“The results over the last several years have convinced many analysts that producing first-generation ethanol from corn is a mistake.”

Our Sources Of Energy

Growing Fuel

Biomass energy is one of the most promising ways to reduce significant amounts of CO2 from the burning of coal and natural gas.

Biomass energy is, in theory, renewable. Since the carbon contained in plants comes ultimately from sunlight—through photosynthesis—any plant used for the production of energy can be replaced with another whose growth is also powered by sunlight.

In reality, however, the energy consumed in transforming the plant material into a usable form of power often comes from nonrenewable fossil fuels. The benefits often still outweigh the costs, but full “life cycle” analyses are necessary to accurately determine which approaches are truly beneficial in solving the climate crisis—and in achieving other desirable goals, such as reducing dependence on foreign oil, conserving water, and protecting biodiversity.