Biofuels have been in the news a lot lately, and they’re a contentious subject. Ethanol, in particular, is divisive. Especially in Iowa, where over fifty percent of the nine billion dollar a year corn crop is used for Ethanol. In an election year, this takes on critical significance, as presidential candidates have to take sides on the issue.
For years Ethanol has been touted as a environmentally friendly alternative fuel, but the latest research on it’s environmental impact says otherwise. According to a University of Michigan study published just last week by from U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco, Ethanol is worse for our environment than regular gas because it causes more carbon dioxide emissions. For a great summary of the report, and an in depth look at the questions it raises check out the Detroit Free Press article by Keith Matheny here.
The research itself is contentious too. Some don’t agree on the methods being used to calculate environmental impact, and point to the agendas of funding organizations as suspiciously congruent with the results of these studies.
Detroit Public TV will attempt to untangle and illuminate these issues and more next month with the release of our latest 1 hour special titled The Ethanol Effect. David Biello, Energy and Environment editor with Scientific American hosts this one hour documentary produced by Detroit Public Television on “What pits neighbor against neighbor, agriculture against the environment and clean energy against clean water” Check out the preview for our documentary, airing next month on PBS, here: