Yesterday I detailed what seems to be a slow demise of nuclear power and today I will touch upon the possibility of biofuels as a future source of “greener” energy. As you know, biofuels (particularly grain ethanol) have come under fire recently. I have even soured a bit on the prospects of grain ethanol, even though I know many people in the industry and know that they have good intentions. Now a bigger hitter than myself is weighing in – the World Bank. The World Bank has called for an end to biofuel subsidies in order to increase food security and lower the price of grains. I know that ethanol proponents can produce studies that show very little effect on the price of food, but if grains were not being used for ethanol they would certainly be available to feed animals or people.
It has also been found that biofuels are not as “green” as thought at first glance. A recent study that looked at the airline industry found that depending on what biofuel was used and where it came from, it could be up to 10 times worse for the environment than traditional fossil fuels. The simple fact is that oil is still very easily drawn from the ground sometimes refined very nearby AND these locations are often near major airports. When you factor in growing a biofuel crop, making the fuel, and all the transportation to get the fuel to the airplanes, many biofuels just aren’t as “green” as originally hoped.
Have a nice Thursday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.