Monday, November 29, 2010

Biofue vs. Regualr gasoline.


Biofuel and regular gasoline are both two types of energy used for fueling cars. Energy is the ability to do work. In this case energy is the ability to move a car. Regular Gasoline is a non-renewable resource that many people tend to use for their car fuel. Biofuel is a renewable resource that comes from corn that farmers produced. Currently there have been many discussions about the two on which one is a better car fuel.

Biofuel has been seen as the solution for future car fuel, but in order to make biofuel you need energy. Meaning in order to make more Corn for biofuel you need to use energy to process the corn into a fuel, and currently most of the energy used to make this fuel is coal and natural gas which are non-renewable resources. The highest amount of corn based biofuel used in a car can only go up to 85% biofuel and 15% gasoline. Biofuel has a EROEI ratio of 1.34. (EROEI is the ratio of how much energy is invested to how much energy you get out) This means that for every unit of energy used to make the fuel you only get 1.34 unit of biofuel, so if you wanted to be really be green in using biofuel as the energy to make the biofuel rather than coal or natural gas you would be keeping ¾ of the biofuel you made this year into making more for the next year. Only ¼ of the biofuel you made would actually go to be made as a fuel. This shows that using biofuel as car fuel can’t work as it takes too much energy just to make it without using nonrenewable resources. Some would say that oil isn’t a renewable resource and we can’t keep using it. Yes that is true there will not be enough oil eventually to continue being a fuel or an energy source, but even if you convert every single field in the in the U.S into a corn field for biofuel you will not have enough biofuel to run the U.S. Oil may not be able to be an energy source in the future, but corn can’t even be the source of energy today.



Biofuel made from corn has been seen to be the solution to global warming. The theory is that if you use biofuel you will have a zero CO2 output in total even if a car running on biofuel emits CO2, but any CO2 realest when used is taken away because the CO2 was sucked up when the biofuel was a plant. This argument doesn’t hold water. When you actually put it to the test in the real world you see in order to have Biofuel you need to plant more crops, but where? If you take Grassland in the U.S, and change it into a field of Corn for biofuel CO2 even before you start planting will be released. Grass and trees stores Carbon in them in fact the amount of Carbon in Plants across the world stores 3 times the amount of Carbon in the atmosphere , so when plants are cut there Carbon goes out and is transformed into CO2 that goes out into the atmosphere. Meaning when you change grassland to a field of corn 134 Metric tons of CO2 will be released per hector. In order to actually pay off this 134 metric tons of CO2 it will take 93 years of using that land for Biofuel and nothing else. Changing jungles or rain forest into corn fields will take centuries to pay off the carbon debt. By this time there won’t be any oil left to mix the oil with biofuel. This proves that biofuel isn’t as green as it claims to be. Some would say that Oil is no greener. True, but if we instead plant more trees rather than making more corn fields we could have more forest sucking up more CO2 than the amount Cars create running on Oil.

In the future we should look at different sources of biofuel like cellulose a biofuel that comes from waste products, but having looked at the impacts that corn made biofuel can do environmentally, and seeing how inefficiently it is corn based biofuel is defiantly not the answer to Global warming or a proper alternative to regular gasoline.




2 comments:

  1. This is why no reputable environmentalists endorse biofuels other than those made from waste products.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good points. Consider also the effect of biofuel on commodities prices. In 2008, the world experienced a massive food crisis. Food riots broke out in several third world locations and literally millions went hungry and starved to death.

    When governments mandate a percentage of motor fuel to be biofuel, they skew the market and create upward pressure on commodity prices. Speculation on corn becomes less speculative and more of a sure thing.

    CBC News Network aired the documentary Food Inc. last night. Among the more interesting points made was the assertion that almost all North American food production traces back to corn.

    The corn lobby is perhaps the strongest of any pressure groups persuading Washington to enact favourable policies. Support for biofuel, despite the horrific consequences re hunger, is popular in the US (and Canadian) heartland.

    JB

    ReplyDelete

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