ethanol

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Scientists: We Can Make Ethanol Without Corn

New process should be significantly more efficient, too

(Newser) - Could ethanol someday essentially be produced out of thin air? A group of scientists has published research in Nature detailing a new method of making ethanol out of carbon monoxide gas, instead of corn or sugarcane, Reuters reports. Researchers saturated water with the gas, then zapped it with a novel... More »

Inside Ethanol's Quiet, Dirty Toll on Environment

Industry fumes over AP report

(Newser) - President Obama, and President Bush before him, fought hard to make ethanol a central part of American energy. But an AP investigation finds that the program as it stands may be doing far more environmental harm than good. The effort to grow corn for fuel has meant the destruction of... More »

Biofuel Demand Takes Big Toll on US Prairies

Grasslands destroyed at fastest rate since 1930s, says study

(Newser) - The push for biofuels—spurred by ethanol mandates and government subsidies—is taking a serious toll on the American landscape, a study finds. Grasslands are being plowed up faster than at any time since the 1930s, say researchers from South Dakota State University, with 1.3 million acres turned into... More »

The Ticket to Healthy Snacks: Animal Feed?

The ingredient smells bad, but packs a nutritious punch

(Newser) - Milk, sugar, flour, eggs ... and pulverized corn kernels typically fed to farm animals. If that doesn't whet your appetite, then consider the health benefits of that final ingredient, known as "dried distillers' grain," or DDG. The substance is left over in the process of turning corn into... More »

Ethanol's Long Joyride Runs Out of Gas

Fuel additive faces first decline in 15 years

(Newser) - After 15 years of growth, ethanol production will fall this year and be flat next year, shocking an industry that has only known boom times for many years, reports the Wall Street Journal . Driven by government mandates, production of the corn-based fuel additive tripled from 2005 to 2011, reaching nearly... More »

Senate Reverses, Votes to Cut Ethanol Subsidies

Shift could endanger $5 billion annually for farm states

(Newser) - The Senate voted today to repeal tax credits for producing ethanol, a vote that budget cutters hope will demonstrate a growing appetite in Congress to end special interest tax breaks to help reduce government borrowing. The Senate voted 73-27 to repeal the $5 billion annual subsidy, just two days after... More »

Jon Huntsman: I'm Skipping Iowa

He's not a big fan of ethanol, writing of Buckeye State

(Newser) - Jon Huntsman won't be taking his toys to the sandbox in Iowa: The possible presidential candidate says that he's definitely not going to compete in the Hawkeye State, reports ABC News. “I'm not competing in Iowa for a reason. I don't believe in subsidies that... More »

Ethanol Group Paid Gingrich $300K

Former House speaker was lobbying coalition's highest-paid consultant

(Newser) - Newt Gingrich earned more than $300,000 acting as a consultant to a coalition of ethanol lobbying groups in 2009, according to IRS records. The possible GOP 2012 candidate—who declared "I am not a lobbyist for ethanol" during a spat with Wall Street Journal editors over his support... More »

Four Loko Recycled Into Fuel Ethanol

Widely banned drink proves useful after all

(Newser) - With Four Loko banned in many states and being voluntarily pulled from shelves in others, there's quite a few cans of the stuff lying around in warehouses around the US. What to do with it all? Wholesalers from a number of southern states have been converting their excess stock into... More »

Al Gore: I Was Wrong About Corn-Based Ethanol

Corn-based fuel does little to help environment, he admits

(Newser) - Al Gore regrets supporting subsidies for corn-based ethanol when he was in office, he revealed during a speech in Athens yesterday, confessing that he’d done it more to bolster his presidential ambitions than to help the planet. “First generation ethanol I think was a mistake,” Gore said,... More »

Meet the First Car Made by a 3-D Printer

Urbee combines eco-friendliness with innovative look

(Newser) - Saving the planet just got a lot better-looking: The hybrid Urbee is the first-ever car made using 3-D printers. The firms Stratasys and Kor Ecologic created the vehicle, whose whole exterior is printed by additive manufacturing—printing layer on top of layer until, essentially, a car appears—a method that... More »

Biofuel Boom Runs Out of Gas

(Newser) - Once considered a win-win for the environment and energy independence, America’s biofuel industry is sputtering to a halt, the Wall Street Journal reports. Thanks to the recession, lower oil prices, and government delays, two-thirds of American biodiesel refineries—dozens of plants—are idle, and companies across the country are... More »

EPA Eyes Crackdown on Not-So-Green Biofuels

Turns out, it's greener to burn plants than to make ethanol

(Newser) - Plants consume carbon dioxide, so growing corn to produce ethanol should be at worst a zero-sum game, emissions-wise, right? Wrong, says the EPA. There's another factor involved: Turning food crops into fuel drives up their prices, which raises demand for farmland worldwide. In places like Brazil, that means chopping down... More »

Ammonia + Corn = Energy Independence

(Newser) - Feeding cows parts of corn plants that farmers currently discard could eventually lead to American energy independence, Wired reports. An ammonia treatment applied to corn “stover” could make it palatable to cattle, freeing up more land for the production of ethanol, a Michigan State researcher says. That could, in... More »

California Passes World's First Carbon Fuel Standard

Rule requires vehicle fuel's 'carbon intensity' to be slashed

(Newser) - California has passed a landmark rule to reduce the carbon content of vehicle fuel, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The regulation, the first of its kind in the world, requires refiners and distributors to begin cutting the "carbon intensity" of fuel next year, and reach a 10% reduction by... More »

Brazilian Prez, Obama Crack Up Reporters

(Newser) - World leaders wanting to pal around with President Obama could learn from his easy banter with Brazil's president, Reuters reports. Visiting the White House today, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Obama got reporters laughing. "You know, I would love a trip to the Amazon," Obama said after... More »

Ethanol on Tap From Beer Dregs

Brewer Sierra Nevada gets in on plan to produce alternative fuel

(Newser) - Brewer Sierra Nevada is part of an effort to turn byproducts of the beer-making process into usable, alternative fuel, CNET reports. E-Fuel sells a $10,000 portable ethanol refinery that the brewer will feed with its yearly output of 1.6 million gallons of “bottom of the barrel” waste.... More »

Jumbo Jet Flies on Veggie Oil

Boeing 747 powered by biofuel

(Newser) - A Boeing 747 powered by a mixture of aviation fuel and vegetable oil flew on a two-hour test flight which is being hailed as a technological and ecological milestone. The Air New Zealand passenger jet was powered in part by oil from the jatropha plant, reports the BBC. More »

Volatile Markets a Growing Concern for Farmers

Volatile prices, uncertain demand push some farmers into the red

(Newser) - Volatile commodity prices and uncertainty about future demand are nurturing growing concern among American farmers as revenues sink—even as demand sprouts in emerging energy markets, the Wall Street Journal reports. Costs of doing business—namely seed, machinery, and fertilizer—are riding high alongside transportation costs, and commodity prices are... More »

US Farmers See Leaner Times in Stormy Market

Many predict downturn for agriculture after years of record profits

(Newser) - Plunging crop prices and soaring costs are hitting US farmers with a one-two punch that’s knocked the fight out of what had been one of the stronger segments of the nation’s economy, reports the Wall Street Journal. Corn prices have dropped some 50% since July, and prices for... More »

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