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The Failure of Bio-Fuel Alternatives, The Abundance of Cheap Fossil Fuels, & Bio-Fuel Harm to Food Supply & Price What is to be Done?. AID, New School Panel, 25 March 2011: Food Crisis & Impact on Developing Countries.

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slide1

The Failure of Bio-Fuel Alternatives,The Abundance of Cheap Fossil Fuels, & Bio-Fuel Harm to Food Supply & PriceWhat is to be Done?

slide2
AID, New School Panel, 25 March 2011: Food Crisis & Impact on Developing Countries

The Failure of Bio-Fuel Alternatives,The Abundance of Cheap Fossil Fuels, & Bio-Fuel Harm to Food Supply & PriceWhat is to be Done?

Thomas W. O’Donnell

The New School University, NYC

Graduate International Affairs

-&-

Universidad Central de Venezuela, CENDES, Caracas

Ohio State University, Columbus, OH – S2011

demand
Demand

EIA of U.S. DoE

http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/speeches/howard070106.pdf

transport problems
Transport problems

Cifras de 2006

http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/speeches/howard070106.pdf

transport problems1
Transport problems

Transport emissions due to petroleum!

Cifras de 2006

http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/speeches/howard070106.pdf

problematic renewable hydrocarbon alternative
Problematic renewable hydrocarbon “alternative"

http://www.iea.org/textbase/country/graphs/weo_2006/gr12.jpg

alternativa de hidrocarburos renovables
"Alternativa" de hidrocarburos renovables

1. El etanol

  • Balance de energía
  • No celulósicas de maíz
  • celulósicas de maíz y no consumibles
  • La caña de azúcar, ejemplo Brasil
  • Monto de la tierra, elección de la tierra, los precios de los alimentos (geo-estrategia más tarde)
  • Costo, las subvenciones
  • Mínimo impacto en la autosuficiencia (geo-estrategia más tarde)

2. Bio-diesel

http://www.iea.org/textbase/country/graphs/weo_2006/gr12.jpg

corn ethanol production expect to use 27 of 07 corn crop for nearly 9 bil gal
Source: Keith Collins, Chief Economist, USDA

EIA Energy Outlook, Modeling, and Data Conference

March 28, 2007

Corn Ethanol Production . . .expect to use 27% of ’07 corn crop for nearly 9 bil. gal.

27%

bush 20 in 10 proposal
Source: Keith Collins, Chief Economist, USDABush “20 in 10” Proposal
  • Reduce U.S. gasoline use by 20% in the next 10 years
  • Path:
    • Modify CAFÉ
    • Require 3 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017
  • Easy to achieve?
  • Role of Ethanol and Biodiesel ?
change in fuel use since 2005 met by ethanol biodiesel
Source: Keith Collins, Chief Economist, USDAChange in Fuel Use Since 2005 Met by Ethanol/Biodiesel

∆ Total Gas/Distillate Use

E/B share of

∆total fuel use

∆ E/B use

Source: 2007 EIA Annual Energy Outlook

projected corn ethanol production the
Source: USDA, 2009

See notes herein

Projected Corn Ethanol Production…The.

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 ("EISA")

  • Renewable Fuel Standard ("RFS") increases bio-fuel production
  • Funding encourages production of cellulosic and advanced biofuels.
  • EISA signed Dec 07, took effect Jan 09.
  • Under the EISA, the RFS will be expanded from the original mandate of
    • 7.5 billion gallons by 2012 to
    • 36 billion gallons by 2022
    • Minimum portions of the mandate must be satisfied by advanced biofuel, cellulosic biofuel and biodiesel.
corn ethanol production expect to use 27 of 07 corn crop for nearly 9 bil gal1
Source: Keith Collins, Chief Economist, USDA

EIA Energy Outlook, Modeling, and Data Conference

March 28, 2007

Corn Ethanol Production . . .expect to use 27% of ’07 corn crop for nearly 9 bil. gal.

Comment (TO’D):

9 b gal is 10 days U.S. consumption, but 27% corn acres

food and oil commodity prices
Food and Oil Commodity Prices

Corn

Rice

Wheat

Oil

1980 1986 1991 1996 2003 2011

slide23
Oil Consumption per capita

Gallons

per day

per capita

EIA 2003

slide24
Oil Consumption per capita

Ethanol

Gallons

per day

per capita

the failure of bio fuel alternatives
The Failure of Bio-Fuel Alternatives

What sort of “energy independence” can cellulosic corn-based ethanol bring to the U.S.?

  • To replace U.S. gas production with ethanol made from corn – the dominant and government-subsidized mode of producing ethanol in the U.S. Consider:
  • Use claims from articles in NATURE: Note, the oil consumption of the U.S. is about 21 million barrels per day (21 mbbl/d).
  • Hence, two Iowas, totally dedicated to producing corn for ethanol, AND, using not today’s methods of corn-to-ethanol production, but the as-yet not fully developed cellulosic methods, whereby nearly the entire corn plant, not merely the starches and sugars of the corn kernels, was turned to into ethanol, would replace, approximately:
  • 1/21 * 100 ~ 5% of U.S. oil demand. Not what one would call “energy independence;” nor would it bode well for the price of corn flakes or Mexican tortillas, etc.
oil theories
Oil Theories

Hubbert’s ½-depletion peak

Source: US DoE

reserves
Reserves

Reservas

Increasingly uncertain resources

To be consumed

Already consumed

Potential for liquid hydrocarbon production (Gbbl)

“An oil transition is not a shift from abundance to scarcity: fossil fuel resources abound. Rather, the oil transition is shift from high quality resources to lower quality resources that have increased risks of environmental damage, as well other risks”. Environ. Res. Lett. 1 (2006) A E Farrell and A R Brandt

reserves1
Reserves

Reservas

Increasingly uncertain resources

To be consumed

Already consumed

Potential for liquid hydrocarbon production (Gbbl)

“An oil transition is not a shift from abundance to scarcity: fossil fuel resources abound. Rather, the oil transition is shift from high quality resources to lower quality resources that have increased risks of environmental damage, as well other risks”. Environ. Res. Lett. 1 (2006) A E Farrell and A R Brandt

slide29
References
  • “Long Term World Oil Supply: A Resource Base / Production Path Analysis” Energy Information Administration (EIA), DOE, 2000).
  • http://www.umich.edu/~twod/oil-ns/articles/longterm_usgs_oil_peak_estim_eia2006.pdf
    • The authors’ note: “EIA presentation on estimates of the world conventional oil resource base and the year when production from it will peak and then begin to decline. A version of this presentation was given by former EIA Administrator Jay Hakes to the April 18, 2000 meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) in New Orleans, Louisiana.”
    • “U.S. Geological Survey World Petroleum Assessment 2000 – Description and Results” “Chapter ES” (i.e., “Executive Summary”): http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/WEcont/chaps/ES.pdf
    • The USGS 2000 report referred to, and used in, the above EIA report: http://pubs.usgs.gov/dds/dds-060/ and often referred to very negatively by adherents of the Peak Oil school.
slide30
The problem of transportation

Efficiency = 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x …

Petroleum

Natural

Gas

Bio-

combustibles

Solar y

wind

Coal

Water

Nuclear

95%

Refinery

Liquefy

Hydroelectric

Thermoelectric

Ethanol &

Diesel

Batteries

Hydrogen

Internal

combustion

Electric motors

Hydrogen cell

Electric motor

Transmission

3

3-4

2

3

3-4

Friction

Friction

Friction

Mass

transport vans, busses,

trains, metros

Mass transport:

Vans, busses,

trains, metros

Individual:

Automobiles, motorcycles,

light trucks

slide31
There are no “alternative fuels” able to transform today’s transport system in accord with:
      • - Environment - Agriculture - Information revolution economy - Congestion & sprawl - Social justice
    • What To Do?
  • - Transform transportation itself not its fuel
  • This need not be a ‘utopian’ program
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