Long, interesting article in the NY Times about ethanol and the gold rush now underway in the midwest. Most interesting statistic:
So much for that savior. Next?
For all the interest in ethanol, however, it is doubtful whether it can serve as the energy savior President Bush has identified. He has called for biofuels...to replace roughly 1.6 million barrels a day of oil imported from the Persian Gulf.To fill that gap with corn-based ethanol alone, agricultural experts say that production would have to rise to more than 50 billion gallons a year; at least half the nation's farmland would need to be used to grow corn for fuel.
UPDATE: Of course, I'm being (somewhat) flip in my last comment there. There are other kinds of cellulosic biofuels, for example. The Brazilians use sugar cane. But this is a Big Problem, and ethanol doesn't appear to be a Big Solution. So maybe it's just part of the solution.