Corn Ethanol and its consequences

Quite a neat article up, over at truthout.org.

truthout pic

December 21, 2007 | A truckdriver unloads his cargo of corn into a chute at the Lincolnway Energy plant that converts corn to ethanol fuel in Nevada, Iowa. The Federal Energy Bill, with its fivefold mandate to increase ethanol production, is headed for the president’s desk now that all requirements to support tax credits for solar and wind systems have been removed.
(Photo: Jason Reed / Reuters)

The Federal Energy Bill, with its fivefold mandate to increase ethanol production, is headed for the president’s desk without threat of veto, now that all requirements to support tax credits for solar and wind systems have been removed.

States such as water-rich Minnesota and Iowa complain that the ethanol industry is mining their groundwater, causing some plants to be closed because the groundwater supply has been depleted. In many places in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, the ground has already subsided many feet because of groundwater mining. Approximately 14 percent of the US corn crop is irrigated. This irrigated acreage consumes almost 18 million acre-feet per year of water – much of which is overdrafted from the Ogallala aquifer in the Great Plains. To put this water requirement in perspective, the average annual flow of the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry is only about 14 million acre-feet per year.

Corn is also a lousy raw material for fuel. It takes 10 gallons of ethanol to produce the energy equivalent of about seven gallons of gasoline, and greenhouse gas reductions are minuscule.

A little activist but, then, nobody was ever the worse for that.

Advertisements

1 comment so far

  1. masteroftheuniverse on

    The ramifications of using corn to produce ethanol are disrupting the entire grain market. Farmers have replaced wheat and soybeans with corn. The wheat crop has basically failed, worldwide, and stocks are at an all time low percentage wise. Wheat prices are at an all time high, and the reallocation of crops is potentially damaging to the world’s food supply.

    Jeff


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: