Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It fuels you and your car

We had leftovers tonight from a plate Misty's Aunt Wanda fixed for us. There was a weird kind of corn in there, and it was so tasty and sweet. Misty explained that it was field corn. It's mainly used for feeding livestock and not marketed to humans because it goes bad so quickly. Nevertheless, it tastes much better than regular corn, and so it's considered a real find if you can get your hands on some, she said.

I'd never heard of the stuff, but according to Misty all Southerners know about it, particularly older Southerners. In fact, that's what she and her family were planning on hunting for at the farmer's market this weekend.

As it turns out, field corn isn't just a tasty side dish, it could be the future of fuel consumption!
In general, current U.S. ethanol production is based largely on the starch in kernels of field corn, the nation's largest agricultural crop. (The predominant use of field corn is for animal feed. Current ethanol production uses only about 7% of the crop.) Any starch or sugar crop, however, can now be used to make ethanol.

As commercialization of advanced bioethanol technology makes possible ethanol production from biomass other than starch and sugar, vast additional resources will become available to supplement ethanol production from corn kernels.

It'll be just like in "Back to the Future" when Doc Brown threw that banana peel into the "Mr. Fusion" on his Delorian.

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