Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Manure on Ethanol

Saying for the Day:Making money selling manure is better than losing money selling musk. - Egyptian (on buying and selling)

When we first realized there was an energy crisis some clever scientist came up with ethanol as one solution. It burned cleaner than gasoline and it was renewable. In addition it gave our hard pressed farmers another market. It seemed perfect.
But then the negative people started in on it.
It seems that it takes one and a quarter gallons of fossil fuel to produce one gallon of ethanol. The fuel provides the heat. If you use a petroleum product to heat the mash you have done nothing to end our dependence on foreign oil. If you use coal you have done nothing to cut the CO2 output. If all that wasn’t bad enough we found ourselves in a world wide food crisis and it made no sense to be turning food into fuel.
It looked like the end for ethanol.
But now our good friends in Texas have come up with a solution.
Cow manure to be exact. You can burn it to provide the heat needed to make ethanol. It burns very clean. The residue is a cattle food product and so is the ultimate in recycling. Texas has lots of manure . So does Wisconsin.
In fact what to do with manure has been a problem.
So we cut down our dependence on fossil fuels on the one hand and get rid of big piles of manure on the other. It’s a win win situation.
Further some researchers have now discovered that you can make better quality ethanol out of certain grasses than you can out of corn. So ethanol may yet be one of the future fuels that we need.
We live in such a strange world. Whoever thought that cow manure would be an answer and not a problem. I certainly didn’t when I shoveled it out of the cow barn into that big stinky pile. And we only had two cows. Pony manure was no better, I might add. To think I was shoveling what might be the future of alternative fuels.
It boggles the mind.
It didn’t look like the future. It didn’t smell like the future.
I guess I just didn’t have the imagination needed to look at manure and see the car running.
But somebody in Texas did.
#### News from Pigeon Falls-The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal. April is almost over and the kids of Pigeon Falls are looking forward to the end of school. As the days go by it will be harder and harder to teach them. They will dreaming of swiming up at the Lake of The Loons. They will be getting out the baseball stuff and checking bycycles. School will no longer be their prime concern. Oh! They will put up with that last month and couple of weeks but it will be torture. To sit in that class room and look out the window at the real world where summer fun is waiting might be construed as cruel and unusual punishment if they were adults. But , of course, there are the weekends. The two days a week that the adult world paroles them.
Last weekend, already, some kids went swimming in the Lake of the Loons. The ice had hardly melted and there they were swimming. That should have been a parole revoking offense. But instead a couple of fathers joined in. Does one need to bond with one’s child so badly that one is willing to turn blue with cold. When those kids are back in school one of the dads may still be shivering. He might even end up visiting the clinic.
This is the time of year when picnic season begins. One doesn’t mean little family picnics but big overly planned group gathering. Every year there is the Last Lutheran Congregational Picnic, The Liar’s Club Kick Off Picnic, The End of Year School Picnic, The Stewer Family Reunion Picnic, The Methodist Sunday School Picnic, The Knights of Columbus Thank You Picnic, and a half dozen more. There will be pasties galore, ice cream by the tub, all kinds of dishes to pass, and plenty of pop . Most of the picnics will be alcohol free. This is picnic not party time.

Today's Link-Pilot Mom-The Cutting edge of Invention-Don't miss this.
Oxygen was very low this morning six points below the bottom of normal. But the day went fine. We repacked the track I sold on eBay yesterday since the same person bought all three sets. We saved him $12 in postage. Then we worked in the basement. We put three more sets together to sell next week. We also counted the little ceramic houses and will sell them on the local sales thing. Then I visited some blogs but not all my links. Now I need a breathing treatment.
From the archives-Betty sorting in the basement.


Blogger Lori's Minute said...

I did not want to leave a manure comment but did want to say I like our cable company, too, except for writing the check out every month.

5:45 AM  
Blogger LoieJ said...

Even composting produces heat.

One of the problems with the corn to ethanol production is that it takes a tremendous amount of water. In western Minnesota some of the water tables have dropped 50 feet near the plants, so they then had to dig new wells for the farmers.

That sure was an idea that wasn't well researched.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

It is amazing what one learns by coming here. Just to think when our neighbor who had the dairy farm next door where I grew up could have been making money instead ruining Mum's freshly washed clothes with the smell.

Thank you Dr John, you are always a "Fount of Knowledge". A Blessed day is wished for you and Betty.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

Pigeon Falls sure does have alot of celebrations for a small town. Isnt it time for the white rabbit to show up?

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Science is an amazing thing isn't it.

Ethanol out of manure is just another brilliant example of that.

2:50 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

As anyone who has seen "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" knows.

4:43 PM  
Blogger .Tom Kapanka said...

Only you....only you can make a silk purse out of a sow's... a cow's... Oh, you know what I mean.
Great post!

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Pigeon Falls dad had best not go to the clinic or someone will start a rumor that he is having twins!

6:44 PM  
Blogger Voegtli said...

Amazing how you marvel us with your thinkings that develop and develop in wide circles.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Dr. John,
I am tagging you to play the "6 word memoir". Hope you will play along. Come over to learn more.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:49 AM  

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