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Pros and Cons of Biofuels

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Pros and Cons of Biofuels Empty Pros and Cons of Biofuels

Post  hgforsajk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:52 pm

What are Biofuels?

According to, biofuels are “Fuel derived from organic matter (obtained directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes) instead of from fossil products”.

Biofuels are taken from crops. The most common crops used are corn and sugarcane.

Pros of Biofuels

Biofuels are cleaner than the petroleum products used for energy today. They produce less air pollution and greenhouse gases as compared to the petroleum fuels used today.

At present mankind is using up fossil fuel resources at an alarming rate, and often damaging the environment in order to extract them. If we go on relying on fossil fuels they will one day run out, and not only will our descendants no longer have viable energy reserves, but they will also have to cope with the ecological damage coal, oil and gas extraction have inflicted on the earth. Making fuel from crops provides a sustainable solution.

Biofuels reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide responsible for global climate change. As with fossil fuels, burning biodiesel or ethanol to drive an engine or generate electricity releases carbon into the atmosphere. Unlike with fossil fuels, however, growing the plants from which biofuels are made takes carbon from the air, so overall the process is carbon neutral.

The International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2006 concludes that rising oil demand, if left unchecked, would accentuate the consuming countries' vulnerability to a severe supply disruption and resulting price shock. According to Francisco Blanch, a commodity strategist for Merrill Lynch, crude oil would be trading 15 per cent higher and gasoline would be as much as 25 per cent more expensive, if it were not for biofuels, which means that biofuels apparently prevent the prices of gasoline from rising even more dramatically than they do now.

Cons of Biofuels

More land would be required to be cultivated for Biofuel production. This is already considered a major problem, as it may result in a loss of habitat for various species of plants and animals. Biofuel crops will also compete for the land of food crops, and food production may decrease in the event of a decision to grow biofuel crops, which will cause food prices to inflate. Biofuels are usually taken from crops such as corn and sugar, which will divert these crops from the food market into the production of biofuels. Biofuel production will inflate the prices of these crops in the market. A paper on the 2007-08 food crisis by the World Bank Development Prospect Group, leaked in 2008, said US and EU biofuel production was responsible for 70 to 75 per cent of the food price rises, against 3 per cent admitted by the USDA.

Although there is less carbon dioxide emission from the use of biofuels the process to produce biofuels emits a significant amount of Carbon Dioxide.

Some kinds of biofuels require modifications to vehicle engines and they have not been used as a fuel replacement yet. They have only been used as additives.

Biofuels are expensive. America subsidized the biofuel industry with $5.7 billion in 2011. At oil prices below $US70 a barrel (as of February 2010), corn-based ethanol is about the same price at the pump as normal petroleum fuels - not counting what taxpayers have lost in subsidies.


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