There's some good news for supporters of ethanol - a new study from the University of California-Berkeley has found that the process of making the alcohol from corn results in a net energy savings, although the margin is still rather slim. Don't get us wrong; nowadays, consumers should take what they can get, and the 10-15% improvement would be a nice step forward towards reducing our energy dependence (or maybe everyone would just buy slightly larger SUVs). This study contracted an earlier study, also from Berkeley.

Even more encouraging is that a process based on cellular material, which can yield significantly greater process efficiency while further reducing greenhouse gases, is perhaps closer to being commercially viable.

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