Biofuel

Biofuel bollocks

When fuel and food compete for the same resources, and there is a shortage, then you wouldn’t be able to find a single economist who would tell you that prices would not be affected for fuel, food or both as they compete for inputs.

The only way to solve that would be to regulate the market, and nothing good can come of that either.

Bioenergy produced from crops does not threaten food supplies, researchers funded by the US government, World Bank and others say in a report, dealing a potential blow to critics of the country’s biofuels program.

There is no clear relationship between biofuels and higher prices that threaten access to food, as some prior analysis has suggested, according to the research partly funded by the US Department of Energy.

“There may not be as tight a link as people think” between commodities prices and food security, Siwa Msangi, a co-author of the paper and senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Environmentalists and others have long argued that the increased use of ethanol, produced from corn in the US and sugarcane in Brazil, threatens global food security, which the World Health Organisation defines as “access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food”.   Read more »

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than petrol for global warming

Uh oh…more bad news for those proponents of biofuels…the so-called green fuels are actually worse for the environment.

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

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Let me guess…bio-fuels?

I’ll bet that various wombles will start to suggest that Pacific nations use bio-fuels instead of diesel. While you may think that has merit it actually doesn’t. About the only thing available is coconut oil, and that is a tradeable commodity on world markets. If you divert production from copra and edible oils into fuel then everyone loses. Although the country would no longer use foreign cash reserves to buy diesel it would also not earn foreign cash either from its exports.

It is one of the other not both. Capacity cannot and will not ever be increased. I have several folders of research on this, especially in Samoa. Bio-fuel works on a small scale…for say a school, or a village, but it fails when you have to start fuelling massive power stations. The hardest part is collecting the feed-stock and when people want $2 a coconut to pick them up it fails utterly.

Several Pacific Island Prime Ministers are in Auckland today for a summit to drum up money to reduce the islands’ dependence on diesel for energy.  Read more »