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Welcome to the Corn Ethanol Backlash

Nothing can break down faster than a technology supported 100% by government, 50% by industry and we choice viagra prescriptionsgeneric viagra sale 10% by reason. Which is why the ethanol industry in America is suddenly looking to be on shaky ground. It seemed like a godsend a couple years ago: Replace foreign oil by helping local farmers and reducing greenhouse emissions! WHERE DO I SIGN!

Politicians loved it, and so subsidies were thrown at producers and ethanol is booming. Unfortunately, it turns out to not be the silver bullet that everyone hoped it would be. And featured this week in three of the four magazines I receive in print form are stories pointing out some of the weaknesses of our current bio-fuels situation.

The Economist published a story entitled (no, I'm not kidding) Ethanol Schmethanol, which points out some of the limitations of 50 mg cialis the fuel itself, while National Geographic's cover story "Green Dreams" bemoans the inefficiency of the current ethanol system. Finally, WIRED's cover story hits on much the top us pharmacy cialis same topic, but from a more technical perspective, with a focus on cellulosic ethanol and switchgrass.

Long story short? Corn ethanol isn't working. It's inefficient, reduces supplies of actual food which actual people need to actually eat, and increased demand is only leading to the destruction of the last untouched American prairie lands. But solutions might be on the way in the form of cellulosic ethanol, which is much more energy efficient (though more expensive) to produce, as well as alternate forms of biofuels that are more energy dense and gasoline-like than ethanol (namely butanol.)

So don't give up on biofuels yet...but certainly, beware of corn ethanol. If the burst in legislation surrounding it teaches us anything, it's that our government can act on good ideas. We just have to hope that they continue to support alternative biofuels that are more intelligent and actually have science (and logic) behind them.

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Comments (12)Add Comment
written by Enrique, October 02, 2007
Long story short? Corn ethanol isn't working. It's inefficient, reduces supplies of actual food which actual people need to actually eat, and increased demand is only leading to the destruction of the last untouched American prairie lands
Excellent piece
written by A Siege, October 02, 2007
We can hope that the Corn Ethanol bubble bursts before it has caused too much damage, included too many missed/lost opportunities.
A blog I wrote, 5/18/07.
written by Paul Goodrick, October 02, 2007
I'm not a fan of generic cialis using corn-based ethanol as an alternative fuel. I'd rather we look at crops that are less energy-intensive to grow and are more feasible in sub-par agricultural lands and no prescription tramadol sale leave our prime arable land to grow food to feed all the hungry people. I also believe that this is more of a political than environmental exercise, creating an unfair trade subsidy to protect a well organized lobby to buy viagra canada the disadvantage of developing states.

The following, as a good Canadian lad, makes me like this solution less...

Ethanol's new victims: beer drinkers

We witnessed the tens of thousands of demonstrators decrying the rapidly (and exorbitantly) rising price of corn in the "tortilla protests" in Mexico City earlier this year. The protests came about as a result of the growing demand for corn-based ethanol, the Bush administration's biofuel of choice. But now there appears to be a new dietary staple under threat from the viagra en gel rising demand for ethanol: German beer.

Der Spiegel Online reports that a 2006 barley shortage will raise the wholesale price of German beer this May. Many brewing industry lobbyists attribute the price rise to farmers forgoing barley for corn in order to satisfy the global demand for biofuels, especially from the United States. In the past year, the price of barley has doubled on the German market, from €200 to €400 per ton.

But it's not just Germany that is set to see soaring beer prices. The chief executive of Heineken (the Dutch brewer) warned in February that the expanding biofuel sector was starting to cause a "structural shift" in European and U.S. agricultural markets, which could precipitate a long-term upward shift in the price of beer. Already, futures prices for European malting barley have risen since last May by 85 percent to more than €230 a ton, and barley production in the United States has fallen to get viagra prescription 180.05 million bushels (in 2006)—the lowest level since 1936. Global stockpiles of barley have shrunk by a third in the last two years. All of this augurs ill for beer drinkers, who may soon be paying significantly more for their pints.

From Foreign Policy -
written by Brian Green, October 02, 2007
At least we still have biodiesel! It's sad to see that we have such a hard time making ethanol, but I'd rather see it kicked to the curb (as "A Siege" mentioned above) before the system gets dependent on it. We already have laws demanding that a percentage of every gallon of unleaded fuel be ethanol, so there'll be that to deal with.
Don't trust 'em
written by Johnny Walker, October 02, 2007
I do not trust that kind of publications when they go into these kind of things. They may very well be agents for the big companies, like we see in Al Gore's film, where in mass media publications (contrary to peer-reviewed journals) the problem of global warming gets trivialized, I wouldn't doubt for a second that they would do the same against ethanol. I cannot even imagine how we could be worse than we are now if we depended on a combination of our own gasoline and ethanol rather than our current addiction to foreign oil, which has even led us into a war that has continued for years.
written by Goober, October 02, 2007
If the burst in legislation surrounding it teaches us anything, it's that our government can act on good ideas.

One thing to note about the tramadol fedex cod way the U.S. Gov jumped on the ethanol train: The Corn Lobby. U.S. corn has been subsidized by the government for years, since it supports a lot of people, but is nutritionally more or less worthless. The move to cialis order whole grain and such in the recent past has beaten it down, and the endless march of corporate tech keeps driving down the price.

Ultimately, ethanol seemed a great answer--do something actually useful and shut up the lobbyists for a while...
written by MathWiz, October 02, 2007
supported 100% by government, 50% by industry and 10% by reason.

That's 160%, if they had only considered that their figures were so ridiculous they might not have launched the ethatnol revolution with such a cavalier attitude.
Uses of Corn
written by tchamp, October 02, 2007
Ok, this is a little bit of a tangent, but I'm willing to bet that when people read about corn crops, they automatically think Sweet Corn, which is what you buy at the grocery store in a can or on free levitra the cob that you then boil or heat up and eat. In reality, sweet corn accounts for less than 1% of corn production. Most of it (98% plus) is field corn, or "dent" corn, and most of viagra cheapest prices that is used for feeding livestock.

There are other uses for dent corn, and the one we are focusing on here is making ethanol. Its also refined into human consumable food products (like corn tortillas/chips, corn syrup that goes in your soft drinks, etc). The other type is viagra 6 free samples popcorn, which account for about 0.5% of corn production.

Here's a nice site that breaks it down for you.

I guess my point is, using up a bigger chunk of corn for ethanol production most directly affects the cost of feeding livestock. The vegetarians among us may think that's good, but I love my steak, and that very well be a place where we see prices continue to climb. It really does have a ripple effect. More corn production means less soy bean production (they grow in the same area of the country). So, soy bean prices are also going up due to the lower supply. Guess where biodiesel comes from?
written by mr name, October 02, 2007
the problems with corn ethanol:

1. it is more expensive than gasoline (for now)
2. it is being heavily subsidized by the government
3. tequila prices are going to rise since mexican farmers are plowing under their agave crops for corn crops (they get more money for corn!)
4. food prices will become more expensive
5. it is more energy expensive to create/refine it than gasoline

corn is not the answer, despite what politicians will tell the idiots that live in iowa.
Biofuel has never been the answer
written by Strange but True, October 02, 2007
There's one big problem with biofuel as the planet's saviour that's touched on here, but is at the heart of its problem: where's it all going to grow? Either they have to go on land previously used for growing crops which just isn't going to happen as the world's population continues to rocket up. Or it's grown on the top of the few natural wildernesses we have left.

Global warming is only going to be exacerbated with the destruction of natural (which usually means more productive and more carbon-fixing) habitats to support monocultures of biofuel crops. And that's not to where can i purchase cialis mention the massive loss of cialis price in canada biodiversity that the destruction is already causing across the world.

Biofuel is not, and I repeat not, a viable alternative to using fossil fuels. We must try harder to find workable alternatives with hydrogen fuels or abiotic power.
written by Corn Guy, October 04, 2007
Corn ethanol fights back against its critics!
new guy chiming in...
written by greenfreak, October 16, 2007
IMHO, hemp's the best option. It's a bummer that politics are getting in the way of it's adoption.

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