Friday, May 08, 2009

Ethanol's Merry, Merry Month of May

T.S. Eliot wrote that "April is ther cruelest month," but if you're in the ethanol industry (or if your name is Manny Ramirez) you might argue that April's got nothing on May in the cruelty category.

Already fighting against a potentially game-changing regulatory precedent at CARB where the agency is seeking to cripple ethanol's viability by subjecting it to a cradle-to-grave carbon footprint analysis, and dealing with the fallout from the Obama Administration's similarly onerous view of ETOH's carbon profile, now the ethanol industry has to contend with a new Stanford study that concludes that by converting biomass to electricity rather than ethanol, cars can travel up to 80% farther.

The Mercury News reports:

"The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, compares two of the leading fossil fuel alternatives. As state and federal agencies decide how to dole out billions of dollars in subsidies and design new environmental regulations, the study could play a key role in helping determine what the next generation of cars will look like."


"[Lead Author Elliot] Campbell and his two colleagues at Stanford compared the energy costs and output of the electricity and ethanol produced from the same patch of land. They estimated that an acre of switch grass could power a small SUV for 15,000 miles if converted into electricity, but 8,000 miles if turned into ethanol."

As the anti-ethanol crowd continues to pile on, look for a ferocious response from the ethanol barons and their minions in Congress.