by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Ethanol saves oil and reduces pollution, or so we are being told. But the truth is a completely different one and no one wants to talk about that.
Ethanol, one of the so-called biofuels, the other is biodiesel, is produced, primarily, especially in the USA, from corn (maize), with biodiesel, mainly, being made from palm oil. The latter shall, however, not stand for discussion here at the moment.
So, they tell us that ethanol saves oil and reduces pollution but no one speaks about the oil-based products and the diesel required to put the corn into the ground, to spray it with pesticides, to harvest it and to process it. The fact is that the public is being sold a lie.
For every bushel of corn produced to ethanol half a gallon of oil is needed (for the metrically minded person a bushel is just a little of quarter of a metric ton and half a gallon US equals about two liters) in the form of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, fuel for the drilling of the crop, etc. And then more fuel, in the form of energy, is required for the processing of the maize into ethanol, followed by yet more fuel to get the ethanol to the filling stations. That about covers the fuel, predominately in the form of oil, being used.
Now we come to reduction of the pollution, which does not exist, for the plants which process the corn into ethanol create pollution, the fertilizers and the pesticides do, and so on.
When everything, I should reckon, is calculated then the problem is rather the opposite to an improvement and it could almost be a case of higher use of fuel to create a fuel.
The only reason that the companies making ethanol make ethanol is because of the government subsidies that that attached to it. Otherwise it simply would not be profitable and they would not make it. And the same is the case as regards to biodiesel which has been shown to have far more dangerous emissions, especially of nanoparticles, than ordinary oil-based diesel and those nanoparticles are reckoned to be the causal agent for the increase of asthma, especially in children.
So, are we jumping from the proverbial frying pan into the fire? It very much would appear to be the case.
In addition to that bio-diesel and bio-ethanol both use valuable land. In the former case it is a variety of crops, often palm oil palm, that are grown in tropical rainforest areas and lead to the destruction of said forests while in the latter case it is corn or other crops that are grown on fields that would be much better used for the growing of food for human consumption.
Time for a serious rethink, methinks...