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Home  > Article

Why push ethanol technology now?

By Mary Beth Stanek

Significant strides have been made in ethanol research and development.

First-generation ethanol from grain-based sources has experienced huge leaps in biotechnology.

These smart and sustainable crops require little irrigation and incorporate advancements that have increased yields per acre, significantly reducing the acreage necessary when compared to the acreage required per bushel of corn. For every unit of energy that goes into growing corn and turning it into ethanol, we get back about one-third more energy as automotive fuel.

The energy return continues to improve with application of advanced sciences and new agricultural practices.

More importantly, second-generation sustainable biomass-to-biofuel processing is starting today as well. GM and Coskata of Warrenville, Illinois, are working together to bring to market ethanol produced from biomass and municipal waste as soon as late 2010.

Imagine a day when your lawn clippings and old tires will be processed into ethanol. Not only will landfill practices be redefined, many different carbon products will be able to be reused to help offset growing energy demand.

Mary Beth Stanek is Director, Energy & Environment Policy & Conservation,  General Motors Corp.

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