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B. Researchers Say Cellulosic Technology Has a Bright Future

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new study has found that using ethanol produced by corn in your gasoline tank saves oil and is probably no worse for the environment than burning gasoline. But Dan Kammen of the University of California , Berkeley 's Energy & Resources Group, says the transition would be worth it especially if the ethanol was produced not from corn, but from woody, fibrous plants, or cellulose.

Kammen: If you switch from corn to so-called cellulosic sources using waste from sawmills, using switch grass, landfill waste, all the kinds of other materials that you can put in, this starchier material that you can make ethanol from, then you win on both fronts. You can displace lots of gasoline and you can do it with much, much less greenhouse gases.

Narrator: More research is needed, especially on the enzymes needed to breakdown and ultimately convert cellulosic materials to ethanol, but Kammen says their studies indicate it's a real winner.

Kammen: So, corn looks pretty good to OK, but cellulosic looks like an absolute slam dunk. You really will get some big benefits if you make that switch.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.