It appears as though I opened a can of "corn" when I mentioned Fox River’s socks that were made out of corn in a recent blog entry and e-mail newsletter. A reader brought to my attention the negative aspects of using corn for fuel, probably not the same process used in making socks, but an interesting topic nonetheless.
There may be a shortage of oil and corn but there definitely isn’t a shortage of opinions in regard to using corn for fuel. Using corn to make fuel may not only consume energy and resources but will also deplete resources for feeding the people of the world. An article found at this link told about the negative effects of using corn for fuel.
"Most pressing are the environmental and energy-draining impacts of large-scale ethanol production. The industrial farming deployed to meet the growing demand for corn relies on petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides, ironically adding to fossil fuel consumption. Corn is also a gas-guzzler: It takes six gallons of diesel, nearly five gallons of liquid petroleum gas, and more than 380 gallons of natural gas to farm a single acre of corn, according to USDA data. Although technological efficiency is improving, ethanol processing plants gobble up vast quantities of water, electric power, and, at some facilities, coal. All told, there is considerable debate among researchers about whether ethanol uses up as much or more energy than it saves: Estimates vary widely, from a 29 percent net energy loss to a 67 percent gain."
As with any "heated" issue there are two sides to every story and there appears to be just as many positive comments in regards to using corn for fuel. One of the arguments for using corn instead of oil is that we wouldn’t have to spend billions of dollars at war or guarding precious oil sites around the globe. The following information was found on this website.
"Putting ethanol instead of gasoline in your tank saves oil and is probably no worse for the environment than burning gasoline, according to a new analysis by researchers at the
Universityof California, . The researchers note, however, that new technologies now in development promise to make ethanol a truly "green" fuel with significantly less environmental impact than gasoline." Berkeley
I am not sure how much energy, fuel or resources are used to make socks from corn but I imagine it is considerably less than what it takes to make fuel out of corn. I think the people who are looking for alternatives to oil are heading in the right direction because if we only rely on the fuel options we have now or even on corn then those resources will surely be depleted as predicted. In any case, I will continue to give kudos to companies such as Fox River who are attempting to improve their products and help the environment at the same time.