This Oregonian article describes an alliance between a rural rightwinger and an urban lefty, both of whom have fallen for fuels made from grain and oilseeds. The rural legislator likes them because they boost farmers’ income; the urban legislator likes them because they reduce fossil fuel consumption.
I’ll leave my thoughts about food-based fuels for a later post. But in the meantime, it seems like the article omits an important biofuel—ethanol that’s made from crop and wood wastes, rather than grain. It’s called cellulose ethanol, and there’s a much more energy potential from that than there is from food crops. A Canadian company, Iogen, is currently planning to build a cellulose ethanol plant in Idaho that will use crop waste as a feedstock. (For more on this topic, see the energy section of this year’s Cascadia Scorecard.)