Biofuels are an alternative form of energy that typically do not produce as much waste as fossil fuels, such as the infamous coal and petroleum sources. An interesting alternative that has been investigated is corn, specifically corn kernels. Before you double back to make sure you read that correctly, we are talking about the commonly yellow corn kernels that we enjoy on the cob.
Corn is a staple crop in the United States although only 9% of it is consumed by humans. Even more surprisingly, about 40% of the corn grown in the United States is used for ethanol fuel. It has been estimated that these little kernels can reduce carbon emissions by at least 43% from the current state. The only con is that mass production of corn would lead to a hefty carbon footprint due to the machinery that goes into its production and transportation.
In Brazil, sugarcane is used to make ethanol fuel although the industrialized agricultural system is still harmful to our environment. There is diesel made of algae, biogas made from digested organic material (ie. Cow manure), and biodiesel made from vegetable oil to name a few other alternatives to the current fossil fuels commonly used. With the availability of all of these clean sources of energy, so to speak, the next step should be clean production.
Written by Anamaria Flores, Class of 2021