Friday, May 23, 2008

The Strange Case of Biofuel Crops

Diesel prices, wiki


Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward


This is like being caught in a cleft. On the one hand is the spiraling-out-of-control oil price, threatening to stop the engine of quite a few economies around the world. And on the other hand is the growing alarm about the negative impact of biofuel crops on environment; biofuel crops that were once hailed as the perfect, natural solution to our fuel needs are now suspect.

Soybean varieties, wiki


In their first gush of profound observations and statements using exotic terminology such as "well to wheels analysis" and "cradle to grave analysis", scientists told us that not only do biofuel crops work out cheaper than fossil fuels; they also are eco-friendly. Science drives economy, and so farmers around the world got busy chopping down forests and grasslands, and generally converting their real estate usage from growing food to growing biofuels. Governments put in place legislations that encourage people to convert to biofuel crops on mass scale. Now fields as afar as Guangzhou in China and Ahmednagar in India and Darwin in Australia are proud owners of exotic plantation such as jatropha.

ecoworld.com, jatropha image


While the standing crop is still waiting to go under the harvester's thresher, comes another gush of analyses which say that no, no, no, these biofuels crops are not eco-friendly, that they will actually heat up the atmosphere and melt the poles, that some parts of the plant (nuts and leaves) are so toxic that farmers shouldn't touch them with bare hands, that they are susceptible to wildfires and therefore a huge risk to nearby populations, that the solution is worse than the problem it had set out to solve.

Biodiesel sample, wiki


Sigh. Sorry guys, but why don't you make up your minds once and for all?

image by sue_r_b, sxc.hu


While one set of scientists refute, point by point please, the claims made by the other set, we cannot but now wait till they have sorted it out amongst themselves. And while this goes on, airlines are either hiking ticket prices or curtailing flights or both, oil companies are rationing supply of fuels, the friendly neighborhood petrol pump keeps hiking the price of gas every twenty-four hours, and we are slowly and gradually descending into the Middle Age.

image by bradimarte, sxc.hu


It is obvious that there is something inherently wrong in the premise on which the biofuel theory is based. Isn't it time we turned our attention and time and money to some other mechanism which can help us generate energy as naturally as tiny plants do through their tender leaves? With our enormous brains and creativity, why should this task be so difficult?

image by scol22, sxc.hu


The X-Prize Foundation has recently announced a USD 100 million prize to any individual or team who or which can come up with a solution that can generate the same or better quantum of energy compared to an equivalent unit of fossil fuel, be cheaper, and also possess none of the eco-hostility of the traditional fuels. Let's hope it motivates the right brains before it is too late.

image by de_lima, sxc.hu

2 comments:

  1. This fuel energy problem seems going around the bush!but, nature itself has provided the solution as it evolve.

    I am from the Philippines and i know there is a great deposit and perpetual supply of "Geoterium" here for the whole world! This was explored and tested, and ready for use! but, in the name of selfish world economy or elite personal economy, they still keep pushing the old dangerous fossil fuel and may have a hand in vanishing this pure natural eco-friendly heavy water or liquid hydrogen!

    "For evil to triumph, good men should just do nothing!"

    deovenari@yahoo.com

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  2. geoterium exists since marcos time,so with heavy water in the marshland which is no mans land.why??????
    for the last 4 years roads to no where were built,so with port both sea and air guess what????
    as the saying goes ..land that occupied by muslim yield black gold

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