Friday, May 09, 2014

The Best Reasons For Getting Rid Of Biofuels

Biofuels Will Never Efficiently Replace Conventional Energy Sources

LABELLE, FL. -- Despite government subsidies in the billions of dollars and glowing biofuel industry proclamations, growing plants to turn into fuel is a foolhardy and expensive proposition, certainly not a workable solution to energy needs around the world says author Robert Bryce.

Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute writes this week in BloombergView that "Burning food for fuel is simply a bad idea. In 2012, roughly 40 percent of the entire U.S. corn crop was diverted into ethanol production. U.S. motorists now burn about as much corn in their cars as is fed to all the country’s chickens, turkeys, cattle, pigs and fish combined.

Ike Kiefer, writing for Strategic Studies Quarterly, a U.S. Air Force Journal said our nation's biofuels program is accelerating global warming, whiile giving our competitors and enemies, who don't subsidize biofuel programs, cheaper energy and reducing America's economy to a permanent state of recession.

Kiefer says biofuels bring “an anemic power density of only 0.3 watts per square meter.” But solar photovoltaic panels are about 6 watts per square meter or 20 times more; an average oil well produces 27 watts per square meter; and an average nuclear plant is more than 50 watts per square meter.

The very low power density of plant derived fuels is because of the limits of photosynthesis, the process that converts sunlight into chlorophyll and into energy.

Kiefer says the U.S. would need 700 million acres of corn, about 37 percent of the U.S. landmass, and three times the current amount of all croplands if we were to use ethanol instead of oil for transportation. Making biodiesel fuel from soybeans to replace oil would take more than 3 billion acres, more acres than exists in all the U.S.

Bryce says, "Despite tens of billions in taxpayer money that have been thrown at corn ethanol, soy diesel, algae and the rest, the U.S. economy, and more particularly the U.S. military, has gained nothing."

He cites a study showing biofuels production doubled from 2006 to 2011, but the amount of actual energy produced is only about two-thirds of the heat energy of oil, but required 247 million acres of cropland (more than twice the size of California) to produce, and biofuels are only providing less than one-half of one percent of the world's energy.

Bryce summarizes his article saying, "The objective facts about biofuels -- their low power density, their effect on food prices, their inability to provide even a small fraction of our energy needs -- have been known for years. When it comes to energy production, we need density, and biofuel production is not dense. It diverts arable land from food production and from nature. Biofuel production is the antithesis of green.

1 comment:

  1. Corn and soy are not suitavle for biofuel, true.
    Algae, on the other hand, has higher energy dencity, does not require arable land or clean water, and does not affect fuel prices. So making general statements to simplify a complex matter ends up being simply wrong.