Friday, December 09, 2005

A New Use for Corn

With the record setting prices of natural gas, it appears that people in the Corn-belt have started burning corn in specially designed stoves for heating. You see this lady in the picture pouring in the corn.

I used to work for the largest nitrogen fertilizer manufacturer in North America, specifically in their natural gas procurement department. They consume over 160 Billion cubic feet of natural gas per year. Natural gas costs represent about 60% of the cost to manufacture nitrogen fertilizer. A whopping 44% of that fertilizer is used to grow corn. The corn needs the nitrogen fertilizer replaced every year as it leaches from the soil quickly.

My point is this: Although it would appear that people are saving money by burning corn, they in fact are contributing to the consumption of tremendous amounts of natural gas via the fertilizer it takes to grow such corn. It really doesn't make any sense to me, but it must be the fad aspect.

I found this link today on the drudgereport. You can link to it here.


Steven H. Roemerman said...

My grandfather always used pig manure...

Steven H. Roemerman said...

...uhh to fertilize the corn...not to heat his house!