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1742Re: BP Solar did you read & ethanol

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  • Roxanne Boyer
    Dec 2, 2002
      Dear HREG,
      What is wrong with BP's thin film technology?  I thought it was less cost per watt. Does another company, like Unisolar, already have the upper hand on thin film solar cells?
      Another question... if ethanol becomes a popular fuel, what percentage of our farmable land should we contribute to fuels.  Here are some facts (I think they are facts) to ponder:  There are about 500 million acres of farm land in the US (not including livestock rangeland).  An acre of land can grow about 100 bushes of corn per year.  A bushel of corn can produce about 2.5 gallons of ethanol.  A gallon of ethanol has a little more than half the energy content as a gallon of gasoline.  The US consumes about 200 trillion (2x10^11) gallons of petroleum per year for transportation.  This means to completely convert to ethanol would require more than 2x10^11 /2.5 /100 /0.6 = 1.3 billion acres of land dedicated to growing corn.  What if we scale back and add 5% ethanol to the gasoline pool as an oxygenate (replace MTBE)?  Then, that would require 133 million acres of land.  Is that reasonable?  What do you think?  What would you tell your congressman?
      Please reply,
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, November 28, 2002 4:34 PM
      Subject: [hreg] Re: BP Solar did you read

      Did you read in the Houston Chronicle on the 26th that BP Solar will cut as many as 260 jobs in the U.S. in an effort to keep its solar panel sales growing at an annual rate of 30%. They will no longer make thin film solar cells. They will now concentrate on crystalline silicon cells, which already account for 85% of its solar cell production.
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