Right now ethanol is generally made from corn. It’s an option for biofuel, but has a negative impact on the availability of corn for consumption, making the price generally higher. It’s not the best choice, really.
So I am quite glad to hear that technology is finding ways to make ethanol from grasses and trees. That’s a much more sensible source, I suspect. May depend on exactly how these things are grown, but it makes more sense to me than using a food crop for fuel production.
I found this in particular interesting:
Sell said the future of biofuels is cellulosic ethanol, made from microbes that break down woody bits of non-food crops into sugars that can be fermented into fuel.
Cellulosic, and other new biofuels such as biobutanol, which can be made from petroleum as well as biomass, could begin to feed the commercial fuel market within six to 10 years
That’s not too bad a timeframe, in my opinion. Any sensible solution is going to take time.
I don’t know if ethanol is one of the best solutions. Biofuels have often sounded good yet failed to live up to their promise. People don’t always grow them the right way, doing more damage than simply using oil would have done. I’d be delighted to see ethanol become more practical, but it’s a wait and see situation.