White paper 1st draft – ILoveDunkinOverStarbucks

Section 1: Working hypothesis 1

Ethanols negative affects on climate change

Section 2: Working hypothesis 2

Ethanol production and uses negative affect on climate change

Section 3: Five sources and summaries

1.) It seems counterintuitive that something created to stop the use of fossil fuels turns out to have the same effect on the environment. Soybean diesel and corn ethanol were created to stop the use of the fossil fuels that we were quickly running out of. It was also the idea of stopping carbon dioxide into going into the atmosphere because the plants would soak it all up and it would balance out the carbon dioxide being produced. A study was done by Tim Searchinger to see if biofuel was benefiting the climate since there was less use of gas however when the study was done it was found that over a 30 year span biofuels contributed twice as much CO2 into the air then gas would. While it is not proven to be good or bad for the environment when the article was written in 2008 it created a boom for farmers in the midwest. The biofuels can also be made from the waste in landfills or grass grown on land that is unable to be planted on.

Harris, R. (2008, February 7). Study: Ethanol worse for climate than gasoline. NPR. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18784732. 

2.) It seems counterintuitive that a small gas shortage in the 70’s could create such an ethanol industry today. After President Jimmy Carter called for a rationing of fuel to stop the shortage from happening again but nothing came about except a small boom in the need for corn ethanol. A few years following a new nonOPEC oil producers doubled in production and oil prices crashed everywhere. Corn ethanol came into play to replace the oil that was expensive and hard to get at the time. With the need for ethanol and the affect it was having on the atmosphere the burden fell onto the big refineries that were producing the ethanol.

Loyola, M. (2019, November 23). Stop the ethanol madness. The Atlantic. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/ethanol-has-forsaken-us/602191/. 

3.) It seems counterintuitive that an ear of corn can be used instead of fossil fuels to keep them from running out. With ethanol being mainstream in gas today it is being discovered that it may not be as good for the environment as we think. A team of researchers found that the use of biofuels under the renewable fuel standards which is over seen by the environmental protection agency is making global warming worse but little effort is being done to fix it. When the act was passed it was assumed that by the time the article was written in 2016 that biofuels would be improved and could be running off of agricultural waste. Measurements on pollution are being done by the EPA but nothing is being done to correct the negative affects.

John Upton Follow @johnupton. (2016, October 3). Ethanol in U.S. gas tanks is backfiring for climate change. Climate Central. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://www.climatecentral.org/news/ethanol-backfiring-for-climate-change-20760. 

4.) It seems counterintuitive that less equipment is needed for ethanol. When producing ethanol that is E10 or less not as much equipment is required for those blends. Although less equipment is needed the need for ethanol opened up jobs in rural areas of the United States to help produce corn and run the co-ops. Ethanol also helped solve the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere, with the crops soaking up CO2 it helps counteract the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere. Ethanol is also better for cars and vehicles that run off gas as ethanol performs better due to its higher octane levels compared to gasoline.

Ethanol benefits and considerations. Alternative Fuels Data Center: Ethanol Benefits and Considerations. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/ethanol_benefits.html. 

5.) It seems counterintuitive that ethanol can be good for the environment. With ethanol being grain based it cuts out greenhouse gases by 35-50% compared to gas. With new technologies constantly improving and coming out green house gases could be reduced to 70%. Ethanol can also help clear the air with reducing carbon monoxide, reducing exhaust hydrocarbons, reducing benzene air toxins, and reducing fine particle matter. A study done in 2021 proved that these blended fuels resulted in fewer toxic emissions compared to regular gas.

Renewable Fuels Association. (n.d.). Environment. Renewable Fuels Association. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://ethanolrfa.org/ethanol-101/environment. 

Section 4: Current state of research paper

At the current moment the white paper is all I have done for the research paper but after completing the white paper I have more confidence in being able to like what I am writing for the paper.

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1 Response to White paper 1st draft – ILoveDunkinOverStarbucks

  1. davidbdale says:

    I love the counterintuitive nature of your premise, Dunkin. It certainly seems ludicrous to invest huge energy into growing a crop merely to burn it as fuel. Your sources seem to disagree about the overall costs and benefits of the technology, which is fine. They don’t all start from the same premises, and they don’t all consider the same factors. Concentrating on exhaust pipe emissions is one measure of the environmental cost, but certainly not the only one. You’ll need to be discerning about the sources you trust and the evidence you select. You’re making good progress so far, and I can see why you’re optimistic.

    The White Paper is a work in progress, so this feedback loop will be active for many weeks, Dunkin. I’ll expect you to respond, starting right away, to demonstrate your respect for the process. Thanks!


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