02 February 2006

Ethanol from Cellulose: More than anyone dreamed?

The Energy Blog reports on an important new study on biofuels from UC Berkeley.
The Berkeley study shows that while ethanol from corn only gives you 20% more energy than you put into the process, ethanol from cellulose (switchgrass) provides almost 800% of the energy used to produce it.
First of all I hope this report, by an independent organization, will once and for all put to rest the controversy as to whether the net energy value is positive or negative. My support of ethanol for fuel is reinforced by this report. I see some disruptive times in switching from corn ethanol to cellulosic ethanol which is required to both conserve energy and to produce enough ethanol without compromising our food supplies. It is also true that it is more efficient to burn the feedstock in a CHP (combined heat and power) generator and use the electricity to power EV's and plug-ins. This possibly presents another difficult transition in that, at the present time and for the next 15-25 years, our vehicle fleet will be primarily dependent on liquid fuels and we will need all the ethanol we can produce in order to help keep the price of fuels under control. Our ethanol production capacity is rapidly ramping up to help meet this need and possibly could supply 20% of our liquid fuels by 2020. Thanks to The Energy Blog.

The Berkeley study can be found here.

Randall Parker at Futurepundit is famous for his condemnation of biofuels as a waste of land and fuel. He is not alone. Many energy commentators have long maintained that biofuels, including ethanol, will never be economically viable. This study appears to suggest that cellulosic ethanol has the potential to supply much more of the transportation energy supply than most experts ever imagined.

Update:Here is a very informative article about fuel ethanol from CNNMoney. Hat tip to Deep Wealth Blog, a very interesting blog on investing strategies.


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Blogger Rajeev mundra said...

Show ur comment on my log. Visited ur site and really loved the collection you have, Would take a lot of time to read the stuff you have posted.

could you also add www.feedblitz.com to ur site so that we can get notifications in mail when you add new posts. It would get very helpful.

Thursday, 02 February, 2006  
Blogger al fin said...

Thank you for your comment, and the suggestion.

I have added a feedblitz subscriber form at the bottom of the sidebar, and a link to the atom blog feed at the top of the sidebar.

Saturday, 04 February, 2006  

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