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One Man's Subsidy Is Another Man's Alternative

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject: One Man's Subsidy Is Another Man's Alternative Reply with quote

This is a thread about trying to understand who's zoomin' who when it comes to alternative fuel. The Democrats claim that the Republican energy bill is actually a subsidy to traditional energy (coal, oil) while paying lip service to what the Bush Administration says it's really about: hydrogen, fuel cells, fusion and the future.

The Democrats claim that it's devoid of funding for solar, wind power and hydro, while the Republicans claim that those sources are already developed, commercialized and being researched by funding from private enterprise.

Meanwhile, the Democrats promote biodiesel, ethanol and methanol. However, a neo-Con might cluck his lips and see those as simply subsidies to the farming industry.

Well, it sure would be nice to separate the wheat from the chaff..have at it!
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John-

Thanks for breaking this out.

It sounds like we have the basis for some common ground here.

My understanding is that corn-based ethanol is a dead-end on
the US's path toward developing energy sources and (possibly)
attaining energy self-sufficiency. The energy inputs needed to
get a gallon of corn-based ethanol are perilously close to the
energy produced. I've heard stories of politicians who want to
support it looking into the details of it coming away disheartened
by the prospect. Of course, the midwest has a powerful political
influence, especially on presidential politics, so both parties cozy
up to the idea.

The one positive result of all this (from my point of view) is that
some folks are realizing that other plants can form the basis of
a sensible alcohol-based fuel, and that laws and subsidies meant
for corn-based ethanol can apply to alcohol generated from other
plants. David Blume has written numerous articles and, in
particular, an excellent DVD "Alcohol can be a Gas" in which
he lays out the benefits and history of alcohol used as a fuel.
He claims that early automobiles were typically set up to use
alcohol or gasoline. Rockefeller, he claims, funded the
temperance/prohibition movement to eliminate alcohol as a
competitor to gasoline. In any case, sugar beets (there's a
good name for a band there: "the sugar beats"!) and many other
plants are very efficient for generating alcohol (at less than
$1.00 per gallon). Alcohol has many other advantages in the
areas of pollution (there is none), and engine simplification
(no need for a radiator), etc.

This is a technology that is ready to go right now, is sustainable,
inexpensive, and low in pollutants and greenhouse gases.

-Brian
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thoroughly enjoyed the vid "Alcohol Can Be a Gas" and I think everyone should watch it...it's fascinating not only for the information about alcohol but the whole history of the fuel and Prohibition.

Flex-fuel vehicles may be standard in the next few years -- as the video says, it only takes a $35 modification to existing vehicles and new vehicles may all be flex-fueled.

I am not against all farming-fuel scenarios or even subsidies. I like the idea of getting us off corn and back to sugar beets -- as you noted the total amount of overweight pounds on the American populace is directly proportional to the amount of corn syrup put into the market!

I also think this is a real area of common ground -- commercial enterprises are doing it, the current administration is and has been supporting flex-fuels (as well as fuel cells and hydrogen). This is a case where I think everyone rather than argue needs to get behind and just start pushing the existing bus, rather than arguing over what new bus to buy!
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sector Wrap: Alternative Energy Sparks
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/061108/sector_wrap_alternative_energy.html?.v=1

Quote:
UBS also said in a report released prior to the elections that Democrats would be more likely to hold congressional hearings on global warming, support higher gas taxes and encourage the shift toward forms of alternative energy such as wind and biofuels.

Shares of Archer Daniels Midland Co., an oilseed processor and ethanol producer, posted some of the days largest gains, gaining $2.20, or 6.6 percent, at $35.73 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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