Aviation

Published on March 1st, 2016 | by John Farrell

75

100% Renewable Energy: Fact Or Fantasy?

March 1st, 2016 by  

Originally published on ilsr.org.

What would it take to power the entire US economy on renewable resources alone?

Three big things:

  1. Only build wind, solar, or hydro power plants after 2020
  2. Reduce energy use compared to business as usual by 40%
  3. Electrify everything

It’s the last that may be the most complicated, since it means a complete overhaul of the way we do everything from heating homes to moving people. Mark Jacobson, author of a seminal study on the transformation, doesn’t mince words about its complexity:

The recommendations — indeed, all 28 — would require coordinated action from Congress, federal agencies, state legislatures, and local officials. Together, they represent an unprecedented level of government activism, a skein of incentives, mandates, standards, and laws unmatched in U.S. history.

This timeline illustrates the challenge of electrification:

electrification timeline for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 ilsr

Want the whole story in short? I gave this summary presentation of the challenge to a group of clean energy allies in late August 2015 (100% renewable in 15 slides):

SlideShare Preview
100% Renewable Energy by 2050: Fact or Fantasy from John Farrell

Hat tip to David Roberts for making this data accessible, and to Mark Jacobson at Stanford for the deep dive into how it can happen. I’m just here for the visual flair.

Related:

70%, 80%, 99.9%, 100% Renewables — Study Central

Renewable Energy Is Possible, Practical, & Cheaper (Than Nuclear Or Fossil Fuels)

The Solutions Project: How 139 Countries Can Hit 100% Renewable Energy

Getting To 100% Renewable Energy In the US

State-By-State Plan To Bring US To 100% Renewables By 2050 Unveiled By Researchers

100% Renewable Energy — How To Get There (Mark Z Jacobson Video)

Powering The World With Wind, Water, & Sunshine (Mark Z Jacobson Video)

Photo Credit: author unknown

For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter or get the Democratic Energy weekly update.


Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , ,


About the Author

directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.



  • ROBwithaB

    Trying to find a “solution” for airline transportation, one starts to understand the attractiveness of the hyperloop concept.

  • Billy Bangle

    I think 100% renewable energy is fantasy.People who are ideologically opposed to nuclear energy will always mange to cobble together a model they say can work without nuclear. The question is what do the energy agnostics think?

    Universe 1. We could live in a universe where renewable energy was a sure-fire bet. If we lived in that universe, the 100% renewable scenario would be supported by the ideological anti-nukes, but also supported by nearly all of the energy agnostics.

    Universe 2. On the other hand, if we lived in a universe where there was a huge doubt as to whether renewable energy was the answer, the 100% renewable scenario would still be supported by the ideological anti-nukes, but there would be virtually no support amongst the energy agnostics.

    The universe we live in could be somewhere in between, of course. Renewable energy might be a 50% bet, a 90% bet, or a 10% bet. Realistically, looking across the breadth opinions available, especially those from energy agnostic scientists, I conclude we probably live in Universe 2, or very close to it, Universe 1.9 perhaps?

    • Roger Lambert

      “I think 100% renewable energy is fantasy”

      Jacobson and Delucchi say the opposite in multiple peer-reviewed articles, and I am sure they would welcome critique. You need to publish your data – otherwise some might think you are just sounding off.

    • eveee

      Why should anyone be concerned about what you think? First, you have to demonstrate clearly, that you have the capability of thought, or more properly, balanced, organized, and rational thinking.

      Your last diatribe is not an example of such.

  • neroden

    Apart from airplanes and ships, most of these are easy to fix — the tech is *already on the market*. I’d like to see your plan for ships, since you place them very early in the transition.

    Small marine vessels: already available, superior to gas boats.
    Buses: already available, superior to diesel buses.
    Heavy duty trucks: same tech as buses.
    “Light duty vehicles” (cars): Tesla’s solved that.
    Heating, drying, and cooking: solved long ago. I actually think we can leave gas ranges (as opposed to ovens or house heating) alone, as the usage is so small we can probably meet it with biogas.
    Trains: solved long ago with overhead wiring, just string it up.

    • JamesWimberley

      Trains: isn’t there an issue in that US railroads have taken to stacking containers two high? This can’t happen in (already largely electrified) Europe, with numerous rail tunnels and bridges designed round the Berne loading gauge.

      • Freddy D

        The railroad situation in the US is indeed a bit of a mess but it’s improved in recent decades with containerization. The good news is that the cost structure is so good now that it pulls s lot of trucks off the highways thereby saving immense amounts of fuel. Overhead wiring could be possible but it would require agreement on a height standard and then a massive buildout to raise bridges and tunnels. Likely faster path is some sort of battery / hydrogen approach. Much easier than airplanes or ships because weight is unconstrained and frequent refueling/ swapping is reasonably feasible.

        It’s really a people / governance problem. Incentives to double- track and expand the network would help a great deal but highways are massively government subsidized and railroads are on their own.

  • JamesWimberley

    100% renewable energy is not synonymous with zero net carbon for two reasons: land use and cement. Half the CO2 emissions from cement-making come from the chemical reaction of calcining limestone, which is independent of the source of heat. The latter can be made electric, but that only gets you half way.

    • neroden

      Magnesium cement is carbon-negative. (Google Novacem.) Iron-based cement is carbon-negative. (Google Ferrock.) We can commercialize either process if we have the will. Then there’s the brick-making system mentioned earlier this week. These are easy.

      Steelmaking, with the necessary inclusion of carbon and burning off of excess carbon in order to *get the right amount of carbon into the steel*, is actually more of a problem than cement-making.

      • ToddFlach

        The process of CO2 capture and storage is already being built on a commercial steel mill in Abu Dhabi and will be in operation this year. It will capture 90% of the CO2 emissions, amounting to about 800 thousand tonnes yearly. This technology works and can be applied to the vast majority of existing steel mills. The problem is of course cost, but if a smart system of international CO2 taxes are in place, then the problem of steel production moving to countries with no CO2 emissions limits is fixed.

      • JamesWimberley

        Good points on the technical solutions. They are struggling to go commercial. Novacem was launched in 2007 (from Imperial College, an impeccable pedigree), and went bust five years later without going into production. The IP is now owned by an unnamed Australian company, no news. Ferrock (a spinoff from the University of Arizona) is much more recent, but as it’s inherently even more expensive, don’t hold your breath. These technologies are absolutely dependent on a carbon tax and sequestration premium, or regulatory proxies for them.

        • ToddFlach

          Heidelberg cement is testing 3 different CO2 separation technologies at their Norcem plant in southern Norway. This will result in a concept selection and detailed design study in 2017, and construction start in 2019 if the owners choose to realize the project. This strategy will produce standard Portland cement types as before, but with a CO2 capture plant retrotted to the kiln. Not as elegant as the solutions mentioned above, but more accessible for existing cement plant.

      • Steven F

        Most of the carbon used to make iron is used to separate the iron from the oxygen. The carbon used to reduce iron ore to iron vastly exceeds the carbon used to make steel.
        Electricity can reduce iron or to iron without the need for coal. Just like the aluminum manufacturing process. However the electrodes were always destroyed by the extreme heat and oxygen released in the process. Recently the electrode problem has been solved:

        http://www.saultthisweek.com/2016/01/05/mit-researcher-eliminates-co2-in-steelmaking

    • Steven F

      Limestone releases CO2 when heated to make cement. However when is use to make concrete CO2 is absorbed from the air. So if the fossil fuel energy used to make cement is replaced with renewable energy the CO2 emissions would drop to zero.

  • madflower

    If fusion was possible today at a significantly lower price, it will take over 30+ years to get it fully deployed. The article is trying to get it done in 35 years along with a 40% reduction in energy use. We can do a significant reduction, we aren’t going to be able to completely be off FFs in that time period.

    • JamesWimberley

      I don’t see any argument here. The 40% reduction in primary energy is a mathematical consequence of electrification using renewables, and does not call for any reduction in final useful work. Nobody is talking about fusion, for the simple reason that it cannot possibly be available in the horizon we need to use for the energy transition (not long after 2050, dixit the Paris agreement).

      • madflower

        The Fusion example is just to demonstrate if we had the “perfect ideal” the length of time to fully deploy the solution in a fairly cost effective manner.

        40% might be doable if you look at it like that. Coal plants are 25-40% efficient, NG is 40-60%, ICE engines are 25-30%, nuclear is like 1%, just interconnecting the electric grid can save 20%.

    • neroden

      The 40% reduction in energy use is almost entirely from removing the WASTE caused by burning fossil fuels. Just switch to electricity and you automatically remove 40% of the energy use. SO much is wasted.

  • Bradley Nichols

    Converting all of the energy produced in the US to renewable sources is not feasible. When you turn on your TV, or refrigerator, you expect to have power immediately. The amount of energy that can be provided by solar and wind powered generators varies with the weather conditions of that day. The power companies need to be able to dispatch the energy to each household immediately, and as of right now, those renewable sources have no efficient way at storing the energy they produce when the wind stops blowing or the cloud cover is too thick. There are always going to be a need for backup generators that are fueled by fossil fuels. So until there is a way to store energy from these renewable sources as efficiently as it can be stored for nuclear energy, or as easily accessible as coal power, this idea is not feasible.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      Have you heard of a battery? Also, Power to Gas.

      • JamesWimberley

        Also pumped hydro. Japan has over 20 GW of it – I don’t know the Gwh, but the capacity must be in days or weeks. If running hydro is plentiful, as in Brazil or Norway, you can back up a vast amount of variables without bothering with the pumping gear. Denmark’s backup for its massive wind power is Norwegian hydro. BTW, you do realize that Denmark’s electricity supply is a tenth as unreliable as the typical American one?

    • Adrian

      We can go a long way further than many think even without storage – Texas was getting > 60% of its electricity from wind several times this winter.

      Even then demand management can play a big role – if a thousand plugged-in cars each had their charging current reduced by a kW for a couple minutes, you’ve just made the cloud passing over the 1MW solar farm irrelevant.

    • Matt

      Bradley, converting existing USA electric needs to renewable is easy and has been documented in detail. Note that it doesn’t even take much storage, that is a old coal talking point.
      http://thesolutionsproject.org/infographic/
      http://cleantechnica.com/70-80-99-9-100-renewables-study-central/
      Yes there is still work in some other the convert to electric. But you need to catch up with where we are not where we were 30 years ago. Spend some time over at the RMI site, they have done a lot of great work.

      For those who like to watch, this is a good link
      https://www.ted.com/talks/amory_lovins_a_50_year_plan_for_energy?language=en

    • neroden

      This is just silliness. Have you heard of batteries, pumped hydro, flywheels, compressed air energy storage, capacitors, etc. etc. etc….?

      Of COURSE we can generate all our energy with renewables.

    • Carl Raymond S

      Giles Parkinson has just done a CleanTechnica article to bust that myth Bradley… enjoy reading.

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/03/02/base-load-power-is-a-myth-used-for-defending-the-fossil-fuel-industry/

  • wattleberry

    Here’s some news in support of declining use http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30518649. How does that compare with other countries ?

  • Freddy D

    This 1-2-3 simple, clean, poignant message is super- important because it can help educate people about the truth that this is possible and very economical. Historically, the renewable energy message has been complicated and muddled for most people, which has opened the door for dissemination of mis-truths or outright lies. The technology is ready – the current barrier to faster action is all human will and misunderstanding of the facts.

    This 1-2-3 message should be repeated over and over to help spread awareness of the facts and the huge opportunity to improve the world. IMHO

  • What about geothermal and wave energy? Also, I think energy storage has to be there for a modern on-demand grid. We need to have abundant energy, not push people to conserve. Yes, we can make more efficient systems/machines/devices, but the emphasis has to be on “abundant renewable energy for everything you need”, not “conserve or we’ll run out”.

    So I think the list should be:

    1) Only build renewable energy power plants after 2020
    2) Deploy grid level on-demand energy storage systems
    3) Electrify everything

    • Freddy D

      One of the nice aspects of the 40% efficiency is that buildings consume huge amounts of energy and going to zero-energy building and zero-energy retrofits is incredibly economical and makes the whole renewable energy proposition easier because it eases the need for storage and time-shifting

      • Sure efficient is great. Buildings have great potential for improvement. However, if we want renewable energy to take over all things that are fossil fuel powered today and electrify everything, we’ll need abundant energy and not assume that conservation can fill the void.

        • Adrian

          Converting fossils fuels to motion is at best 60% energy efficient and typically more in the low 30% range… Electrify your fossil-fuelled process, power it with renewables, and you’ve already reduced primary energy needed by 40-70%. If you can engineer-in some process improvement at the same time you’ll do even better.

          The only place fossil fuels make any sense is for process heat, and there are usually workarounds.

          • Yes, electric motors are far more efficient than fossil fuel combustion engines. However, there are many things that are not power by the electricity grid today (gas stoves, water heaters, furnaces, car…) as these are electrified, there will be more demand on the grid, even though there is net efficiency gain. That is why I said that we need abundant energy and we should not assume that conservation will provide all the Negawatts that we need.

          • Freddy D

            Many experienced people in the energy industry overlook this basic fact of thermodynamics. At their own peril. The economy doesn’t need as many “gigajoules” when 2/3 no longer goes to waste as heat

    • Harry Johnson

      We waste a ridiculous amount of energy including preventable gas and methane leaks. The per capita consumption in the US is over twice that of the UK and Britain is certainly as advanced as anyone at the top. Thoughtlessness and cheap power means technology will be required to solve what humans seem to have no interest addressing.

    • Steven F

      “We need to have abundant energy, not push people to conserve. ”

      In 1.5 hours the sun delivers enough solar energy to power the world for one year. And it will be doing that for 5 billion more years. Fossil fuels don’t come even close to that. Efficiency is not necessary for a renewable future. However encouraging efficient use of energy reduces the amount of money people spend every day to get the energy they need and gets us to 100% renewable energy faster.

  • vensonata

    Shipping has come up a few times on cleantechnica and generally electrification of large freighters has been thought impossible. But here we have it appearing by 2023 it seems. How?

    • Freddy D

      There’s some cool work over at the Carbon War Room first to improve shipping efficiency then to bring wind-assist to these ships. Ultimately to go carbon free. It’s a journey though.

    • markogts

      Was thinking exactly the same. A typical container carrier will have 20-30 MW of propulsive power, you don’t have floating capacity for two weeks of battery sailing.

      Less we forget about large planes…

      • Jenny Sommer

        1500m² kites would equal about 30MW.

    • Mike Dill

      So a container ship might need a gigawatt-hour storage system to run completely electric for three weeks. Currently that would require a few hundred containers full of batteries. Not YET reasonable, but with two or three doublings of density, it could make sense.

      • Karl the brewer

        What about a mixture of battery and sails? Anyone know what sort of sail area would be required to shift modern container ships. Switch to batteries when the wind drops. Ideal for cargo which is less time-sensitive.

    • Ronald Brakels

      There is certainly nothing impossible about electrifying ocean transport. However, if you wanted me to make a carbon neutral cargo ship right now I would use a highly efficient natural gas powered reciprocating engine and then capture the CO2 released agriculturally. That’s probably going to be the cheapest option at the moment.

      And there’s always liquid hydrogen. There are other synthetic fuels that could be used, but even with its drawbacks of very low density and metal enbrittlement it still might be the cheapest one for this application.

      But all electric ocean transport by 2023? I don’t think we will see that.

    • Peter

      It sounds very optimistic, but fully autonomous ships might be able to do it. At least for time insensitive cargo. Since crew costs are proportional to time spent traveling, you can’t cruise too slow without them getting out of hand. But if you remove them, the new optimum speed should be much lower, greatly increasing fuel efficiency while also making various types of wind assistance more effective.

  • Danno

    We keep making the same mistake, over and over. That creek is large enough to handle our sewage. Oh, it’s not enough any more? Well, the river it drains into can handle the it. Oh, that’s not enough now, well, the lake it goes into, the ocean it drains into, etc etc. The sky is so huge, we can never use it up. We’ve picked our next target consume beyond repair : solar.
    How much “renewable”energy do you think we can extract from Nature, before we upset that cycle? I couldn’t imagine how hard we’d kick the natural cycle, if we were to switch all our energy consumption to renewable-based power. We need to focus on *drastically* reducing consumption, not on how to consume even more of the forces that allow nature to self-perpetuate.

    • Adrian

      The neat thing about solar is that the energy isn’t lost – just borrowed for a short time. All the solar heat converted to electricity will be returned to the environment as heat. Just maybe in a slightly different place, or a few hours later.

    • Richard Foster

      This comment doesn’t make sense.

      Whilst agree with you in principle that reduction in consumption is a good thing, your argument that we can “use up” renewable energy is just plain wrong.

      There are 3 key pillars to renewable energy: Water power, wind power and solar. Let’s look at the 3:

      Solar – we cannot “use up” solar power. The energy being emitted by the sun in the form of photons that strike the surface of the earth and that can be collected by solar panels (and subsequently be converted to electrical energy through semiconductor physics) will last approximately another 5 billion years. Whilst those photons might have struck the ground, and potentially transferred some energy to the earth’s crust, the amount collected by all the solar in the world needed to power our society is infinitesimal compared to the total solar irradiation of the planet. I doubt this will upset any “cycle” that you care to consider.

      Wind + Water: These are very similar principles in that the electrical energy is generated by transferring kinetic energy of the wind or water to electrical energy. In the case of most of this energy, it is generated by natural cycles, dominated by the sun. The amount of kinetic energy, is in most cases, a small fraction of the total energy carried by the wind or water. Thus, again, nothing that will upset an “cycle.”

      By all means, remain sceptical about things, and seek questions, but do so on a scientifically driven line of questioning, not one based on irrational fears.

      • Kyle Field

        tl;dr – doubt is good as long as it leads to answers. ignorance is not.

    • Carl Raymond S

      When fossil fuels are combusted, that’s consumption. There’s no way to get that fuel back.
      CxHy + O2 => CO2 + H20
      The stuff on the right has a lower energy state, it will take many millions of years for plants to grow, fall into lakes, compress, decay, and for the reaction to reverse. Furthermore, that CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere for tens to hundreds of years, strengthening the greenhouse effect i.e. global warming.

      When a solar panel captures sunlight and generates voltage and current, nothing is consumed in the sense that no chemical reaction is taking place. It’s not consumption, it’s utilisation.

      It’s the same as the difference between lighting a fire-cracker and ringing a bell – they both make a noise, but the latter isn’t consuming.

      • Adrian

        Worse, the conditions to sequester massive amounts of carbon as coal are unlikely to ever be repeated. When those trees making up coal grew, no microbes could efficiently decompose their lignin and cellulose and so when the trees died they didn’t rot, but were eventually buried.

        A tree dies today and its carbon immediately starts to be decayed back into CO2 by molds, fungi, bacteria and insects.

        • Carl Raymond S

          Thanks Adrian – I didn’t know that.

        • neroden

          You can sink dead vegetable matter deep into peat bogs and other specialized locations where it will not rot, but it’s hard.

        • Ronald Brakels

          Well, while a very large amount of ancient coal appears to have been laid down as a result of fungal liginase not having been developed at that point, plenty of coal was still formed afterwards. However, fungal liginase presumably resulted in much less coal being formed. And right now the earth is much less swampy than it has been in the past, and a considerable amount of the swamps we did have have been drained, so I don’t think there would be much coal formation going on now.

    • Ross

      Solar is the best approximation we’ve got to a real infinite reservoir. Only a tiny amount of the earth’s surface is needed. Transportation, building, manufacturing, heating are all going to be made fossil fuel independent and more efficient at the same time.

      Climate change, ocean acidification, deforestation, desertification, loss of biodiversity, rising sea levels, larger storms are all more pressing concerns than a Malthusian fear about the entire planet being covered with solar panels.

    • Andy

      I think you vastly underestimate just how much solar energy this planet absorbs on a daily basis.

    • Steven F

      “The sky is so huge, we can never use it up. We’ve picked our next target consume beyond repair : solar.

      How much “renewable”energy do you think we can extract from Nature, before we upset that cycle?”

      In 1.5 hours of one day the sun delivers enough energy to power the world for 1year. Most of it in the form of heat.
      http://www.sandia.gov/~jytsao/Solar%20FAQs.pdf (page10)

      If you powered the world with solar all the electricity generated would be converted heat by the electronic devices we use today. So powering the world with solar electricity would not cause any climate change other than a gradual cooling as the earth gradually sequesters all all the fossil fuel CO2 in the air.

  • Kyle Field

    Biofuels are renewable and don’t require everything to be electrified. It will be interesting to see how much “surface carbon” we can utilize for fuels as we move towards a net-zero emission society.

    • Freddy D

      Biofuels are horribly inefficient at converting sunlight to useful energy and require massive amounts of land and water. PV, coupled with electrolysis and then synthetic jet fuel could do the job with several orders of magnitude less land destruction. It’s too expensive still though.

      • JamesWimberley

        I can’t see aviation and shipping going renewable without a carbon tax or equivalent regulations. None of the three technical possibilities – electric propulsion, biofuels, and synfuels – look anywhere near cost parity with fossil fuels. Heavy trucks might just get there on the back of the rapid progress in lighter EV’s like vans and buses.

        • Mike Dill

          From What I remember: Heavy trucks need about five times as much power as the average car, so probably 3 or 4 kWh per mile. For a 200 mile run, that would be a 600 kWh battery pack, or about eight times as large as the current Tesla batteries. In a few years we will get down to about $100/kWh, which would put the battery at $60K. The fuel payback would be about 2 to 3 years.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Provided battery costs get low enough there is no reason why they cannot be used for heavy road transport, particularly since the first ones will be run almost 24/7 to get the most use out of the capital. However, the size and weight of the batteries required to drive 200+ miles will require a redesign of rigs.

            Unfortunately, a loaded truck burns a lot more than five times as much fuel as the average car. More like 20 times for a 24 tonne truck. You can fiddle around with the calculator on this page to see what sort of fuel economy current trucks manage: http://www.freightmetrics.com.au/Calculators/TruckOperatingCostCalculator/tabid/104/Default.aspx

          • Mike Dill

            The site you reference has trucks at about 5 MPG, which is about what I was thinking, which I compared with 25 MPG for a large car. Substituting a very inefficient Model S equivalent car (based on total weight) at 750W/mile gave me the 4KW per mile figure.

            At 450 miles per day, the annual fuel cost is about $30K, So a $60K battery would have a 3 year payback after adding back in the electric costs. Maintenance and a few other expenses will probably go down as well.

        • Freddy D

          Aviation and shipping are indeed tough cases and need R&D. Aviation may in the end require synthetic kerosene

          Trucking is a much easier case with options for overhead electric wires, synthetic natural gas, hydrogen, batteries and the biggest would be to build out the railroad system more and get more trucks off the roads. This is really a people and governance problem is the trucks benefit from heavily subsidized highway network and railroads in the US are on their own. The us rail system remains very inadequate and antiquated as a result.

      • Kyle Field

        That’s not surprising and with things like this, the market and incentives will dictate which makes it though ultimately, it’s a balance of the time required to generate the fuel, the end to end cost including production and delivery…and the net energy gain.

    • markogts

      Biofuels have an eroei dangerously close to 1.

      • Kyle Field

        It’s very new so that’s not surprising but given time, that will improve.

        • ROBwithaB

          How?
          Where do you see the efficiency improvements coming from?
          Which parts of the process still have significant room for improvement?
          Brazil has been doing biofuels for decades, and it’s still marginal, I hear.

          • Steven F

            Most of the energy used in U.S. biofuel plants is natural used to heat water at ethanol plants. In 90’s EROEI was close to 1 but efficiency improvements since have pushed it close to 1.3. Only oil industry sponsored studies continue to insist the EROEI is less than 1.

            In Brazil they after they extract the sugar from sugar cain they burn the waist cain to create heat and electrical power. Enough to run the ethanol plant without using fossil fuel. The ash from the furnace is burned contains all the mineral nutrients from the cain which is then returned to the farm. Brazil has achieved a EROEI of 9.

            Some ethanol plants in the use are experimenting with burning corn cobs to produce power and heat. Also there are many other crops than corn that work well for producing ethanol. If all cars in the U.S. were plug in hybrids (such as the volt) the U.S. farms could produce enough ethanol to replace most of the oil we consume today.

    • Hi Kyle, biofuels requires burning = carbon emissions, and the consumption of the biofuel, which then needs to be regrown/regenerated to create more biofuel to burn. This model is incomparably far below the standard of renewables, and should be rejected.

      I fully concur with Carl Raymond S.’ comments.

Back to Top ↑