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"Mexico now imports much of its corn from the United States, where prices have rocketed 80 per cent to their highest levels in a decade last year due to demand for corn-based ethanol fuel. Government officials say, however, that the leap in tortilla prices has as much to do with speculation and hoarding by traders as it does with the high US prices."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...544525,00.html
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludi View Post

"Mexico now imports much of its corn from the United States, where prices have rocketed 80 per cent to their highest levels in a decade last year due to demand for corn-based ethanol fuel. Government officials say, however, that the leap in tortilla prices has as much to do with speculation and hoarding by traders as it does with the high US prices."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...544525,00.html
It is only a temporary situation. The farmers are all cranking up to plant corn in the spring. They have had empty fields for years they are now planning on planting to corn. There will be an abundance. There have even been warnings about not over planting because of not being able to use or store all that might be over planted.

I may not have given you the answer that helped, but the tortillas will go down.
 

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I have to agree, regardless of what happens next year (and I would also like to see a source for Life2k's claim that corn production is going up) if ethanol and E85 become popular you will see the price of corn rise to meet demand, which will price many marginal buyers out of the market.

In Alberta, Canada the problem is already rearing it's head, here is a summary:

Over the last half dozen years Cattle farmers have seen prices and demand for beef drop, some due to market manipulation by large beef producers (Cargill, IBP), lots due to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease). Now the industry is facing more challenges because the growing biodiesel market is buying up the materials which used to be used as cattle feed, in turn raising feed prices and, by extension, beef prices (and lowering profits for farmers).

While I love to see the farms shut down, or have to start growing vegetation for money, it still pulls the whole country down when people are unemployed or starving.
 

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In some sense, I agree with these assessments of ethanol. However, there are some technologies where food crops are not needed for ethanol. It is a by-product of distilleries, breweries and wineries. These industries are not allowed to dump waste alcohol products. They usually have equipment on-site to convert to a 95% ethanol. This is then sent to a reprocessor to get it up to 98-99% ethanol, which is the requirement for fuels.

There is other technology as well. Sawdust can be converted to ethanol. The same can be said for Agricultural waste, especially in instances where the crops are diseased, and the farmer doesn't want to return the sileage to the soil, and risk another infestation.
 

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While you may be able to produce Ethanol from sources OTHER than food products, there are the questions:

Can it be produced in a great enough quantity?

Will it be of a high enough quality?

Can it be produced as cheaply?

Also, I have seen research which indicates that ethanol is a net energy loser, it takes more energy / inputs to create the ethanol than you save by using ethanol.
 

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Can it be produced in a great enough quantity?

Enough quantity for what? To replace oil? Most definitely not. But it would serve to supplement oil somewhat. I would not think 20% would be possible though. Probably more like 5 or 10%.

Will it be of a high enough quality?

As I mentioned. Refining must go beyond 95%, and this does require special equipment beyond the conventional still. But, the answer is yes.

Can it be produced as cheaply?

I work in this field, and I can tell you that most Beverage alcohol producers currently sell their 95% pure ethanol for next to nothing. The contract companies that purify the ethanol further do this as their primary business. Again, I don't think it is as cheap as oil. But oil is loaded with subsidies. It would cost about $5-6 a gallon, or more, without subsidies. See British prices.

Also, I have seen research which indicates that ethanol is a net energy loser, it takes more energy / inputs to create the ethanol than you save by using ethanol.

This could be true. I'd like to see the link. I seem to recall something similar, especially, if the production is Agricultural, whose farming methods are fairly energy intensive. Keep in mind though, that I'm talking about raw materials that are essentially waste products.
 
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