“In 2012, the Renewable Fuel Standard mandates the use of 12.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol—forcing as much as 40 percent of the dwindling U.S. corn crop into ethanol production. Meanwhile, the worsening drought is beginning to impact corn prices—they’ve spiked upwards of 50 percent since June. When corn prices rise, so do the prices of products that rely on corn. TheU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicts increases in domestic prices of beef, dairy products and eggs ranging from 3 to 5 percent through 2013. Globally, the U.S. is the largest exporter of corn. Rising food prices will hit people in developing countries that rely on imports of our grains most severely. Higher grain prices in the U.S. are already triggering global food price spikes that parallel those seen in the 2008 global food crisis.”
Link to full Ecowatch article. “Severe Drought Shows Stupidity of Corn Ethanol Mandate”
Which renewable, sustainable fuel can replace ethanol? There’s only one fuel that can raise the bar on corn ethanol: higher mixed alcohol fuel. Made 24/7 from what’s in your trash, biomass, coal, methane and even power plant CO2. No crops needed. Stronger, cleaner, more mileage, more power, less expensive to produce, and more profitable too. And completely water soluble and biodegradable, with a 138 octane rating that provides 20+ percent more mileage in gas and diesel engines. What’s not to like?
Ethanol in our gas tanks costs the US taxpayer $6 billion dollars a year, and it’s going to continue—even with the enormous political pressure on both sides of the aisle to reduce the federal deficit. Nobody seems to endorse this subsidy except oil interests. Why oil interests?
Because the $.45 per gallon tax credit goes to the oil refiners who blend corn ethanol with gasoline, not the corn farmer.
That’s right: $6 billion a year in subsidies to oil companies to blend corn ethanol into your gasoline. Along with its many known environmental problems (fertilizer/pesticide pollution, expanding dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico) and economic issues, including using 38 percent of America’s corn crop.
And beyond corn ethanol, “cellulosic” ethanol is not yet ready for prime time, and some in the fuel industry believe CE may well never be ready to stand on its merits without a similar subsidy.
The last thing this country needs is to be locked further into a single alcohol fuel with so many inherent liabilities and concerns, especially when E4™ ENVIROLENE®, a much better “oxygenate” fuel, is waiting in the wings.
The last paragraph in today’s LA Times editorial says it all:
“The lesson: Devotion to rigid party orthodoxy trumps common sense even on those rare occasions when Democrats and Republicans widely agree. That’s grim news for anybody hoping for problem-solving by Congress.”
“Ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel. The future of transportation fuels shouldn’t involve ethanol.”
—Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Nov. 29, 2010
Thank you, Ed Wallace, for telling the truth when it comes to corn ethanol. And thank you, Steven Chu, for doing the same. Just so you know, that’s not what we (the USA) are doing.
In just 10 years, the corn ethanol industry has gone from 0 to almost 9 percent of the American fuel supply. Yet this first generation renewable fuel requires crops to be grown, and a subsidy to be profitable, and as noted in the article, ethanol is not ideally suited for American vehicles.
A decade later, what have we learned? As a country we’ve learned that we can’t “grow” our way to energy independence. And we’ve learned that EtOH from fermented corn starch isn’t the last word in renewable fuel. Far from it, in fact.
So what’s beyond ethanol?
ENVIROLENE® contains 49 percent ethanol, but this synthetic ethanol doesn’t come from corn. In fact it doesn’t from any food crop or fuel crop. And because E4™ contains up to 9 more alcohols, it’s a very different alcohol fuel…much more powerful, cleaner, and less corrosive by far than C2 ethanol. Plus, you don’t have to live in corn country to make ENVIROLENE® .
It’s time to end subsidies for corn ethanol production, yet the federal government has just renewed the $.45/gallon ethanol subsidy for another year. And it’s time to use all of the alcohols (and feedstocks) at our disposal, not just the ones recommended by the corn industry!
The direction of our nation’s economy and the compelling need for clean fuels absolutely demands that we quickly move beyond first-generation biofuel.
The United States needs to fundamentally rethink its policy of promoting ethanol to diversify its energy sources and increase energy security, according to a new policy paper by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.