The Detroit News reports that while turning corn into ethanol is the current fad, a team of Detroit researchers say that peat is a more economical and environmentally friendly fuel source.
The scientists, from University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University, are working to develop what they call “pethanol” to run small, fuel-cell-powered vehicles such as golf carts and riding mowers.
Because peat forms naturally and requires no fertilization, it’s a benefit over corn, the researchers say. And Michigan, with its swampy environs, has one of the nation’s largest peat reserves. (Michigan is the nation’s 2nd leading peat producer)
You can get more info about the Michigan-Ohio University Transportation Center from Detroit Mercy.
UPDATE (Jan 2): Mark points out that while peat does regenerate, it does so slowly and that peatlands contain some of our rarest species. I couldn’t find anything in the Michigan media or blogs discussing this but I did find an article titled Gardeners urged to avoid using peat to save British wildlife. The article touches on the dangers to species in peatlands and also says: Although little more than three per cent of the earth’s land is covered in peat, its importance has been recognised by the European Union for conservation under the Habitats and Species Directive. Peat bogs “lock up” carbon that would otherwise increase the greenhouse effect. It does seem sometimes that there’s no free lunch.
Also, Grow Detroit found this video by the researchers on YouTube: