University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University developing "pethanol"

Using corn to create ethanol is becoming rather widespread these days, as farmers and certain political entities have been pushing it as a fuel alternative for the last several years. Almost all of us have used ethanol in our cars, whether we wanted to or not, as it has been used in a blend with gasoline for years now.

Corn may not be the best source for ethanol, however, as there is not enough of it to go around, nor enough land to grow enough. Opponents of corn for ethanol would rather see the corn eaten than used for fuel. Researchers from colleges in Michigan and Ohio have a possible solution brewing: use peat instead of corn. Peat is half rotted plant matter that covers much of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In fact, Michigan ranks behind just Alaska and Minnesota in peat resources.

Peat is easily and cheaply collected and, the researchers say, easily restored. Work continues on a natural enzyme to convert peat to ethanol. It has already been done, but not under practical conditions. The researchers say that they hope to use the "pethanol" to power fuel cells without using on-board hydrogen storage to power small vehicles, such as golf carts.



Share This Photo X