Help for the Crippled U.S. Corn Ethanol Industry?
Biggest Crop in Recorded History May Help the Crippled U.S. Corn
eBoom - Corn-based biofuel
may be making a return, not because it has become better at
reducing emissions, but rather, because the economic climate is
changing. Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture
announced this fall produced the largest corn harvest ever
recorded–over 13 billion bushels. As a result, corn prices
have dropped and therefore the margin of profit for ethanol
producers has increased.
An increased profit margin is critical for the U.S. industry, as
12 companies have filed for bankruptcy in the last two years.
The corn ethanol industry is also buoyed by a government mandate
that calls for the petroleum industry to blend 12 billion gallons
of corn ethanol in 2010.
Critics still argue it is nonsensical to use a food crop to
produce fuel: the U.S. will use 33% of its corn crop to grow
a fuel that will displace around 5% of the country’s gasoline
consumption. Furthermore, research has shown that when a
life-cycle analysis is conducted, corn-based biofuels produce more
greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum.