We’re all about outing the Exxon-Mobil shills that deny anthropogenic climate change altogether, but what of the CO2 centric viewpoint touted by General Motors amongst others, who are lobbying Congress and sponsoring major media efforts to promote the current corn to ethanol boom?
Is this national taxpayer subsidized program environmentally sound?
Is it ethically and morally responsible or straight up reprehensible to fuel vehicles with the food from hungry mouths?
Just what are we buying, or better said, being sold into?
The MSNBC section dedicated to climate change is now sponsored by the General Motors Live Green, Go Yellow Campaign.
More than 20 million acres of U.S. cropland was cultivated this year solely for the production of corn that is to be converted to ethanol.
The 2007 “ethanol to corn” harvest is expected to be well in excess of 3 billion bushels.
The total projected U.S. corn crop for 2007 was grown on approximately 85 million acres planted in corn, for an estimated record yield of 13.4 billion bushels. That required a lot of water. (vapor)
A single bushel of corn can be used to produce 68 boxes of cereal for human consumption or just shy of 3 gallons of ethanol and about 18 pounds of distillers grains that is suitable as feed for livestock.
The corn to ethanol distillation process requires about 4 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol as well.
3,000-4,000 gallons of water are required for corn plant transpiration to grow a single bushel of corn.
The best highway mileage of the GM flex-fuel fleet running on E-85 is attained by the Chevrolet Impala V-6 engine which is estimated to get 21 mpg highway and 14 mpg city.
Check the government mileage figures for E-85 as compared to straight gasoline mileages for these corn fed, flex fuel follies.
Most of the “flex fuel” fleet will average about 10 to 12 mpg on E-85.
That’s approximately 100 gallons of water that was transpirated to water vapor per average mile run on E-85. Or about 52 feet per gallon.
Water consumption that’d make a steam powered car blush.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked the “greenest” and “meanest” 2007 cars based on fuel economy and emissions — as well as the estimated impact of those emissions on health and global warming.
The greenest car marketed in America today? Manufactured by Honda who incidentally doesn’t build any corn fed, flex fuel vehicles.
On this green side of the equation, you’ll note that there’s not a single flex fueled vehicle in the top 12, even by those taking the standard CO2 centric viewpoint of CO2 as the primary cause of global warming and climate change.
I am personally in favor of gasoline and diesel hybrids (good), CNG powered and/or hybrid vehicles (better), pure plug in electrics (best) for the transportation sector and as for the future utilization of biomass playing any significant role in solving the renewable energy problem, I strongly favor gasification of non-food biomass over any biomass to ethanol distillation process for the production of liquid fuels for a variety of economic and environmental reasons.