Nearly everyone on this list will be familiar with the downsides of corn-based ethanol. Although producing ethanol using cellulose in other plants has some positive aspects, the article below points out that crops selected for cellulosic ethanol production need to be chosen with caution. Given the push on multiple levels for biofuel production in Michigan, I wanted to share this with others on the list.
New Trend in Biofuels Has New Risks
from the New York Times (Registration Required)
ROME - In the past year, as the diversion of food crops like corn and palm to make biofuels has helped to drive up food prices, investors and politicians have begun promoting newer, so-called second-generation biofuels as the next wave of green energy.
These, made from non-food crops like reeds and wild grasses, would offer fuel without the risk of taking food off the table, they said. But now, biologists and botanists are warning that they, too, may bring serious unintended consequences.
Most of these newer crops are what scientists label invasive species - that is, weeds - that have an extraordinarily high potential to escape biofuel plantations, overrun adjacent farms and natural land, and create economic and ecological havoc in the process, they now say.
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