I’ve been reading a lot lately about producing ethanol for cars.
It seems that ethanol produced from sugar cane is actually a net gain. Meaning that you produce more usable ethanol energy from sugar cane than you expend in the process of producing it.
Ethanol produced from corn, on the other hand, is a wash, because you use as much energy to produce it as is contained in the finished product.
Besides, most corn produced for ethanol generation is genetically modified (GM), and GM crops put our entire food chain in danger, because it has been conclusively shown that GM crops kill off honey bees. Honey bees are the primary pollinators of most human foods.
In Germany they have come to realize that ethanol is not a good fuel source for vehicles, but that it is a good fuel source for generating electricity.
They build huge vats and throw in organic material and let it ferment, and capture the resulting gas and use that to power a conventional electric generating plant.
A firm in Canada markets a micro-organism that can turn pretty much any organic plant or animal product into glucose, which in turn will produce ethanol.
In nature all organic plant and animal products are consumed by micro-organisms which produce ethanol or methane (also a good fuel to burn to produce electricity).
Any city of any size anywhere in the world has a problem with sewage disposal.
Why don’t they use the micro-organism marketed in Canada to consume the sewage to produce the glucose which in turn produces ethanol which is used to fuel an electrical generating plant?
We would solve the problem of sewage disposal because what is left over is organic compost (as in natural), while freeing ourselves from a dependency on petroleum products and their huge carbon footprint or the questionable option of nuclear energy which is a source of fuel for nuclear weapons and pose a long term disposal problem.
The compost could be used as organic fertilizer, thus freeing the farmer from his dependency on petroleum based fertilizers.
Additonally, large hog producing operations produce an incredible amount of sewage and manure which is polluting underground and surface water, while producing a horrible stink. These can become the future electrical generating plants of the nation, producing a clean and usable biproduct.
No agriculture land would be lost to food production for fuel production.
The electric car could be re-introduced, and long haul vehicles could have a mandated minimum of 50 miles per gallon.
This would greatly reduce the carbon footprint on humans on the planet, and possibly advert the impending disaster of major global warming.
This coupled with the further development of solar, wind and wave power is what the planet cries out for.