Biofuels: Innovations Needed

This is the ninth blogpost in the series, “Corn-Fed Cars: On the Road with Ethanol.”

rusbank.netInnovations in biofuels are becoming more important than ever. We can expect a perfect storm of predicaments that make this even more true. Recent predictions are that gasoline prices will continue to rise steadily, perhaps reaching $5 per gallon by mid-summer. Corn prices also are projected to be at record highs. Projections of a major drought in the Midwest promises to raise corn prices even higher, perhaps to the point where corn ethanol production will be curtailed for lack of a profit in spite of the high gasoline prices. And of course, fossil fuels can last only so long, even if new discoveries are temporarily delaying the more drastic effects of peak oil and gas. Read More >

The Cellulose Quandary

Must ethanol come from corn?

This is the eighth blogpost in the series, “Corn-Fed Cars: On the Road with Ethanol.”

Cellulose-based ethanol may be a bust. Ethanol produced from switchgrass is proving very different. Much will depend on innovations in ethanol production from corn stover and corn cobs.

In the race to find new sources of energy, ethanol and biodiesel got the upper hand. These biofuels are easily produced—ethanol from corn grain, and biodiesel from soybean oil—and a combination of subsidies, import controls, and legislation further pushed ethanol to the front.* Read More >