Is ethanol a good alternative to petroleum fuels? And is using corn to produce ethanol the right method?

Question

Alternative Energy: The sources for and uses of energy are some of the most pressing and influential questions to be answered by industry and science today. The search for alternative fuels is a major part of this endeavor. Here is an interesting interview with Bill Gates on this topic.

· Q&A with Bill Gates on the World’s Energy Crisis

· https://www.wired.com/2011/06/mf-qagates/

Instructions

Here are some questions to consider in your discussion of the topic of Energy use in the 21st century:

· Is ethanol a good alternative to petroleum fuels? And is using corn to produce ethanol the right method?

· Where do you think we will be in 50 years on this issue?

· Find a reference that discusses an alternative fuel. Tell us what the article says about it and include your article as a reference.

2 peer review

wynston robertson 

WEEK FOUR DISCUSSION 1

There has been continued increase in CO2 within the earth’s environment,  a  complete reliability on fossil fuels and not enough plans of action to decrease these measures before they are irreversible. It is for this reason that I believe ethanol would be a great alternative to petroleum. The production of ethanol through corn is a majestic feat all of its own. Its low in cost, lessens the emission of CO2 in vehicles and it promotes farming. Even more important is the fact that because of corn ethanol is a renewable source. Of course there are drawbacks but none of which should be limiters in the creation of more ethanol. Sadly, in the next 50 years I don’t believe we will have advanced much when it comes to the use of other sources of energy. We are creatures of habit that have used petroleum for generations now and it’s a far fetched idea to believe that we will stop until every drop is diminished. I am however hopeful that in 50 years there will be more options available for people to use instead. The precursor to that is some of the options that are available today. Solar, electricity, petroleum, and ethanol are foundations for whats to come. Glenn Meyers writes, “Gasoline and diesel are still fossil fuel kings of the fuel supply chain but alternative fuels are now swinging the scale more toward green.” Meyers details eight fuel alternatives that could ether replace the use of petroleum or be valuable as a  good alternative. One such alternative mentioned was Hydrogen. This alternative has no bad emissions but the downside is that it can be costly and there are many fueling facilities. The seven other alternatives mentioned give pros and cons as well.   Anderson, C. (March 7, 2018,) “Q&A: Bill Gates on the World’s Energy Crisis.” Retrieved from www.wired.com/2011/06/mf-qagates/. West, L.  (February 2, 2019) “The Pros and Cons of Ethanol Fuel.” Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-ethanol-fuel-1203777. Meyers G. (March 8, 2012) “Top Eight Alternative Fuels.” Retrieved from https://cleantechnica.com/2012/03/08/top-eight-alternative-fuels/

Amy Ramirez 

Week 4 Discussion – Alternative Fuels

Week 4 Discussion Post

According tot he U.S. Department of Energy, ethanol is a renewable resource, and when blended properly, has less emissions than a purely petroleum-based fuel. It appears that is the key when determining whether a massive switch towards ethanol should be taken – is how ethanol is produced in order to actually make it a cleaner alternative (UCS USA).

While using ethanol fuel blends creates jobs, it also is less powerful than purely petroleum-based fuels, which means people have to use more of it to go the same distance. As well, there appears to be a disagreement as to whether ethanol blends created from corn are actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There seems to be information supporting each side of the argument. Using corn for ethanol fuel blends also has an impact on how agricultural land is used (“supply of this crop will be consumed to produce ethanol instead of providing food to consumers”) (Ayres).

As far as my own personal opinion on alternative fuel sources, I think there is a small but meaningful effort towards sustainable resources such as electricity and solar energy. This is where I am turning to. I’m seriously looking into trading in my car for an electric scooter, or a small electric car. I’m also looking into solar power for my home (when I move .. I live in an apartment currently and don’t have much say in the matter). I see other people making these same efforts, as well. I’m also fortunate to live in San Diego, where there are a lot of energy-focused people, everyone recycles, etc. But everywhere else isn’t like San Diego. So maybe in fifty years, a larger percentage of us will be moving in this direction, but as far as mass consumers … I’d be surprised if any drastic changes were made in any capacity – but we’ll probably end up somewhere in the nuclear energy arena.

An article by Alex Taylor for Fortune outlines about ten different alternative fuels, and a brief history of each. The three that stuck out to me the most were electricity (“electrics”), solar, and steam. Electricity and solar are my two favorite alternative fuel sources, as discussed earlier. However, these two aren’t exactly considered practical for the average every-day consumer who needs a place to charge their battery during the day. For example, solar power does not do a whole lot for people who live in Seattle, and electric cars may deter people from going on longer trips because of concern for finding charging stations. Steam is an interesting alternative, because it can basically churn anything into energy – the major issue with steam however, is that is incredibly heavy. So while steam is beneficial, we are still running into a roadblock.

Works Cited

“10 Alternatives to the Gasoline-Powered Engine.” Fortune, fortune.com/2013/11/01/10-alternatives-to-the-gasoline-powered-engine/.

Anderson, Chris. “Q&A: Bill Gates on the World’s Energy Crisis.” Wired, Conde Nast, 7 Mar. 2018, www.wired.com/2011/06/mf-qagates/.

Ayres, Crystal. “8 Pros and Cons of Corn Ethanol.” Green Garage, 14 Jan. 2017, greengarageblog.org/8-pros-and-cons-of-corn-ethanol.

“Ethanol Benefits and Considerations.” Alternative Fuels Data Center: Ethanol Benefits and Considerations, afdc.energy.gov/fuels/ethanol_benefits.html.

“The Truth about Ethanol.” Union of Concerned Scientists, www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/better-biofuels/truth-about-ethanol.

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