Skip to comments.Fuels Rush In (Biofuels May Cause More Pollution)
Posted on 05/14/2007 2:16:01 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Climate Change: A Danish commission looks at the negative effect of biofuels on the environment as a new study shows ethanol use may actually increase pollution. The Kyoto deal is full of unintended consequences.
The recently formed Cramer Commission, named after Dutch Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer, who chaired it before entering the cabinet, was formed to develop ways to ensure that crops used to create biofuels as replacements for oil and gas don't do more harm than good.
It seems that in the rush to develop these alternative fuels, forests in Asia have been burned to clear land for palm oil along with large swaths of the Amazon rain forest being stripped of diverse vegetation for soy and sugar plantations used to produce the raw material for making ethanol.
The commission's fears are justified.
Marcel Silvius, a climate expert at Wetlands International in the Netherlands, recently led a team that compared the benefits of palm oil to the ecological harm from clearing virgin Asian rain forests for new plantations.
He concluded that as a fuel palm oil was more like snake oil, noting: "As a biofuel, it's a failure."
Palm oil's attractiveness is that it is relatively cheap and can be used in existing power stations. It is even said to be, to use Al Gore's favorite phrase, "carbon-neutral," in that it absorbs as much carbon dioxide during growth as it emits when burned as fuel.
Certainly the European Union likes it, with palm oil consumption fueled by subsidies in many EU member states. EU imports have risen 65% since 2002.
The four-year study in Indonesia and Malaysia, where 85% of commercial palm oil is grown, by a team from Wetlands, Delft Hydraulics and the Alterra Research Center of Wageningen University, details the environmental harm caused by the use of palm oil as an alternative energy source.
The study found that 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide go up in smoke every year from rain forest fires set to clear new land for biofuel plantations.
Another 600 million tons seeps into the air from drained peat swamps. That 2 billion tons of CO2 constitutes 8% of the earth's total fossil fuel emissions.
In the U.S., the alternative fuel du jour is ethanol. It can be made from corn or sugar or perhaps even wood chips and leftover copies of the New York Times. But here too there are consequences to its use that may exceed any benefits.
We already know that ethanol consumes more energy in its manufacture than it produces when consumed, that it is difficult to transport and evaporates easily.
We also know that using virtually all available land to produce an ethanol crop like corn would make only a small dent in our energy mix, and that by competing with crops grown for food, raises food costs.
A study just published by Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor, in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology, adds another consequence that 200 more people would die each year from respiratory problems if all U.S. cars ran on ethanol.
Most of these additional deaths would occur in, surprise, Los Angeles.
According to Jacobson, ethanol actually produces more hydrocarbons than gasoline and less nitrogen oxide. Ethanol produces longer-lasting chemicals that eventually turn into hydrocarbons spread over a larger area.
The actual science is complicated but in an area like L.A. when nitrogen oxide reach a certain level, it actually begins eating up some of the ozone. So less is bad, not good.
The first rule of environmentalism, like medicine, should be to do no harm. Or to put it in terms the greenies understand, are they destroying the earth in order to save it?
this is crap, from the usual whores of Big Oil.
biofuel is unstoppable.
This article is hilarious...for provoking such responses as yours. :)
Not all biofuel have to be ethanol. This articles focusing on the negative side of industry, which is actually driven for ‘semi-valid’ reasons...not just greenies...although european policies aren’t helping.
Algae biomass is probably the only good way to make biodiesels. The only issues I can see (other than cost) is water usage. But generally it’s the way to go.
How about switchgrass and waste wood?
I’m not as familiar with that. I would assume it produce more fuel (than other methods...other than algae). I’m not sure of the enviromental effects of such. Probably not much. Although ethanol fuels would require changes in infrastructure. Biodiesels would be less of head-ache, because much of the structure already exists.
My preferences are with algae, because it can be produced in deserts, and it can combine with coal power plants ie it can siphone off a sigificant amount of carbon from them. It’s a ‘food’. It can also use waste as food....so it’s an all around way of producing fuel. Cost seems to be the only real big issue.
Oh, and theoretically it can produce higher yields than any other biomass. I guess theory and practice are two different things.
There are many reasons,....
It is also subsidized by the feds at 50 cents/gallon. There is a protective tariff at 51 cents/gallon. It drives up food costs. Oh, and the corn it comes from is a subsidized crop.
Those who support this collectivist energy utopia will also enjoy Hillarycare.
Is there a bigger pimp than Archer Daniels Midland?
I know how to save the rain forests:
Drill holes in the ground and suck oil out of them.
the raghead ratio is more than ten to one.
from one gallon of petroleum, results in
more than ten times that energy, in ethanol. (US, corn)
Do you have a problem with that?
Oil is bio fuel. Where do you think it comes from, Mars? Oil is a natural substance. Hydrogen, oxygen and carbon.
If ethanol subsidies and mandates were anything but a gift from Uncle Sam to Archer Daniels Midland, than why is there a tax on imported ethanol from Brazil?
Actually, this is a debated point. There is growing evdience that hydrocarbons are geological and not biological.
the tarrif just about cancels the subsidy.
In addition to the comma splice in this statement, it is my understanding that this is not correct. Corn ethanol, while it is not a very efficient use of land, is nevertheless a net energy gain.
Here’s a picture of my concept car.
So it isn’t the biofuels that are the culprit, it is the idiots burning vast forrests and draining swamps to grow the ingredients... So blame the fuels themselves.
ANd here we are in the US - where farmers have been growing surpluss grains for years under federal subsidies. Now that there is a demand for the grains (particularly corn), we are told that the price of all derrivatives is skyrocketing (despite the previous over supply and regulated pricing). It all boils down to some insane profits for the mills and for the other “middlemen”. And now we hear some folks trying to say it is more polluting...
Rest In Peace, old friend, your work is finished.......
If you want on or off the DIESEL "KnOcK" LIST just FReepmail me........
This is a fairly HIGH VOLUME ping list on some days......
That was a very good post.
to post 18
the liquid fuel burned to produce
the ethanol with the equivalent energy
of ONE gallon of petroleum.
is ONE-TENTH of a gallon.
that cuts the ragheads out of the deal.
The 2.0 billion tons of CO2 produced by the Palm Oil industry each year would be equal to the emissions from ALL passenger cars world-wide each year.
The greenies are so bad at basic math. It is part of the reason they are green. They are emotional thinkers rather than logical thinkers.
You’re confused about crop subsidies.
All energy comes or came from at one time.....gasp.....THE SUN.
I think there are other types of energy that come from the sun.
the domestc ethanol is subsidized, but the imported ethanol is taxed, so they don’t cancel each other out, rather they both benefit adm at the expense of american consumer/taxpayers.
“The study found that 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide go up in smoke every year from rain forest fires set to clear new land for biofuel plantations.”
I thought we had cut down all the rainforests already. That is what I was told by my teachers in 1984.
Anyone who thinks the feds should dictate how much ethanol is produced from a taxpayer subsidized crop, protected by tariffs, and subsidized by the gallon will also enjoy Hillarycare.
I am amazed that otherwise conservative Freepers have jumped on this purely politically driven scheme.
There are always trade offs and pros and cons. However, in this article, there is no frame of referance. Palm oil would be a godsend during an oil embargo, for instance. As for government, I remember when NTSA was in the hotseat over tires and rollovers, Clinton nominated a beautiful blonde to take over. Dr Kay Bailey later turned up as a terrorism expert on NBC. In reality, she was a psychiatrist. So much for expertise. In DC it is all psychobabble and spin.
what part about,
50 is kinda close to 51,
don’t you get?
Now, if you could just punch it up a little bit, with some illegible charts, rants, insulting terms for any opposition, obvious red herrings, quotes from some film celebs instead of a real researcher...maybe a politician or two would listen.
Clinton nominated a hot blond...No way.
You can scream it all you want, but corn isn’t a “subsidized” crop. The market price of corn exceeds FSA target prices.
Ethanol make greenies of all political parties feel good. The program fleeces the taxpayer, it gouges the consumer and ultimately will have little to no positive effect on our energy independence.
Okay, but more accurately, it exceeds government welfare prices for farmers.
That’s fine, but because the market price of corn exceeds government target prices, corn growers don’t receive welfare. Much as, I suppose, because you have a job which exceeds minimum income standards you don’t receive welfare either.
Ah, no. Stars have precursors, dust. In other words, there is a before energy state before stars, a state or states of energy that, sometimes, forms into stars.
Well then, lets be more fundemental. Oil is ‘enviro’ fuel.
Ethanol is merely a not very efficient method of turning solar energy into liquid fuel. The article uncited reference to ethanol needing more energy to produce than it contains is almost certainly the result of bad numbers and/or old numbers (probably both). Even the backers of ethanol only claim that they get 1.6 units of energy for every one unit of non-solar energy. There are several much more efficient methods to produce transportable fuel from solar energy. The ones that I know about are bio-diesel (probably only a niche fuel in the end); Hydrogen; and butanol if you believe BP's press releases.
“Thats fine, but because the market price of corn exceeds government target prices, corn growers dont receive welfare. Much as, I suppose, because you have a job which exceeds minimum income standards you dont receive welfare either.”
I’d love to have “government target prices” to insulate me from market realities. I’m thinking about starting my own Video Game Tester’s Union. Anyone wanna join? It’ll be great. We can form our own voting block (comprised mostly of high school dropouts and college dormrats). We can pressure some federal reps into introducing legislation which will establish a “minimum income standard” for us. If they don’t then we can show solidarity by voting someone into office who will pander to us. Any takers?