Renewable Fuels: Boon or Boondoggle?

Energy-security and greenhouse-gas concerns increasingly focus attention on renewable fuels. Ethanol from corn in the US, sugarcane in Brazil, or wheat straw in Canada; biodiesel from rapeseed in the EU or from soy in the US; renewable diesel from a range of waste streams in the US - all are in various stages of development or deployment. What are the benefits and drawbacks of various renewable fuels? Could they satisfy a material fraction of fuel demand at a competitive cost? What technologies would need to be developed and commercialized for them to do so? Panel includes Steven E. Koonin.

Speakers: R. James Woolsey
Festival: 2006

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