Tag Archives: corn ethanol

How Much Corn Is in a Barrel of Oil?

A segment on the Discovery Channel’s show “How Stuff Works” caught my eye this week and prompted that question. The segment points out that Xanthan gum, fermented from corn syrup, is used in oil drilling. Xanthan is combined with the drilling mud used to cool drilling equipment, and it helps to clear dirt and rock from the mud as well as maintain a pressure cap on the bore hole. The primary markets for Xanthan gum Read More >

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Indirect Land Use Thoughts

Dear Colleagues: I have spent a lot of time the last few weeks trying to think through the indirect land use change (ILUC) issue. I have divided my thoughts into two questions that I am asking myself: 1) are we in fact currently able to estimate these changes with any degree of confidence?, and 2) if we could estimate such changes, would it be a good idea to base policy on those estimates? My current Read More >

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Do Biofuels Always Bring Rainforest Destruction?

The debate over “carbon debt” created by changes in land use has recently expanded to include the issue of competition between food and fuel and its effect on developing countries. David Tilman of the University of Minnesota, one of the lead authors of the “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt” article in Science, recently held an interview with Newsweek magazine in which he says, In order to grow biofuels, farmers have gone to fertile Read More >

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