There have been many times I've thought about the price of oil and how its driven up by the false demand generated by speculative trading. I've talked with many friends about ethanol, corn versus saw grass versus cane, and the absurdity of the US not mass producing it. It becomes even more absured when you consider that many Latin American countries have been consuming it at a greater pace then gasoline for almost a decade. A simple search of The Christian Science Monitor pulls articles dating back to 1981 talking about the pros and cons of ethanol. And never mind the lack of coverage in the main stream media.
There is no doubt corn ethanol is cost prohibitive, but could it be argued that the money going into farm subsidies could be shifted to bring the cost down? Remember the rise in corn prices recently affecting nearly everything including milk? Partly, in my opinion, due to the lack of corn being grown because of the subsidies.
Anyway, I saw this article on MSNBC.com about energy from algea and it floored. I remember the NBC Nightly News clip it referenced and thinking at the time I saw it that it was amazing.
I can only imagine what is keeping this technology from advancing; Lobbyists for big oil, coal, and natural gas.