Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Please be aware that the content of this thread may be outdated and no longer applicable.

minespatch

My father's comments on Ethanol

Recommended Posts

minespatch    64,103

Before and after our car exploded, father and me were discussing about Ethanol due to gasoline. So I let my father write down his thoughts and then I'll type out my other words:

Quote

Ethanol is where gasoline is crafted from organic material such as corn. A problem with ethanol is not only can it harm an older engine, in the case of corn, using corn for ethanol has lead to food shortages in places like Mexico where corn from the us had been a food staple.

While in the game, we use logs to make ethanol. It kind of makes sense why the air pockets in Verdante have lakes of ethanol, since it's the forest asteroid. Technically ethanol is alcohol but my father told me that not all alcohol is safe to drink, so ethanol is not log-tequila. 

To be fair, it's interesting that harvesting logs for a alternate power source instead of a foodstuff like mealworms or bristlberry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Soulwind    259

Not to be obnoxious about it, but your father has quite a bit of incorrect information there.

1) Calling ethanol "gasoline" is just wrong.  Gasoline is a complex hydrocarbon derived from petroleum.  Ethanol is a simple alcohol derived from corn or grains.  True that both will burn and both can be used as a fuel source for combustion engines, but that's the only similarity.

2) Ethanol creation/use has not lead to food shortages.  Period.  In fact, many US farms are paid to NOT grow more grain crops in order to keep a glut off of the market.  By the way, ethanol is the alcohol that humans consume.

3) Methanol is the alcohol created by wood or other non-grain organics.  Ever hear of "wood-grain alcohol"?  That's methanol and it's quite toxic if consumed.  Blindness, seizures, and death can occur.

4) It is true that burning pure alcohol (of any type) can damage combustion engines that aren't designed/tuned for it.  But you'd really have to do it deliberately.  Engines designed for running on pure alcohol aren't exactly common, but they do exist.

Now, the thing that ONI gets wrong is, of course, calling it Ethanol in the first place.  If we're distilling the alcohol from wood, it should be Methanol.  But ONI doesn't really try for a lot of accuracy when game play is involved (food from dirt and water, environments of pure O2 at high pressure, chlorine is safe to walk around in, etc).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minespatch    64,103
12 minutes ago, Soulwind said:

Not to be obnoxious about it, but your father has quite a bit of incorrect information there.

Thanks a lot! I'm screencaping your post and sending it to him. I'll post his reply when he replies.

22 minutes ago, Soulwind said:

2) Ethanol creation/use has not lead to food shortages.  Period.  In fact, many US farms are paid to NOT grow more grain crops in order to keep a glut off of the market.  By the way, ethanol is the alcohol that humans consume.

Here's my father's citation on food shortages:

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/10/201210993632838545.html

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Promethien    200

This is dipping into politics a bit but AJ is not a credible source for anything. That is also from their opinion section which means it doesn't even have to appear to draw its claims from fact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minespatch    64,103
2 minutes ago, Promethien said:

This is dipping into politics a bit but AJ is not a credible source for anything. That is also from their opinion section which means it doesn't even have to appear to draw its claims from fact.

My father was concerned as well since he doesn't really trust AJ either but I found some sources from two different webpages from 2013:

https://www.starherald.com/news/local_news/corn-shortage-slows-u-s-ethanol-production/article_4713360c-78bb-11e2-ba7d-0019bb2963f4.html

https://www.manufacturing.net/news/2013/02/corn-shortage-idles-20-ethanol-plants

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chthonicone    89
3 minutes ago, Promethien said:

This is dipping into politics a bit but AJ is not a credible source for anything. That is also from their opinion section which means it doesn't even have to appear to draw its claims from fact.

I would concur with that. I'd trust a russian news source before them. They're slightly more credible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Promethien    200

Those articles effectively say because they had lean years the ethanol production was closed down. That is effectively the opposite of saying someone suffered because corn was put into ethanol instead of feeding them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minespatch    64,103
Just now, Promethien said:

Those articles effectively say because they had lean years the ethanol production was closed down. That is effectively the opposite of saying someone suffered because corn was put into ethanol instead of feeding them. 

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chthonicone    89
4 minutes ago, minespatch said:

I can't say anything specific about the first except I haven't heard of them and they won't let me read their site.

The second though gives absolutely no information about their publication. Who writes the articles? Where do they get their money? These are things that clearly they do not want you to know. I wouldn't be surprised if the fuel companies are involved in this website. As a result tracking down who wrote them will devolve into dns lookups, tracking articles back to their sources, etc.

Be careful what sites you go to for news. If they don't tell you who they are, how do you know they even know what they're talking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NurdRage    118

Yeah. I sincerely doubt ethanol production is causing food shortages.

 

The thing about free markets is that the producers can choose to produce what's most profitable to them. The thing about about ethanol is that well... it's just not THAT profitable. There is actually very little natural market demand for it. The demand for it has to be forced onto the market by regulating gasoline to have some. It's a way of subsidizing farmers so they can still make money when they can't grow food (due to a food glut), without having to actually pay them with taxpayer money. But overall it's more profitable to produce food. And if there is a food shortage, it becomes VERY profitable to produce food since food prices go up during shortages.

Bad weather and miscalculation of future demand may causes temporary shortages of specific crops (like you think next year no one wants pears but a freak storm kills most pear trees so now pears are valuable and in short supply). But these don't last long once people switch production. 

Ethanol causing a long-term chronic food shortage is nigh impossible unless somehow most of the farmers are morons and willingly choose to make less money, year over year, over year. . 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
0xFADE    460

I'd have expected ethanol to be drinkable with a tipsy to drunk debuff or something.  All I recall is they add something to ethanol to make it nasty or it is something people drink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chipplyman    17

Ethanol is the active ingredient in alcoholic beverages. But the processes used to produce alcohol for fuel introduce byproducts that are not safe to drink, while the processes used to produce alcohol for consumption introduce byproducts that are delicious. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, 0xFADE said:

I'd have expected ethanol to be drinkable with a tipsy to drunk debuff or something.  All I recall is they add something to ethanol to make it nasty or it is something people drink.

This is true.

Ethanol is the active ingredient in all alcoholic beverages that makes the drink intoxicating. After the end of the prohibition era in the United States, the government starting putting relatively heavy "sin taxes" on alcoholic beverages. Many industrial producers and consumers of ethanol argued that they shouldn't have to pay those taxes because they were not drinking the ethanol. The government didn't want to leave a loophole that would allow citizens to avoid the sin tax by buying cheap industrial ethanol and using it to get drunk. The "compromise" that was arrived at was that poisons would be added to the ethanol which was sold for industrial or medical use. Those poisons would either be very unpleasant to drink, or they would make people very sick if they drank it. It's still the exact same chemical though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denatured_alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
storm6436    63
15 hours ago, Erasmus Crowley said:

This is true.

Ethanol is the active ingredient in all alcoholic beverages that makes the drink intoxicating. After the end of the prohibition era in the United States, the government starting putting relatively heavy "sin taxes" on alcoholic beverages. Many industrial producers and consumers of ethanol argued that they shouldn't have to pay those taxes because they were not drinking the ethanol. The government didn't want to leave a loophole that would allow citizens to avoid the sin tax by buying cheap industrial ethanol and using it to get drunk. The "compromise" that was arrived at was that poisons would be added to the ethanol which was sold for industrial or medical use. Those poisons would either be very unpleasant to drink, or they would make people very sick if they drank it. It's still the exact same chemical though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denatured_alcohol

 One hitch with that?  BATF was already denaturing alcohol before the end of prohibition (depending on source, starting around 1926) in an attempt to thwart chemists hired by organized crime to "purify" industrial/medical ethanol back into consumable alcohol.  The ATF would swap up chemicals or use different blends to make it harder on them.    As a result, the vast majority of medical injuries/deaths were due entirely to this program because, well, if you don't know what's in the barrel you're not going to get it all out.   I'm not sure how much anyone here would actually know about distillation, but keeping methanol out of finished product is trivially easy.  Even a caveman can do it.   Simply searching "ATF prohibition denaturing" is enough to kick up a fact check.  Not that I've trusted snopes in a long time, but even they were like "Eh, yeah, it happened, but they totally didn't mean to kill people."

 Worth noting:  No matter what grain you use, you're going to get methanol.  Grain type merely dictates what percentage it's going to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, storm6436 said:

 One hitch with that?  BATF was already denaturing alcohol before the end of prohibition (depending on source, starting around 1926) in an attempt to thwart chemists hired organized crime to "purify" industrial/medical ethanol back into consumable alcohol.  The ATF would swap up chemicals or use different blends to make it harder on them.    As a result, the vast majority of medical injuries/deaths were due entirely to this program because, well, if you don't know what's in the barrel you're not going to get it all out.   I'm not sure how much anyone here would actually know about distillation, but keeping methanol out of finished product is trivially easy.  Even a caveman can do it.   Simply searching "ATF prohibition denaturing" is enough to kick up a fact check.  Not that I've trusted snopes in a long time, but even they were like "Eh, yeah, it happened, but they totally didn't mean to kill people."

 Worth noting:  No matter what grain you use, you're going to get methanol.  Grain type merely dictates what percentage it's going to be.

Absolutely right. I stand corrected. I shouldn't have said "at the end of prohibition". It was clearly used by the government during prohibition as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites