Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alternative Energy: BioFuel

Ok. I sell electric vehicles for what we'll laughingly call a living. I actually *like* some of them (the Zero S Motorcycle and the Wheego LiFe come to mind). They aren't the answer for every need and locale, but for quite a few, they are just dandy. When gas is getting up near $4.00/ga or better...electric looks better and better.

Biofuels, however, are an obviously bad choice. There's only so much arable land in a given region, and that land can either be dedicated to growing bio-fuel or growing food...and for every acre growing biofuel, that's an acre not growing food - and thus driving the price of food skyward...not a good thing.

Read the article - it has more data than I have energy to present :)

3 comments:

hiroshi_tea said...

I agree. Biofuels made from food crops is a terrible idea. I know Brazil has had a very successful job of using biofuels, but us trying to get that amount of success is like how Khrushchev tried growing corn instead of barley.

Biofuels will be a dead end in this energy chain unless they can figure out how to convert cellulose into ethanol. This keeps us from having to dig into our food stocks for fuel when any plant: edible, invasive, or worthless (kudzu, i'm looking at you) can become a stable source of ethanol.

Phssthpok said...

I still say Biofuel COULD be made to work if they would just expand their thinking. Specifically corn:

1: Oil for bio diesel/svo
2: Use the mash from oil production to make ethanol
3: Wasted ethanol mash gets pressed into pellets for pellet stoves/power generation, or fed to livestock (food creation)

Of course, for such things to work the gummint would have to loosenthe stranglehold on efficient Diesels from europe (74MPG diesel Fiesta anyone?)

AM said...

Algae based biofuels are the only real answer on the alternative energy horizon.

Anytime you have two competing consumers for a crop you drive the price up for both markets (both food and fuel).

Our .gov needs to back off from corn based ethanol and encourage algae. People don't eat much algae and with corn prices going through the roof there is no longer any sort of need for subsidies.