Ethanol may be a bust in the U.S.August 22, 2012
Drought causes federal government to rethink its plans with ethanol
In the U.S., billions of dollars have been spent on making transportation environmentally friendly and sustainable through the use of ethanol. Despite the magnitude of investments in ethanol, little progress has been made in making transportation cleaner. The country’s energy policies concerning ethanol promised economic and environmental benefits, but have been unable to deliver. The ongoing draught is being cited as the major reason behind the apparent failure of ethanol in transportation. The draught has caused significant damage to the ethanol crops that are grown within the country, causing the government to take a stern look at its plans for the biofuel.
Report highlights the barriers that keep clean technology at bay
A report recently released by the National Petroleum Council (NPC) suggests that the country’s pursuance of alternative energy may be misguided. Alternative energy is often praised for its economic potential, but such benefits may only be seen through the use of advanced clean technology. The NPC report, which draws upon data collected through several years, suggests that clean technology has not yet reached the point at which it can be considered economically viable. The report highlights 250 barriers that are stopping the commercialization of alternative energy in transportation.
Ethanol may not be produced efficiently in the U.S.
Earlier this year, the government’s ethanol tax credit scheme was allowed to expire after three years. For the past three years, taxpayers have been funneling money into the program, but few results have been produced. Approximately 40% of all corn crops in the country are used to produce ethanol. The NCP notes that this is an incredibly inefficient way to use the resource and has suggested that ethanol may not be a viable option in terms of transportation or clean energy.
Efficient investments required for clean transportation to become a reality
Clean transportation is becoming a hot issue in the U.S., but whether or not investments are targeting the appropriate sectors is a debated matter. Without investments, clean technology is not likely to advance quickly, but the country has yet to see promising results from the investments it has already devoted to the sector. The NCP suggests that the government may have to change its outlook on alternative energy in order to see progress in clean transportation.
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