We often discuss differences between cellulosic vs. corn ethanol, but when was the last time we thought about nuclear ethanol? Specifically, this is ethanol made in a plant that uses excess heat from a commercial nuclear power plant for distillation. Using the leftover heat means "virtually no energy component" to the ethanol production cost, and therefore the end result is an ethanol per-gallon price of under one dollar.

This set-up is the hope of Alternate Energy Holdings (AEHI), which is proposing a Idaho Energy Complex that will operate as described above. AEHI says that, compared to an average cost of about $2 per gallon for other ethanol-production techniques and the 51-cent per gallon federal tax credit, and you've got yourself a doozy of a double duty energy plant.

If AEHI thinks that those people who aren't enamored with the current state of ethanol in America won't have a problem with combining ethanol with nuclear energy, they should think again. While there's certainly nothing wrong with capturing a source of energy (the excess heat) and making it useful, I can't imaging a less popular form of "green" energy than nuclear ethanol.

[Source: Alternate Energy Holdings]

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