We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From a piece in Popular Mechanics, Biofuel Hype in Washington:
It’s great that our politicians have discovered the need for new energy technologies. But it appears that Washington is determined to put its money—our money—on the wrong horse. Right now, researchers are studying a host of energy solutions, including hydrogen, high-mileage diesel, plug-in hybrids, radical reductions in vehicle weight and cellulosic ethanol (made from cornstalks, switchgrass or other nonfood crops). It is far too soon to say which of these holds the most promise. But, instead of promoting experimentation and competition to find the best solutions, politicians seem ready to declare ethanol the winner. As a result, our nation could wind up with the worst of both worlds: an “alternative” energy that is enormously expensive yet barely saves a gallon of oil.
I know two people who really do know what they are talking about on this issue, and it seems that it is cellulosic ethanol in some future efficient process or nothing. A major problem even for cellulosic is that the inputs, for example the transport costs, remain so high.
If most of us, myself included know little to nothing of the various benefits and drawbacks of the biofuel sources mentioned then how can we pronounce that Rufus knows what he's talking about? It would seem one needs to know a good deal about a subject before being able to state that another knows more and is the acknowledged last word on th subject.
We're currently consuming 7.6 Billion Gallons of Domestically produced ethanol
and 500 Million gallons of imported (Brazil) ethanol.
To accomplish this we are processing 2.6 billion bu of corn, of which a bit over 0.8 billin bu are returned to us in the form of Distillers Grains which leaves a net usage of 1.8 billion bu (out of a crop of 13 Billion Bushels.)
We Exported about 2.5 billion bushels to be used as livestock feed.
I don't have time to "fisk" the whole article right now, but it is a debacle of flawed, and misleading hyperbole backed up by out-dated, and occasionally totally inaccurate research.
In short: It's "Rubbish."
p.s. One quick point. A typical ethanol plant built in the last couple of years has a "functional" EROEI, as regards fossil fuel, of about 3:1, NOT 1.3:1