Hillary pays tribute to Iowa politics
This is (bitterly) funny:
As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton climbed onto a makeshift stage at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and embraced motor fuel from corn as a key to America’s future, she completed a turnabout from being an ethanol opponent, a position she held only two years ago.
Political observers view her about-face as a political necessity, saying Iowa’s first-in-the-nation’s caucuses — in which residents of the country’s biggest corn-producing state vote their choice for presidential nominee — makes it politically risky to avoid kneeling at the altar of ethanol-from-corn.
This seems like a good place to tout Robert Rapier’s excellent recent post: “The future is solar.” In it, he makes the very simple point that photosynthesis — the means by which corn, rapeseed, switchgrass, etc. make energy from sunlight — is not particularly efficient: “when an acre of rapeseed/canola is planted, we get about 0.06% conversion of the sun’s energy into oil.”
In contrast, researchers have recently hit 40% efficiency with solar panels in lab conditions, and everyday solar panels are running at about 15% these days. Solar voltaic will always make energy from sunlight more efficiently than biomass can. Ergo: the future is solar.
Not something you’d want to say in Iowa, though.