Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thank Greenwashing

TGIW – Thank Greenwashing It’s Thursday

Yes just like whitewashing there is now greenwashing going on in the marketplace. Greenwashing is when a false “green” claim is made to mislead consumers about a company’s products or services. The largest greenwashing we consumers have experienced in the past couple of years is bioethanol.

Mother Nature never intended to have photosynthesis propel hundreds of millions of vehicles traveling trillions of miles per year. Yes Americans drove more than 3 trillion miles in 2006 Photosynthesis is a very slow and inefficient conversion of sunlight into biomass. The new buzzword in bioethanol we now hear each day from politicians mouths is “Cellulosic”. I love the way the President pronounces cellulosic, it is about as funny as when he pronounces nuclear. Now that these cretins on both sides of the house have used the food we have for fuel ,they think we will believe them that the have managed to separate the wheat from the chaff, and suddenly and mysteriously the chaff can be used for producing bioethanol.

Photosynthesis typically coverts 0.1% to 0.4% of the incident solar radiation into biomass. For the USA which is far less sunny than Brazil we average about 6 tons per year of biomass production on each acre of land irrespective of whether the biomass is switchgrass, corn, poplar trees, or wheat. Converting this biomass into ethanol will yield approximately 400 gallons per year per acre. A gallon of ethanol has a heat of combustion of about 23 kilowatt hours. Therefore before accounting for all the energy inputs to plant, cultivate, fertilize, harvest, transport, ferment, and distil the biomass to produce ethanol, our acre of land yields less than 10,000 kilowatt hours per year. Had we erected wind turbines on our land we would yield 100,000 kilowatt hours of dispatchable electricity per acre per year. Had we instead decided to place photovoltaic cells on the acre of land we could dispatch 1,500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Now the zinger in the overall energy equation. The government provides cash subsidies to the farmer as well as the ethanol distiller that total over $1 per gallon of ethanol. The acre of land enjoys a subsidy of $500 per year or about 5 cents of each gross kilowatt hour produced. At best, ethanol production is 50% efficient, therefore our wonderful elected officials are subsidizing this food wasting enterprise to the extent of 10 cents per kilowatt hour of net energy produced. Let the farmers enjoy a 10 cent per kilowatt hour subsidy for wind energy and the Great Plains will support vast wind energy farms and the land will still be available for food production.

There is now a word called vog to describe the mixture of valcano gases and fog that is now occurring in Hawaii. The sulfur dioxide containing gases are also killing the protea flower plantations on the island. I am very fond of proteas as they are the national flower of South Africa where i spent my youth. Sulfur Dioxide also results in the combustion of coal and oil.

The word of the day is contrite. The proponents of corn ethanol are contrite sinners for their crimes against nature.

Today's Word Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
contrite \KON-tryt; kuhn-TRYT\, adjective:1. Deeply affected with grief and regret for having done wrong; penitent; as, "a contrite sinner."2. Expressing or arising from contrition; as, "contrite words."


  1. Hi green machine,

    What if instead of ethanaol, scientists dsicovered a way to produce higher energy dense alchohols like butanol or pentanol. Would that dramatically change the value of energy from cellulose?

  2. It is even more difficult to yield longer chain alcohols like butanol. It is easier to gasify or partailly oxidize the cellulose and make synthesis gas and then synthesize methanol the simplest alcohol. So actually making methanol from cellulose is easier and cheaper than ethanol. Lindsay

  3. Here is an answer to both the greenwashing of ethanol and sustainable electrical production from wind.
    You must remember that the subsides for corn production are price sensitive. The government will be saving billions this year since corn prices are well above subsidy payment levels

  4. if the corn subsidies are deminished because of high prices, why are the ethanol subsidies not deminished because of super high prices? the answer is ADM Archer Daniel Midland or Another Damm Monopoly

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    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالحديثه
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  7. ايضا يحبون التعامل مع شركات التنظيف بجدة لأنهم محترفون في اعمال التنظيف واعمال شركات تنظيف منازل بجدة واعمال شركة تنظيف شقق بجدة مع الالتزام بجودة الأعمال ودقة المواعيد
    وبخصوص اعمال تنظيف المجالس وتعقيم المنازل فان شركة تنظيف بالبخار بجدة هي الأفضل لأنها من بين شركات تنظيف كنب بالبخار بجده تعد الأفضل دائما
    هذا ونأتي الى خدمات نقل العفش بجدة فان من الأفضل ان تستعين وتتعامل مع شركة نقل عفش بجدة عند الاحتياج الى نقل اغراضك من مكان لآخر