• May 5th 2008 at 8:03PM
  • 12
While the United States and the eastern half of our friendly neighbors up north are using corn as the primary feedstock for ethanol and Brazil has been concentrating on sugar cane, the left-half of Canada is considering wheat. The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association hopes that the creation of fuel from wheat will help Canada's wheat farming community make a bit more profit, as corn-based ethanol has done (for good or for bad) for other farmers. Many farmers in Canada only plan to use low-protein wheat or damaged crops which are not suitable as food for the fuel feedstock. Still, the food-or-fuel debate looms large, as some farmers are choosing to plant specific crops tailored to the production of ethanol. Husky Energy Inc. already operates a few ethanol plants in Canada and has plans for more. There are a few issues with using wheat, but nothing that is insurmountable.

[Source: Biofuels Magazine Canada via Automotive.com]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Skid666, Is wheat an annual or is it a perennial? Does it require replanting, fertilizing, irrigation or pesticides? Can the lower grades of wheat be used for animal feed or other food products to support life? Is the ENTIRE plant used to make ethanol? What is the ethanol density per acre?

      Most importantly… Does wheat ethanol require tax money redistribution or tariffs to be profitable to the farmer or ethanol producer?
      • 7 Years Ago
      They should pass a law prohibiting food for fuel.
      • 7 Years Ago
      On a global basis rising grain prices may not be bad, it would encourage food production in third world countries rather than drug crops.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh noes! Using wheat for fuel is gonna drive up prices for wheat-related foods and cripple the economy! Except oh wait, wheat production is not only at a surplus, but it's a major export of many agricultural countries and increasing demand would actually stimulate competition in the market economy.

      http://www.top5ofanything.com/index.php?l=393 - In this example, we see that wheat production in the US is third largest in production, so maybe this method would be better for us than corn would.

      http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20100812/160171412.html - If you look at this example, it appears that nearly a third of America's grain exports are wheat, and almost the entirety of Europe's exports are wheat. Russia and Ukraine also have large wheat exports. However, Canada's production is a little bit on the small side, so it might not work as well for them unless they increase production.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Horrible idea...plants which humans eat should not be used as fuel for cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nonsense!

      Ethanol only makes sense when it is produced from:

      1) waste products that are not already recycled into animal feed or other commercial products like mulch, fiberboard, fertilizer etc.

      2) low maintenance, non food PERENNIAL plant species that do NOT require replanting, fertilizing, irrigation or pesticides such as switchgrass.

      3) high yield plant species like algae that can be cheaply produced on land that is not otherwise useful for growing food crops.
      • 7 Years Ago
      For you non-farmers out there, Wheat is given grading based on quality, so it is entirely possible for the 'bad' quality to be used for fuel (and pay higher prices than farmers would normally get for crops).

      Western Canada also uses wheat instead of corn for animal feed, and since the byproduct of ethanol production is a high protein feed, feedlots will be happy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually, I misread the Canada graph. I thought the fraction that was wheat was the fraction that was corn. But Canada doesn't export corn, so it's wheat, and it's an astounding 80%. Therefore, wheat ethanol = perfect for Canada. My bad.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Many farmers in Canada only plan to use low-protein wheat or damaged crops which are not suitable as food"

      Nonsense! They will sell all the good wheat along with the bad if the price is right. If you don't think this is true, I have a bridge to sell you cheap in NY.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They should pass a law prohibiting plants as fuel.

      Considering plants all use the same primary resources.

      Topsoil, Water, Phosphorous, Nitrogen, Potassium

      If all the farmland in the US, and all the fertlizers got displaced to make food. Do you honestly think that would have no impact on food?

      Besides which, plants are amazingly inefficient at capturing sunlight into energy.
      http://www.sandia.gov/news/resources/releases/2008/solargrid.html
      http://greyfalcon.net/sugarsolar
      • 7 Years Ago
      Rising grain prices is disastrous for developing nations. The crop is worth more as feedstock for biofuels, and people who can't afford a tripling in prices go hungry. It's happening already.

      And, no, Afghanistan isn't going to pull up the poppies and plant wheat and soybeans in its place.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ==1) waste products that are not already recycled into animal feed or other commercial products like mulch, fiberboard, fertilizer etc.==

      Except thats not "waste".
      http://greyfalcon.net/peaksoil

      And what little "real" waste there is, is inconsequential. Less than inflating our tires better.

      ==2) low maintenance, non food PERENNIAL plant species that do NOT require replanting, fertilizing, irrigation or pesticides such as switchgrass.==

      Bull.
      http://www.stopbp-berkeley.org/CellulosicBiofuels.pdf

      ==3) high yield plant species like algae that can be cheaply produced on land that is not otherwise useful for growing food crops.==

      Also Bull.
      http://algae-thermodynamics.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-can-one-not-like-greenfuel.html
      greyfalcon.net/algae5