Share This Page

Biofuels, exposed (again)

| Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

In another backfire for the biofuel industry, research paid for by the federal government shows fuel made from the remnants of harvested corn leads to worse pollution than gasoline.

Left gagging in this cloud of fumes are taxpayers, who have pumped at least $1 billion into so-called cellulosic biofuels, and the Obama administration, which said fuels made from corn residue are a cleaner oil alternative that helps combat climate change.

Not according to the study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change: Fuel concocted from corn residue released 7 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional gasoline. As one researcher told The Associated Press, “I'm amazed it has not come out more solidly until now.”

The findings are bad news for cellulosic biofuels, which have struggled to meet volume targets. Of course, the public-subsidy-burning biofuel industry insists that the research is flawed.

What's flawed is the “logic” that for decades has propped up the entire ethanol industry with billions of public dollars, and federal mandates, when the production of ethanol consumes more energy than it produces.

And if that's not bad enough, an AP investigation last year found that the Environmental Protection Agency's own analysis of corn-based ethanol failed to accurately predict its environmental consequences.

Again, the case is made clear to cut the federal lifeline to corny fuels.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.