Concerns about efforts to foster the biofuel boom

Aug 17, 2011

Despite growing evidence that biofuels may not be the cure-all once envisioned, many countries are still rushing headlong with biofuels development policies that experts say are having negative as well as positive impacts on the sustainable-energy dream. That's the topic of the cover story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

In the article, C&EN Contributing Editor Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay points out that belief in biofuels' ability to supply fuel for cars and trucks dates to 1925, when automobile pioneer Henry Ford predicted that plants would be the transportation fuel-of-the-future. That prediction became enshrined in government policies over the last decade as the United States and more than 50 other countries began efforts to integrate biofuels into the fuel supply.

"Producing fuel crops that would meet a country's domestic needs, revitalize rural economies, and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions appeared to be a one-size-fits-all solution," the article states. With scientific research and practical experience, a more realistic view of biofuels' potential has emerged. With it come concerns about government policies involving use of corn and other food crops for production, for instance, and the environmental impact of the biofuel industry.

Explore further: Science to the rescue of art

More information: "Examining Biofuels Policy": pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/89/8933cover.html

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3432682
1 / 5 (1) Aug 17, 2011
Biofuels are unpopular. They raise the price of food worldwide. They are consuming 40% of the US corn crop, 25% of the entire grain crop. Food shortages kill people. Biofuels have no net energy benefit. Burning food is not smart. Time to get all governments out of this market-breaking, money-wasting, poor-killing racket.
KingDWS
not rated yet Aug 17, 2011
There are biofuels that are not derived from food crops but from waste or fallow crops. I agree that burning food does not make sense but burning bio-diesel or bio-ethanol derived from a cellulose waste or algae source is definitely not in the same category. I didn't see where they broke out any thing but simply painted all biofuel with the same brush.