Somewhat belatedly I have just come across this interesting article. The article is quite naturally, and rightly, USA-centric, but I had a calculator handy.
It appears that for $385 million your government feels it worthwhile to build six more ethanol plants. They will theoretically produce some 130 million gallons of ethanol per year.
Doubtless some time-poor politician--quite possible not too bright and only any good at politicking--saw this number and thought it was a lot, and therefore authorised the expenditure. But the numbers show it to be a useless exercise, probably intended to get a headline somewhere because the number 130 million sounds like they are doing something.
A hundred and thirty million gallons is 3.095 million barrels. Still sounds a lot? But that is per year. Per day, that is the princely sum of 8,480 barrels. The world consumes approximately 85 million barrels per day. So your $385 million seed capital will make the splendid contribution of just 0.0001 of global requirement.
Gentlemen, you need to use a lot less energy. And so do we, I'm not feeling superior!
Llanfair Caereinion, Powys, Wales
Oct 12 2008 - 6:08am