Saturday, November 01, 2008

Biofuel is Worthy Research

I've had many arguments with friends, about the validity of ethanol and biofuels in general. I concede all the valid criticisms of corn-based ethanol, and that many biofuels don't truly tackle our carbon emissions.

However, I've always argued, that anything is better than oil, and that all research that weens us of oil, is valid and worthy research to explore. Research begets more research, and science can breed new understanding and techniques that can often yield discoveries that become a catalyst to bigger breakthroughs.

I have experience with cancer research for years, and I can tell you, scientific discovery requires an iterative process, and what may seem like an imperfect solution at stage one, can yield far more promising resarch in future stages.

This is why I applaud, articles and research as the one outlined below...

In what could be a major breakthrough for second generation ethanol production, German researchers have developed a new method that easily converts raw wood into sugar using a liquid ionic salt bath at room temperature followed by reaction with a solid acid resin.

I believe we so often get caught up in the issues surrounding corn ethanol and making fuel from food crops that we tend to write off biofuels as a flop. In reality, corn ethanol is a stop gap to help us develop an infrastructure for the second generation of non-food biofuels like cellulosic ethanol.

The full article can be found right here.


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