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Fill 'Er Up: On biofuels


In This Series

  • What we’ve learned from the biofuels series

    Future or folly? Photo: iStockphoto After spending much of the last several months thinking about the biofuels boom and its implications in preparation for this special series, we’ve come to a few conclusions. Like other energy sources, biofuels have significant environmental liabilities. Boosters’ rhetoric about “renewable energy” aside, topsoil — from which biofuel feedstocks spring […]

  • An interview with Mary Beth Stanek, General Motors energy director

    Trucks with a green hue? GM is in heaven. What a difference three bucks a gallon makes. In the past year, General Motors has rallied state and federal support to get more E85 (an 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline blend) pumps at U.S. gas stations, launched a corn-hued marketing blitz, and announced that it […]

  • How a grassroots biodiesel group can show the way for others

    The way that Rob Del Bueno backed into the world of biofuel almost by accident, as told in the article “Small Potatoes,” is emblematic of the way most folks get engaged in grassroots biofuel development. It starts with a desire to use a renewable fuel to power your life long before a GMO-happy megacorporation was […]

  • The top 10 reasons to give a hoot about biofuels

    Well, here we are, at the end of Grist’s illustrious series on biofuels. We’ve thrown a lot of information at you, and we hope it’s becoming clear why biofuel production is a big, Relevant Thing that deserves your attention. But just in case you need more proof, behold: Grist’s Top 10 Reasons To Give a […]

  • The strangest biofuel sources you’ve never heard of

    Sure, you’ve heard of corn and switchgrass as potential sources of biofuel. But those are rendered totally boring in light of the potential of trash, dead cats, and human fat to meet our energy needs. Make your engine purr. Photo: iStockphoto Surprising sources abound in the world of biofuels, with researchers probing the farthest reaches […]

  • What Brazil can teach the U.S. about energy and ethanol

    In 2006, Brazil officially achieved “energy independence” — that is, its oil exports came into line with imports and cancelled them out. No longer beholden to foreign suppliers for its energy needs, the nation theoretically has no stake in costly Middle East military adventures to secure access to oil reserves. Grain alcohol? Haven’t touched the […]

  • A biodiesel entrepreneur in Argentina spreads seeds of wisdom

    Even by Argentine standards, Ricardo Carlstein can talk a blue streak. Ricardo Carlstein. I met with the founder of Biofuels SA, an Argentina-based maker of small-scale biodiesel plants, in the posh environs of Buenos Aires. Carlstein sat at his desk and explained how any person can be a fuel plant by using his invention, a […]

  • As its neighbors back biofuels, Central America gears up for business

    Driving down either of El Salvador’s two principal highways, you’re almost sure to end up braking behind a pickup truck that’s jammed with people standing shoulder to shoulder. Occasionally these rural taxis are new vehicles, but most are rickety, rusted, and running on antiquated engines and exhaust-spewing diesel. Even though 48 percent of Salvadorans live […]

  • It’s time for a real ‘food vs. fuel’ debate

    Can U.S. farmers keep filling the nation’s bellies as they scramble to fuel its cars? Given its evident gravity, the question has drawn remarkably little debate. Like it or not, though, more and more food is being devoted to fueling the nation’s 211-million-strong auto fleet. High gasoline prices, a dizzying variety of government supports, and […]