Jan 15, 2010

BioFuel - the homegrown solution

(I would like to point out in advance that not all BioFuel is made from Ethanol, and not all Ethanol is made from corn.)

Growing up in Cache Valley, I was always fascinated by the ruins of the old sugarbeet refinery by the train tracks outside of Logan. After WW II, it became cheaper to use sugarcane from the Phillipines, and the sugarbeet refinery closed down.

At some point in my early teens, gasoline prices jumped all the way to a whole dollar - which caused great problems for owners of gas stations, since the pumps and signs were not designed for such amazingly high prices. About this same time, I became aware of the hypothetical use of biomass as a substitute for gasoline. In the words of Henry Ford, "Anything made from a HydroCarbon can be made from a CarboHydrate".

Passing the old sugarbeet factory always made me think - partly about all the jobs that had been lost by farmers and factory workers when it closed down, and partly about all the jobs that could be regained if it opened again.

There are some who believe that our military involvement in the Middle East is about Petroleum, and I will not speculate about that here. However, it cannot be denied that billions of American dollars are being pumped into foreign countries - and some of these same countries use our own money to wage war against us. Our country would be more secure, in many ways, if we ended our addiction to oil. Besides - we could create thousands, even millions, of American jobs.

Cache Valley is in a unique position to create a new biofuel technology. USU has a world-famous Agricultural department, and its Engineering department has had the most science experiments sent into outer space of any University in the world. If we can send a man to the moon, we can figure out a homegrown solution to run our cars - one that enriches American farmers, and American scientists.

There are other countries researching this technology, and eventually a solution will be found. Cache Valley Brewing Company would like to make it happen right here - even if we have to build our own distillery.

6 comments:

  1. USU is currently working on a way to make fuel from algae and have had success, the hard part is trying to make it on a mass scale

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  2. I am currently a master's student at USU working in this field. I'd love to chat with you about a potential research project...

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  3. Not to mention come in for a pint when you finally open!

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