Creating an ethanol industry based on the conversion of cellulose to ethanol or other liquid fuels is the very best approach for South Carolina.
We currently import all our gas and oil, to the tune of $3 billion; this money leaves the state with no positive economic impact. If South Carolina were to create a cellulosic ethanol industry, that could change.
Cellulose conversion is a sustainable industry that would put farmers back on the land and boost our transportation industry. South Carolina is in an excellent position to achieve this goal: Clemson, USC and the Savannah River National Lab have been making great progress on energy crop development and conversion for the past four years.
Despite what you might think from reading Jeffrey Nelson’s arguments against ethanol (“Ethanol mandate costs consumers, to no good effect,” Jan. 30), all new car mileage is already based on operation with E10 gasoline. Switching to E15 reduces mileage by only 1.6 percent. Driving habits and vehicle maintenance have a much bigger effect on mileage.
Recent studies by the Department of Energy show that most modern cars can run on fuel blends of up to E20 with no ill effects. Far from being caustic, ethanol’s use as an anti-knock additive replaced more dangerous, lead-based additives.
With the right support from industry, South Carolina can create a whole new clean and sustainable business sector based on cellulosic ethanol.
S.C. Clean Energy Business