Running on ethanol

While the US struggles with the question “should we replace MTBE in our gas with ethanol?” Brazil is using it as fuel for their automobiles instead of an additive. Their cars run on Pinga!
It’s not a question of whether we will convert to a hydrogen economy instead of a petroleum based one, but when. It will be great to see the day when petroleum, coal, and other fossil feuls become unnecessary for every day life.
It’s strange to think about, but pretty much all the energy that we harness is essentially solar energy. Plants that took eons to change into petroleum and coal were fueled by the sun. The same thing applies to the corn and sugar cane from which ethanol is distilled. Wind (and hydroelectric, via evaporation and precipitation) is generated from the sun’s energy. Geologic and nuclear are pretty much the only extra-solar sources of energy that we are tapping, and they really don’t account for much.

4 thoughts on “Running on ethanol”

  1. Timely issue, Adam…yeah, let’s use cheap alcohol for automotive fuel instead of those Kentucky Fried Oil-fueled cars that run around in Ojai! What smells better?…a french fry exhaust or shochu-fueled exhaust?

  2. I’ve had this question lingering around in the back of my head for a while. Most of the energy that we (Earth) know, comes directly from the sun. Obviously, the Sun’s energy is finite. At some point, we will run out of enery. So, at some point, we will not have enough energy to move off this planet. Have we passed this point? Will we ever leave this rock? I’m sure someone somewhere has thought about this and is working, or has solved this issue…at least I hope.

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