News and information about Biodiesel & alternative fuels.

2006/12/28

More FUD

A friend recently sent a link to this AlterNet piece about biofuels, "Biofuels are an Environmental Dead End"

6 comments:

  1. Did you notice that there actually are a few studies around pointing out that perhaps biofuels are not that good for the planet..

    http://howistomorrow.blogspot.com/2008/02/biofuels-are-bad-for-envionment.html

    We humans tend to go to the extreme with these things (well, almost any things) far too often..

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  2. Yep, I saw that piece. However, I don't see biofuels as the single, silver-bullet solution to humanity's energy problems - I see them as a wonderful and less-polluting alternative to petroleum-based fuels, that can serve as a 'bridge' fuel until we have a critical mass of vehicles powered by some other futuristic holy grail energy source. Until that happens though, we've still gotta power all the existing vehicles and fleets somehow...

    1) we can grow biofuels, so they're actually renewable when compared with petroleum

    2) anything that burns will pollute by its nature

    3) the real question is, "is humanity good for the planet?" ;)

    Cheers Jack,
    -E

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  3. Hi Eric..

    What I am afraid of is that this 'bridge fuel' thing is changing the gloal equation too fast. Especially now when we should be limiting drastically the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere..

    We humans are incredibly efficient to do what pays best -- on the short term. And producing biofuels now offers good way to make more cash (which certainly is needed in many places of the earth).

    But to produce more biofulels land that that has been used for food production is converted for oil plants - and new land for food cleared. Or new land cleared for oil plants.

    Whatever the solution is, new land is cleared. And the net amount of greenhouse gases that gets released directly (or so that new vegetation cannot consume gas as well as the old did) is huge. Exceeding by about two magnitudes the savings that we get when using renewable biofuels. It will take 90+ years to get even and on the winning side..

    Naturally, if one thinks only about availability of oil only and securing transport with bio fuels it probably makes sense to increase the production of biofuels..

    But when thinking about global warming it looks like we might need to reconsider the thing..

    And about whether humanity is good for the planet.. Well, the jury has not decided yet.. 8-)

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  4. These are definitely the right questions to be asking, and I agree that clearing more land to farm crops for biofuel isn't a reasonable long-term solution to the energy problem.

    I wonder what ever happened to the algae stuff?

    -E

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  5. What happened to the algae stuff..?

    Well, at least at

    http://i-r-squared.blogspot.com/2007/05/algal-biodiesel-fact-or-fiction.html

    they seem to have a rather critical opinion on the prospects - backed with a fair amount of facts (or so it looks to me at least.. 8-).. or perhaps rather 8-(..)

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  6. We've been relying on used vegetable oil for years. We run a school in Sihanoukville and all our vehicles and electricity are fueled by our bio-diesel. Here in Cambodia, an oil source hasn't been a problem. We have talked to a selected few Jatropha growers in this region who grow on reclaimed land-mine fields.

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