The Unsuccessful Use of Ethanol
Current interest in ethanol fuel in the United States mainly lies in bio-ethanol, produced from corn, but there has been considerable debate about how useful bio-ethanol will be in replacing fossil fuels in vehicles. Concerns relate to the large amount of arable land required for crops, as well as the energy and pollution balance of the whole cycle of ethanol production. I don't think the US could implement the use of ethanol or other alternate fuels successfully as Brazil has done for many reasons: firstly, ethanol production in the United States does not benefit the nation's energy security, its agriculture, economy or the environment because ethanol production requires large fossil energy input to produce these fuels than you get out from the combustion of these products. Therefore, it is contributing to oil and natural gas imports and U.S. deficits. The country should instead focus its efforts on producing electrical energy from photovoltaic cells, wind power and burning biomass and producing fuel from hydrogen conversion.
Secondly, in Brazil reducing the rate of deforestation seemed likely to be more effective for taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. In the United States, reliance on ethanol to fuel the automobile fleet would require enormous, unachievable areas of corn agriculture, and the environmental impacts would outweigh its benefits, destroying bio-diversity. Ethanol would be mainly made from bio organic material that will be especially grown for this purpose. It also uses a lot of fuel to grow these plants. The same goes for various kinds of vegetable oils that are said to be environmental friendly. Ethanol cannot alleviate the United States? dependence on petroleum, may, however, still be useful in regions or cities with critical pollution problems, and to make use of agricultural wastes. Basically, an increased demand for ethanol would cause land use changes - destroying forests and grasslands to grow corn or other ethanol crops - ethanol and other bio-fuels actually add to global warming.
Thirdly, as demand for ethanol fuel increases, food crops are replaced by fuel crops, driving food supply down and food prices up. Growing demand for ethanol in the United States has increased corn prices by 50% in Mexico. Average barley prices in the United States rose 17% from January to June 2007 to the highest in 11 years. Prices for all grain crops trend upward, reflecting a progressive increase in farm land devoted to corn for the production of produce ethanol fuel.