24 March 2010

Biogas Is Renewable Energy's Cinderella

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Ethanol and biodiesel? There may be a better way to get where we want to go: biogas

Examined at a fundamental level, the universe seems to begin in lofty abstractions that lead to prosaic realities. Thus mathematics encompasses physics, physics encompasses chemistry, chemistry encompasses biology, and it all leads to… well, us.

But then it gets very abstract again as we move from us to our very non-physical creations such as economics and government policy.

Maybe those abstractions get in our way sometimes. Consider for example that millions, indeed billions, are being invested in ethanol production in the U.S., and biodiesel is getting its fair share as well. Apparently some of what’s been driving the investment is those pesky abstractions, such as policy, and maybe even mere convention.

No doubt, ethanol and biodiesel both have their place. My purpose is not to argue that there is no need to invest in these alternatives, but rather to suggest that if we think they are worth that much investment, we may want to take another look at biogas.


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