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Vociferous Critics of Ethanol (Pimentel & Patzek) widely discredited

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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 03:04 PM
Original message
Vociferous Critics of Ethanol (Pimentel & Patzek) widely discredited

Pimentel has been routinely discredited by a growing body of government and academic research, including studies by the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, the Colorado School of Mines, Michigan State University, Agri-Food Canada and others.


"Maybe the problem is Pimentel is an entomologist instead of an engineer," Corzine said, adding that Patzek was a longtime employee of Shell Oil Company and founder of the UC Oil Consortium, which has counted BP, Chevron USA, Mobil USA, Shell and Unocal among its members. Patzek also is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers"




"It's abundantly clear that both corn ethanol and cellulose ethanol displace crude oil and save liquid fuels," said Bruce Dale, professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University. "Dr. Pimentel's net energy argument is bogus. What counts is whether we can displace imported oil, and ethanol certainly does so."

Corzine said Pimentel and Patzek are the only researchers since 1995 who have found ethanol to have a negative energy balance. In fact, the nine other energy balance studies conducted since 1995 all found net energy gains of at least 25 percent. NCGA called into question the credibility of Pimentel and Patzek.

"Maybe the problem is Pimentel is an entomologist instead of an engineer," Corzine said, adding that Patzek was a longtime employee of Shell Oil Company and founder of the UC Oil Consortium, which has counted BP, Chevron USA, Mobil USA, Shell and Unocal among its members. Patzek also is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, making his ethanol energy balance analysis hardly impartial, Corzine said.

"It's interesting to note that Mr. Pimentel now has ties -- direct ties -- to the petroleum industry," Corzine said. "We continue to offer the chance for debate and we continue to get no response from Mr. Pimentel. The facts are on our side and we will get the energy bill passed by the end of the month."

"Leading academics also discredited the work of Pimentel and Patzek. "In terms of finer details, Pimentel and Patzek use old data, improper data, and their methods of data analysis are wrong. For example, they don't give proper energy credits to dried distillers grain, a coproduct of ethanol production," Dale said.

"There is an internationally accepted standard method of doing such life cycle studies. Dr's. Pimentel and Patzek don't come close to meeting the standards. Their studies don't meet the International Standards Organization test of transparency -- they don't clearly state where their data comes from nor do they clearly state their assumptions. They cite themselves rather than independent sources for important data all the time. And they don't submit their work for verification in recognized, peer-reviewed life cycle journals.

"I invite Dr. Pimentel to submit and publish his work in the International Journal of Life Cycle Analysis journal as we have done with our study on ethanol net energy."

~~
~~

In June 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its 2002 analysis of the issue and determined that the net energy balance of ethanol production is 1.67 to 1. For every 100 BTUs of energy used to make ethanol, 167 BTUs of ethanol is produced. In 2002, USDA had concluded that the ratio was 1.35 to 1. The USDA findings have been confirmed by additional studies conducted by the University of Nebraska and Argonne National Laboratory.

These figures take into account the energy required to plant, grow and harvest corn -- as well as the energy required to manufacture and to distribute ethanol.



Argonne National Laboratory Study

http://www.ncga.com/ethanol/main/energy.htm


In June 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its 2002 analysis of the issue and determined that the net energy balance of ethanol production is 1.67 to 1. (For every 100 BTUs of energy used to make ethanol, 167 BTUs of ethanol is produced.) In 2002, USDA had concluded that the ratio was 1.35 to 1.

The USDA findings have been confirmed by additional studies conducted by the University of Nebraska and Argonne National Laboratory. In fact, since 1995, nine independent studies found ethanol has a positive net energy balance, while only one study which used outdated data found the energy balance to be negative.

A Michigan State University study (2002) found that ethanol produced from corn provided 56 percent more energy than is consumed during production (1.56 to 1). This study looked at producing ethanol from both dry and wet milling of cornand included corn grain production, soybean products from soybean milling and urea production.

These studies take into account the entire life cycle of ethanol productionfrom the energy used to produce and transport corn to the energy used to produce ethanol to the energy used in the distribution of ethanol in gasoline.

Whats behind this continual increase in net energy balance?

Production efficiency is one factor. Compared to just five years ago, todays ethanol plants produce 15 percent more ethanol from a bushel of cornand using 20 percent less energy in the process.

The energy efficiency of American farmers is another reason. According to USDA statistics, U.S. agriculture uses about half the energy to produce a unit of output today than was needed to produce the same output in 1950.



Here's a little more on Mssr Patzek:

UC Oil Consortium


"The UC Oil Consortium was established at the University of California at Berkeley by Prof. T. W. Patzek in 1994. Over the years, the participants have been Aera Energy, BP, CalResources, Chevron USA, Mobil USA, Statoil, Shell Development, Shell Western E&P and Unocal."






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Tandalayo_Scheisskopf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 03:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. The energy ratios make sense to me...
And I use a simple method to arrive at this agreement:

In drag racing, there are two classes of cars: Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car. If they did not get an energy gain from alcohol, they would not be using it as a fuel.

After all, it is about going faster.
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I'm not sure about this, you can help me out here - but are all the
Fuelies blown? Ethanol's higher octane allows you to operate at higher compression ratios. OF course if you know you can use 100% alcohol you just build your engine with a high compression ratio and you don't really need the blower.

With FFVs you have to be able to handle running on gasoline too, so Saab has built the 9-5 BioPower with turbo-charging to effectively raise the compression and take advantage of the higher octane - when it's available (when you fill up on E85). A sensor in the engine adjusts for the different fuels - gasoline or E85.


also, for many years there were two general classifications Fuel and Gas. Wasn't fair to make gasoline powered cars run against alcohol burning ones as the fuelies would "blow there doors off".




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Tandalayo_Scheisskopf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yeah.
All the Alcohol fueled cars, in the class, are supercharged. Screw-types, by and large.
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Coastie for Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Bruce Dale is a pretty knowledgeable guy
Prof. Dale's Home Page

One issue I have always had with Pimentel & Patzek -- from my days in chem. e. academia --- "You have to define your system - in one sense everything is "adiabatic."

My other issue -- more so with my friend Lester Lave at Carnegie Mellon, and also with Andy Kliet at Penn State -- what assumptions are you implicitly and explicitly making?
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. "pretty knowledgeable guy"
Edited on Fri Mar-31-06 05:00 PM by JohnWxy
after all the bombastic bull-shitting I've read in this forum (and the breath-taking exptrapolations based on formulae (describing ideal relationships) or laboratory measurements, your style of writing is, well, QUITE a change.


Yeah, pimentel and patzek - real pieces of work. Of course, if you aren't going to get a grant for legitimate work you hire yourself out.

I particularly liked from Prof. Dale's homepage the following:

"Over the next century, a much larger fraction of chemicals, materials and fuels will be produced from plant raw materials. These biobased industrial products offer the potential for a much more sustainable economy based on environmentally-superior products. In order to realize the full economic and environmental benefits of biobased products, we must carefully analyze and improve their life cycle performance. We are currently involved in life cycle studies involving "refining" of corn, soybeans and forage crops (alfalfa and switchgrass) to fuel ethanol and other products. Our goal is to identify portions of the overall agricultural production, biorefining and product use systems that have the greatest impact on environmental and economic performance so that these areas can be targeted for additional research and improvement. "

Actually, based on your comments, I sort of feel like a guy in a Fokker D-7 being passed by a XR-71!

Thanks for your input, (I've read your blog).

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