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The starchy cassava root has long been an important ingredient in everything from tapioca pudding and ice cream to paper and animal feed.

But last year, 98 percent of cassava chips exported from Thailand, the world’s largest cassava exporter, went to just one place and almost all for one purpose: to China to make biofuel. Driven by new demand, Thai exports of cassava chips have increased nearly fourfold since 2008, and the price of cassava has roughly doubled.

Each year, an ever larger portion of the world’s crops — cassava and corn, sugar and palm oil — is being diverted for biofuels as developed countries pass laws mandating greater use of nonfossil fuels and as emerging powerhouses like China seek new sources of energy to keep their cars and industries running. Cassava is a relatively new entrant in the biofuel stream.

But with food prices rising sharply in recent months, many experts are calling on countries to scale back their headlong rush into green fuel development, arguing that the combination of ambitious biofuel targets and mediocre harvests of some crucial crops is contributing to high prices, hunger and political instability.

This year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that its index of food prices was the highest in its more than 20 years of existence. Prices rose 15 percent from October to January alone, potentially “throwing an additional 44 million people in low- and middle-income countries into poverty,” the World Bank said.

Soaring food prices have caused riots or contributed to political turmoil in a host of poor countries in recent months, including Algeria, Egypt and Bangladesh, where palm oil, a common biofuel ingredient, provides crucial nutrition to a desperately poor populace. During the second half of 2010, the price of corn rose steeply — 73 percent in the United States — an increase that the United Nations World Food Program attributed in part to the greater use of American corn for bioethanol.

“The fact that cassava is being used for biofuel in China, rapeseed is being used in Europe, and sugar cane elsewhere is definitely creating a shift in demand curves,” said Timothy D. Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton University who studies the topic. “Biofuels are contributing to higher prices and tighter markets.”

In the United States, Congress has mandated that biofuel use must reach 36 billion gallons annually by 2022. The European Union stipulates that 10 percent of transportation fuel must come from renewable sources like biofuel or wind power by 2020. Countries like China, India, Indonesia and Thailand have adopted biofuel targets as well.

To be sure, many factors help drive up the price of food, including bad weather that ruins crop yields and high oil prices that make transportation costly. Last year, for example, unusually severe weather destroyed wheat harvests in Russia, Australia and China, and an infestation of the mealy bug reduced Thailand’s cassava output.

Olivier Dubois, a bioenergy expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, said it was hard to quantify the extent to which the diversions for biofuels had driven up food prices.

“The problem is complex, so it is hard to come up with sweeping statements like biofuels are good or bad,” he said. “But what is certain is that biofuels are playing a role. Is it 20 or 30 or 40 percent? That depends on your modeling.”

While no one is suggesting that countries abandon biofuels, Mr. Dubois and other food experts suggest that they should revise their policies so that rigid fuel mandates can be suspended when food stocks get low or prices become too high.

“The policy really has to be food first,” said Hans Timmer, director of the Development Prospects Group of the World Bank. “The problems occur when you set targets for biofuels irrespective of the prices of other commodities.”

Mr. Timmer said that the recent rise in oil prices was likely to increase the demand for biofuels.

It can be tricky predicting how new demand from the biofuel sector will affect the supply and price of food. Sometimes, as with corn or cassava, direct competition between purchasers drives up the prices of biofuel ingredients. In other instances, shortages and price inflation occur because farmers who formerly grew crops like vegetables for consumption plant different crops that can be used for fuel.

China learned this the hard way nearly a decade ago when it set out to make bioethanol from corn, only to discover that the plan caused alarming shortages and a rise in food prices. In 2007 the government banned the use of grains to make biofuel.

Chinese scientists then perfected the process of making fuel from cassava, a root that yielded good energy returns, leading to the opening of the first commercial cassava ethanol plant several years ago.

“They’re moving very aggressively in this new direction; cassava seems to be the go-to crop,” said Greg Harris, an analyst with Commodore Research and Consultancy in New York who has studied the trade.

In addition to expanding cassava cultivation at home, China is buying from Cambodia and Laos as well as Thailand.

Although a mainstay of diets in much of Africa, cassava is not central to Asian diets, even though the Chinese once called it “the underground food store” because it provided crucial backup nutrition in lean harvest years. So the Chinese reasoned that making fuel with cassava would not directly affect food prices or create food shortages, at least at home. The proportion of Chinese cassava going to ethanol leapt to 52 percent last year from 10 percent in 2008.

More distant or indirect impacts are considered to be likely, however. Because cassava chips have been commonly used as animal feed, new demand from the biofuels industry might affect the availability and cost of meat. In Southeast Asian countries where China is paying generously for stockpiles of cassava, farmers may be tempted to grow the crop instead of, for example, other vegetables or rice.

And if China turned to Africa as a source, one of that continent’s staple food crops could be in jeopardy, although experts note that exporting cassava could also become a business opportunity.

“This is becoming a more valuable cash crop,” Mr. Harris said. “The farmland is limited, so the more that is devoted to fuel, the less is devoted to food.”

The Chinese demand for cassava could also dent planned biofuel production in poorer Asian nations: in the Philippines and Cambodia, developers were recently forced to suspend the construction of cassava bioethanol plants because the tuber had become too expensive.

Thailand’s own nascent biofuel industry may have trouble getting the homegrown cassava it needs because it may not be able to match the prices offered by Chinese buyers, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Biofuels development in wealthier nations has already proved to have a powerful effect on the prices and the cultivation of crops. Encouraged by national biofuel subsidies, nearly 40 percent of the corn grown in the United States now goes to make fuel, with prices of corn on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange rising 73 percent from June to December 2010.

Such price rises also have distant ripple effects, food security experts say. “How much does the price of corn in Chicago influence the price of corn in Rwanda? It turns out there is a correlation,” said Marie Brill, senior policy analyst at ActionAid, an international development group. The price of corn in Rwanda rose 19 percent last year.

“For Americans it may mean a few extra cents for a box of cereal,” she said. “But that kind of increase puts corn out of the range of impoverished people.”

Higher prices also mean that groups like the World Food Program can buy less food to feed the world’s hungry.

European biofuels developers are buying large tracts of what they call “marginal land” in Africa with the aim of cultivating biofuel crops, particularly the woody bush known as jatropha. Advocates say that promoting jatropha for biofuels production has little impact on food supplies. But some of that land is used by poor people for subsistence farming or for gathering food like wild nuts.

“We have to move away from the thinking that producing an energy crop doesn’t compete with food,” said Mr. Dubois of the Food and Agriculture Organization. “It almost inevitably does.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/science/earth/07cassava.html?_r=1&src=twr
 

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More unintended consequences of the left's attempt to social engineer. It's almost unbelievable how every single thing they do turns to ****, causes the poor they intend to help to become poorer, and makes it harder for the rest to live thier lives as they see fit.

An old mantra for the left...if you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit.
 

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ya know what

These other 3rd world country's aren't my problem

And the day they do become my problem

We're doing something wrong here

I focus on the ****USA**** here

And only the ****USA****

Cause I'm American

Here in the US we have figured out how to Manufacture Alternative fuels

By not using food

But just plain'ol sugar

Sounds like More Oil Corp Propaganda to me:nuts:
 

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Ethanol fuel is a boondoggle and not worth the effort and expense it takes to get the small amount we can make. I personally don't want taxpayers to subsidize the cost of growing ethanol crops and enrich farmers for a very inefficient system of obtaining energy. If we are unwilling to allow the production of oil from the many places we have it available, we need to shift part of our transportation system to natural gas which is abundant.
 

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Ethanol fuel is a boondoggle and not worth the effort and expense it takes to get the small amount we can make. I personally don't want taxpayers to subsidize the cost of growing ethanol crops and enrich farmers for a very inefficient system of obtaining energy. If we are unwilling to allow the production of oil from the many places we have it available, we need to shift part of our transportation system to natural gas which is abundant.

yeah

but whats your back-up plan ?

Wheres the progression for new innovation with that thinking ?

Do you really put all your hopes ,trust and dreams on the oil corps and their speculators in the future ?

Arab oil flows well with you ?

"Never put all your eggs in one basket":nuts:
 

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More unintended consequences of the left's attempt to social engineer. It's almost unbelievable how every single thing they do turns to ****, causes the poor they intend to help to become poorer, and makes it harder for the rest to live thier lives as they see fit.

An old mantra for the left...if you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit.
Yep it was the left who pushed for ethanol as an alternative fuel....that huge lefty Geroge W Bush. You should seriously read something some time....instead of letting yourself be led by the nose all the time by Fox and friends. :crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy:
 

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yeah

but whats your back-up plan ?

Wheres the progression for new innovation with that thinking ?

Do you really put all your hopes ,trust and dreams on the oil corps and their speculators in the future ?

Arab oil flows well with you ?

"Never put all your eggs in one basket":nuts:
I agree we need to work on alternatives, and I think more research on biofuels is worthwhile. A breakthrough might come of it. But the process of growing, harvesting and converting crops to ethanol right now is very inefficient and has a huge impact on the food supply. My plan for the interim before the next big energy breakthrough would involve much more dependence on natural gas. We have lots of it, and it's easy to get.
 

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Yep it was the left who pushed for ethanol as an alternative fuel....that huge lefty Geroge W Bush. You should seriously read something some time....instead of letting yourself be led by the nose all the time by Fox and friends. :crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy:
Well I'm definitely not part of the left

I'm more business strategy

And Ethanol which many New generation tuners are using these days by the way

1. 105 octane Fights off detonation in forced induction applications

2. We send 1 billion dollars a day out of the country on imported oil

And us true Americans wish to keep that money here at home

3. Once we get the right minds on this problem

much new innovation will arise in the process :nuts:

4. E85= Nothing to die for

5. E85 will help break up the oil monopoly at the pumps,

Also we can flood the market when oil prices get out of hand
 

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I agree we need to work on alternatives, and I think more research on biofuels is worthwhile. A breakthrough might come of it. But the process of growing, harvesting and converting crops to ethanol right now is very inefficient and has a huge impact on the food supply. My plan for the interim before the next big energy breakthrough would involve much more dependence on natural gas. We have lots of it, and it's easy to get.
:agree:The other big plus for natural gas is that it is constantly escaping into the atmosphere anyway. Natural gas is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2, so if we intercept it and use it as an energy source we actualy improve the greenhouse gas situation.
 

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E-85 has a very high Octane rating.

106 maybe?

Some racers using 100+ unleaded for their cars at $7.00/gal are converting their cars to run on E-85 at $3.40/gal and can get it easier at pumps.

I have a friend of mine with a street legal, pro-charged mustang running high 9's with E-85.

Plus it is a HUGE political football in Illinois.
 

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:agree:The other big plus for natural gas is that it is constantly escaping into the atmosphere anyway. Natural gas is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2, so if we intercept it and use it as an energy source we actualy improve the greenhouse gas situation.
Ohh I'm pro natural gas

You see what I see,

And that is that we will need more than one energy/fuel source in the future in order to become independent of foreign oil imports

The others are either or kind of people, they can only envision a future with all ethanol or all oil

And there is no progression in their thinking for the future

They will always be someone's Victim
 

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Yep it was the left who pushed for ethanol as an alternative fuel....that huge lefty Geroge W Bush. You should seriously read something some time....instead of letting yourself be led by the nose all the time by Fox and friends. :crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy:
"Money and Favors: Archer Daniels Midland
For example, he has received at least $270,000 from Archer Daniels Midland corporation, the agricultural giant famous for spreading money among various influential people, from Bob Dole to National Public Radio. Just days after Clinton received a $100,000 check in June 1994, his administration ordered that 30% of gasoline sold in American's 9 most polluted cities contain ethanol based additives by 1996 (as opposed to cheaper methanol.)

Archer Daniels makes 60% of US ethanol for gas, and none of the methanol. Bob Dole, who receives even more money from Archer Daniels and its president, actually supported the Clinton Administration's mandate, even while arguing against Clinton's health care proposal for nearly identical federal mandates. (Courts have block Clinton's 30% rule, saying he lacked power to favor ethanol over methanol.)"

http://www.realchange.org/clinton.htm
 

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"Money and Favors: Archer Daniels Midland
For example, he has received at least $270,000 from Archer Daniels Midland corporation, the agricultural giant famous for spreading money among various influential people, from Bob Dole to National Public Radio. Just days after Clinton received a $100,000 check in June 1994, his administration ordered that 30% of gasoline sold in American's 9 most polluted cities contain ethanol based additives by 1996 (as opposed to cheaper methanol.)

Archer Daniels makes 60% of US ethanol for gas, and none of the methanol. Bob Dole, who receives even more money from Archer Daniels and its president, actually supported the Clinton Administration's mandate, even while arguing against Clinton's health care proposal for nearly identical federal mandates. (Courts have block Clinton's 30% rule, saying he lacked power to favor ethanol over methanol.)"

http://www.realchange.org/clinton.htm
And here are the articles that show what actualy created E85 and the push for ethanol.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines07/0305-05.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Policy_Act_of_2005

President George W Bush unleashed the new popularity of ethanol when he set a goal to lower US dependence on foreign oil. The price of corn has shot up to nearly double 2005 levels in response to the increased demand.

It's no wonder that ethanol refineries are springing up like mushrooms, particularly in mid-western US corn belt states. As of May there were 120 corn refineries countrywide and 75 more were under construction.

The White House's fuel dreams are ambitious. In his State of the Union address in January, Bush set a goal of reducing petrol consumption in the car-loving country by 20 per cent in the next 10 years, largely by turning to ethanol and other alternative fuels.

Ethanol is already mixed in with gasoline, but it accounted for only around 3.5 percent of US fuel consumption last year. Reaching the goal of 15 per cent would require 133 billion litres.

Last year, one-fifth of US corn production was used for ethanol. That compares with 12 per cent two years earlier. Wheat and soybeans also cost more because land used to grow those crops is being turned over to grow corn.

From this article http://www.monstersandcritics.com/n...sh_s_ethanol_dreams_make_corn_a_hot_commodity
 

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I'm not arguing the facts, brother. I'm interjecting a few more facts... other then your charge that Fox news is some how to blame for ArKays distaste in corn fuels. Apparently you believe as I have... that we should not be spending 21 billion dollars a year for subsidizing something that both Bush and Clinton now feel was a mistake. -Even if Fox didn't tell us to say that.
 

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And here are the articles that show what actualy created E85 and the push for ethanol.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines07/0305-05.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Policy_Act_of_2005

President George W Bush unleashed the new popularity of ethanol when he set a goal to lower US dependence on foreign oil. The price of corn has shot up to nearly double 2005 levels in response to the increased demand.

It's no wonder that ethanol refineries are springing up like mushrooms, particularly in mid-western US corn belt states. As of May there were 120 corn refineries countrywide and 75 more were under construction.

The White House's fuel dreams are ambitious. In his State of the Union address in January, Bush set a goal of reducing petrol consumption in the car-loving country by 20 per cent in the next 10 years, largely by turning to ethanol and other alternative fuels.

Ethanol is already mixed in with gasoline, but it accounted for only around 3.5 percent of US fuel consumption last year. Reaching the goal of 15 per cent would require 133 billion litres.

Last year, one-fifth of US corn production was used for ethanol. That compares with 12 per cent two years earlier. Wheat and soybeans also cost more because land used to grow those crops is being turned over to grow corn.

From this article http://www.monstersandcritics.com/n...sh_s_ethanol_dreams_make_corn_a_hot_commodity

yeah and thats just that much less oil we needed to import into the USA

Instead we put American workers to work

They in turn bought houses , Their own medical insurance, Cars, and even employed other Americans:nuts:

I call that an **American **Idea right there

Also if it wasn't for ethanol gas prices at the pump would even be higher
 

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I'm not arguing the facts, brother. I'm interjecting a few more facts... other then your charge that Fox news is some how to blame for ArKays distaste in corn fuels. Apparently you believe as I have... that we should not be spending 21 billion dollars a year for subsidizing something that both Bush and Clinton now feel was a mistake. -Even if Fox didn't tell us to say that.
No, we agree on the waste that ethanol brings. I just thought that Arkay needs to understand who it was that actualy pushed this ethanol nonsense. Again if you don't understand the problem and how it came to be, you have no hope of solving the problem. To stupidly and blindly claim it all a left wing plot just doesn't point you to where the problem actualy lies. This sort of gut reaction is stupid and has to be called out if we ever hope to solve any problems in this country.
 

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"Money and Favors: Archer Daniels Midland
For example, he has received at least $270,000 from Archer Daniels Midland corporation, the agricultural giant famous for spreading money among various influential people, from Bob Dole to National Public Radio. Just days after Clinton received a $100,000 check in June 1994, his administration ordered that 30% of gasoline sold in American's 9 most polluted cities contain ethanol based additives by 1996 (as opposed to cheaper methanol.)
"Famous for spreading money among various influential people..." Uhhh, what company the size of ADM does NOT do this? Money is the oil that greases our entire political system. This may be bad or it may be good. But it's a little disingenuous to point to one company and say THEY are the ones spreading money around. :crazy:
 

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"Famous for spreading money among various influential people..." Uhhh, what company the size of ADM does NOT do this? Money is the oil that greases our entire political system. This may be bad or it may be good. But it's a little disingenuous to point to one company and say THEY are the ones spreading money around. :crazy:
:agree:

By the way.....

Where is ADM headquarters?

Ahh, grasshopper, you were trained well....




In Illinois
 

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I am going to keep preaching this every time the topic comes up, google switch grass, Scientific America and a few other credible sources have good articles on it.
 
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