Q: Can a combination of drought, tree-cutting, and forest
burning destroy much of the Amazon?
A: Yes, it can, and the Earth will become a different planet,
more like Mars. No technology will save U.S. from the dire
effects of such a global calamity. For more see
Q: Do we produce too much corn?
A: Yes, see
here. What to do with the surpluses? Well,
burn corn? See
Q: Which biofuel destroys the Earth the most?
A: Clean renewable biodiesel from the tropics is the
ultimate exterminator of tropical forests. For more
Q: Will the farm income be slashed because of the higher fuel
A: Yes, quite substantially. For more click
Q: Is sugarcane ethanol a better solution in Australia?
A: Apparently not, see
Q: Where can I find the October 13, 2005, Side Lines article in
A: The article Moonshine on Capital Hill is
Q: Where can I find the September 26, 2005, article by the
Contra Costa Times profiling you and your work on biofuels?
A: The article can be accessed
Q: Do ethanol plants pollute?
A: You bet! The September 11, 2005, Des Moines
Register article is
Q: Where can I find your presentation at the Ag Biotech and at the
Midwest Rural Development Conference organized by the Federal
Reserve Bank Of Chicago, September 8, 2005?
A: My viewgraphs are
and the link to the Conference Site is
Q: Where can I find the materials you presented at the National
Press Club conference in Washington DC on August 23, 2005?
A: The annotated briefing is
and the slides are
Q: Does it matter what kinds of energy we use?
A: Senator Dianne Feinstein thinks so. Her August 3,
2005, editorial in the San Diego Tribune Fuel's Gold Turning Corn
Into Ethanol May Not Be Worth It can be found
Q: Can I build an ethanol refinery in the middle of a town?
A: Yes, if you like breathing foul air and being chronically
sick. For an evaluation of air emissions from the St. Paul,
MN, Gopher ethanol plant look
Q: How do you respond to the media blitz by the ethanol lobby
and their friends, who branded you as "petroleum engineer,"
"ex-employee of Shell Oil" and "pseudo-scientist," and condemned your research?
A: My preliminary answer is summarized
Please look at Figure 5 and its caption.
Q: Are corn growers and ethanol producers
critically dependent on the
nonrenewable, unsustainable fossil fuels?
A: You bet!
Here is the testimony by
Ms. Theresa Schmalshof of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) before
the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Washington,
D.C., May 19, 2005. She is in favor of getting more natural
gas and oil from anywhere in the U.S. and its continental shelf to provide more of the vital
fossil fuels for the corn and ethanol industries. She also
wants to use a lot more coal in agricultural plants to displace the increasingly expensive
Q: How much motor gasoline will be replaced by the 7.5 billion
gallons of anhydrous EtOH mandated by 2012 by the 2005 Energy Bill?
A: It depends. On energy-equivalent basis this ethanol
will equal 5 billion gallons of gasoline, and require energy input
equivalent to 7.5 billion gallons of gasoline. However, states may
remove the current 1 psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waver for gasohol to
fight increasing air pollution. According to an EIA study
here commissioned in 2002 by
Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy
and Natural Resources, the removal of the RVP waiver would reduce
ethanol contribution to conventional gasoline by 30 or 40
percent. In other words, without the waver, in 2012 we will be
displacing only 3 billion gallons of gasoline per year.
Q: If I call you "petroleum engineer," can I relax and ignore
A: No. Each scientific argument should be judged on its
merits, not on the affiliation of the person who makes it.
Otherwise, no one from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or
Corn Growers Association should ever speak publicly about corn or
ethanol, because USDA has been in the business of distributing
$131 billions in agricultural subsidies between 1995 and 2003 ($37.4
billions to corn growers), plus an estimated $24 billions this year,
and the members of NCGA have been receiving most of these subsidies.
Similarly, no one from the Ethanol Producers Association should ever
extol the virtues of distilling corn beer because ethanol refiners
receive $0.51/gallon of the federal gasoline tax credit, ~$0.15/gal
of state gasoline tax credits, $0.10/gal of the small ethanol
producer credits from USDA, and many other state and local
subsidies. By labeling me "petroleum engineer," the ethanol
lobby seeks to distract me and others from focusing on the real
issues we are trying to sort out.
Here is the 2002 USDA report (1)
and its 2004 update
and the 1997 Argonne National Laboratory report
and its 2005 update
For more information about money flows in our political system you may go to:
http://www.ewg.org/farm (to check who receives what in
http://www.opensecrets.org (to check who in the House and Senate
is paid by the Agribusiness and Oil & Gas sectors, and how much)
So please try not to believe everything
they tell you in the articles like these two:
Q: Is your analysis incomplete and based on obsolete numbers?
A: My analysis is based on many of the same numbers and
inputs that went into the 2002 report by USDA's Dr. Shapouri et al.,
the 1997 Argonne National Laboratory report by Dr. Wang et al., and
the 2004 USDA update. The energy inputs in all these analyses have been compared in
Part I of my report, and the main comparisons are plotted in Figures
12 and 17. Please
click here to check it out.
Q: Are you a petroleum engineer?
A: I am a chemical engineer and physicist who has worked for
and with the petroleum industry for the last 23 years. My
background is in mathematical and numerical modeling of earth
systems and in thermodynamics. I am a
member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. I was a senior
researcher at Shell Development in Houston between 1983 and 1989,
and a senior reservoir engineer for Shell Western E&P between 1989
and 1990. I have been at U.C. Berkeley since 1990. For more
Q: Do you receive any money from the petroleum industry?
A: Yes, I am currently doing research with Chevron on
advanced waterflood control. Over the last 15 years I have
received money from several other oil companies. For more details, please click on the U.C. Oil link
Q: Do you receive money from the oil industry for biofuels
Q: Who funds your research on biofuels?
A: Thus far, my only source of funding has been my university
salary at Cal. I have been helped by students here and
elsewhere, especially by my son Lucas (a biology major) and daughter
Sophie (a biochemistry senior).
Q: Where can I find your other papers on biofuels?
A: Please click on these links: