This time a major U.S. newspaper editorializes against the American subsidies for ethanol. Their conclusion: "This does not mean that Congress should give up on biofuels as an important part of the effort to reduce the country’s dependency on imported oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What it does mean is that some biofuels are (or are likely to be) better than others...."
I recently blogged about some research that could make methanol even more useful as a fuel source. Methanol can be made from many organic waste products and does not require raw materials such as sugar or corn.
For now I wouldn't be betting against corn-based ethanol in America. First, there's the lobby power of Big Corn which dominates politics in states like Kansas and Iowa which each have two senators regardless of how small their population may be. Second, the high oil prices are being credited with hurting the economy, in a one-two punch with the heedless lending of the mortgage industry. Perhaps you've been trying to forget, crude has gone above $125 per barrel for now. And if there's anything a poitician in Washington worries about it's how the energy prices affect big corporations and wealthy donors. Very few besides BIG OIL and KING KOAL are helped by rising energy prices. So ethanol sounds like a good idea, even if it's wasteful.
As we've seen for years now, oil prices and cleantech investments are inseparable because there's not an unlimited amount of subsidy money, investment money and market share for energy products. Despite an editorial against ethanol, you can be sure there are myriad companies still trying to find a better way to crank it out. Here's just one VC firm that's hoping one of their energy investments comes up green and clean, that's green as in profitable.