U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Green Living
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 04-12-2014, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Tennessee/Michigan
28,192 posts, read 47,516,886 times
Reputation: 19702

Advertisements

Could ethanol someday essentially be produced out of thin air? A group of scientists has published research in Nature detailing a new method of making ethanol out of carbon monoxide gas, instead of corn or sugarcane, Reuters reports. Researchers saturated water with the gas, then zapped it with a novel device featuring two electrodes, one made of what they're calling "oxide-derived copper," to convert it into fuel. "I emphasize that these are just laboratory experiments today," lead researcher Matthew Kanan says. He expects to have a prototype device ready in two to three years.

Scientists Discover New Way to Make Ethanol Without Corn - NBC News
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-13-2014, 06:16 AM
 
Location: DC
6,509 posts, read 6,429,279 times
Reputation: 3112
The issue will be energy balance.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-13-2014, 02:17 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,943,246 times
Reputation: 2153
When I see the price of corn fall I'll believe it... I hope it works on a commercially viable level. One of the reasons I don't like ethanol right now that you trading food for fuel.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2014, 06:01 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,505 posts, read 51,238,770 times
Reputation: 24606
Without the huge demand for corn derived ethanol the Midwestern corn growing mega farming industry and the associated banks and equipment suppliers would collapse. Corn derived ethanol is the biggest government mandate market to ever infest the US economy. As there are other and less expensive Oxygenates available, but not really needed, to blend with automobile gasoline the corn subsidy is a luxury we cannot afford.

Without this artificial demand we could grow more beef in the east and reduce the cattle damage to sensitive drought ridden ecosystems in the West. It would also save us the money wasted on subsidizing marginal western dry land ranching. We do not need corn derived ethanol fuel and should cancel the requirement that it be added to gasoline.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2014, 06:20 AM
 
Location: DC
6,509 posts, read 6,429,279 times
Reputation: 3112
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
Without the huge demand for corn derived ethanol the Midwestern corn growing mega farming industry and the associated banks and equipment suppliers would collapse. Corn derived ethanol is the biggest government mandate market to ever infest the US economy. As there are other and less expensive Oxygenates available, but not really needed, to blend with automobile gasoline the corn subsidy is a luxury we cannot afford.

Without this artificial demand we could grow more beef in the east and reduce the cattle damage to sensitive drought ridden ecosystems in the West. It would also save us the money wasted on subsidizing marginal western dry land ranching. We do not need corn derived ethanol fuel and should cancel the requirement that it be added to gasoline.
What other oxygenates are available? MTBE is certainly not.

I hear a lot of people claiming that ethanol is crowding out feed corn, but I've seen no analysis that supports that. Prices for corn are up, but is this bad? Our farmers are constantly squeezed financially. Having a few of them make some money doesn't seem all that bad.

It's important to consider that one waste stream from ethanol production is animal feed.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2014, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati near
2,539 posts, read 3,509,764 times
Reputation: 5714
Quote:
Originally Posted by John1960 View Post
Could ethanol someday essentially be produced out of thin air? A group of scientists has published research in Nature detailing a new method of making ethanol out of carbon monoxide gas, instead of corn or sugarcane, Reuters reports. Researchers saturated water with the gas, then zapped it with a novel device featuring two electrodes, one made of what they're calling "oxide-derived copper," to convert it into fuel. "I emphasize that these are just laboratory experiments today," lead researcher Matthew Kanan says. He expects to have a prototype device ready in two to three years.

Scientists Discover New Way to Make Ethanol Without Corn - NBC News
This news article is referring to a Nature publication that came out about a month ago. While the article is some fine research, the news article completely missed the focus and I could imagine the scientists cringing when reading it. The focus on the paper is that changing the grain structure of the copper electrode in a very specificway results in a change to the overpotentials required for the various reduction products of simple gases.

For some electrode surfaces, these things are common knowledge and electrochemists use these properties to our advantage. The overpotential, or the voltage in excess of the thermodynamic potential necessary to oxidize or reduce something, is one specific property that can be quite important.

We can consider the simple process of reducing the H+ ion to form H2 in water, also known as hydrolysis. There is a thermodynamic potential necessary to cause this reduction (that can be calculated from the standard potentials of the redox couple along with the concentration of H+ and the partial pressure of H2), but due to the irreversibility of the process on a surface, an additional voltage is required before hydrogen evolution is observed. On a mercury surface, which is possibly the most well characterized surface in terms of electrochemistry, the overpotential for H+ reduction is extraordinarily high. In other words, a very high voltage must be applied to a mercury electrode before water is hydrolyzed. This allows us to effectively reduce other things on a mercury surface in a potential range where, if the electrode was some solid material, the bubbling of hydrogen would occur first.

Solid electrodes are a lot more complicated than liquid electrodes because the crystal structure, or the way atoms are stacked, and the grain boundaries, or the interfaces between adjacent crystals in a polycrystalline solid, are very important. The way that the material is prepared has an important effect on these surface properties. What this article is about, fundamentally, is that different preparations of a copper surface can give some selectivity in the order that certain reduction products will be produced. Specifically, they are reporting that the reduction of CO is can be shifted positive of the reduction of H+ on copper that is prepared using this particular nanoparticle preparatory procedure.

The products of any chemical reaction that happens must necessarily have less free energy than the reactants. This is not about energy harvesting at all. In fact, if you read the nature article, it doesn't really even focus on ethanol. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture13249.html Instead, it focuses on the selectivity that can be achieved for different reduction products under different conditions. In other words, this article is important because it demonstrates that surface electrochemistry of an electrode can be controlled to some extent by the particle size of the nanocrystals used to prepare it. This is remarkable because it will probably inspire a bunch of other people to go out and prepare electrode and catalytic surfaces using a bunch of different types of particles, and undoubtably many of these new surfaces will have interesting electrochemical and catalytic properties. This basic science is a good ways upstream of tangible practical tech, and the eventual applications will probably look nothing like this particular copper surface.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2014, 08:34 AM
 
7,281 posts, read 8,835,592 times
Reputation: 11419
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCforever View Post
What other oxygenates are available? MTBE is certainly not.

I hear a lot of people claiming that ethanol is crowding out feed corn, but I've seen no analysis that supports that. Prices for corn are up, but is this bad? Our farmers are constantly squeezed financially. Having a few of them make some money doesn't seem all that bad.

It's important to consider that one waste stream from ethanol production is animal feed.
Money is not made from subsidies. A subsidy is a transfer of money from the taxpayer to others to support an artificial financial gain to the few for which no general benefit is derived. There are always alternatives that could be used to eliminate the subsidy, create a benefit for the money received and reduce the burden on taxpayers.

The waste stream of cattle feed isn't worth the cost to produce it.

Corn subsidies that follows the ethanol fuel cycle is like burning money.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-16-2014, 02:52 PM
Zot
 
Location: 3rd rock from a nearby star
468 posts, read 579,423 times
Reputation: 747
There are probably millions of ways to make ethanol. The problem is doing so economically and in huge quantity without environmental damage. We can all hope this is a real solution, but many have attempted to dethrone corn and failed. Not always based on science (Brazil isn't permitted to send us sugar cane ethanol without a huge tariff).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-16-2014, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,505 posts, read 51,238,770 times
Reputation: 24606
I have nothing against industrial production of corn based ethanol. I rather like the taste of the stuff after it has been stored charred oak barrels for 6 to 8 years or so.

Interesting that we can put a tariff on cane ethanol but not on the wage differentials created by starvation wages beyond the western ocean. Easy to see the power of the farm lobby relative to protecting the wages of American workers. As we can afford a tariff on alcohol we can afford a tariff on wages.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Green Living
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top