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Old 11-03-2014, 12:45 PM   #41
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Further, corn requires high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer - and nitrogen fertilizer is made from.... wait for it.... petroleum!

-ERD50
To be more detailed, anhydrous ammonia (nitrogen fertilizer base) is cracked from natural gas, not a liquid petroleum. But both come from the same source and are hydrocarbon compounds.

Sorry to have this thread go off topic, but in the interest of Peak Oil, which is still a thought process, but difficult to quantify worldwide, there is some good info in the posts here.
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:15 PM   #42
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Yes, they are both food crops, that's an issue in common.

But there are still big differences:

Soybeans are ~ 20% oil, and extracting that oil is a pretty simple and low-energy process. The oil doesn't really need much processing to be used in a blend.

Turning corn into ethanol is a multi-step, high energy process. First soak the corn with enzymes at warm temps to convert the starch to sugar. Second, cool down the heat you added so you can add yeast to convert sugar to alcohol. Third, heat it again to distill the mix to boil off ~ 85% of the water in the mix to get the ~ 15% alcohol. Takes a lot of energy to boil water. And we still have something that most cars can only use as a blend.

Further, corn requires high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer - and nitrogen fertilizer is made from.... wait for it.... petroleum!

Soybeans on the other hand, are legumes, which (in combination with bacteria) actually draw nitrogen from the air and increase the nitrogen in the soil. That's one of the reasons that farmers will rotate between soy and corn (also to break disease/pest cycles).

Overall, I'd say soy-oil fuel > corn ethanol.

-ERD50
I guess what I was getting at was why not use a source that isn't already a major food source? IOW, avoid the obvious food supply/demand and price issue altogether.

I think the article discusses switchgrass for example, or algae (though presumably that's a substantially different process and cultivating method).
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:33 PM   #43
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I guess what I was getting at was why not use a source that isn't already a major food source? IOW, avoid the obvious food supply/demand and price issue altogether. ...
No disagreement from me, re-read what I wrote ('not sure it makes sense... still questionable'....):

Soy diesel works, but I'm not sure it makes sense on a large scale. IIRC, much more sense than corn ethanol, but still questionable. But if I had a free/cheap source, and a diesel powered something, I'd use it.



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I think the article discusses switchgrass for example, or algae (though presumably that's a substantially different process and cultivating method).
These still have a long way to go, but we might get there someday. It will be interesting to see (if I live long enough) if any one or two new sources take over, or will we have dozens of methods (that diversification could be a good thing).

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Old 11-03-2014, 02:02 PM   #44
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Read this book years ago. Before this latest edition came out.

http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Resou...imate+resource

To me, one of the most infuential books I ever read. Explained a great deal about "shortages".
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Old 11-03-2014, 02:16 PM   #45
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Here is also a good book written by Matt Simmons who I worked with at one time. Matt passed away a couple of years ago but had a real good perspective on what is going on worldwide with oil. The book was written pre 2007 and Matt missed out on the recent horizontal drilling boom.

Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy: Matthew R. Simmons: 9780471790181: Amazon.com: Books

"Investment banker Simmons offers a detailed description of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S and our long-standing dependence upon Saudi oil. With a field-by-field assessment of its key oilfields, he highlights many discrepancies between Saudi Arabia's actual production potential and its seemingly extravagant resource claims. Parts 1 and 2 of the book offer background and context for understanding the technical discussion of Saudi oil fields and the world's energy supplies. Parts 3 and 4 contain analysis of Saudi Arabia's oil and gas industry based on the technical papers published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Simmons suggests that when Saudi Arabia and other Middle East producers can no longer meet the world's enormous demand, world leaders and energy specialists must be prepared for the consequences of increased scarcity and higher costs of oil that support our modern society. Without authentication of the Saudi's production sustainability claims, the author recommends review of this critical situation by an international forum. A thought-provoking book."

If you want to learn something about foreign oil reserves, this is the best source.
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