Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Corn based ethanol

Environmental groups finally seem to be speaking out against corn-based ethanol. I guess they finally feel that the alternative fuels movement has enough momentum that it's safe to start picking off the bad ideas. Corn just doesn't have the energy content to be effective. Generous estimates say you get about 1 and 1/3 times the energy from corn based ethanol compared to the (non-solar) energy that goes into producing it. In the process you lose a bunch of food.

But it's not all bad that there has been a big push for corn-based ethanol. It's going to push the development of infrastructure and ethanol burning engines. This should further spur the development of cellulosic ethanol, and when that arrives, we will be ready to take advantage of it.

Keep in mind, though, that alternative auto fuels are only a part of the solution to the energy problem, with is only part the large global issues we are facing.

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