Monday, July 26, 2010

Cellulosic Ethanol: $2.35 per gallon

Test plots of switchgrass at Auburn University, taken from ORNL report here.

Well, work on cellulosic ethanol has progressed over the last few years and things look good for large-scale commercial application. A recent report put the production costs at $2.35 per gallon, and ethanol produced from switchgrass yields 540% of the energy used to grow, harvest, and process it into ethanol. Equally important, it appears that switchgrass really is carbon neutral, as it absorbs essentially the same amount of greenhouse gases while it's growing as it emits when burned as fuel.

This kind of progress makes it all the more bewildering to read that budget cuts are planned for DOE, or rather, should I say were planned: these things seem to change direction every week.
Now the economy is just about stabilized we do need to slash government spending, but surely not in an area so critical to national security, energy independence and the environment?