What is Ethanol? Ethanol, which is sometimes called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, or grain alcohol is defined as, “a high octane, clean burning, American- made renewable fuels. ” Ethanol is an increasing important aspect of our society and its popularity is becoming more widespread on a daily basis. Ethanol, a substance made out of Sugar-cane, maize, sorghum, wheat , and other grains, has become one of the main viable source of energy in the world. In countries like South Africa and Brazil, fuel contains around 24 percent ethanol (much of it 100 percent), 76 percent gasoline.
In the United States, in most service stations, fuel is blended 10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline. The record of oil prices worldwide is extremely high. Even thought the production and consumption of ethanol in the United States have increase, the oil market prices still very high. One of the solutions to this problem is to increase of blending of ethanol with gasoline, just like in Brazil. According to thefreedictionary. com ethanol is “ An alcohol obtained from the fermentation of sugars and starches or by chemical synthesis.
It is the intoxicating ingredient of alcoholic beverages, and is also used as a solvent, in explosives, and as an additive to or replacement for petroleum-based fuels. ” Brazil being one of the only countries really exploring ethanol has limited if not cut off its dependency on oil. It cost less to produce ethanol and it is also cleaner for our environment. Beginning in the 1970’s every gas station in Brazil was required to have at least one ethanol pump and the government mandated that all gasoline be mixed with ethanol.
This new discovery has also led to a new type of car called, a “flex vehicle”. It gives the driver the option of either using gasoline and ethanol blend or 100 % percent ethanol. Today 70% of all cars sold in Brazil are flex vehicles. They cost about the same as a regular car. Ethanol is cleaner, cheaper and better for the environment and us as humans. Ethanol is higher in power-producing octane than most gasoline and can reduce tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide and harmful particulates The production of ethanol is growing at a rapid rate since the production in the 1980’s.
There are approximately 180 ethanol production facilities in the US and this number does not account for the 20 that are currently under manufacture. Ethanol is many times combined with unleaded gasoline and can be a blend of E10, E20, E30, E40 or E85. The most common blends are E10 and E85. E10 is made up of 10% ethanol and 90% unleaded gasoline. Approximately 70% of gasoline we use in our vehicles are the mixture of E10 because it has pure burning characteristics. E85 is a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline and can be used for flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs).
Throughout the decade, the use of ethanol has become very important and over the past decade, many farmers, businessmen and investors have joined the advancements in the production ethanol. The USDA believes that the new production of oil will create a revenue of about 2 to 4 billion dollars for farmers by the year 2012. There have been several studies that have been conducted and they all prove that the price of corn has increased 5-10 per bushels if the farm was placed near an area of an ethanol plant.
Corn is the primary ingredient in the production of ethanol and it can also be used in other products such as, wheat, barley, sugar cane, beets, cheese, potatoes (etc). Ethanol can also be manufactured in a dry- mills and wet- mills (which were more common when ethanol was first produced). The ethanol that is created is the United States displaces the need for crude oil that we would need from other countries. This would lead our country to gain more independence which is needed in a time where our economy needs to consume all its valuable resources.
The Energy Information Administration reported that “Ethanol is key to reducing our country’s trade deficit in crude oil, a figure that has steadily been steadily increasing: $27 billion in 1987 up to $100 billion in 2002. ” Since the United States imports two- thirds of their oil, the dependency of foreign crude oil will become great in the years to come. The Federal Highway Administration states that the US fuel consumption has increased form 12 billions a gallon a year in 1970, to 160 billion gallons in 2002. That is a tremendous jump in such a shot amount of time that leads many to believe that we are consuming more ethanol on a yearly basis. Ethanol is extremely important and it is of great value to the US agriculture because it generates millions of dollars on a local, state and national level. It is estimated that the more plants produced, more jobs will be created for the our country whose people are constantly losing there jobs due to economical reasons. Ethanol is being proposed as the next alternative source of energy that will meet the needs for the high demand for fuel.
Ethanol a biofuel is considered to be a viable source of energy, as it is made from such crops as corn, maize, sugarcane, potato and just about any solid waste matter. Ethanol is also considered to be a renewable source of energy, derived from the sunlight, which is replenishable. Along with these qualities, there are still many advantages and disadvantages to the use of Ethanol as a source of energy. One could say that the advantages of Ethanol’s use far outweigh the disadvantages; however the question is asked what are these advantages. The major advantage of Ethanol’s use is the source of energy that is used in its production.
The energy source is mainly derived from the sun and as such does add to the cost of production. Compared to energy from fossil fuels, which when once burn is gone, the energy from Ethanol is renewable and reusable (Blackburn, 1987). Financial gain is another of Ethanol’s advantage: Ethanol’s future is now seen as a capital investment (Hostetter, 2007). Ethanol is now being traded on the stock market and has had it “fair share” of highs and lows on the market, where it was once compared to the frenzy of the dot com companies at their inception into the market (Hostetter, 2007).
Ethanol is considered to be environment-friendly, especially in today’s world where more focus and awareness on “going green” has become a cause for many in saving the earth. “In the U. S. , ethanol’s environment-friendly role is growing due to legislation mandating a phasing out of other fuel sources with the toxic Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), in favor of ethanol” (Anwar, 2006). Independent farmers may also benefit from the use of Ethanol, especially those farmers whose main crop is corn.
Corn is one of the main crops used in the production of Ethanol and as such, its sale will provide a boost for the farmers who produce corn. Ethanol usage will also reduce greenhouse gas emission, whereby carbon will be “recaptured” during the process of making ethanol. The advantages of Ethanol use are verifiable; however, the disadvantages to ethanol’s use are just as many. Disadvantages to Ethanol’s use include food shortages, as many staples including the potato is being used to make Ethanol.
Trees that are sometimes used as form of heat energy in the production of Ethanol will leave a void in the area from which they were taken, leaving a potential for landslides. This is evident in the country of Haiti, where in recent times; landslides took the life and livelihood of many people during the hurricane seasons. This was a direct result of deforestation in that country. “Corn, which is the source of 95% of ethanol in the U. S. , is among the least efficient, least sustainable biofuels. Corn ethanol has little promise of reducing U. S. fossil fuel emissions” (Shapely, 2007).
Corn based Ethanol will contribute to environmental pollution; the planting of many fields of corn will require the use of fertilizers and other chemicals which if there is a runoff may lead to phosphorus pollution in the water table. Other disadvantages to Ethanol as a viable source of energy are the limitations in the planting of other crops. Since crops that are “high producers” of Ethanol will be in high demand, then farmers may not be encouraged to plant other crops, thus leading to shortages and scarcity of other crops to fill the supply of the food market.
When compared to pure gasoline, burning pure Ethanol in a vehicle will result in at least a 34% reduction in miles per gallon. While Ethanol is considered to be cheaper, this may prove to be a disadvantage to many, who engage in distance driving, for example, the truck teamsters, who need as much mileage per gallon that is possible. According to Union of Concerned Scientists, most of our energy comes from fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. It supply about eight five percent of U. S. primary energy consumption.
Although the supplies of these fossil fuels are vast which means proportions, they are not limited, but most important, the earth’s atmosphere and biosphere may not survive the environmental impact of burning such enormous amounts of these fuels. The different type of valuable energy sources and their history by Union of Concerned Scientists: Biomass is from plants, a rich source of carbon and hydrogen, and one that can be used within the natural carbon cycle. Biomass is fast-growing plants, such as; switch-grass, willow and popular trees which can be harvested as “power crops”.
Biomass wastes, including forest residues, lumber and paper mill waste, crop wastes, garbage, landfill and sewage gas. Biomass wastes can be used to produce heat, transportation fuels and electricity. Mean while, at the same time reduce environmental burdens. Geothermal energy taps into the heat under the earth’s crust to boil water, than the hot water is used to drive electric turbines and heat buildings. Hydroelectric power uses the force of moving water to produce electricity. Hydropower is one of the main supplies of electricity in the world”, but most often in the formed of large dams that disrupt habitats and displace people, with using a better approach is usage of small hydro plants “run of the river”. Coal is the largest source of fuel for electricity production as well as the largest source of environmental harm. Oil is used primarily for transportation fuels, but also for power production, heat and chemicals- as a feedback. The U. S. imports over half of the oil we use.
Natural gas is a relatively clean burning fossil fuel, which is used mostly for space and water heating and running industrial processes. Increasingly natural gas is used in turbines to produce electricity. Nuclear power harnesses the heat of radioactive materials to produce steam for power generation as well as provides about twenty one percent of U. S. power. Solar energy power form the sun providing electricity sunlight and wind power is energy that developed wind turbines that can produce electricity at a lower cost than power from polluting coal plants.
All renewable energy technologies are not appropriate to all applications or locations (UCS). However, to combat global warming and the other problems associated with fossil fuels, the United States must switch to renewable energy sources: sunlight, wind and biomass (Brower, 1992). A study by the Union Concerned Scientists and three other national organizations, America’s Energy Choices, found that even when certain strict environmental standards are used for evaluating renewable energy projects. These renewable energy sources can provide more that half of the U. S. energy by the year 2030. Leading the U. S. ith conventional energy production, there are environmental issues to be considered, but fossil fuels are not the only source of energy, and burning fuel is not the only way to produce heat and motion. Moreover, renewable energy offers the environment better ways in saving, but has much smaller environmental impacts than fossil and nuclear fuels (UCS). Some energy sources are “renewable” because they are naturally replenished- they can be managed so this set them to last long or because their supply is enormous that they can nit be meaningfully depleted by humans. The twenty first century holds many challenges for mankind.
New and exciting ideas are being implemented every day. Energy conservation is a concern to everyone; therefore, alternatives to the manufacturing of consumer items are being researched on a regular basis. [pic] (MSNBC Media Com. ) The twenty first century holds many challenges for mankind. New and exciting ideas are being implemented every day. Energy conservation is a concern to everyone; therefore, alternatives to the manufacturing of consumer items are being researched on a regular basis. The reliable source of ethanol as a viable source of energy is a challenge for the governments around the world along with the consumers.
The ethanol energy is an alternative to the petroleum fuels and is a better resource for the environment. Ethanol is a solution to the problems of soil and water contamination. Many books have been written about the alternative resources for energy. Eighteen years ago Micki Nellis wrote about “the making if on the farm – Alcohol fuel is the road to independence’ (Keith Addison – Hand made projects). “Ethanol is produced by bacteria that ferment and break down carbohydrate sugars, such as the starch from corn.
Humans have been fine-tuning this process for thousands of years, although mainly to brew alcoholic beverages” (Bjorn Carney, January 26, 2006). Conscientious consumers are being persuaded and educated on the use of ethanol as an effective resource of energy. The developed and underdeveloped countries have concluded that the creation of an alternative energy system is also a viable source of employment. Global warming is an international problem that can be easily solved. However, the United States of America must take a leading position is finding a workable solution. The ethanol brand of fuel is in great demand globally.
Most gas stations across the country in the United States use this blend. New opportunities are available to consumers to enjoy clean energy and get rid of the addiction to foreign oil. References DiPardo, J(October 18, 1999) Outlook for Biomass Ethanol Production and Demand. United States Department of energy. http//tonto. aea. doe. gov/ftproot/features/biomass. pdf. Retrieved October 10, 2009. The United States Department of Energy is trying to set goals in the production of ethanol. Ethanol will reduce the prices of gasoline as much as 60 cents per gallon by year 2015.
Renewable Fuel Standard Program (May 26, 2009). United States Environmental Protection Agency. http://www. epa. gov/otaq/renewablefuels/ Retrieved October 10, 2009 The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is proposing a renewable fuel standard program which will increase the volume of renewable fuel such as ethanol, to blended with regular gasoline. In 2008, 9 billion gallons of renewable fuel were blend into gasoline. By year 2022, 36 billion gallons should be blend. Reel, M(August 19, 2006) Brazil’s Road to Energy Independence, Washington Post. http://washingtonpost. om/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/19/ar2006081900842. html Retrieved October 10, 2009. Around three years ago, Brazil introduced ethanol from sugar cane to save millions of dollars in the oil market. Right now, most service stations offer the option of ethanol, gasoline, and premium gasoline. Ethanol has replaced 40 percent of gasoline consumption. Blackburn, J (1987) How the United States and the World Can Prosper Without Nuclear Energy or Coal. The Renewable Energy Alternative. Retrieved October 13, 2009 There are potential outputs of the various forms of renewable energy in the United States.
These energy sources include direct solar heat, waterpower, wind power, or combustible materials from plant photosynthesis, which are continually available. They may be contrasted with energy from fossil fuels, which, once burned, are not again available for human use.