Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Vinod Khosla debunked: ethanol is NOT the answer | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse

There we come to the crux of the matter: People trust that he knows what he is talking about. The Wikipedia biography says he is “successful and influential�. Make no mistake; he is influencing people in this ethanol debate, including political leaders. Khosla is convincing people that his projections are viable. Yet, are they carefully scrutinizing his claims? No, because they trust him. Yet claims like his, will dampen conservation efforts, and Americans will not be prepared for Peak Oil. After all, Khosla, a guy they trust, says we are going to produce enough ethanol to replace our oil imports.

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In fact, Khosla’s slide 78 shows very optimistic growth projections in all of the following areas: crop yield per acre, ethanol yield per ton, and acres of biomass planted. It shows cellulosic ethanol growing from 0 gallons produced in 2006 to 173 billion gallons produced in 2030. We will need that ethanol to get to our condos on the moon. Fortunately for us, he has cellulosic ethanol scaling up just as corn ethanol starts leveling off. The result is an exponential curve of ethanol production that he extends out to the year 2030 (slide 17, shown below), at which time he has the U.S. producing almost 200 billion gallons of ethanol (versus the current 4 billion gallons). Because after all, we all know that crops don’t fail, droughts don’t happen, and technology always delivers on its promises. That’s why I don’t worry about bird flu. I know a vaccine will be produced in plenty of time.

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