Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And Besides, They're Ugly

So much uglier than this...


  1. Mark Farmer is a good scientist but he's not quite up to date on the problems of using ethanol in gasoline. Perhaps you will want to comment.


  2. Here's a link that may require a head vise.
    Certain studies claim ethanol increases smog, the visible haze associated with air pollution, because it contains more volatile components than regular gasoline, leading to higher levels of certain pollutants in the air. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said what these studies ignore is that in high smog areas, the EPA requires the use of federal reformulated gasoline that sets a baseline level for volatile components in all types of gasoline, ethanol included. Fuel blenders accomplish this through removing more of other volatile components from ethanol that are left in regular gasoline. This means ethanol is no worse than regular gasoline for volatile compounds. However, it produces up to 30 percent less carbon monoxide emissions, which is the main component of smog. Real world data backs this up. When Southern California mandated 6 percent ethanol in gasoline in 2004, the smog level was reduced by 22 percent. The RFA also states that the results get better with the usage of more ethanol. New York reduced its smog warning days by 68 percent when it mandated 10 percent ethanol in gasoline. By encouraging consumers to use E-15 through lowering federal taxes on E-15 in high air pollution areas, the benefits to air quality would be profound.


  3. I been intending to write him and ask, "What study?"

    "...using ethanol in gasoline has reduced smog-forming emissions by 25 percent since 1990 and results in a 48 to 59 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with gasoline, according to a recent study."

    But I haven't had a chance. Thanks for keeping an eye on this Catman. I think biofuel emissions have to be underlying the rapid demise of trees. It's so fast, so sudden (relatively speaking - 3 years +/-), that something vast must have changed to cause it, and I can think of nothing else so widespread, other than perhaps radiation (in general and cell phones in particular) - but even that is concentrated in urban areas.

    Too bad hardly anyone is interested in studying biofuel emissions - or funding research - on what they do to vegetation.

    It might be just you and me!

    I'm really busy but in your honor I am going to post a picture I took yesterday. It kind of says it all.

  4. Grrr... I can't sign up at because I don't have a Zip code, not being in the US... why the parochial attitude, I wonder? We're all in this together, methinks.

  5. Okay Catman, I left a query at AthensOnLine this morning, we'll see what kind of a response I get:

    Mark, I am very interested in any and all research about the emissions from burning biofuels. I've been able to unearth almost none, particularly that aren't funded directly or indirectly by the biofuel industry. The only independent studies I know of were done by Mark Jacobson of Stanford.

    I would be very grateful if you can provide any links indicating either 1) just what the emissions consist of, and how they compare to the VOC's from fossil fuels in amount and behavior - and/or 2) even better, the impacts biofuel emissions have on human and ESPECIALLY vegetative health.

    Please post any information here, I'll check back, or you can email me directly at witsendnj at yahoo.

    I'm also curious as to WHY burning algae, switch, corn and sugarcane ethanol are being promoted with so little (that I can find) investigation into the potential environmental impacts. If you have any thoughts on that issue, I would appreciate your opinion.

    Thank you most sincerely,


    Extra: Along the way trying to register, I came across this quote from earlier story from 2009 that I also will follow up on:

    "Scientists also don't know what the human health effects of burning plant-based biofuels will be, said Jeff Fisher, director of UGA's Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program.

    'Is it safe for people to be exposed?' Fisher asked. 'There's no toxicology work being done on any of these things that are being proposed as fuels.
    "Alternative energy is an important area of research, and it's in its infancy in many ways,' he said."

    "NO TOXICOLOGY WORK being done..." I wonder if that's changed??