RE: A new development in renewable fuels

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Sat Feb 14 2004 - 09:40:15 EST

My problem with this is that there are many analyses which show that
ethanol, overall, is an energy negative proposition. Thus it won't become a
major input to the supposed hydrogen economy. The basic problem with the
hydrogen economy is that there are no hydrogen mines, no hydrogen wells, and
thus one must use other energy to create the hydrogen with the requisite
loss of useful work in the process.

Whether ethanol will work is still questionable in my mind. The studies I
have seen have the USDA and Corn grower's associations supporting studies
which show that ethanol is energy positive, and others like David Pimental
saying it takes 29 percent more energy to form ethanol. One corn grower's
association study which said that ethanol was energy positive, didn't
account for the energy to build the machinery needed to farm the corn.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On
> Behalf Of William Hamilton
> Sent: Saturday, February 14, 2004 6:47 AM
> To: William Hamilton
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: A new development in renewable fuels
> I have read the article. One error I note is the claim that a 1 KW
> output can supply the average household. When sizing emergency
> generators for homes, the conventional wisdom is you need around 10KW.
> Of course that's for peak loads. Obviously if all you're running is
> lights you could get along on 1 KW. But run the TV and the dishwasher
> and a few other appliances simultaneously and it mounts up.
> One point that did impress me is that water in the alcohol does no harm
> -- in fact it contributes additional hydrogen molecules that are also
> separated by the catalyst.
> Somehow I think rhodium is scarce and expensive. Don't know about
> ceria -- never heard of it in fact.
> On Friday, February 13, 2004, at 07:20 PM, William Hamilton wrote:
> > The following article details a new reactor developed at the
> > University of MN that converts ethyl alchohol into hydrogen. It's
> > much smaller than previous such devices -- small enough that it could
> > be installed in a home. I haven't read it thoroughly, so I can't tell
> > how pure the feedstock has to be. And that's important, since it
> > takes energy to isolate alcohol. Also, of course it takes fertilizer
> > to raise the corn from which the alcohol is made. But perhaps this is
> > a small part of an eventual solution.
> >
> >
> >
> > Bill Hamilton Rochester, MI 248 652 4148
> >
> >
> Bill Hamilton Rochester, MI 248 652 4148
Received on Sat Feb 14 09:38:42 2004

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