Colorado State University Professor Looks at Biofuels from Sociological Perspective in New Book

Michael S. Carolan, associate professor of sociology, analyzes the use of biofuels, specifically ethanol, throughout the United States in his new book, “A Sociological Look at Biofuels: Understanding the Past/Prospects for the Future."

Carolan looks at how ethanol could be a sustainable, yet controversial, solution to America’s energy problems. In the wake of the global climate-change crisis, countries around the world are looking for an alternative to gasoline – but biofuel has its critics. Some researchers worry how biofuels will in the long-term affect the global food and feed supply.

The book presents the course biofuels have taken in the United States from the rise in popularity during early years to the fall after “big oil” pushed it aside.

Carolan, a researcher in CSU’s Institute for Livestock and the Environment, is not a proponent or opponent for the use of biofuels in society, but instead uses the text to provide readers a look at how science, the economy and politics within society shape future options for alternative fuels.

He also examines other agro-based fuels and discusses the prospects of replacing oil in energy consumption in the United States.

Carolan specializes in environmental sociology, the sociology of technology and scientific knowledge, environmental policy, sociology of law and the sociology of food systems and agriculture. He has been published in more than 40 scientific and academic journals and currently serves as an advisory board member for CSU’s Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future.

“A Sociological Look at Biofuels: Understanding the Past/Prospects for the Future" is available for purchase at book retailers.