Another Shot at Ethanol
OK, you know where I stand. Corn is not a very good feedstock for making ethanol. There is still a net negative energy exchange in manufacturing ethanol from Corn. Sugar cane and sugar beets are a lot better and they have a net positive energy balance. Look it up. And, weirdly, the whole grow-convert-use corn ethanol cycle is as bad for the environment as gasoline use.
But the worst thing in the corn/ethanol equation is that corn is an important food.
It's in hundreds of things we eat. Whole food chains are dependent on corn. The meat industry, including chickens, requires a lot of corn. Not only beef cattle, but dairy cows need corn.
Corn being diverted to our new passion for ethanol (said passion involving a federal subsidy) is already raising food costs all over. Check out this rant.
And it's worse than just higher prices in our supermarkets. It will likely mean starvation for those on the low end of the money pole.
By our corn-centric approach to ethanol, we even gave the U.N. and Fidel Castro some anti-American talking points. Boy, we needed that!
Encourage your state and federal government representatives to put the research money into biofuels made from stuff we don't eat. We heard W mention switchgrass, but there are other, currently unused feedstocks - corn stalks is my fav - plus wood chips, forest thinning debris, etc. All we need is the new chemistry to convert this waste into fuel; easier said than done, so it needs lots of research money. Say, why not take some of those humongous subsidies going to the oil, gas and coal industries and repurpose it for biofuel research? There I go, making obvious suggestions again.
Since those subsidies to the hydrocarbon gang would be so much money, send a slice of it to advanced geothermal, wave energy, wind and solar research while you're at it.