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Science

Straw Converted to Gasohol in Canada 74

Posted by michael
from the short-straw dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Government of Canada announced that its vehicle fleet is the first in the world to use cellulose-based ethanol. Iogen Corporation produces the ethanol from wheat straw at its leading-edge demonstration facility in Ottawa."
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Straw Converted to Gasohol in Canada

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  • by human bean (222811) on Friday January 07, 2005 @04:49PM (#11291579)
    on soil where wheat wouldn't grow before (go check...) in order to grow the wheat, then use the straw to make ethanol to burn in the car that was originally designed to run on the oil. Not to mention the oil products it takes to run the combines, discers, etc. and the power it took to run the fertiliser plant.

    While this gets an "A" for using a product that would ordinarily not have a high value, straw does rot back to its initial components and forms a major source of nutrients for upcoming wheat crops. Removing it for fuel just means you have to put more oil-based fertiliser.

    Seems to me that if you shorten this chain the efficiency might go up a little...
  • Cost to convert? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jtapper (461531) <heavyNO@SPAMheavy.homeip.net> on Friday January 07, 2005 @05:07PM (#11291782) Homepage
    If today's vehicles can only use up to 10% ethanol, how much does it cost to convert an average vehicle to use up to 85% ethanol?
    Is this financialy feasable for your average vehicle owner and will it save them money, or just help save the world one kilometer (0.62 miles) at a time?
  • by rider_prider (698555) on Friday January 07, 2005 @05:13PM (#11291854)
    Since oil is now more expensive than alternative fuels, the alternatives will now be used... There many are groups in Canada's prairie provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, yes even Alberta) trying to get ethanol plants built. They are trying to catch up to states like minnesota, the dakotas. On a recent trip through the Dakota's nearly every truck stop sold bio-diesel.
  • by Linux_ho (205887) on Friday January 07, 2005 @06:28PM (#11292620) Homepage
    Yeah, well, except that they don't say anything about cost comparisons between making ethanol from cellulose versus traditional starch ethanol production. If it really is less expensive to produce ethanol from cellulose, it's REALLY cool! And you have to factor in that most cellulose is waste that would cost money to dispose of. But if it's not overall more cost effective than traditional ethanol production, then big deal. US companies are also developing new enzymes and techniques of making ethanol from cellulose. The problem is that all the processes so far are still too expensive to compete with traditional ethanol production, without being propped up by the government. Don't give Canada too much credit - right now about 12% of US gasoline contains ethanol, vs 5% in Canada.
  • by bluedream (676879) * on Friday January 07, 2005 @08:18PM (#11293460) Homepage Journal
    If you examine the energy cycle on this planet a majority of it ultimately came from sunlight striking a plant, making the weather, etc.

    Unfortunately nobody in charge really cares how the planet works as long as they pump their black gold from the ground. There is only so long we can operate our economy in direct opposition to nature before something bad happens.

Brain damage is all in your head. -- Karl Lehenbauer

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