A Modest Proposal: Cellulosic Beef

A Modest Proposal: Cellulosic Beef

The Future is Cellulosic

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It is now widely accepted that the future of ethanol is cellulosic: Rather than distilling corn for ethanol to fuel our cars, accepted wisdom is now that we will be able to replace a large fraction of our current fuel consumption with ethanol distilled from agricultural and forestry waste, as well as dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass and hybrid poplar.  Cellulosic ethanol also has the potential to alleviate the greatest stumbling block of corn ethanol as a potential replacement of gasoline: that there is simply not enough of it.  Corn ethanol will only be able to displace a small percentage of total US gas consumption.  If the entire current US corn crop were converted into ethanol, it could replace less than 20% of current gasoline consumption.  More realistically, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) projects that 4% of gasoline could be replaced without overly affecting corn prices.

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