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The Truth about Alternative Energy. Michael Ott Director, Iowa BioDevelopment Indian Hills Community College August 19 th , 2005. Overview. Eddyville facility Why are alternative fuels important? Ethanol Biodiesel Wind and solar Q & A. Eddyville Complex.

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the truth about alternative energy

The Truth about Alternative Energy

Michael Ott

Director, Iowa BioDevelopment

Indian Hills Community College

August 19th, 2005

  • Eddyville facility
  • Why are alternative fuels important?
  • Ethanol
  • Biodiesel
  • Wind and solar
  • Q & A
why alternative fuels
Why Alternative Fuels?
  • 312 Billion gallons of oil were consumed in the US in 2004, 138 Billion gallons of motor gasoline¹
  • By 2008, 8 Billion gallons of ethanol will be produced
  • Global production of oil continually increases, so far outpacing demand
  • Hubbert’s peak has yet to be reached


  • Corn vs. Sorghum vs. Organic Waste
  • Wet vs. Dry Milling
    • Input
    • Byproducts
  • Cellulosic ethanol
  • Genetic modifications to corn
  • It does NOT take more energy to produce than it creates, allowing for the sun
  • Zero Net emissions occur
can i use ethanol in my car
Can I use ethanol in my car?
  • Ethanol increases octane rating
  • E10 vs. E20 vs. E85
  • On older cars or lawnmowers, it can be rough on lines and seals
  • Burns cooler and slightly less efficiently
  • Flex-fueled cars can recognize the fuel and adjust accordingly
ethanol at gas stations
Ethanol at Gas Stations
  • Ethanol is subsidized in Iowa by a tax credit to gas stations
  • Ethanol cannot travel through pipelines with regular gasoline
  • At $2.40/gallon, ethanol is price competitive
ethanol and biodiesel
Ethanol and Biodiesel
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Dried Distiller’s Grains (DDGs) are byproducts of the dry milling process
  • DDGs are used in cattle feed
  • This helps farmers realize a return on their investment
  • The oil in DDGs can be extracted, and then turned into diesel fuel
  • Only 50 Million gallons of biodiesel were made in 2004, twice the output of 2003
  • A new plant in Iowa Falls will make 37.5 million gallons
  • Vegetable oil is reacted with alcohol, giving glycerin as a byproduct
  • 3.2:1 energy balance makes it the most efficient alternative fuel
biodiesel facts
Biodiesel facts
  • It can be used in any ratio
    • B2 vs. B5 vs. B20 vs. B100
  • It has a natural lubricating effect
  • Zero sulfur emissions
  • It has a solvent effect
  • Microbial growth problems just like regular diesel
  • It is less toxic than NaCl
biodiesel usage
Biodiesel usage
  • All new tractors made by John Deere
  • Many cars in the Canadian government fleet use biodiesel
  • Buses in Atlanta and Chicago
  • It’s easy to make at home, but remember to pay your taxes or dye it red
  • EU regulations support biodiesel, but no standards have been set
wind and solar
Wind and Solar
  • Wind power works well in certain suitable local areas
    • Self optimizing turbines
    • Environmental concerns
  • Solar power is becoming much more efficient
    • Rooftop panels
    • Focused beam units
wind solar
Wind & Solar
  • Engineering advances will decrease price and increase adoption by the general public
  • Typically takes between 3-12 years to recoup investments, and environmental concerns aren’t a factor for the general populace
  • Obviously, energy problems are on the horizon
  • Alternative fuels offer near term solutions
  • Ethanol and biodiesel offer great environmental benefits and decent economic benefits
  • Off-the-grid solutions are emerging
websites to visit
Websites to visit

Feel free to contact me with any questions at: