Chempolis (3G cellulosic ethanol technology: The Digest’s 2016 8-Slide Guide to Chempolis) is touted as a profitable alternative to food crop ethanol production. If this science has really advanced to a state, why can't we put corn subsidies on native plants in a buffer zone instead? It just makes sense.
If buffer-strip crops of native plants for cellulose ethanol and other bio-fuels were harvested with the same subsidy rate that corn ethanol receives in total, it would surely be popular. No-till, no fertilizer, no pesticides, no irrigation, no planting after the first time. How could streams, farmers, and the rest do better?
Today, about a third of Minnesota's corn goes exclusively to ethanol production. That's no accident - its driven by policy (Federal Renewable Fuel Standard). New technology now allows us to make ethanol from other crops, including perennial crops like native grasses that are great for water, soil health, climate and habitat. I propose that we modify our existing fuel standards to require that at least 50% of ethanol blended ...more »