Renewable Energy: Not Just a Nice Idea
by Bruce Dale (Star Tribune) Commentaries: Considered in context, it’s clear that ethanol has an important role to play.
A commentary about corn ethanol published in the Star Tribune this summer was disappointing (“Too much corn is being wasted as fuel,” Aug. 12). It failed to make appropriate comparisons and to provide important context.
The author — Prof. Jason Hill, McKnight land-grant professor in the department of bioproducts and biosystems engineering at the University of Minnesota — criticized ethanol’s supposed negative air-quality effects, but did not mention that gasoline contains carcinogens. Ethanol is not carcinogenic.
He criticized the supposed impact of ethanol on food prices, but did not mention how increased ethanol supplies reduce petroleum prices and thereby hold down a major cost of food production: the cost of oil. He stated that it takes nearly as much energy to produce ethanol as is released when ethanol is burned, but not that we get more than 20 times as much liquid fuel energy from ethanol than is contained in the oil required to make ethanol. READ MORE