• Feb 18th 2009 at 10:15AM
  • 64
While the general consensus is clear that corn ethanol isn't as great as once proclaimed, biodiesel has somewhat escaped the criticism swarm (palm plantation biodiesel being the big exception). That may change now that a new study from the Woods Institute for the Environment has found that crop-based biofuels, any of them, will likely speed up global warming rates. The study found that, overall, biofuels pump "far more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they could possibly save as a replacement for fossil fuels," according to the AFP. The study authors looked at 20 years' worth (1980-2000) of satellite photos of tropical areas and discovered that half of the biofuel cropland came from virgin rainforests. The imbalance of this deforestation means that it'll take somewhere between 40 and 120 years to pay back the "carbon debt." Algae and cellulosic biofuel sources can not get here soon enough.

[Source: AFP]


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  • 64 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Read "Hard Green" by Peter Huber.

      Environmentalists seem to think that we import carbon from some extra-planetary source, but the earth is a closed system. All the carbon that is released was part of the planet all along. Coal, oil and gas are valuable because they are energy dense and don't take up nearly as much of the surface of the earth as solar power and plants do for a given amount of energy. Guess what! Nearly all "fossil" fuels are ultimately energy from the sun, and were originally biomass.

      I'm in favor of developing electric vehicles, but I think that bio-fuels are nonsense. They take too much energy to extract. Maybe that could be overcome with more nuclear power, but how many greens are supporting that?
        • 8 Months Ago
        Also, the CO2 in coal, oil, and natural gas has been sequestered deep underground, far from the current biosphere, and for basically forever in human terms.

        Now if we dump all that CO2 into the air, we might regain a "natural" level of CO2 - natural for the Eocene that is. Of course the climate, ocean levels, and the like were radically different then...
        • 8 Months Ago
        I support nuclear. I don't see a problem with it IF the methods of disposal are sussed out completely.

        Yes...the earth is a closed system...it's also a system that supports life. And carbon in the air in the concentrations we see today is damaging to LIFE. The planet will go on with or without us. But we are poisoning ourselves and altering the planet's weather patterns and chemisty in ways that will kill US.

        Arsenic is also a natural occurring substance that is released from the earth's crust. Do does that make it healthy for us to release it and dump it into our oceans and air in concentrations that exceed what nature intended?
        • 8 Months Ago
        "I think that bio-fuels are nonsense. They take too much energy to extract."

        This is false. The major voice behind this claim is quack insect entomologist David Pimentel. Among his other wild claims are that 40% of world human deaths come from pollution.

        Want more? Pimentel opposes all beef production, all modern agriculture in fact, and also house cats and dogs ("alien species" you see); and who wants to eliminate two-thirds of human population (supposedly "democratically", so just relax, it's all fine) and slash the US standard of living by half. In short he's a Malthusian anti-human zealot.

        His 2001 paper on energy content (far outside his field of expertise) was immediately killed by facts and numbers in the academic community, but staggers on zombie-like through its embrace by free market and conservative zealots who really need to look a little more closely at who they're championing.

        Among the papers that heart-staked Pimentel was one in 2002 by MSU chemical engineering professor (and thus one who knows what he is talking about) Bruce Dale, who showed many fatal flaws in Pimentel's approach, including:

        outdated (1992) figures for corn yields (thus, FAR underestimated);

        outdated (1979, 1990) and UN (rather than more advanced US) figures for energy required to produce ethanol (thus, far OVER estimated);

        assuming all corn is irrigated when only 16% is and almost no ethanol corn is (which totally ruins his calculations since he assigned huge energy costs for irrigation);

        etc etc.

        Dale eventually proved that the rock bottom minimum energy figure is six units gained per one unit put in, and later evidence shows ten to one (Farrell, Science, 2006).

        The Dale paper is widely cited in academic literature, but Pimentel's, which has shown itself so useful to the oil lobby, has gotten a lot more think tank, media, and political exposure. Hmm..
      • 6 Years Ago
      We had a problem with fertilizer run-off in rivers and streams and dead animals due to feeding farm animals to already overweight people.
      Now we also have to deal with feeding overweight cars driven by overweight people. Peta is gonna be pissed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This study is bunk, since it's implying that all cropland growing bio-fuel is on once virgin rainforest. There's a lot of empty farmland in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba that doesn't have any rainforest or crops of any kind growing on it. How does this study reflect using that land for making biofuel? It doesn't. It doesn't even say how much fuel cropland worldwide came from deforestation, just that there has been some in TROPICAL REGIONS. "Where there are rainforests and the growing of biofuel crops, there is a lot of deforestation." Wow, thanks for the update slappy. What about temperate regions where there's more land than people?
        • 6 Years Ago
        And the bottom line is "Shit still grows there". It's otherwise wasted farmland, and before the death of the family farm the Praries produced a lot of food over the years. This potential hasn't changed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "There's a lot of empty farmland in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba that doesn't have any rainforest or crops of any kind growing on it"

        And there's a reason for that. Short growing seasons, high intraannual and interannual temperature and climate variability, and low precipitation all make the northern great plains less suitable for year-round commodity agriculture than tropical regions with rich soil, warm climates, and 2-3 crops per year. Why do you think that the only profitable biofuel ventures are in equatorial countries?
        • 8 Months Ago
        "This potential hasn't changed."

        Yes, it has. The average American farm has, since the 1860s, lost over two feet of topsoil through wind and water erosion.

        "And the bottom line is "Shit still grows there"

        No, the bottom line is the bottom line - of a profit and loss sheet. If you can't grow much there and you can grow a lot elsewhere, it's going to be utilized least and last. Basic supply and demand. Unless you propose to mandate that all American biofuel production occur only on fallowed land, which dooms it to irrelevance as most fallowed farmland is either eroded or salty, there's no real way to arm-twist mediocre cold-climate soil into being an economical crop source.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Exactly right - the most prominent biofuel grown in a tropical country is Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, which cannot be grown in the Amazon basin due to the overly wet soil.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Fossil fuel made from imported oil has a HIDDEN COST. In the U.S. for example, dollars are not used to pay for foreign oil, because they are intangible, backed by nothing. U.S. dollars used to be backed by gold and silver. Not any more. As long as the U.S. has a Foreign Oil Trade Deficit, imported oil will be paid for with American stocks and bonds, American real estate, and American debt instruments. Roughly $500 billion a year is leaving the country. Primarily, the U.S. Treasury uses debt instruments to buy foreign oil. These are created out of nothing by the middleman Federal Reserve Corporation and then added to the National Debt. This is debt consumption. As long as the National Debt remains unpaid, it’s like a revolving credit card. Year after year Americans slave to pay interest on fossil fuels they bought years ago, derived from foreign oil. And after about 12 years, if the debt continues to be unpaid and continues to accrue interest, you will have paid twice for that fuel. The cost of that $40 barrel of oil you just bought will actually cost you $80 or more. The cost of that $140 barrel of oil you bought last year will cost you $280 or more. By the way, you pay little or no floating interest on domestically made biofuel. That puts more money in your pocket and raises your standard of living.

      With the U.S. importing roughly 70% of it’s crude oil from foreign sources, did the study take theses factors into consideration: (1) that you had to expend more time and resources to buy fossil fuels made from foreign oil than you did to buy domestic biofuels? (2) that some of that foreign oil was extracted using high energy methods, from oil sands and shales? (3) that the foreign oil was shipped long distances using dirty fossil fuels, whereas biofuels can be produced and consumed locally? (4) that a huge amount of dirty fossil fuels are burned by the military to protect foreign oil supplies and wage oil wars?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was fairly shocked when this was pointed out to Me by Peoples on this Blog.
      De-forestation is a huge problem and it seems that the Equatorial regions are even more
      important than the Hemi-sperical Regions,I had not thought of that.
      Regardless of political alliance,there is a lot of good information to be found here.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don’t have a problem with biofuels per say. I LOVE the idea of energy independence and keeping the money working here to improve OUR standard of living instead of the Saudis.

      But, I do have a problem with food crops for fuel, wasting water by irrigating fuel crops and using oil based chemical fertilizers. I also have a HUGE problem with gov’t choosing winners and losers (with my tax money) like they did with “corn ethanol” and the “H2 Economy” foolishness. Gov’t is almost always WRONG!

      Anyway, here are a couple of articles regarding biomass fuels

      Miscanthus versus switchgrass

      “Switchgrass has hogged the spotlight as a perennial grass suitable for cellulosic ethanol production in the United States. In Europe, however, miscanthus takes center stage. EPM looks at how the two compare.”

      http://www.ethanolproducer.com/article.jsp?article_id=3334&q=&page=all

      Neither Miscanthus nor Switchgrass require farmland, fertilizer or irrigation once established.


      Two-step chemical process turns raw biomass into biofuel
      Feb. 10, 2009

      "This solvent system can dissolve cotton balls, which are pure cellulose," says Raines. "And it's a simple system-not corrosive, dangerous, expensive or stinky."

      http://www.news.wisc.edu/16250
        • 6 Years Ago
        Cellulosic ethanol is a nice to have, but all too often a reason for treating alcohol fuel as a maybe someday later issue. But there are already 17 crops at least than can yield profitable and useful quantities of ethanol fuel, and all other biomass including switchgrass can be made into methanol (with an M) today, no further research necessary.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hate to tell you, but no, they won't be pumping lots of fertilizer and water to it. Not at projected Diesel and N prices. And with the target price for biomass feedstocks rather low to make cellulosic fuels a viable business, there's no way you'd waste resources that way.

        The whole idea behind these fairly tough, well-adapted energy crops is that they do well with reduced inputs. Many of these species also grow much better on marginal lands than most commodity crops would.

        • 6 Years Ago
        "Neither Miscanthus nor Switchgrass require farmland, fertilizer or irrigation once established."

        And if you think that farmers won't immediately begin fertilizing and irrigating the living crap out of their switchgrass to boost yields, when and if they begin planting it, you're out to lunch.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Then stay on oil and quit crying about it

      Really ...this stuff ticks me off. It always seems that the only way to stop global warming is to control ... ME. That if the answer to global warming doesn't include massive government oversight then it's NOT A ANSWER.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The sectors that are responsible for the worst greenhouse emissions - industry, power generation, and agriculture - also happen to be only sensitive to top-down regulation, ie by governments.
      harlanx6
      • 6 Years Ago
      My question is: Did Exxon fund this study? Forgive my skepticism, but biofuels sequester atmospheric CO2 before releasing it again into the atmosphere. Fossil fuels do not.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        "Snark, David Pimentel is a radical Malthusian and an extremist opponent of all modern agriculture, who supports reducing Earth's population by two-thirds and cutting the US standard of living in half. He is a mere insect entomologist, writing far outside his field of expertise when he makes claims about the energy content of ethanol."

        Robert Zubrin is just as far out of the field as Pimentel - if not more - and you seem to have no problem sucking up to him on the strength of his research on rockets that burn hydrogen and hydrazine, so what's the beef?

        Your ad-hom strawman is cute, and I certainly get that you oppose Pimentel on ideological grounds, but none of this has anything to do with his science.

        "It was swiftly crushed in 2002 by someone who actually knows the topic, MSU chemical engineering professor Bruce Dale, who exposed fatal flaw after fatal flaw in Pimentel's agenda-driven hackery"

        How do you know they were fatal flaws? You're clearly not an ecologist yourself, because you clearly haven't the faintest idea about soils or agriculture, so are you simply basing your evaluation on who confirms your bias best?

        Dale's conflicts of interest are well-known; he holds a patent on ethanol production. As such, his analysis is tainted.

        "Pimentel's figures for energy required to produce ethanol and the ethanol yield dated from 1979, and his figures for energy to produce fertilizer are 1990 world values per the UN - not recent US values (and thus grossly underestimated)."

        This, and Dale's other criticisms, are actually correct, but yield and supply is not my concern. I don't care whether you can get usable, energy-positive fuel out of corn, because the real issues at work here are land-use change and greenhouse gases. That's what I'm talking about. Pimentel's work is of variable quality, but it strongly and defensibly demonstrates that soil disruption and fertilization negate any climate benefit to biofuels. And if you're not cutting greenhouse emissions, who the hell cares? Why not just keep burning gasoline, but more efficiently? It'll always be cheaper than some overprocessed corn or grass derivative.

        "The Dale study showed that not only was the energy balance for producing ethanol significantly positive, but the much more relevant metric of the amount of liquid fuel produced vs. expended was enormously favorable - at least six gallons to one, later revised with better data to TWENTY to one."

        Too bad Dale didn't take into account the greenhouse gas emissions from soil and fertilizer. Yield isn't my concern; environmental impact is.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Both of you are full of a substance that makes for a very, very good methane feedstock.

        Ironic that you're jabbering about knee-jerk reactions when it's plainly obvious that neither of you read the article.

        Fortunately, I did. It looks at more than simply tailpipe net CO2 emissions and looks at all greenhouse gas emissions from all steps of the biofuel production process. Two primary sources account for the release of a great deal of greenhouse gas from stable sinks.

        The first is soil disturbance and deforestation, which releases carbon from soil organic carbon (SOC) and biomass (trees) sinks. When you cut down trees and burn them, and churn up soil, the SOC and biomass very quickly decomposes, releasing CO2.

        Then, when you grow crops on it, if you're not growing organic, you're dumping tons of fertilizer on it. Soil microbes eat that fertilizer and spew out nitrous oxides, which are incredibly potent greenhouse gases.

        The combination of released biomass/SOC CO2 and fertilizer-derived nitrous oxides together has a greater greenhouse impact per unit of fuel yielded than fossil fuels. You're simply moving the source away from the tailpipe, nothing more. Researchers such as David Tilman, David Pimentel, and Tim Seastedt have all exhaustively demonstrated the failures of crop-based ethanol. "Snobbery" has nothing to do with it; the science has been known for a good ten years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        I love how you're attempting to lecture a grassland ecologist on grassland ecology. By all means, continue.
        harlanx6
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Noz:
        Greed works. That's the real world. Dueling lobbyists, in an inherently corrupt system, are fighting to control the future. We desperately need the leadership of statesmen who are incorruptible to save us from the self serving bastards. Be skeptical, and always follow the money. It's the only way you will ever have a clue.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Snark, David Pimentel is a radical Malthusian and an extremist opponent of all modern agriculture, who supports reducing Earth's population by two-thirds and cutting the US standard of living in half. He is a mere insect entomologist, writing far outside his field of expertise when he makes claims about the energy content of ethanol. Your citing him instantly, thoroughly, and permanently discredits you, not only in the eyes of pro-human rather than anti-human environmentalists, but also anyone who cares about reason, science, and evidence.

        Just as an example, we can look at Pimentel's most widely cited study (cited not in professional journals but by conservative and free-market zealots), co-written in 2001 with oil-industry man Tad Patzek, claiming that ethanol has negative energy content.

        It was swiftly crushed in 2002 by someone who actually knows the topic, MSU chemical engineering professor Bruce Dale, who exposed fatal flaw after fatal flaw in Pimentel's agenda-driven hackery:

        -Pimentel's corn yields dated from 1992 (and are thus underestimated)

        -Pimentel's figures for energy required to produce ethanol and the ethanol yield dated from 1979, and his figures for energy to produce fertilizer are 1990 world values per the UN - not recent US values (and thus grossly underestimated).

        -Pimentel assumes all corn is irrigated (only 16 percent is, and virtually no irrigated corn is converted to ethanol). FAIL, since Pimentel assigned huge energy costs for ethanol crop irrigation.

        -Pimentel fails to assign any energy credit for the high protein animal feed produced as a by-product of ethanol production.

        The Dale study showed that not only was the energy balance for producing ethanol significantly positive, but the much more relevant metric of the amount of liquid fuel produced vs. expended was enormously favorable - at least six gallons to one, later revised with better data to TWENTY to one. A later study published in Science (you may have heard of it, somewhat influential) heart-staked the Pimentel study corpse yet again by showing the petroleum expended vs. ethanol gained ratio at more than ten to one.

        The Dale study HAS been widely cited in professional literature, which makes one wonder why oil-funded think tanks ignore it and spam out Pimentel's oilman-collaborating hackery instead.

        (I am indebted to another man who actually understands fuels - former NASA rocket scientist Robert Zubrin in his invaluable book "Energy Victory", pages 126-135, for this information. The book itself even more brutally shreds Pimentel with facts.)
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Oil companies are not the only ones with an agenda. Are you that naive to think people involved in the biofuel industry are not driven by their own agendas and greed?

        What world do you live in?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Exactly. The simplistic and knee jerk reactions are hard to understand.

        It's as if all CO2 emissions are the same, end of story, turn off brain and ears.

        Not to mention all the other environmental benefits of alcohol.

        We do know that the United Arab Emirates has hired a top, expensive DC-based PR firm to spread anti-alcohol FUD.

        I personally think that an undercurrent of snobbery against Midwestern corn farmers, and a desire to not let poor Third World farmers prosper, is part of this.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Harlan:

        Greed does not work. Greed is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place. We are heading for disaster in a bad way...if we are not already there. And greed is what is stopping us from doing the right things.

        While lobbyists perform charlatanism, our clocks are ticking and we are no where closer to where we need to be.

        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Snark, after I showed how extremist Pimentel is, and fatally flawed Pimentel's greatest-hit "study" is, with its suspiciously outdated figures, completely wrong assumption, and gaping holes, you're still pointing to him as a reliable figure for anything?

        Also, typical of too many current environmentalists, you are displaying climate change monomania, with an even more narrow personal focus, soil issues. Bragging about being a grass and soil ecologist is nice, and yes I won't be able to dive into the (ahem) weeds with you about those issues, but lift your eyes up and look around.

        But the world doesn't revolve around your pet issues. There are many other things at stake here.

        First, we have economic considerations. Gasoline prices played a major role in wrecking the economy last year; we need to liberate ourselves from OPEC.

        Second, geostrategy. OPEC funds extremism and terrorism. We spent more money on foreign oil last year than our defense budget; funding the enemy in the War on Terror is asinine.

        And finally, since I suspect you will scornfully dismiss such burningly urgent in a burst of sweeping, impatient enviro-zeal, on the environment,

        Ethanol is far CLEANER than gasoline for a whole host of reasons.

        I list seven distinct reasons here (two of them being global warming and NOx which I know you will dispute, based on discredited extremist Pimentel's "research").

        http://tinyurl.com/b2xo52

        The other five include sulfur, carcinogens and mutagens, solubility in water, biodegradability, and finally and most importantly the absence of soot, smoke, and particulate matter.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I said many months ago to start a green algae farming fuels producing small factory with 100 000$ private investment and sell butanol and bio-diesel to normal paying consumers.
      As i know yet, not a single drop of fuel produced by green algae farming is sold to a normal paying consumer and billions are invested each day to study the human genome by aliens forces having taking the white house in 1937 with the hinderburg and the entire world in 2001. This mandate from them to stop any human private activities and study all the dangers of life by goverment is just a trick to erase the human race with the help of carney and chris m and joe romm. Basiccally they stop your activities to study them but the truth is that it's to destroy you with your money and energy and you buy the trick and die. It's a slow process to build a planet and a civilisation but it can dissapeer in days. It's the 5th time i try to start this planet again, 4 time it been destroy by these folks that still study from 85 billions years ago how sex work??? they feel unwelcome and try to sell science.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OK, Way to much written here for me to comment, but excellent reading. I will always believe that biofuel bashing is funded by the petroleum industry, and many of those subscribing to biofuel bashing have believed the propaganda. I am sure I have believed propaganda of one kind or another in my lifetime, but not this. Biofuels, including the much maligned ethanol, are a very good way to build the bridge to whatever lies ahead. A VERY good way.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Interestingly, no one seems to have pointed out that we (the United States) don't buy much biofuels from South America, and that the market for the fuel was rather small nearly a decade ago, when these photos were taken.

      The shrinking tropic rain forest IS a cause of concern to many, including myself.

      However, to put the blame on biofuels may be off the mark.
        • 8 Months Ago
        The main reason we don't buy much biofuel from South America is our incredibly stupid 51 cent per barrel tariff on Brazilian ethanol. The corn ethanol lobby should devote its energies to a flex fuel mandate (a mere $100 per car expense for automakers) and thus guarantee itself a market so big it will have all the business it can handle with plenty left over for overseas suppliers. Instead the idiots the corn farmers have hired to look after their interests have instead decided on a moronic strategy of hiding behind a tariff wall and trying to force up the proportion of ethanol required to be in ordinary gasoline, guaranteeing consumer backlash.
      • 6 Years Ago
      First of all, what kind of biofuel are you talking about? Biogas? Corn ethanol? Sorghum or sweet sorghum ethanol? Algae ethanol? Cassava ethanol? Cellulosic ethanol? Biodiesel, made from what? Soybeans, corn, winter canola, rapeseed, algae, palm, jatropha? They all have different effects on the environment. They all have different byproducts. They all have different energy returns. They’re grown in different climates under different conditions. Painting all biofuels with the same brushstroke is pure IGNORANCE.

      Biofuel critics typically peddle false information. And they’re dragging ethanol into the argument against biodiesel. The first thing they falsify is that food crops are going totally to fuel, and that food acreage is going to fuel acreage. In the U.S., Corn ethanol is food, feed and fuel, not just fuel. Only the starch goes to ethanol, the component that is not that useful anyway. Cattle and dairy cows can’t digest it. The byproduct of corn ethanol, high protein distillers grains is a better feed product than whole corn. This corn ethanol byproduct supplements a large livestock, dairy, poultry, and fish farming industry. For example, feeding distillers grains to dairy cows produces 10 pounds more milk per cow per week, and feeding it to livestock produces 10 to 14 percent more meat. Last time I checked this was FOOD. Corn oil is also extracted from distillers grains. That can go to human consumption or biodiesel. Now corn cobs and stofer are being used for cellulosic ethanol. Are these anti-biofuel studies accurately taking into account the value of all the byproducts? No.

      In 2007 in the U.S., corn acreage increased somewhat, displacing soybean acreage. Biofuel critics pointed to an increase in soybean crops in other parts of the world to compensate, and they made false claims of indirect land use. The following year, corn acreage decreased, and soybean acreage increased, just the opposite. Yet ethanol production went up, even though the corn crop was smaller than the previous year, from 7.4 Billion gallons to over 10 Billion gallons.

      In the U.S., we only use one third of the arable land. There is no land shortage. Likewise for many other countries. There is a big surplus of corn here. And you can buy it anywhere in the world, if you can afford the shipping cost. After struggling for many years to hang on to their farms, don’t expect farmers to give their corn away to feed the poor. If you want to feed the hungry with their corn, then buy it, and ship it to them. Chances are their government will confiscate most of it and resell it. That is the main cause of poverty. Governments serving themselves instead of the people.

      Deforestation is not caused by the installation of biofuel crops.
      (1) In Indonesia, the number one cause of deforestation is the ravenous lumbering of forests for paper pulp and hardwoods, which are shipped all over the world. Then the land use changes to either cattle grazing or palm plantations. 60 to 70 percent of all palm oil goes to food. Did the study credit deforestation to food production? No.
      (2) In Brazil, again the value of the lumber is the origin of deforestation, not biofuels. Rainforest is illegally cut by unscrupulous fly by night lumber companies. They leave the smaller trees behind. Then squatters come in, burn-off what’s left, and graze cattle on the land for years, until the grass is depleted. Then soybean farmers develop the land and restore nitrogen to the soil. By the way, 70 to 75 percent of a soy crop is high protein feed that produces food, in addition to the oil that has been extracted for either food or fuel. Did the study credit deforestation to food production? No. (3) Here in the U.S., we deforest land to build roads, buildings, and urban sprawl, but apparently that’s OK. Environmentalists don’t squawk about that.

      In the U.S., the corn ethanol industry has created 320,000 new jobs. Billions have been invested constructing refineries and an infrastructure to handle it. This has had a huge economic stimulus and helped the economy. In a recent article called “Ethanol Innovator Driven to Replace Oil”, Thom Gabrukiewicz quoted Jeff Broin, head of Poet, the largest ethanol producer in the world: "In 2007, the (ethanol) tax incentive, that tax break, was $3.3 billion, but the ethanol industry returned $4.6 billion in tax revenue to the Treasury," Broin says. "We saved $8 billion in farm payments because we eliminated farm payments for the first time in almost 40 years. We saved the consumer $40 to $60 billion in gas prices with extra supplies that kept prices down. We added $47 billion to the Gross Domestic Product." (Jeff Broin – Poet Ethanol)
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