Ethanol vs Corn Ethanol: Were we duped? Corn's highest and best use is in food production. Ethanol from...
Why did the U.S. begin its ethanol experiment with CORN as a feedstock?
Becca: I know. I, too, have cousins making the first profit they've ever made in corn. I'll muster up the courage to tell them that they and all of America would be much better off with other feedstocks. Oh, Lordy!
Elanor: You don't mince words, I see. I don't doubt that corn actually produces more energy than it uses and, as Adam mentioned, it takes fuels the U.S. produces to replace liquid fuels from the Mideast.
However, (& please understand that I hear contradicting arguments constantly so I take them with a "peer-review & time will clarify things" approach) I'm more inclined to accept - again, from Adam's answer - that starting out with corn benefited us most in the learning curve of fuel fermentation.
I wasn't aware cellulosic conversion to sugars was anything new as malting, mashing and Kvass are all (I thought) starch to sugar processes. It may be a cost-thing where it now costs a 1% what it once did.
I thank you for informing me of the cattle feed remaining after the ethanol process. We're still up against a 1% extraction cost for petroleum, though. We'll need much better than 120% (~80% extraction cost).
I can't seem to get two similar answers as to the competitiveness of any immediately available replacement for cars. Electricity is already cheaper from Solar and Wind than from coal, natural gas and MUCH cheaper than nuclear for a plant built today and amortized over 15 years.
And, the new battery technology developments (Firefly seems best in all respects - division of Caterpillar) may well make Plug-in EV's much better than gas or diesel ... or even hybrid in the next 2 years.
If not, though, how do we beat petroleum with renewables? Hydrogen slams into the compressibility challenge; biodiesel from algae is still many times higher than petrol-diesel; methanol has some promise but, unless converted from Methane, ???
Again. We must get $99 worth of energy for every $1 spent. Daunting!