Wired on "The Plant That Will Save America"

Who couldn't love the gee whiz, boyish enthusiasm of Wired Magazine. When they see a trend, they just pounce and cover it like a blanket; last year it was the hydrogen economy, which has barely been heard from since, and this year it is cellulosic ethanol, the plant that will save America. They do note that "There's just one catch- No one has yet figured out how to generate energy from plant matter at a competitive price. The result is that no car today uses a drop of cellulosic ethanol."

They go on for pages, describing the chemistry, looking at veterans who have been trying to do this since Jimmy Carter first funded research in it, enzyme hunters and gatherers, and biochemists breeding genetically modified bacteria that will munch cellulose and sweat Hi-test. They are, as always, optimistic; one scientist says " I truly think that in five years all the hard issues about converting cellulosic biomass to ethanol may be solved."

Blondie famously sang "Dreaming is free"; she was wrong, it costs $ 4.95 on the newstand. ::Wired