I mean, if you think about it, conversion to ethanol as fuel would threaten the beer supply while powering a small percentage of our vehicles after all the corn (the growing of which would consume 1/3 of the total land in the US) is used up.
Good questions from The Oil Drum about ethanol as an alternative fuel.
On the political motivation of a major ethanol proponent and supposed venture capitalist:
The first thing I asked him [Vinod Khosla] was about his motivation: Money, helping society, or some combination? He said his primary motivation is to help society.Regarding a Carbon tax :
...He said he is trying to get the California Clean Alternative Energy Initiative passed, and Big Oil is spending a lot of money to fight him on it. So, he is bashing them in order to get support.
...I told him that it is ludicrous to suggest that Big Oil is gouging when the profit margins on ethanol are even higher. He again said that it was just politics. I just don't agree that stirring up hatred toward a particular group is acceptable politics.
He replied that it would break down when everyone tried to get the best deal for their own constituents.If he is willing to play politics by bashing big oil while creating a windfall for Archer Daniels Midland, this is disingenous in the extreme. As "step back" points out in the first comment there is already an entrenched list of special interests for ethanol.
1. Corn belt farmersTo which I'll add the already massively subsidized sugar industy. This list includes the biggest corporate welfare bums in the United States.
2. Farm equipment companies that sell to them
3. Transport industry built around hauling corn
4. Ethanol plants all around the country
5. Detroit making flex fuel cars instead of PHEV's
6. Offshore gas drillers producing methane to make the fertilizer
How does Mr. Khosla propose to handle these entrenched subsidy sops after his non-economic do-goodism has built them into even more powerful interest groups? Probably by bashing them over his undefined "second phase." Or, given the provisions of the California Clean Energy Initiative, by government fiat.
"Venture", maybe. "Capitalist", not.
See also, 321Energy, mentioned by commenter "Gunga2006."