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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sweet Sorghum Ethanol

I'm not sure whose brilliant idea it was to start burning corn in our gas tanks. But I'll bet "Big Corn" was involved. You know the old carnard, "Follow the money."

Other alternatives are popping up which appear much better.

CNSNews.com reports today that sweet sorghum might just be one of those better choices.
Ethanol made from the stalk's juice has four times the energy yield of the corn-based ethanol.... Sweet sorghum produces about eight units of energy for every unit of energy used in its production. That's about the same as sugarcane but four times as much as corn.

One of the big advantages is that the grain is still harvested as grain. Then the stalks are turned into ethanol. I'm not sure how the market would react to a glut of sorghum grain on the market, but it's got to be better than what's happened with all this corn coming out of the food market.

And I'll bet the reaction to a sorghum syrup shortage wouldn't be near what the reaction has been to corn syrup supply dwindling.

Also, the article reports that in southern climates, you can grow two crops of sorghum per season and you don't have to plant the second crop. It comes up volunteer.

Of course, any acres put toward fuel production are acres that won't be used for food production, so it's not necessarily a panacea. But it might be more sane than corn ethanol. (That wouldn't take much.)

Check out the whole story.

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