Ethanol has been receiving quite a bit of press, but a harsh look at the numbers show that corn is not the endgame solution for the US's energy woes. Should we hang up the spikes and enjoy our remaining years of gasoline, while bracing ourselves for a catastrophic fallout when the last gallon is burned? Nah…corn-based ethanol, while helpful, and certainly a good poster child for green energy, is not the answer. A combination of green energy technologies, including corn-based ethanol, wind, solar, geothermal, biodiesel, and others, will be the only way to curb this country's 140 billion gallons per year gasoline habit. Perhaps the most promising, though, is cellulose-based ethanol. CNN Money reports:
But unlike corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol can be made from a variety of things that might otherwise be considered waste – sewage sludge, switchgrass, plant stalks, trees – virtually anything that contains carbon.
There is a potential 1 billion tons lying around the country that would be usable, which is estimated to be equivalent to 100 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol. While it is probably impossible with our current infrastructure to tap all of that potential, it certainly poses a significant contribution towards freeing ourselves from fossil fuels.