I hate the idea of growing corn for fuel.
But I gotta call bullshit on this report. If biofuels fail, it will be because of political interference in the process, not some inherent shortcoming. Many ways to generate fuel, but The politics involved seem to have us concentrate on corn based fuel, are chosen to send money towards farming interests more than make for efficiency.
There are ways to pretty efficiently generate biofuel that don't use food crops. Problem is, they don't use a biosource that fits in with the political baksheesh process. So we use corn.
There are some elephants in the room anyhow.
We do really need an energy dense fuel source that we can transport efficently with many vehicles. Airplanes, jet fighters, long distance heavy freight trains aren't likely to ever run on batteries. And unless there is really a never ending, hence abiotic supply of oil, we're going to have to find something else. Problem is, petrofuels set a pretty high bar.
Though widely reviled by some, ethanol is here to stay as a fuel additive. Of all the choices in boosting octane, it is about the best. Tetraethyl lead is nasty-ass deadly toxic stuff, and MTBE is capable of tainting groundwater with ease. Ethanol one way or the other is needed. It's interesting that some 6 percent of the nation's fuel supply is now ethanol additives.
So if a certain amount is needed just to keep running our petrofuels in the first place, we should look at generating it efficiently. Drinkypoo notes algae generation. I've seen the reactors (who ever thought I'd be giving a citation to a "drinkypoo" Oh well, when you're right, you're right.
Another thing is as long as we are burning stuff, the concept of what makes for less carbon in the atmosphere ends up just silly arguments. A certain amount of energy is going to be had by burning, so we have on concentrate on burning what we must, and moving away from it for everything else.
A final note - it is irony of the highest order to read in the report about how cheap solar and wind power are making it difficult for biofuels to compete.
But there is some wisdom to be gained in that. While we are garroted by having to use food as fuel in our politically based ethanol production system, wind and solar have been much more innovative, and the industries have worked hard at lowering their cost. And they have largely succeeded. The present biofuel system is based on sending money to producers, not efficiency or ecological sense.