Re: Biomass to ethanol conversion

From: Al Koop <>
Date: Sun Feb 15 2004 - 21:58:14 EST

William Hamilton <> 02/15/04 5:02 PM >>>
Here's an article(one of many) on genetically engineered e-coli that
can convert agricultural waste to ethanol fairly inexpensively (it is


Thanks for the article about the ethanol-producing bacteria.

I don’t think we disagree very much about any of this. Anything that
can be done to eliminate waste and encourage us to use the world’s
resources more efficiently is a definite plus. I am just concerned that
many of the articles about alternative energy are not sufficiently
understood by the general public. I think these almost weekly reports
are giving people a false sense of security that we have significant
backups if fossil fuel supplies dwindle. I don’t think most of these
positive developments of using waste, while helpful, are going to make
much difference if there is a greater demand for gas and oil than there
is a supply. As the link below states, most of these reports are more
like recycling (which is great) but not really a primary source of
energy to replace oil and natural gas.

The following link (on the negative side) has a discussion of this

Their point, which I think is valid, is that we are not going to have
all of this waste available to us when the energy decline starts in

I agree that having working examples of energy generation will always
help, but we really don’t know what the secondary sources (like ethanol)
will be. We know that nuclear is a primary source of sorts, as is
solar, geothermal, and gravitational, but we don’t know after that if we
will use these primary sources to efficiently generate ethanol,
hydrogen, wood or whatever and then use them for other uses or whether
we will just generate most of energy right from the primary source. I
really would think it most important to devote most of our reseearch
efforts for solar, then nuclear, and then gravitational rather than
hydrogen, ethanol, etc.

Al Koop
Received on Sun Feb 15 21:58:41 2004

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