto engines on the road.  The AAA asserts that only 5% of the light trucks on the market can use E15.  That linked article also says E15 actually has twice as much corn (ethanol) as E10.

A small victory for consumers who buy gas, everyone that owns a vehicle with an engine that otherwise would be damaged, and the poor who spend a disproportionate share of their income buying artificially high-priced corn.

Other good news:

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Current reputation of ethanol

Cute cartoon from Nate Beeler in the Columbus Dispatch

The corn, it’s a poppin’ 

Ethanol fail

When can we start calling it foolishness to burn corn in our cars?

Via Meadia’s post Biofuel Boondoggle Just Won’t Quit begins:

Corn-based ethanol starves the world’s poor and increases greenhouse gas emissions

Standards set by Congress require a certain amount of ethanol be used. Here’s the required amount this year compared to production and expected demand:

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Update on environmental damage from wind power

WInd farms will soon get 30 year long permits to take out those birds. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub prior to their merger into Adobe Stock.

WInd farms will soon get 30 year long permits to take out those birds. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub prior to their merger into Adobe Stock.

Just a few of the recent articles providing updates on slice-and-dicers damage in general and status of North Dakota wind farms plants in particular.

  • Wyoming project may get specific permission to kill eagles
  • All wind farms plants get broad permission to kill eagles for 30 years
  • Massive subsidies for wind power, which is intermittent and unreliable, meaning it is often unavailable when needed
  • Updates on two N.D. turbine farms

12/8/16 – Denver Post – Wyoming wind project may get permit to kill eagles – The Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm plant, which will start with 500 slice-and-dicers and may expand to 1,000 bird-choppers, could get two critical permits by next month (January).

The first permit will allow destroying eagle nests that are currently unoccupied. I’m guessing that will chase away eagles from the kill zone.

The second permit will allow the facility to kill 14 golden eagles a year for five years. They can also off 2 bald eagles a year for five years.

The slicer farm plant will have to do mitigation for the golden eagles they expect to kill, but not the bald eagles.

Read more…

Still more on the downside of alternative, unreliable energy sources

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few more updates on the unintended consequences of alternative, unreliable energy sources.

  • Humans want electricity available the instant we want electricity – the challenge of dispatchable energy
  • An overview of the harm from burning corn in our engines

8/9 – Million Dollar Way – Dispatchable Energy – The Demand is Growing

Yet another massive problem with wind and solar energy. You cannot turn it off and on. As in, provide electricity when people decide they want it. That feature is called dispatchable.

Here’s the definition of the term:

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More wind power coming on line in North Dakota

Above party did not speak at hearings which approved 159 wind turbines. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Above party did not speak at hearings which approved 159 wind turbines. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Several articles on the increasing number of slice-and-dicers in the state.

Also, ethanol lobbyists want the feds to force customers to buy more of their food-based power; this is cronyism in action. That customers don’t want to burn more corn in their cars and don’t want the higher prices and don’t want to risk damaging their engines is not a factor in the lobbying.

6/16 – Forum News Service at Bismark Tribune – N.D. utility regulators approve wind farm project – The state PSC approved the Brady Wind Energy Center I near Dickinson. There has been a lot of public opposition to the project for quite some time.

Read more…

Visual illustration of energy foolishness

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

I just learned that Robert Wilson (@CountCarbon) does a huge amount of graphing. (Yeah, yeah, I’m slow to catch up with what’s happening. On the other hand, keeping up with change is the purpose of this blog.)

Here are two of his illustrations that shows the utter foolishness of two specific energy policies: ethanol and solar power.


Question along with graph to help figure out your answer:

corn used in ethanol

Question: Would corn be better used to feed people than cars?

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Bakken update – Williston considers driving up housing prices. Heat caused 2 derailments in Montana.

Mancamp near Stanley. Photo by James Ulvog.

Mancamp near Stanley. Photo by James Ulvog.

City of Williston may likely vote this week to close all man camps within their jurisdiction. Dramatically reducing supply of housing will have the obvious impact of driving up prices. Keep in mind that is a choice of the local government.

Heat is what caused two derailments in Montana back in July. Not the oil that was on board.

Major construction work on Main street is finished.

11/6 – Amy Dalrymple at Dickinson Press – Oil backers push to keep crew camps as decision looms for Williston 

Read more…

More great things to learn about Bakken – part 2


Four pumps pulling up oil that was untouchable 20 years ago. Photos by James Ulvog.

Prof. Mark Perry did a heap of learnin’ on his trip to Williston in May. He wraps up comments at his post, Top ten things I learned on my summer trip to the Bakken oil fields, Part II

My comments on part I here.

If you are looking for a primer on the oil revolution or Bakken or fracking, check out his articles.

A few highlights from his 3,000+ word post and a few of my thoughts. Read more…

More good stuff from the open frontier of energy – 6/1

Articles on operation of salt water disposal sites, damage from ethanol, drones in the oil patch, and an interview with Chevron’s CEO (including comments on harsh over regulation in California).

5/26 – Journal Publishing – Putting the ‘safe’ in hazardous oil waste – Superb article on salt water disposal (SWD). Waste water from a well, perhaps two or 3 gallons for every gallon of oil, goes to special treatment sites.

The SWD sites have lots of tanks to let the saltwater settle. Oil floats to the top, is skimmed off, then sold.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 5/29

A few articles on the astoundingly open frontiers of technology and private space exploration.


5/21 – Popular Mechanics – Brain Implant Lets Teraplegic Man drink Beer with a Robot Arm – Although this is a little bity step, consider what a huge leap it is from what could be done before.

Sensors attached to a man’s head pick up electronic signals corresponding to him wanting to move his arm. Those signals control a robotic arm to move a cup of water up and toward him so that he can take a sip.

Read more…

More good stuff on Bakken – 4/14

A few articles on what’s going on the Bakken oil patch. Williston keeps growing. Rig count falling. Neither a surprise.

3/16 – BakkenShale.com – Population Grows 20% in Williston – Researcher Nancy Hodur of NDSU has done a tally of the total number of people in Williston and Williams County. She started with the census numbers and added hotels, man camps, and RV parks. Her estimate:

  • 2012      2014      % chg  area
  • 25,915   31,143   20%     Williston
  • 44,308   52,778   19%     Williams County

4/3 – Reuters Media at Dickinson PressClock keeps ticking toward North Dakota oil tax break Read more…

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