As the public begins to realize that we have a serious energy problem we begin to see the grasping at easy solutions that do not exist. Ethanol is a great example. It takes energy to make energy! Burning coal to convert corn to ethanol is not smart and not a clean solution. The Christian Science Monitor has a great story on the problem of ethanol:
Carbon cloud over a green fuel
An Iowa corn refinery, open since December, uses 300 tons of coal a day to make ethanol.
Late last year in Goldfield, Iowa, a refinery began pumping out a stream of ethanol, which supporters call the clean, renewable fuel of the future.
There’s just one twist: The plant is burning 300 tons of coal a day to turn corn into ethanol – the first US plant of its kind to use coal instead of cleaner natural gas.
While the story is focused on the climate change aspects of burning coal for the conversion of corn which only tells one part of the story. Ethanol is being put forward as a replacement for oil. Lets remember that before corn can be converted it must be grown and that also requires substantial energy input. Jumping into the rapid development of coal burning ethanol production plants is not the answer. It’s more of the same bullshit. A quick “fix” that will only make our problems worse. It’s the kind of solution we can expect from the best government capitalists can buy.