Saturday, January 27, 2007

Godbye Big Oil, Hello Big Corn

To follow up on Bre's recent posts about ethanol, the Wall Street Journal has another article debunking the use of ethanol as the panacea to ween us off our oil dependence.

I find it fascinating that barely a decade ago, ethanol was touted as the quickest and most promising route to energy independence, efficiency and low pollution. Yet current research and facts show that, from the business, scientific, environmental and ecological points of view, it is in fact a rather unwise technology in which to invest our future.

For example: Ethanol's net energy output barely exceeds its energy input, at barely a 1.3 to one ratio. By contrast, gasoline exceeds its inputs by about 10:1. In addition, ethanol increases the level of nitrous oxides in the atmosphere, which adds to smog; has driven up the price of corn all across the Americas; and has diverted an inordinate amount of food-producing farmland into ethanol production.

In summary, there have got to be other ways to reduce (or eliminate!) our fossil fuel consumption, without destroying the planet with corn!!

Which reminds me...

Remember the last scene in Back to the Future? Doc returns to 1985 with a souped up DeLorean and dumps a bunch of banana peels into his fuel tank! Imagine if we could just convert all our biotrash into fuel....


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