The answer to our fuel woes might be monster sweet potatoes
Corn ethanol is a good idea in theory — what’s more renewable than a fuel source you plant and harvest every year? But corn is such an inefficient energy source that if we wanted to meet our biofuel goals with corn ethanol alone, they’d have to shoulder out every other crop. You know what yields more ethanol per acre than corn, though? Sweet potatoes. And you know what yields more ethanol per acre than sweet potatoes? GIANT MOTHERFUCKING SWEET POTATOES OF DOOM. CAREnergy makes SERIOUSLY LARGE sweet potatoes that do not mess around — they look like they should be attended by gold-bikinied space princesses, and they can produce more than six times as much fuel per acre as corn. Corn gets 300 gallons per acre at the best of times, and probably more like 150, according to CAREnergy; the specially-grown tubers can get 1,800 gallons out of the same amount of land. They also need a lot less water and fertilizer than corn — about 7 percent as much fertilizer per gallon. Here’s the best part: My friend Emily, who told me about CAREnergy, found out about them because the company president came for a tour at her workplace (NPR) wheeling a giant sweet potato in a baby stroller. “Thing was size of a turkey and shape of a human heart,” Emily told me in a Twitter message (hence the lack of definite articles). When questioned about the stroller, she said it was “a normal umbrella style stroller with circus animal theme.” Stroller themes aside, the upshot is that Jabba the Yam could theoretically make ethanol realistic. Or anyway, more realistic. Or anyway, more reminiscent of a turkey-sized potato baby shaped like a human heart.
The CAREnergy Crops: The eTuber™ Sweetpotato and High-yielding Sweet Sorghum, CAREnergy.org.