Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Editor's Pick

Fueling Ethanol Production While Protecting Water Quality
Adapted from materials provided by Soil Science Society of America

ScienceDaily
(Apr. 4, 2008) — Grain-based ethanol production has increased dramatically in recent years as the cost and instability of oil has increased. New U.S. government policies require major increases in ethanol production. While future plans call for a viable cellulosic ethanol industry, expanded grain ethanol production will lead to further growth of corn acres in the near term, with unintended negative water quality impacts.

Currently, U.S. grain-based ethanol production is concentrated in the “Corn Belt”; however, several large production plants are under construction or planned near population centers in the eastern U.S. An interdisciplinary group of scientists evaluated potential impacts of grain- and cellulose-based ethanol on nutrient and animal management as they relate to water quality impacts on U.S. inland and coastal waters, particularly the Northern Gulf of Mexico (Mississippi River Basin discharge).

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