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Truth About Corn-Based Ethanol

One of the arguments supporting the use of corn-based ethanol as fuel is that when it is used as an automotive fuel, either by itself or in an ethanol-gasoline blend, the result is less carbon monoxide and lower emissions of hydrocarbons into the air.

However, the major flaw with corn-based ethanol is that the production process requires buring of 1L of petroleum to make 1L of ethanol! Thus, any benefit derived by using ethanol is fully nullified.

At least in Brazil, they are using sugarcane-based ethanol, which uses significantly less energy to make 1L of ethanol than corn-based ethanol.

The US/European politicians are doing a good job misleading the public about corn-based ethanol as a "green" alternative energy source.

As more and more corn is diverted for ethanol production, what will happen to the world's food supply?

1 comment:

Alex said...

Corn based ethanol production is still relatively new. As technology further advances it may very well reduce the 1L to 1L ratio of ethanol vs gasoline.

Sugarcane derived ethanol may be nice and dandy for old Brazil but that stuff wouldn't fly up here in Canada or States. US doesn't have the vast amount of landmass that Brazil has for planting sugarcane fields (they already have the corn in place), and I seriously doubt sugarcane can survive in the north american climate. Oh and all that labor required for it, is no problem for south america, they aint got no minimum wage, health benefits, insurance etc etc.

They either use the corn they already have or start importing sugarcane and pay for that, and once depended on it (like oil), watch helplessly as prices for that skyrocket.

I'd say the biggest problem with ethanol is food supply shortage. Look what happened to China, and that was in just a few short years. In the meantime sit back and enjoy the show (Potash TSE:POT anyone?).

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