Re: Oil potpourri

From: Innovatia <>
Date: Wed Aug 25 2004 - 13:43:39 EDT

From: "Al Koop" <>

> 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.

In the developing world where cane is grown, manual labor in cutting and
planting cane is often involved, and no ethanol or disel fuel is used at
all. At the same time, John Deere passes out free magazines at farm supply
stores (in Spanish) that show mechanized cane farming.

As for nutrients, I don't know the answer. Cane has been grown for many
years on the same properties. Trace minerals may not be all that important
if the cane is deficient in it since it doesn't show up in the end result.
However, depleted soil might reduce productivity. (I'm copying this to Peter
Singfield in case he has comments on this.) Depletion can be viewed as
either a factor in assessing EFFECTIVE area of global croplands, or
ultimately is a geological issue (new soil from volcanoes).

> 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.

Given these estimates, it is clear that ethanol will not replace oil. Solar
is also required, and can supply much of the stationary electricity
requirements once solar thermal electricity is developed. With both, plus
additional conservation, perhaps the developed world will survive in
something like its existing form.

> 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
> (struck
> 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
> those
> 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.

I spent a full year in '98-'99 studying the world-system. A friend of mine
who argues (and wins) Supreme Court cases (won the landmark Beck v CWA case)
puts it: "The deeper you dig, the dirtier it gets." (Read his novel The
Crashmaker ( for an acurate view of political reality. He
would only dare say some of this in a fictional context, and his Christian
apologetics is first-rate.) It takes a certain level of digging before a
transformation in thinking about the world-system occurs. Now, when I read
Bible texts about the world, it is like turning the volume control all the
way up. No proper nouns occur, but the basic operating principles are
explicitly there, though hidden well behind mass-media propaganda.

I am not too concerned about losing anti-biblical forms of govt. The trend
in increase of unrighteousness in the developed world, however, is more
telling of what is in store. This has many manifestations, including the US
debt (govt, corps, households) which sets an all-time world record. And the
New World Order is becoming increasingly restless. Something has got to
give. I don't know when, but the trends are clear.

> I have read a fair amount of Chomsky and also some of the other websites
> about the 9/11 event. I remain unconvinced.

Check out Alex Jones's website. ( There are too many
unlikely coincidences for me to discount it. I have also spent time digging
into covert op activitiess, and 9/11 is plausible as an al-CIAda covert op.
There is much evidence for it, some of which is on Jones's site and some of
which is in books written by retired high-level military people.

> 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
> position.

Agreed. This is a different subject and he should have written a separate
book addressing it.

> 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.

The existing N. Am. nuclear industry would have to become breeder-reactor
driven. France chose that route and is dominantly nuclear. The US turned it
down a couple decades ago, as I recall. So I would agree that IF
breeder-reactor technology is allowed and developed, that it is a viable
option. But the sun is so much of a cleaner energy source. And so little
effort has been put into tapping it.

Dennis Feucht
Received on Wed Aug 25 14:36:18 2004

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