Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

With Cellulosic Ethanol, There Is No Food Vs. Fuel Debate

Date:
March 27, 2007
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
As more and more corn grain is diverted to make ethanol, there have been public concerns about food shortages. However, ethanol made from cellulosic materials instead of corn grain, renders the food vs. fuel debate moot, according to research by a Michigan State University ethanol expert.

As more and more corn grain is diverted to make ethanol, there have been public concerns about food shortages. However, ethanol made from cellulosic materials instead of corn grain, renders the food vs. fuel debate moot, according to research by a Michigan State University ethanol expert.

Bruce Dale, an MSU chemical engineering and materials science professor, has used life cycle analysis tools, which include agricultural data and computer modeling, to study the sustainability of producing biofuels -- fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel that are made from renewable resources.

Dale will present his findings at the American Chemical Society annual meeting in Chicago.

"We grow animal feed, not human food in the United States," Dale said. "We could feed the country's population with 25 million acres of cropland, and we currently have 500 million acres. Most of our agricultural land is being used to grow animal feed. It's a lot simpler to integrate animal feed production into cellulosic ethanol production than it is to integrate human food production. With cellulosic ethanol, the 'food vs. fuel' debate goes away."

Cellulosic ethanol is made from the stems, leaves, stalks and trunks of plants, none of which is used for human food production. Having studied ethanol for more than 30 years, Dale said that as the country moves toward large-scale cellulosic ethanol production, the yield of so-called energy crops -- grasses and woody materials grown for their energy content -- also will increase dramatically.

"This will reduce pressure on our land resources," said Dale, who also is associate director of the MSU Office of Biobased Technologies. "We'll be able to get more raw material out of one acre of land."

Dale said that many of these energy crops will be grown on land that isn't prime agricultural acreage. In other words, they'll be grown on marginal land that isn't growing a commercial crop right now.

"The evidence indicates that large-scale biofuel production will increase, not decrease, world food supplies by making animal feed production much more efficient," Dale said.

This work is funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and DuPont Biobased Materials Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "With Cellulosic Ethanol, There Is No Food Vs. Fuel Debate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070327113831.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2007, March 27). With Cellulosic Ethanol, There Is No Food Vs. Fuel Debate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070327113831.htm
Michigan State University. "With Cellulosic Ethanol, There Is No Food Vs. Fuel Debate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070327113831.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins