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Found these interesting articles about progress on the use of Ethanol as a direct fuel and as a cheap and efficient source of hydrogen for fuel cells. The interesting part in the article on it’s use as a direct fuel is that it’s the non-food portion of the grains, so you get both from the same plant.
The article on the fuel cells doesn’t go into enough detail to understand how efficient the extraction process is in terms of input electricity to run the conversion. But perhaps there’s hope for fuel cells yet.
Also a recent study on the depletion of oil. According to this, we’re about to hit the peak of world-wide production and “with terminal decline setting in and becoming self-evident by about 2010.”