Many people are understandably concerned about using valuable cropland to raise crops for fuel instead of food. Cellulosic ethanol largely avoids the “food versus fuel” question that is often associated with corn ethanol because it is produced from non-food plants. In addition, non-food plants can often be grown in marginal, nutrient-poor soils where they can enhance soil fertility, prevent soil erosion, and support ecosystem diversity. These plants have few commercial uses and will generally have little impact on food production. In fact, a recent United States Government multiagency research study estimated that replacing about one half of the gasoline in America with cellulosic ethanol by the year 2022 would result in a net reduction in needed active cropland.
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