Photo courtesy of Mista Fitz at Flickr.com.
There’s currently a bit of a corn shortage, driven by rising food consumption, ethanol consumption, and changes in diet in developing countries. Luckily, corn isn’t the only alternative to oil.
While ethanol made from corn gets the most attention, there are all sorts of other biofuels under development. There are companies working on producing ethanol from straw and other farm byproducts such as coconut fiber and cotton seeds. There are factories working on producing diesel from landfills, turkey processing waste, algae, canola, old tires, and other low cost sources. In fact, the US government is actively promoting development of alternative fuels, especially alternative fuels made from non-corn sources (would that be alternative, alternative fuels?):
The government is pushing to get the industry off the ground. Legislation passed last year mandates the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels a year by 2022, less than half of it from corn ethanol. Almost all the rest is supposed to come from nonfood sources, though the requirement could be waived if the industry faltered.
The future of our fuel supply is going to be very different, and there are positive signs that we’ll be using more green biofuels sooner than anyone expected.
Photo courtesy of jurvetson at Flickr.com.