Hucksters have long espoused the power of magnets to cure all manner of ills from arthritis to depression. Any time that these claims have been exposed to actual scientific testing, though, they have been debunked. However, the latest claim for magnets may be different (or not). At the University of Campinas in Brazil, food engineer Victor Haber Perez claims an arrangement of magnets around an ethanol
fermentation vessel cut two hours off the normal fifteen-hour fermentation time. Needless to say there is some skepticism and justifiably so. This is the kind of claim that definitely needs more extensive independent verification. On the other hand, if it does work, it could certainly help speed up the production process and should work even with cellulosic ethanol.