Now Ethanol Wants a Bailout (from Wall Street Journal)
"The Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for the U.S. ethanol industry, has spoken with staff members from Capitol Hill and President-elect Barack Obama’s team and “provided them with some ideas on how to craft the language of” an economic recovery package, said Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the RFA.
Hartwig said RFA has suggested a number of steps including setting up a $1 billion short-term credit facility so ethanol producers could finance current operations; a $50 billion federal loan guarantee program to finance investment in new renewable fuel production capacity and supporting infrastructure; and a requirement that any auto maker receiving federal aid only produce new vehicles that can run on any blend up to 85% ethanol, beginning with the 2010 model season".”
Ethanol is not the answer
Ethanol won't solve energy problems from USA today
Ethanol is far from a cure-all for the nation's energy problems. It's not as environmentally friendly as some supporters claim and would supply only 12% of U.S. motoring fuel — even if every acre of corn were used. ...
...As far as alternative fuels are concerned, biodiesel from soybeans is the better choice compared with corn-produced ethanol, University of Minnesota researchers concluded in an analysis Monday.
But "neither can replace much petroleum without impacting food supplies," the researchers concluded in the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The paper said development of non-food materials such as switchgrass, prairie grasses and woody plants to produce cellulosic ethanol would be a major improvement with greater energy output and lower environmental impacts.
But creation of cellulosic ethanol remains in the laboratory research stage. And even non-food sources of ethanol would fall far short of replacing gasoline, most researchers agree.
Biofuels such as ethanol are "not a practical long-term solution," and their widespread use — even from non-food crop sources — could have a "devastating" impact on agriculture, two researchers at the Magleve Research Center of the Polytechnic University of New York, argued recently. ...