Friday, August 10, 2007

The Ethanol Scam ?

Glenn the Instapundit posts about a Rolling Stones Article calling Ethanol a scam.
he great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn't that we will sit on our collective asses and do nothing while civilization collapses, but that we will plunge after "solutions" that will make our problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn.

Ethanol, of course, is nothing new. American refiners will produce nearly 6 billion gallons of corn ethanol this year, mostly for use as a gasoline additive to make engines burn cleaner. But in June, the Senate all but announced that America's future is going to be powered by biofuels, mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. According to ethanol boosters, this is the beginning of a much larger revolution that could entirely replace our 21-million-barrel-a-day oil addiction. Midwest farmers will get rich, the air will be cleaner, the planet will be cooler, and, best of all, we can tell those greedy sheiks to fuck off. As the king of ethanol hype, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, put it recently, "Everything about ethanol is good, good, good."

This is not just hype -- it's dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming.

I thought the Rolling Stones was a bunch of leftist. This article is making a whole lot of sense While ethanol might be practical if we were to make it from bio mass that isn't part of our food supplies. but as Glenn states:
Yes. There may be some value to ethanol made from cellulose and other waste biomass, but corn-based ethanol is just liquid pork. Nice to see there's agreement on this across a wide ideological spectrum. (Via Kudlow).

Bob Zubrin tells me that we can make methanol, as opposed to ethanol, more easily from waste biomass. Even kudzu. That sounds promising.
I guess thats what I've been trying to say all along.
Update 8/11/2007:
It's even worse than I thought.
It looks like there is a ethanol induced Steak Shortage in NYC

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