BioFuels – Worse For Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

12 05 2016

Dale BertramMany studies have been performed on biofuels as opposed to gasoline and the latest three-year study was conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Their researchers say that biofuels actually generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline.  This $500,000 study revealed that taking crop residue from cornfields actually generates 50 to 70 grams of carbon dioxide per each magajoule of biofuel energy produced.  In lay terms this means that the annual total emissions of this biofuel is seven percent higher than gasoline emissions!

They were wondering if this was the case only if massive amounts of leftover corn plants were used but further research shows that it doesn’t matter.  It is the same if small amounts of residue is used or if all of it is stripped and used…the emissions remained the same.

Many companies that started out to use “corn stover” and not the actual corn seemed a more positive step but even with the support of the federal government these companies have not been able to keep up with the amounts needed commercially.  In 2012 they were supposed to produce 500 million gallons of biofuel but only managed 20,069 gallons of the cellulosic ethanol.  Many of these companies actually had to go out of business.

It was hoped that just using the “corn stover” and not the actual corn would quieten those who are aggrieved that a food crop was being used for fuel, causing a shortage of actual corn as food resulting in food prices rising. This “corn stover” method currently has the support of the federal government and its mandates and despite the fact that so many biofuel companies have folded there are still those who are carrying on in spite of the many challenges.

POET and DSM Advanced Biofuels in Iowa are planning to produce 20 million gallons of corn stover fuel this year and hope to keep the production going for many years to come.  There is still much research to be done to see if this is sustainable and to decide if it can produce less emissions than gasoline going forward.  There is much talk that the study didn’t take into account such things as how managing soil carbon and land management will make a difference.  Those of us at Fairway Auto Repair, like many in Phoenix, are anxious to hear the findings as they learn more. We will simply have to wait and see.

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One response

22 05 2016
estherlaups

Plus, the demand for biofuels as somewhat “renewable energy” (but definitely not green energy) is too large, indonesia and malaysia burn too much carbon sinks/their own rainforests, in order to plant the new palm oil plantations.
Definitely worse by far!

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