Wednesday, March 14, 2007

No fuel like an alt-fuel
With oil destroying the planet faster than a neocon with an intercontinental Christian Hummer dealership, nearly everyone is looking for an alternative fuel source. Enter "For The People LLC," a loftily named Hoosier company that wants to build an ethanol plant at Riverport. The plant, which would employ 60 people and produce 50 million gallons of corn squeezins per year, would produce a fuel that can be mixed with gasoline to burn in conventional automobile engines. The plant would use some groovy technologies not often bandied about in these parts: geothermal, wind turbines, and solar panels. It would also provide a market for regional grain farmers. The bad news: while renewable, corn is inefficient. It takes three gallons of fuel to make four. That creates pollution and greenhouse emissions. Ethanol demand also drives up corn and soybean prices, which can drive deforestation and inflation, especially in the price of that tasty, delicious meat Americans like to cram into their cakeholes seven times per day. And growing monoculture corn requires a nasty dollop of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers that are almost as dangerous to the planet as our oil addiction. The good news: ethanol doesn't come from oil.

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