GASOHOL: ENERGY MOUNTAIN OR MOLEHILL?

Controversy over gasohol as an available alternate source of energy is discussed. The supporters of gasohol claim that it will alleviate the oil import problem on the one hand and solve the farm problem on the other. Opponents argue that gasohol will do more harm than good to the nation's economy, its farmers, its oil imports, and its trade balance. They believe that it is too expensive to use as fuel as long as less expensive fossil fuels still exist. Two principal routes to deriving gasohol are discussed. One route uses methanol which comes from wood or wood residues. The other uses ethanol which can be produced form a wide range of cellulosic biomass, which first must be hydrolized to fermentable sugars. The issue is not whether gasohol will work in a car's engine but rather economics and energy balance. The Department of Energy (DOE) is now responsible for sorting out all the alternatives such as whether to use ethanol or methanol, and which source to use--coal, grain, sugar, wood, or municipal waste. DOE's position on alcohol fuels is that there are no technological barriers facing alcohol fuels, but there are major uncertainties such as supply potential, production cost, and the best way to use the material and produce it.

  • Corporate Authors:

    American Chemical Society

    1155 16th Street, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20036
  • Authors:
    • Anderson, E V
  • Publication Date: 1978-7-31

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 8-15
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00183700
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 3 1978 12:00AM