Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ethanol vs Gasoline & Global Warming

Many have touted the switch to Ethanol from Gasoline automobile fuels as a major part of the plan to reduce Global Warming Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions. The U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental & Public Works, and its Chairman, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), authored or supported the Senate Passed Energy Bill which, according to a Press Release, included:
A $500 million grant program to encourage the production of advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol
But the Energy Bill also mandated expanded Corn Based Ethanol use to 36 billion gallons in the next 15 years. For any number of reasons, most of them increased consumer and/or production costs/expenses, the use of Ethanol as a fuel is not practical. More information HERE.

There is another reason why the Switch to Ethanol from Gasoline to reduce CO2 emissions is not practical. If I remember my College Chemistry correctly, each gallon of Gasoline produces about 19.37 lbs of CO2. Each gallon of Ethanol produces about 12.59 lbs of CO2. But Ethanol has only 2/3 the energy of Gasoline. Therefore, to drive the same distance on Ethanol, 18.89 lbs of CO2 is produced. Ethanol does produce less CO2, about 1/2 lb less!

Man-made CO2 emissions account for less than half of the total atmospheric Green House Gases emissions. Natural processes, like Volcanoes account for the other half, and considering that CO2 constitutes less than 1% of Earth's atmosphere, the total impact on the Global Green House Gas emissions is insignificant. Kind of like spitting in the Ocean.

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