Renewable fuel: ethanol from waste?

The world’s largest automaker, GM, has partnered with a renewable energy company called Coskata. The CEO of GM, Rick Wagoner, believes “…making ethanol more widely available is absolutely the most effective and environmentally sound solution” for our gasoline problem.

So what exactly does Coskata do? Founded in July 2006, Coskata is working on producing ethanol, but not just any ethanol, ethanol from crop wastes, wood chips, scrap plastic, rubber and even municipal garbage. A process that promises to require less electricity and natural gas in its production, which ultimately means less carbon released into our environment. Besides seeking to reduce carbon footprints, Coskata also wants to make sure the production cost of making ethanol is under $1/gal, a savings that will be passed on to the consumers. And GM expects to have the first commercial plant producing this ethanol by 2011.

And it seems, GM is ready to go when and if the world decides to convert to ethanol from gasoline (instead of hybrids that use electric power), as many of its vehicles are capable of running on a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

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2 thoughts on “Renewable fuel: ethanol from waste?”

  1. Dave says:

    What came to my mind was the effluents that would be released. I’m trying to find what happens to the air and water as a result of ethanol production. I am certain there are better ways to solve this problem we have with energy.

    Initial reports are not good, and to make this palatable to the general public they are referring to how ‘profitable’ the industry is for the producing communities.

    I am alarmed at the thought of using food for fuel and driving up the cost of food and fuel at the same time. This is a catastropic event for many families.

    What remains to be seen are the effects on drinking water and deforestation on the general environment of which I happen to be a constituite part. I live by one of the Finger Lakes that is struggling to maintain itself against agricultural runoff and the effects of two much plant nutrient. This is a reality to be met head on.

  2. Pingback: Bio or fossil? | jungle [8]

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