Vinod Khosla and Ethanol

ZDNet writes about an interview of Vinod Khosla by Walter Mossberg at the D conference:

There are plenty of acres to grow corn and collect biomass, called cellulosic (made from woodchips, orange juice pulp, grasses, corn stalksany plant waste that will produce carbohydrates and sugar) to distill ethanol economically. Estimates vary, he said, as to how many acres of farmland would be needed. His estimate is that about 40 million acres are needed to replace all the gasoline used in the U.S., and that farmers would benefit economically as well. Forty million acres is as much land as we pay farmers not to grow food on today, Khosla said.

In fact, many in the energy food chain would benefit. Ethanol is less expensive to develop than hydrogen, which is nice for automakers. The farming industry has a new cash crop and less pressure on subsidies. It’s lower risk and a more rapid path to efficient and green energy. Oil companies could become distillers and avoid the high risk oil patches.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.