E15 Gasoline (15% ethanol) pending in the Senate


“expanded sales of E15, or fuel containing 15% ethanol, would decrease gasoline prices and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Year-round sales of E15 have been long sought by the biofuel industry and corn farmers, who would benefit from the increased market.”

The proposal is gaining approval at some petroleum groups.


Therein lies the problem. Not that I am demeaning corn farmers, but switch grass has a way better energy yield and much less cost maintenance, if any.

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Biomass fuels work best as fuel for power plants. Making liquid fuels from them is a challenge.

Recall all the effort to make ethanol from cellulose. Everyone seemed to have an idea of how it could be done. Most applicants for govt grants had little or no experience. Just a “good” idea. They all failed.

But two companies had a good shot at it. They planned to use corn stover, the corn stalk and ears that usually go back on the field when corn is combined. Dupont was one. And Poets was the other. They gave it a good try–using enzymes to break down the cellulose to sugars for fermentation to ethanol. Both built pilot plants. Both have been shut down.

I’d say switch grass to liquid fuel is a long shot at best. Better to burn it as fuel to make electricity for electric vehicles.

Corn to corn starch to ethanol does work. And we have many plants that can do that competitively.