Oregonian Looks at Biofuels

Sunday’s O had a big spread on biofuels. At the 30,000 foot level, it looks to me like there are three main strategies:

  • Biodiesel from reclaimed materials or by-products, e.g., fryer grease
  • Biodiesel from purpose-grown crops, like rape-seed or soy beans
  • Ethanol from corn

It’s less clear to me which of those really pencil. The reclaimed strategy seems to make good economic sense. There seems to be a strong case that corn-based ethanol only works because the federal government so heavily subsidizes corn production. I’m not sure about the purpose-grown biomass crops, but I have heard suggestions that these could be good crops for eastern Oregon.

I’m hoping we have readers who know more about agricultural economics than I do who can comment on this!

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