Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gasoline From Corn

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What you see on the picture is nothing else than a stack of the lowly “corn”. But they won’t be too lowly for far too long. I have read this article from Newsweek about a couple of weeks ago and I just couldn’t help but share it to the readers here.

As you know, plants like corn, rapeseed, and the all-too-prevalent coconuts are fast becoming sources for what is now termed as “next-generation petroleum” or more commonly known as biofuels. Brazil (and also China) are right now far too ahead in the developent of biofuel technology and in fact most of the vehicles that runs through the rugged streets of Rio de Janeiro nowadays are already running on 20 percent ethanol, mixed with gasoline. In some form of vehicles, ethanol mix could reach as high as up to 40 percent. This set-up allows so much cost-saving in terms of fuel expenses among individual car owners and in a wider scale, Brazil as a country saves a lot of dollars from minimizing their oil imports, especially now in these “dangerous days” of $70 Dollars per barrel of oil in the world market.

Our country is currently finding out ways and means on how to curve energy use and thereby saving more on the ever-scarce dollars like avoiding gas-guzzling Expeditions, turning off unnecessary appliances and limiting workdays to four in a week. I think, what we must embark on now is a widespread and very determined effort to developed our own biofuel technology since plants and vegetations that are used as source for biofuels like corn and coconut trees could easily sprout everywhere in this all-too-fertile land of ours.

Like petroleum, biofuel that comes from corn and coconut could actually run a car when they are converted into ethanol and biodiesel. And if they could similarly run our power plants and factories, then our dollars may not have to leave our shores just in order to source that much needed petroleum.

The technology behind biofuels is not that complicated. Like in a cliché, it doesn’t have to take a rocket scientist just in order to handle it. The process is amazingly simple. Materials like corn and coconut are dried-up and then extracted of its oily elements. These procured oily substances are then processed by way of distillations until combustibility is attained. It’s amazingly simple and efficient.

Watch out for this vital development in the fuel industry in the coming months or years. It is said now that biofuel is the greatest challenge to the viability of petroleum as a main energy source. Maybe, OPEC is just pushing the red-button now (by skyrocketing the oil prices per barrel) knowing perhaps that the rise of biofuels as an alternative energy source would be soon forthcoming. Still, how I wish oil prices in the world market could stabilize at more reasonable level.

Photo Credits : Alamy Images
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