Now all the sugar farmers need to band together, pay the high priced lobbyists more money than the corn farmers paid theirs, and push for sugar as the crop of choice to manufacture ethanol. After that the soy bean farmers can do the same. Whereas sugar has a 40% greater energy output than corn (corn-based ethanol has, at best, a 10% net gain in energy output than the energy used to produce it), soy is said to be 80%.
What's the current energy content of sugarcane, the crop used in Brazil? It sounds like this process would push corn over sugarcane. Is there any comparison of how much more "energy in" is needed? Does it take 5% more processing energy to get the 40%?
Note : Just did some googling. Articles are all over the map on this. Couldn't find the answer I was looking for. This is the closest I could find, but it has no numbers :
Tropical crops have a significant advantage over biofuel crops grown in temperate climates: they convert sunlight more efficiently into biomass and yield far more of it. The result: the energy balance of biofuels made from such crops is considerably stronger. Or in other words, to produce one unit of energy in the form of a liquid fuel, tropical crops require far less land and resources than crops grown in temperate regions.
If you just squeeze out the sugar from the cane, you miss all the potential energy in the cellulose in the cane... Not sure if they have any way to extract that energy in Brazil. I'm guessing they just burn it and use the energy to cook down the cane juice.