Re: Oil potpourri

From: Al Koop <>
Date: Tue Aug 24 2004 - 14:29:41 EDT

Dennis Feucht wrote;

One should be expecting a yield of 45 tons of raw cane per acre if
properly. One can expect 100 liters of "pure" ethanol per ton if
properly. Ergo: 4500 liters of fuel per acre of cane. Now for the
by-product, electrical power: burning bagasse (30% of cane by weight)
50% moisture yields 450 BTU per pound of energy: 45 tons * 30% = 13.5
=> (13.5 tons/365 days) * (2000 lbs/ton) = 74 pounds per day. Run that
through a small power plant and figure 10% over all efficiencies (though
expect 3 times that) and you get 9.75 kW*h per day. That is for just one

With two crops per year, the above numbers double. To compare with Ken's
numbers from this point on will require some guess as to the total
cane-producing area in the world, so I won't take this analysis farther.
Also, larger bagasse-burning plants will have higher efficiency,
50 % for high-speed turbines. Combining cane growing with solar
in the processing of ethanol, and perhaps the prospects for an ethanol
economy are not quite so gloomy.

AK: Of course, the debate centers around how much of the ethanol has to
be used up to generate the crop in the first place. One initial
rerspectable calculation indicated that it would take more ethanol than
it would produce, although more recent optimistic calculations indicate
that you could get something like 2 gallons produced for each gallon
used in the production. I don't know what the real number would be. if
we did this on grand scale, but I would guess somewhere in between. On
top of that you must recognize that nutrients like nitrogen, magnesium,
phosphate, potassium, and several other trace elements are removed from
the soil when plants are removed from where they are grown and these
nutrients have to be replaced somehow. The big question is how
sustainable are two sugar cane crops per year when most of the biomass
is hauled off from the growing site? I would guess that 45 tons per
acre twice a year is not very sustainable over decades.

My calculations indicate that there are presently about 4 billion acres
of cropland under cultivation although we are losing 10 of thousands of
acres per year to desertification, salination, and poor farming
practices. So using your numbers, if we place 3% of this cropland in
sugar cane and we have no sustainability or energy input issues (which
of course is absurd) we would roughly replace our yearly supply of oil
with ethanol. So I leave it up to the reader to decide how much sugar
cane biomass is likely to relieve our coming energy shortage.

Dennis wrote:
I see no strong logic in this conclusion. It has to do with geopolitics,
energy. A world dictator bent on energy maximization might ruthlessly do
much better.

And later

Baloney. There will be no lynch mobs in a society under martial law, nor
will there be a need for elected officials. Posse Comitatus is dead
down by a recent court decision) and the military has been under
modification for some time to make it compliant with in-country use by
who control it. The only branch of govt that matters is the one that
controls the military.

AK: Wow, Dennis. You seem pretty sure we are soon going to lose any
semblance of a republic or democracy. I don't quite share your view that
we will be under martial law before the populace has a chance to express
themselves. I also would consider the chance of the emergence a world
dictator bent on energy maximization to be mighty low.

Dennis wrote:

Noam Chomsky knows enough about how the power elite function (see to not doubt their complicity in
9/11 event. It sounds like this reviewer has no clue as to how the power
elite connive or what they will do. Nationally renowned investigative
Alex Jones of Austin, TX has compiled an archive of factual material,
"cloud cuckoo" name-calling, about 9/11 at One need
remember who created al-CIAda, and for whom Osama Bin Laden was an asset
shooting down Soviet helicopters with Stinger missiles in Afghanistan,
to be
disabused of the notion that the power elite are merely serving on
interlocking directorates of policy-formation think-tanks and
corporations. (Also, on power-elite spirtuality, check out Alex Jones's
archives on the Bohemian Grove. Moloch worship by Bushes, Powell, world
leaders? The devil does run the world-system, just as the Bible says!)

I have read a fair amount of Chomsky and also some of the other websites
about the 9/11 event. I remain unconvinced. Moreover, even if I was
convinced of this conspiracy plot, I agree with Paul Ramsey in his
review that this stuff has no business in a book about energy depletion.
 Energy depletion will affect Republicans, Democrats, Green,
Libertarians, and other parties equally. I see no reason to give those
who are entirely unconcerned about petroleum depletion another much more
controversial topic to use to undermine the energy depletion argument in
the book and to divert the attention away from a much more certain

Dennis wrote;

Nuclear fission requires uranium. Uranium deposits are, like oil, well
their way to depletion. That's the key issue with nuclear as a
energy source.

AK: Sure, there are legitimate concerns about uranium depletion decades
from now and certainly about the nuclear waste problem. But, nuclear
energy is currently producing a significant amount of energy in the
world, although it also requires significant energy inputs, especially
at the outset. With thorium and breeder reactors and some other
reasonably possible technological advances there is some reason to think
that nuclear power could produce significantly more energy for decades.
I think your ethanol and electricity production from sugar cane as a
solution for future energy sources is much more pie-in-the sky than is
nuclear fission.

Received on Tue Aug 24 15:22:19 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Aug 24 2004 - 15:22:21 EDT