Valley Voices: Fool’s gold " the ethanol delusion |

Valley Voices: Fool’s gold " the ethanol delusion

C.B. Lorch
Vail CO, Colorado

Will ethanol production (corn based) help solve our dependence on oil as a source of fuel for transportation? If you believe this (and plenty of hucksters are touting the stuff), I have some iron pyrite I’ll let you have for $900 an ounce.

The ethanol craze is pure folly. The stuff consumes more energy in the production process than it produces. It takes the equivalent of more than one gallon of gasoline (about 1.2 gallons) to come up with a gallon of ethanol.

When considering ethanol as a “solution” to the fuel problem in the U.S., a few concepts need to be kept in mind: net energy; back side of the power curve and alchemy.

When it takes more energy to produce a fuel than it produces, the more of it you produce, the less energy you have. Produce enough of it and you will have no energy at all.

In aviation when your plane is on the backside of the power curve (coffin cornerville), no matter how much more power you add, you will still drop like a brick.

Only alchemists believe they can turn dross to gold. There is no way, Jose; it will not happen.

Don’t get me started on the Amazon rain forest! The biofuel morons are fueling the rape of this priceless and irreplaceable asset. Deforestation proceeds at the stately pace of over 1,000,000 acres per year, driven in large part by the biofuel craze.

As you may be aware, rain forest soils make lousy farmland. The soybeans or whatever they plant in place of the forest will require lots of fertilizer. Think net energy.

The rain forest serves to lock up carbon in the trees. The trees also consume CO2. Not anymore. This acreage now will produce a product that generates greenhouse gases, and requires the release of greenhouse gases to produce ” the old “double whammy.”

People can eat corn. Soybeans are a very nutritious. We are burning food while people go hungry in many places on the globe. I’m sorry guys, but this is just sick.

Ethanol is not the answer to what ails us; not even close.

I do not presume to suggest what the fuel solution is, but the sooner we stop producing ethanol, the sooner a real solution will be found. Just thought you’d like to know.

C.B. Lorch is an Eagle resident. E-mail comments about this column to

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