Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Using Corn for Biofuel Wastes the Corn Recklessly #Science


In a new study, Professor Kumar and graduate student Meredith Richardson find that using corn for biofuel comes with greater environmental costs and fewer benefits than using corn for food.

Credit: L. Brian Stauffer

Note:  lads, take a look at his comely assistant, Miss Meredith, and ask me again why we get into science.  America has an expression about corn-fed goodness and she gives all the evidence of it you will ever need.

Note to Miss Meredith:  your skin is much too fair for so much Sun, young lady.  Much as we appreciate your charms, we do not want to see you in any of our visits to the Dermatologist.


Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.

Science Daily:  Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds

You know already where this is going to go and the interested student is invited to review the article for the process by which their conclusion was derived but we're going for the punchline.


In monetary terms, their results show that the net social and economic worth of food corn production in the U.S. is $1,492 per hectare, versus a $10 per hectare loss for biofuel corn production.

"One of the key factors lies in the soil," Richardson said. The assessment considered both short-term and long-term effects, such as nutrients and carbon storage in the soil.

"We found that most of the environmental impacts came from soil nutrient fluxes. Soil's role is often overlooked in this type of assessment, and viewing the landscape as a critical zone forces us to include that," Richardson said.

"Using corn as a fuel source seems to be an easy path to renewable energy," said Richard Yuretich, the NSF program director for Critical Zone Observatories. "However, this research shows that the environmental costs are much greater, and the benefits fewer, than using corn for food."

- SD

As you see, biofuel is not just a bad deal, it's an extremely bad deal.  The proof of their science is in the source article since there's no chance the Rockhouse will make such a claim without backing for it.

In fact, this isn't just an extremely bad deal since, in a world with so many starving people, it's a recklessly bad idea.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It gets worse as anyone who has a flex fuel vehicle knows, the mpg formed fuel is about 25% less than even 10% ethanol fuel but is less than 10% cheaper
I don't have a large survey just personal data from a Jeep Grand Cherokee. 20mpg on regular fuel barely 15mpg on flex fuel

Peas InOurThyme said...

I imagine there are defenders of biofuel from some kind of corporate view but there doesn't seem any sense to it down here on the ground.