Craig Venter: Will We All Be Biofuel Makers?

We figured the hardcore backyard hobbyists would be the ones most impressed with the DIY ethanol technology coming out of startups like E-Fuel Corp., which plans to sell a washer-and-dryer-sized home ethanol system for around $10,000. But will we one day all be home ethanol brewers? Geneticist-turned-biofuel-entrepreneur Craig Venter tells Newsweek this week that he envisions the biofuel industry looking like “a million micro-refineries,” partly run by individuals.

Companies, cities and potentially even individuals could have a small refinery to make their own fuel. This would eliminate a lot of the distribution problems and associated pollution.

A distributed biofuel production model could no doubt cut down on transportation and distribution costs. And there has been rising attention to more hands-on alternative fuel sources like recycled restaurant grease. But we’re still thinking there’s only a very select group of people that would want to make their own fuel — something that has always been a widely available commodity.

What do you think? Can DIY biofuels ever hit the mainstream?

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