Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ethanol Plants

Recently, an Ethanol Plant opened in my town. So, I was curious to see what the hoopla was all about.

First, a little concerned. My daughter has asthma and wanted to see how this would affect her. I mean, we keep our house clean, hepa filters etc etc. So now, I am concerned about this ethanol plant coming into town.

Well, I began to do some research online. Some, not much is the keyword. I work and have children, so I have to give them some of my time as well. So, if any of you have any information on this, a link or comment will be greatly appreciated.

The research began with the EPA website. I didn't find much there so I googled it. The first link

http://ww.energyjustice.net/ethanol/factsheet.html was the first of my searches. It read ".......emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, particulates, and other hazardous pollutants." So it really puts out this stuff?

Granted, the quote came from a Minnesota area with like 9 ethanol plants. I am guessing they are much older than the one that just opened here. So I couldn't really find my answer.

The ethanol plant that opened here is a natural gas Ethanol Plant. No coal, or anything else, supposedly. Another article I read, says " Factories that convert corn tinto the gasoline additive ethanol are releasing carbn monoxide, methanol and some carcinogens at levels 'many times greater' than they promised, the government says." I kept reading and formaldehyde and acetic acid are two of the carcinogens released.

If you read this link:

http://www.ci.stpaul.mn.us/depts/attorney/ethanolrept010207.tml

It talks about "bad ordors" coming from the Ethanol Plants. Also, the public in Minnesota have complained about nausea, eye irritation, sleeplessness, and breathing difficulties. The breathing difficulties is the one that worries me.

Now, if you read this last link:

http://eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/eth_energy_bal.html

It says that newer plants are cleaner.

Well, I am just as confused as when I started looking around. My know how now is: Ethanol Plants have polluted rivers in the Midwest. They have polluted air and water else where.

So, what do I think. I think I am moving. I can smell the plant when I drive by it. It smells like..burnt sugar. I do get a dry throat when driving by and a not so good feeling when I see a cloud over it.

If anyone has any real "polluting" facts, I would appreciate it. All I know is that I see a white/grey smoke billowing out of the plant. I need to now, for my asthmatic child's sake.

2 comments:

jesse said...

For the most part these are essentially giant grain stills...

Don't know much about the pollution aspect of them, but its my understanding that they are much cleaner than other types of refineries.

lou martin said...

Yeah, that is what I thought. But after doing some ready, they can be "clean". Granted, this is a new Ethanol Plant here so I will do more research.