Friday, May 05, 2006

Feed Cars Industrial Corn Not People

A interesting shift appears in progress. America's industrial agriculture complex is moving into the corn-based fuel business. Amen, I say. Wouldn't it be nice if all the industrial corn that currently gets turned into corn syrup or fed to livestock, instead is processed into fuel for vehicles.

Archer Daniels Midland (known as ADM or by me as "The Great Satan") just hired an oil industry executive as their new CEO. She is targeting corn-based fuel as their key area of growth. Terrific. But already, pundits are warning of an ethanol glut - forecasting profits to drop from 1.05 a gallon today to 75 cents a gallon by 2012. Gee, that's sounds normal for a business that goes from hot startup growth to a more mature growth rate.

Still, venture money seems to be pouring into this industry and the good news is that corn refining plants cost about one-tenth the price of what it takes to build gasoline refineries and they will be coming on line quickly too - before 2010.

Switching big time to corn-based fuel makes sense to me - it will reduce our dependence on petroleum which puts us far less at the mercy of unstable countries and leaders, allow us to burn environmentally cleaner fuel thus helping to ward off the environmental disaster we're heading for, let us switch to renewable energy so we don't have to worry so much about running out of fuel and generally put industrial corn to a positive use instead of poisoning the food chain and people along with it.

What's not to like about this idea?


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