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.
Many farmers feed livestock spent grain from the ethanol process in order to lower feed costs. New research confirms what some have long suspected: Those byproducts contain antibiotics from the ethanol distilling process.
A round-up of the news of the day.
Biofuel sounds like a pretty good idea — down with power plants, up with regular plants! — but if the country switches over to corn ethanol we will basically be unable to grow any other crops. A new study has calculated that corn destined for ethanol production would have to take over 80 percent of current farmland in order for the country to meet current biofuel goals. But next generation biofuels can come from many other plants besides corn. And for the first time, they might be commercially viable.
In the battle between food and fuel, cellulosic ethanol might not be a great idea or even a viable solution to our energy woes, but enzyme company Novozymes says it's coming, regardless.
A New York state court upheld the town of Dryden’s ban on fracking. Republicans are trying to pin rising gas prices on President Obama. Apple could allow independent environmental reviews of two factories in China. Chinese air pollution is visible from space.
The State Department denied TransCanada’s permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama agreed, saying that he was rejecting the permit because Republicans wouldn’t stop trying to force the pipeline forward. Republicans are responding to this by looking into legislation that would force the pipeline forward. They’re also asking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to come testify on yesterday’s decision next week. House Republicans ALSO want to promote ethanol derived from … natural gas and coal. And they want to classify it as renewable fuel. What? It’s ethanol!
Canada's natural resources minister is not happy that all of you with your "radical ideological agenda" think Canada's turning into a creepy petrostate. Japan is releasing those three whaling activists who boarded a Japanese whaling vessel. Carbon emissions are delaying the next ice age.
The creatures discovered living in thermal vents near Antarctica -- ghost octopi, limpets, yeti crabs -- are le awesome. Two major solar industry groups are merging in order to focus on state-level policies. With ethanol subsidies gone, gas will cost more.