Caught the tail end of a history channel expose' on Sugar. They stated that Brazil produced something like 4 billion gallons of fuel from refining sugar. Did not catch enough to give details. Anyone catch this or know anything about sugar fuel?
Sugar Cane is pretty good, since you don't have to replant it every year, like corn. Solar panels only have to be planted once every 20 years, they can live in desert, and produce a crop of energy all year long.
I watched the entire episode. Very interesting. They talked about sugar as a food, a beverage (RUM!!!), and as a fuel. Brazil was 95% dependent on foreign oil until the early '80's, when they decided to make alcohol from sugar. Years of R&D and perfecting the product has created a country that produces 90% of its own fuel. Gas stations, by law, MUST carry sugar based ethanol, gasoline and diesel fuels. The ethanol was rediculously inexpensive compared to the gasoline. Cars sold in Brazil are bi-fuel burners. the computers automatically adjust for each fuel, or a mixture of the two. The sugar based ethanol burns cleaner and produces more HP and better mileage while costing about half as much if I recall correctly.
The refineries run off of the leftover byproducts from the process, and produce a HUGE amount of excess electricity which is given back to the nation (or sold...they didn't really say.)