Can we finally make gasoline out of corncobs?

| | June 21, 2016
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. . . .Take corn — but not the part people eat. . . — and turn it into fuel. . . . Running cars and planes on corncobs would, at its best, produce 90 percent less greenhouse gas than gasoline.

. . . . We’ve been able to make cellulosic ethanol for more than a century, but not efficiently or economically. . . . So news that two commercial-scale cellulosic plants have opened in Iowa. . . made me wonder. . . Is the dream of fueling cars with corn husks finally a reality?

. . . .

The people working on cellulosic ethanol are making progress — slow, excruciating, yet steady progress. . . .

What’s taking so damn long? . . . Chris Somerville, director of the Energy Biosciences Institute . . . . said [early] goals were set ridiculously high by people with no experience working with cellulosic ethanol. . . .

. . . .

Still, no one in the industry — or even at DuPont — thinks that the two new Iowa plans represent a crucial turning point. If they’re able to break even financially, that would be a success. . . .

. . . .

. . . . The steady grind of progress continues. . . . But there’s no guarantee that companies and governments will keep pouring money into this technology . . .

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