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Re: E-M:/ FW: Michigan first in race to turn "Wood to Wheels"

Rita,  Some information:
Water Usage
A commentary in this article suggests the amount water used to produce cellulosic ethanol depends on the process.
"I am told that for the sugar platform process, water usage is probably comparable to the corn ethanol process, which might be 4-5 gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol produced. For some of the thermo-chemical routes, that number is considerably lower - closer to 1 gallon of water for 1 gallon of ethanol."
Another article suggests corn is more likely to be irrigated than cellulosic crops.
I would hope that the cellulosic process will be robust enough to be able to use dead ash and other trees from along our highways. Also, grass clippings, leaves in the fall, and yard waste seem readily available. Too many people don't mulch or compost.   
Corn Ethanol can increase home heating costs

In addition to driving up food prices and lowering water supplies, another drawback of corn ethanol is that it may cause home heating costs to rise.


·         About 1% to 2% of natural gas in the US is used to produce nitrogen fertilizer for corn and to produce ethanol itself.  http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article891.html


·         As more corn is planted -- fertilizer and natural gas usage will increase. Proposed federal legislation will mandate many times more ethanol production.


·         The price elasticity of natural gas is calculated to be 1 to 2.  Meaning, a 1% increase in demand should cause the price of natural gas to increase about 1% to 2%.


·         Natural gas is used to heat most homes and buildings in the US and it is used in industrial production. Increased production of corn ethanol may cause heating and industrial production costs to rise. 


·         Along with rising food costs and water issues, rising heating costs will hurt our poorest citizens the most.


Take care,   frank


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