- Dec 18, 2008
Ethanol turns out to be the worst type of renewable energy
Photo by veganstraightedge. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.
Maybe it's good that the US will not meet its self-imposed ethanol mandate for 2022. According to a new study by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, ethanol - whether derived from corn or cellulose - is the worst form of renewable energy. Ethanol's numbers were put to the test against "solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology." The energy types were rated on their ability to power "new-technology vehicles" (plug-ins, flex-fuel ICEs and fuel cell vehicles). Ethanol lost. Big.
The study, called "Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security," (read it here) found that wind-powered battery electric vehicles and wind-powered hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the cleanest ways to drive. The big problem, naturally, is that it's awfully expensive to drive a wind-powered BEV today. Still, the study is already having an effect. The Kansas City Star has already said that, "It's time to ban all federal subsidies for this wasteful taxpayer investment in Midwest farmers and this inefficient use of corn to power vehicles across America."
[Source: Renewable Energy World, Kansas City Star]