This is Science Today. Researchers at the University
of California, Berkeley, are challenging America's
current position on the use of ethanol as a gasoline
additive. Derived from corn, ethanol use is set to
double to 5 billion gallons a year by 2012. Geoengineer
Tad Patzek, who led the study, argues the costs of
transporting ethanol are too high.
Patzek: The United States has a spider web of pipelines. In fact, most people don't know that we have literally thousands of hundreds of miles of pipelines. But these pipelines are not designed to transport ethanol.
Narrator: Patzek says currently most pipeline companies refuse to transport ethanol because it is highly corrosive and can damage the seals in the pipelines. So, ethanol would have to travel from the Midwest in a costly combination including barges through the Gulf of Mexico and tankers through the Panama Canal.
Patzek: And of course, transporting such huge quantities of highly flammable, dangerous fuel entails its own problems.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.