Sustainable ethanol, eat less sugar, drink less alcohol
We need a balanced policy, biodiesel, ethanol & hybrid cars. So lets not kill our options and put ourselves in a corner. Ethanol as a fuel gets a lot of attention and scare stories, well so did electricity when we started using it.
We need to change our lifestyle, Brits can eat less sugar and the Swedes can drink less alcohol.
Strangely, British Sugar produce it sustainably in the UK from sugar beet, as people eat less sugar which is not good for them, we can use sugar beet for fuel, from their website (http://www.britishsugar.co.uk/RVE29c095ba629149d391ce49792e8ab37b,,.aspx)
In the UK, bioethanol can be economically produced by the fermentation of sugar beet or wheat. In our Wissington plant, we produce bioethanol from sugar beet which is supplied under contract by existing growers.
Producing up to 55,000 tonnes (70 million litres) of bioethanol every year, the plant uses around 110,000 tonnes of sugar. This is equivalent to 650,000 tonnes of sugar beet. Beet supplied to British Sugar for bioethanol manufacture is grown on existing farm land.
Bioethanol is produced by the fermentation of sugars followed by distillation to produce a pure alcohol.
Fossil fuels are used in the production process but every effort is made to optimise fuel efficiency. British Sugar has embraced a system called Combined Heat & Power (CHP), recognised as one of the most fuel-efficient processes available. About 80% of the energy in the fuel is employed in the sugar manufacturing process. As a result of the close integration with the sugar factory we have been able to demonstrate savings in excess of 60% in CO2 emissions when compared to petrol."
Q & A here: http://www.britishsugar.co.uk/RVEf8cbe9389f134771bf75104662c1de49,,.aspx
Also, those Swedes produce it:
"SEKAB is one of the few companies in the world to continually produce ethanol from forestry products in a pilot plant – so-called cellulose ethanol or second-generation ethanol (read more about this under Introduction to cellulosic ethanol). The extraction method is based on leaching out the sugar in the cellulose using dilute acid before it is fermented to ethanol."
They verify the source of imported ethanol, see myths & facts http://www.sekab.com/default.asp?id=2166&refid=2167
FAQ's here: http://www.sekab.com/default.asp?id=1914&refid=1992
Lets not kill a young industry with lots of promise, we are in the early days of ethanol, more needs to be done with research in enzymes for example so that we can make it out of more raw materials.
From the NYTimes, which summed it up quite well.
Even those who regard ethanol as the holy grail of energy policy concede that there is a right way and a wrong way to produce it. Done right, ethanol could help wean the country from its dependence on foreign oil while reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change. Done wrong, ethanol could wreak havoc on the environment while increasing greenhouse gases. Full article here:
I drive a Saab 9-5t biopower (e.g. Ethanol/E85), but I like diesel/biodiesel too. We need to support new technologies to solve the energy problems facing society.