An Ethanol “What If?”
Ethanol has been “taking it on the chin” recently! Critics like to say that it is expensive to produce, uses more oil to produce it than regular gasoline, and does not have as much “potential energy” in it as gasoline. There has even been a recent finding that due to depleting food corn, and the need to buy and ship in new sources of corn for FOOD that not only are corn prices going up, it is creating more pollution just to get the corn in from other countries! Ouch!
So, what if you could make Ethanol from something else, say, even trash? And what if there was a process that was able to do it for less than a $1.00 a gallon? Well, here you go!
“Enter Coskata, a startup that says it can make ethanol from almost any carbon-rich sourceâ€”including old tiresâ€”for less than $1 a gallon. Thatâ€™s about half as expensive as making gasoline, and much cheaper than other next-generation biofuels. General Motors bought the buzzâ€”literally, announcing last month an investment and partnership with the biofuel company, which now plans to build a plant that can output 100 million gallons per year by 2011 to join its existing pilot facility. Coskataâ€™s ‘miracle’ process is similar to crop-based systems, except the microbes that produce ethanol are feasting on gas released from the feedstock rather than the material itself. The feedstock must be broken down with heat so that the bacteria that produce ethanol can digest it. The potential result: garbage collectors one day joining oil-rig workers and wind farmers as pioneers of American energy independence.”