Are biofuels the answer to the fuel crisis?
I was sent this fantastic infographic that got me thinking about biofuel.
It’s quite timely because we’re gearing up for a fuel crisis here in the UK, with panic buying running fuel pumps dry across the country…
On the face of it, biofuels might seem like the perfect alternative to fossil fuels; they are renewable after all.
The trouble is, after you’ve grown the crop, used fertilisers, pesticides and processed the plants into fuel, you’ve consumed a lot of energy. So much so, debate is waging as to whether or not ethanol from corn actually provides as much energy than is required to grow and process it!
But it’s not just about the energy conversion, there are plenty of other issues to be taken into account too.
Here are a few of them off the top of my head:
- Growing crops for fuel could push food prices higher, forcing more people into poverty.
- It doesn’t get to the root of the problem; instead of finding alternative fuel, shouldn’t we drive and fly less?
- If all the corn in the US was made into biofuel it would meet on a small percentage of the country’s fuel needs…
- Ethanol delivers fewer mpg than diesel or petrol so the chances of meeting demand and even lower!
- Biofuels aren’t as green as you think – fossil fuels are still used to turn the crop into a usable fuel.
There are ways to make biofuels from WASTE products however, and this really does get me thinking! By utilising old cooking oil, plant stalks or sawdust perhaps there is a cleaner fuel on the horizon.
We’ve a long way to go though; what do you think the answer is? Can we satisfy our weekly driving / flying habits with alternative fuels or do we need to rethink community and stay closer to home?
Infographics provided by Staveley Head
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