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Interesting article here about alternative uses for food, particularly ethanol. Ethanol and the subsidies for ethanol production have been widely blamed for rising food prices, a commanding issue because of the effects on the poor.

One issue is that some argue that ethanol programs have had only a marginal influence on food prices, and that expensive oil is more to blame.

Just how much influence biofuels had on food prices is debatable. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said biofuel production was responsible for just 3 percent of the global price increases. It said the real culprits were oil prices, which pushed up fertilizer and transportation costs, and the sharp drop in the dollar’s value.

Another observation is of a very cool machine that makes fuel from all kinds of organic material.

Carlo Bakker’s tiny biofuel operation, World Mobile Plants, avoids edibles. He says his mini-refinery, loaded into a 40-foot shipping container on a flatbed truck, roams South Africa making biodiesel fuel from used cooking oil, or from sunflower seeds or the jatropha shrub, which grows in poor soil with little water. He says he plans eventually to use organic household waste as well.

Another example of high prices encouraging the development of new alternative technologies. I want one of these World Mobile Plants. Very cool to roam around collecting trash and making something valuable from it.


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