Here’s an interesting article about next-gen biofuel. The ethanol America is making isn’t all that efficient. Most of the ethanol here is made from corn, which is not nearly as earth friendly as sugar-based ethanol. Corn ethanol only yields 1.3x the fossil energy used to produce it. Brazil’s sugar ethanol offers an 8x energy return. That’s obviously way better for the environment. Out of curiousity, I looked up the world’s leading sugar exporters. Hopefully some of those countries will jump on the opportunity to produce more sugar ethanol.
The world’s grain situation is pretty interesting. Thailand recently released some of its rice stockpile for domestic use, so that the price of rice doesn’t jump too high for its people. The government proposed to start a rice cartel with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam — essentially a rice version of OPEC. Some people believe that these countries have the right to profit from the high grain prices. Others think that it’s a bit wrong to price fix a necessity like rice, as opposed to a luxury like oil. I’m curious to see if it can even work. Oil is a finite resource, whereas rice is renewable. If the rice cartel is anything like OPEC, it will be pretty messed up.