Monday, 31 March 2008

Biofuels a dead end

There have been a lot of whispers and rumours about the lack of fitness of biofuels to replace fossil fuels. Personally I thought that biofuel engines would have to be significantly more efficient than comparable fossil fuel engines or the rate of return (energy wise) would be quiet low, something they don't appear to be - mainly regular diesel engines.

In addition, over the past year I have read reports of the decline of grain stocks as more and more biofuel crops are being grown which must be a recipe for disaster as the world population continues to spiral upward.

But theres another angle as Skeptico weighs in with his thoughts about a recent Time article which shows forests are being cleared specifically to grow these crops - Madness!

There was just one flaw in the calculation: the studies all credited fuel crops for sequestering carbon, but no one checked whether the crops would ultimately replace vegetation and soils that sucked up even more carbon. It was as if the science world assumed biofuels would be grown in parking lots. The deforestation of Indonesia has shown that's not the case. It turns out that the carbon lost when wilderness is razed overwhelms the gains from cleaner-burning fuels.