Last word on the State of the Union, for now

I’m going to give the last word on the State of the Union (for now) to Robert Rapier in his R-squared energy blog.

He says:

In President Bush’s State of the Union address tonight, he called for a 20% reduction in our gasoline consumption in the next 10 years. That’s a noble goal, and one that I fully support. For this goal, President Bush deservedly received a standing ovation.

It is a stretch goal and while, there’s nothing wrong with that, Robert says, he adds…

Clearly we do not produce enough corn and soybeans to achieve this goal, so the technology that is being counted on is almost certainly cellulosic ethanol. And while cellulosic ethanol has great potential, we need to realistically understand that there is a reason that cellulosic ethanol plants are not up and running today.

Moore’s Law has only recently started bumping up against basic chemistry and physics. Production of cellulosic ethanol has been bumping up against these limits for years. I have previously weighed in on the current status of cellulosic ethanol technology, as well as the amount of biomass required for implementation. Clearly the technology is not yet ready for prime time.

It’s hard for me to disagree with any of this… I’ll go further, it is not wise to try and develop technology as remote as cellulosic ethanol to a schedule.

One Response to Last word on the State of the Union, for now

  1. Chuck Hall 30 January, 2007 at 2:44 pm #

    It is time for the US to stop protecting domestic sugar producers. We speak of free markets, but this is not a free market. The US market price for sugar is almost 2x the free market price for sugar. The US textile industry is having to participate in a free market and so should the sugar industry. The best source of raw material for bio-based ethanol is sugar beet or sugar cane. The energy required to produce ethanol from corn is 3 – 5 times the energy required to produce it from sugar beet or sugar cane. Most of the energy used to convert corn to ethanol is derived from petroleum therefore the actual impact of using bio-based ethanol from corn is diluted. Brazil has proven that in a free market sugar beet/cane is the best source of bio-based ethanol.

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