Ethanol sucks!

I hate to say I told you so, but two new science articles have made corn-based ethanol, and even more futuristic cellulosic ethanol, seem much less legitimate as an option to combat global warming.  Appearing in the prestigious journal Science, both new papers suggest that switching to ethanol will actually add to net greenhouse gasses in the near term (i.e., for at least 100 years if not more).  One of the reasons is that clearing more land for biofuels will immediately release a large pulse of carbon into the atmosphere. Moreover, as the pressure to both grow food and fuel mount, more land will be cleared, thereby accelerating such a carbon release.  Here are the abstracts for both articles (lead authors were from Princeton University and the Nature Conservancy) and here is some commentary from Grist.  The authors are careful to note that producing fuel from the waste stream (i.e., used cooking oil and grease, etc) does not have this drawback. 

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2 Responses to “Ethanol sucks!”


  1. 1 Corn Fuel sucks November 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    No net gain anyway if you could get it out of thin air. Now you burn 10% corn and get 10% worse mileage and get to go to the E10 or E85 station more often. It’s a loser. Hurts engines too.


  1. 1 My little caravan craft workshops for kids Trackback on March 21, 2015 at 3:20 am

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