Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ethanol... ready for prime-time?

Further unintended consequences.... (full article, here.)

"Simple economics dictates that if farmers find it more profitable to grow switchgrass rather than corn, soy or cotton, the price of those commodities is bound to rise in response to falling supply.

'You can produce a lot of ethanol from cellulose without competing with food,' said Wallace Tyner, an agricultural economist at Purdue University. 'But if you want to get half your fuel supply from it you will compete with food agriculture.'

There may also be ecological impacts.
The government currently pays farmers not to farm about 35 million acres of conservation land, mostly in the Midwest. Those fallow tracts provide valuable habitat for wildlife, especially birds. Though switchgrass is a good home for most birds, if it became profitable to grow it or another energy crop on conservation land some species could decline."

More on food vs. fuel.

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