Ballard trip to explore clean energy

April 6, 2009

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and other city officials will travel to Brazil in May to explore renewable-energy production, in hopes of making the city a leader in the technology.

The United States and Brazil are the world's top-two ethanol producers. American ethanol is made from corn and Brazilian ethanol is made from sugar cane, but both work in automobiles virtually the same way.

The Indy Racing League recently found itself at odds with Midwestern farmers over a decision to make a Brazilian consortium its ethanol supplier this year.

"Just like life sciences, we can embrace the clean-energy sector," Ballard said.

Local efforts to develop alternative fuels from resources other than corn are under way. For example, startup Xylogenics is using research hatched from the Indiana University School of Medicine to produce ethanol cheaply by using grasses and other common plants.

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