TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

mlive.com editorial: Ethanol Is Not the Revolution

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by tonybelding, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,091
    Location:
    Hamilton, Texas
    Howard Lovy at mlive.com thinks Martin Eberhard is a revolutionary, and he's "on the right side of the dividing line between the old world and the new."

    Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/2ypwxc
     
  2. Tesla2Go

    Tesla2Go Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    92
    I hope we will see the criticism of ethanol mounting because it needs to be shown what a terrible idea it is. Such a shame all those millions of tax payers money that will be wasted.....

    The common success story given is Brazil, yet it would take so little to show why it works in Brazil but would never work in other areas which are much more crowded, small land area and many more cars per capita. If a politician could take 15 minutes to read the Tesla blog about ethanol ::)
     
  3. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,091
    Location:
    Hamilton, Texas
    I try to take a more balanced view of biofuels. Do you remember the VW Ecoracer concept car? It was a small and lightweight roadster (some would say Elise-like) with a turbodiesel engine, designed to run on B100 biodiesel fuel. If VW had put it into production, it could have been the biofueled counterpart to the Tesla Roadster. Before I ever heard of Tesla Motors, I was actually rooting for Lotus to make a biodiesel-powered Elise. (Lotus Engineering did eventually make an ethanol-fueled Exige, but only as a technology demonstrator.)

    I can imagine biofuels having a role in the future, but it probably won't be in the typical passenger car, as a general replacement for gasoline. I also think they need to get away from using food crops. I can imagine cellulosic ethanol or maybe biodiesel from algae being used as fuel for aircraft or big trucks, when batteries wouldn't have the energy density needed, or for military vehicles like future jeeps/HMVs which have to operate independently from any electrical grid.

    Of course. . . If electric vehicles propagate widely, then the demand for petroleum might decrease so much that it will remain affordable for those specialized jobs for a long time. The future is full of uncertainties.
     
  4. DDB

    DDB Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    590
    I believe biofuels certainly have their place, if not for transition to the next generation of fuel (electric or fuel cell). I drive an '05 Passat powered by biodiesel blends, and the beauty of this fuel, it it doesn't require massive conversions. I get just over 40 mpg on average. The same is true with ethanol as far as blending. I'll still need this for long trips.

    The jury is out with respect to feedstocks, but there announcements almost daily stating that celluose is close to coming on line. I wouldn't discount these transition fuels yet. If we're going to solve our dependence on oil, as well as global warming concerns, I welcome every possible solution. I sure as heck can't go buy an EV right now like I can an FFV or a diesel.
    Dave
     
  5. Tesla2Go

    Tesla2Go Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    92
    But a transition period of how many years? If Whitestar will be out by 2009, and then a third model by 2011, we are talking here 5 years to having a viable electric vehicle solution? And by that time batteries will be better too, perhaps giving you a range of at least 500 miles. In five years how much would we expect the usage of ethanol to grow? I think it will still remain a niche because first of all, will there ever be enough supply to take it out of the niche market? I really don't think so.

    I don't see the logic of considering ethanol as a transition between petrol and electric vehicles. It's not a transition, it's a dead end. And the dead end is very near, so I don't see the point in investing in it either. All you hear about on the news now is ethanol, very little about electric vehicles. The push for ethanol is more than anything a political one.

    All possible solutions are welcomed but I think ethanol is right up there with fuelcells for cars, it's a really bad idea and it gets too much attention, while electric vehicles get almost none. There isn't enough land, and there never will be to make enough ethanol that it will have any impact on our dependance of oil.
     
  6. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,091
    Location:
    Hamilton, Texas
    I wouldn't count my miles before they're hatched. :)

    Remember, even if the "White Star" and the next model after it are as great as we all hope, it will take time to penetrate the market and transition to electric vehicles. If there's a real oil crunch during that time, we may need all the alternatives we can get. Cellulosic ethanol might fill a critical need there for a while. There are a lot of flex-fuel vehicles on the road that can burn it.

    If you look at the blog entry that Tesla Motors posted on their website about ethanol, they show how even cellulosic ethanol wouldn't easily replace gasoline for all our transportation needs. However. . . There's some waste cellulose material available practically "for free" that could be used, so it could be very useful up to a point. (Sort of like the people who are driving today on waste cooking oil -- it works pretty well, as long as everybody in the country doesn't try to do it.)

    As I look into the far future, I think vegetable oil and biodiesel made from genetically engineered algae is very promising. As a power source it's not the most efficient -- however, there's always going to be a demand for oil. It'll be needed for aircraft, for farm equipment, construction equipment, military vehicles, and also for the whole petrochemical industry: fertilizers, pesticides, solvents, plastics, paint, etc. As best our geologists can figure out, petroleum originally formed from algae. The oil you can get from cultivated algae is a pretty good substitute for both fuel and petrochemical uses.
     
  7. Tesla2Go

    Tesla2Go Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    92
    I don't disagree that ethanol, or algae based petroleum products won't have a use in the future. I'm just mad i guess that ethanol currently gets so much publicity, purely for political reasons and for the financial gains of a few, while electric vehicles get almost no mention as a posibility. While ethanol could never replace or, IMO, even act as a transition to electric vehicles. It's just impossible to produce enough of it.

    I read somewhere that total petroleum use for plastics is about 5% of oil production, plus we don't burn that oil. Would be great if you could get that from algae or other less polluting sources.
     

Share This Page