8. Biomass-Derived Liquid Fuels

A. Background

The use of biomass to produce liquid fuels has a long history in the United States. Automobile pioneer Henry Ford first championed the use of fuel alcohol in the 1920s. During the 1930s, more than 2,000 Midwestern service stations offered gasoline containing anywhere from 6 to 12 percent ethanol made from corn. Because of its high cost, however, such "power alcohol" disappeared in the 1940s.(1)

The current corn ethanol industry traces its beginnings to the power alcohol movement. Ethanol-gasoline blends were reintroduced in 1979 in response to oil supply disruptions. Today, fuel ethanol manufacturing is the largest consumption sector among the industrial markets for corn.

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