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Submitted on
June 15, 2012
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Corn: Great for Breakfast, Not for Fuel by poasterchild Corn: Great for Breakfast, Not for Fuel by poasterchild
Please disseminate widely, thank you! This does not give permission to alter or claim credit for this re-mixed work, for which I retain all copyrights. The original illustration is in the public domain.

If you disagree with the views expressed here, please be sure to read my Policy Statement BEFORE you post: [link]

This poaster has been prompted by several comments from other deviants indicating a great lack of knowledge about different sources of biofuels. Most people know about ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, which is derived from corn. It is simply moonshine made on an industrial scale. The sugar in corn is simply fermented and turned into alcohol. This process also works with sugar cane, sugar beets, and literally any other food crop (e.g., peaches or apples).

But, it's a waste of food, and there's not nearly enough corn to meet the Nation' demand for liquid fuels for transportation (gasoline and diesel).

The other common process used these day is called transesterfication, and involves the chemical transformation of the fats or fatty oils found in soybean, canola, palm seeds, and other plants, or waste fats from restaurants. This is how biodiesel is made. Again, this method, while it works, is expensive and wastes food supplies that could be better used in other ways. Moreover, as with the production of ethanol, there is not nearly enough supply to meet a significant portion of the demand for liquid fuels.

The newest technologies, still in the development stage, involve using a process called pyrolysis, wherein biomass (any formerly living material containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) i converted into a bio-oil, or "green petroleum." The advantages of this method are several. First, there is a large supply of biomass waste available from agriculture, forestry, municipal garbage, and other source. About 1.3 billion ton of biomass wastes are available in the United States every year -- enough to replace about 25% of all gasoline and diesel consumption. Second, the supply is cheap -- cow manure for example is much cheaper than corn or soybeans. Third, this process turns environmental liabilities into environmental assets. Fourth, "green" fuels produced in this manner substantially reduce greenhouse gas and other pollutants, compared to both bio-fuels produced from corn or soybeans, and conventional liquid fuels produced from petroleum.

You can read more about the availability of waste biomass here: [link]

If you want to know more, I will soon post here a list of sources, written in plain English, that will help you improve your knowledge and understanding.
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menapia Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
Why use corn at all, here in Wexford we have a small biomass plant that produces biofuel, it also uses rapeseed which provides oil for biodiesel and the remainder is converted into cheap cowcake, the  farmers co-op who owns it also has members who have started growing African elephant grass which can be converted into more biofuel or into eco firelogs which are all sold locally.  There's a couple of viable alternatives which also provide a way of supporting local level industry and jobs creation. brill poster  
kitsumekat Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
1. Most of the corn that is produced is livestock corn. Not ment for human conumption raw.
2. Ethanol is mixed with the gas to reduce polution and gas prices.
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Yes, but the hard "dent" corn you are speaking about is a primary food source for the cows, pigs, and chickens that are eaten by people. Even if one were to use every single bushel of corn produced in the United States (which is impossible) you would not replace more than about 12% of the amount of gasoline consumed every year in the United States. Corn to ethanol technology was a good first step, but it is far from a sustainable long-term solution. Indeed, without the current Federal subsidy for ethanol ($0.50 per gallon paid to the blenders, who mixed the ethanol with the gasoline before it goes to the gas station), and import quotas on cheap ethanol from Brazil from sugar cane (where it is made using a much less expensive process than you need for making ethanol from corn), the domestic corn → ethanol industry would not survive.
kitsumekat Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
Actually, there has been a process to produce ethanol from a plant grown here but, we do produce corn outside the US.
MurielLeeJones Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012
thanks for this! fuel from corn was a financial disaster for some parts of the ag community (not least the corn farmers), but impacted the (vulnerable) horse industry, leaving us scrambling for alternatives to beets and corn. We are still dealing with lost hay acreage.

Fuel from waste is one way to prove a "product" from horses, allowing horses to retain "ag status", anyways, I'll spare you the rant, but in summary, if we have a potential product the horses themselves don't have to be the product, and we can ban slaughter.
TheAnonymousZ Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
We wouldn't need to sacrifice eco-friendly fuel to the hungry if far-asses in the US didn't feel the need to eat 20 times the world average.*

*That is not an actual statistic
coop--deville Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
corn isn't the answer for people either. we can't digest it . either can cows. thats how that horrible strain of ecoli came to be. but if you want cheap food that makes you fat corn is the way to go. i like the poster though.
EEHills Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Feeding people is more important than feeding cars and should have priority. Therefore, food crops should not be turned into fuel while people do not have adequate food.
TrickyCreature Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Pyrolisis can be used also on plastics, rubber etc. So broken toys, non-metal garbage from car repairs, even the human waste from hospitals, dog poo etc. can be turned into fuel.
The problem isn't the producing of fuel, I think, but the SAVING of it. To be honest: Does everybody need a "hummer"?
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Damn, you're good. That's right -- anything that contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen can be pyrolyzed and turned into fuel -- including the dead bodies of Tea Party Republicans (just kidding, of course, unless they die of natural causes). And, yes, energy conservation is the easiest, cheapest, and fastest means of breaking the petroleum addiction.
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