Archive for the ‘Ethanol’ category

Another Ethanol Challenge

November 30, 2006
ear-of-corn.jpg The University of Illinois Extension Office’s Blog has an interesting article posted on Wednesday highlighting Dr. Michael B. McElroy.  This Harvard University Professor is the latest in a line of “experts” who say that ethanol is not the answer to U.S. energy demands.  I wonder, has he been outside the ivory tower enough to even know what an ear of corn looks like?  The article can be found here.

Because my line of work involves the agricultural industry, I must keep up with the pros and cons of big Ag issues.  One of these is ethanol.  What I notice most about those who oppose the continued expansion of ethanol is that they do not present the entire picture.
They talk about rising food and fuel prices as the demand for corn heightens.  They paint doomsday pictures of a world without enough food or fuel.  They throw out statistics regarding fuel economy and the total cost of ethanol production.

Here’s what they don’t mention:  Corn hybrids continuing to become higher yielding, and being grown in areas previously not suitable for corn production.  Experimental ethanol plants using corn residue (instead of the grain itself) to supplement those that process the grain.  The gluten byproduct produced by ethanol that can be fed to cattle instead of corn.  Engine technologies that are striving to make ethanol more efficient in miles per gallon.  And, of course, my favorite reason for using ethanol:  to send less money to middle eastern governments.

Is ethanol the entire solution to America’s thirst for energy?  No.  Should it be part of the solution?  Absolutely.