Wired News has an article today about converting organic material into a petroleum substitute.
Bio-oil can be made from almost any organic material, including agricultural and forest waste like corn stalks and scraps of bark. Converting the raw biomass into bio-oil yields a product that is easy to transport and can be processed into higher-value fuels and chemicals.
"It is technically feasible to use biomass for the production of all the materials that we currently produce from petroleum," said professor Robert C. Brown, director of the Office of Biorenewables Programs at Iowa State University.
The United States can grow enough fresh biomass -- more than a billion tons each year -- to supplant at least a third of its annual petroleum use, according to an April 2005 study (.pdf) by the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Energy.
Note to average American consumer: that's one third of current use. Even if the fantastic effort was made to fuel our country via biomass, we'd still have to import oil. More has to be done. Like, say, conserve? Unless you like countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to yank our chain?