Give Now NCPR is made possible by
Your Donations
 

Series: The Biofuel Economy

Show             

Biofuel Economy, Part I: Biodiesel

Biofuel. You hear a lot about it these days. And how the growing industry means new opportunities for farmers and foresters and other businesses in the North Country. Over the next few days we're going to take a closer look at what the biofuel economy might mean for the North Country. We'll look at big plans and small solutions.

First, what is biofuel? Biofuel means using biological material for energy. Like burning wood in a woodstove for heat. There are two kinds of biofuel used for transportation: ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is a gasoline additive made from vegetable crops - mostly corn. We'll talk more about ethanol tomorrow.

Today we'll look at biodiesel. Biodiesel is basically vegetable oil with the glycerin removed. It can run in diesel engines. It's mostly made from soybean oil. As fuel prices rise, It's becoming more cost-competitive. But as Gregory Warner reports, many consumers and farmers are still wary.  Go to full article

The Biofuel Economy, part 2: ethanol alternatives

Ethanol fuel is grain alcohol blended with regular gasoline. E10 is the most common blend, 10% ethanol, 90% gas. It runs in regular cars. About a third of the gas sold in America is E10. E85 is 85% ethanol and only runs in specially designed engines. Ethanol is big business for American corn farmers. But corn isn't the only crop you can make ethanol from. And it may not be the best, for the environment or for North Country farmers. New York State is taking steps towards a radically different kind of ethanol production. Gregory Warner reports.  Go to full article
Switchgrass, a native prairie grass, has remarkable biomass potential.
Switchgrass, a native prairie grass, has remarkable biomass potential.

The Biofuel Economy, part 3: switchgrass and solid fuel

Solid fuel isn't a sexy technology, but it's amazingly energy efficient. In fact there's really no comparison. The amount of energy you get burning corn in a corn stove, say, is way more than you'd get out of ethanol from the same corn. But the United States has always been a liquid fuel economy. Our infrastructure and our government subsidies reflect that. And so with alternative energy, liquid fuels like ethanol and biodiesel get a lot more attention. It's different in Europe. Now many farmers are looking across the Atlantic to find solutions for the North Country. Gregory Warner reports.  Go to full article

1-3 of 3 stories   next 0 »   last »