Monday, March 24, 2008

One Plant, Multiple Solutions

How to solve a huge chunk of America's problems? Sugar cane.

Brazil has been successfully using ethanol made from sugar cane for many years. According to a National Geographic article I read a few months ago, sugar cane yields the most ethanol per gallon of regular oil used in production.

So, we invest in sugar cane technology. This will have many benefits.

We will control our own fuel supplies and stop indirectly funding terrorists with oil dollars. Cheaper fuels costs, improved national security.

We will revitalize the economy of the deep South - coastal Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana - and Hawaii, where the cane can be grown. Improved economy, jobs, better schools, better education, less crime, less social services needs.

Won't significantly impact the farming of corn, wheat and other crops essential to food production, so costs of basic foods won't spin out of control.

Because you get more ethanol from sugar cane than from corn, there will be less use of pesticides and land.

I mean, come on, it makes perfect sense. Oh wait, that's probably the problem then.

Thor sez: Good points, all, but you fail to address the most glaring problem with converting from use of imported oil to use of local ethanol: How will the oil companies continue to make billion dollar quarterly profits?


Chris M said...

What's the cost of obtaining the ethanol from the sugar cane though? I know one of the bad things about the ethanol from corn is the cost associated with getting it from the corn to begin with, and then the resultant effect on the crop, etc that you had already mentiong.

JanetLee said...

Chris - I can't find my National Geographic at this moment, but IIRC, for every gallon of petroleum used, the process only yeilds 3 (or 4) gallons of ethanol from corn, but 8 gallons of ethanol from sugar cane.

I don't recall if they gave a dollar amount for production.

Marcheline said...

Waitasecond.... alcohol made from SUGAR?

I'd buy it for personal consumption!!!


- M

JanetLee said...

M- I must confess one of my first thoughts on reading about ethanol from sugarcane was to wonder if car exhaust would smell like rum!