I just wrote this comment for Greenadine’s blog post Biofuel or Food… .
This is only the tip of several of my pet icebergs – and I need to do a healthy chunk of research before I spout off much more, but here’s what came easily to mind:
Just had to “check you out” after seeing your comment on Mother Earth’s blog :)!
… and these 2 posts above hit a couple of my buttons ~
I, too, have been getting more and more upset about the newly-popular bio-fuel production methods over the last couple years.
(Full-disclosure: I drive a 2006 diesel-powered VW Jetta. Chose it partly *because* it could be set up to use closer-to-home-made fuel (used fryer oil, even!). Also, partly because of the incredible support community at Fred’sTDIClub.com. Also, because it gets 40+ miles per gallon!)
Anyway, ethanol (when made from corn) actually results in negative energy – it takes more units of work (ergs? watts? calories? dunno the right term) to grow and convert the stuff than burning it in an internal-combustion engine (of the technology currently available) produces for the end-user…
I’m not sure of the numbers for soy-sourced bio-diesel (the most commonly available type in the US), but my problem with the current big-business approach to that product is exactly the same ~
How short-sighted and stupid is it to use FOOD for FUEL!!!
It’s exactly like “eating the seed-corn”, only that’s usually a choice made by one family about their *own* seed-corn. Corporate Bio-Fuel Production is playing havoc with the whole world’s food!
When any raw material switches from being a *by-product* of some other system to being the raison d’être – the economic web is in for a serious shake-up, and that’s what’s happening now.
I don’t know (I’m not an Economist, Jim!) if this mess was or could have been anticipated, but we certainly need to change the direction things are going, and soon! I definitely don’t think that more legislation (way too many “unforeseen outcomes” are likely to result; plus, I firmly believe in Freedom of Choice!) is the way to go, probably more grass-roots pressure on the corporations, and education of the consumers – And, of course, more investigation of alternatives for all the things we get out of petroleum: energy, and petrochemicals (did you know that includes both polyester and nylon? I didn’t, until just now).
But let’s not tar *all* bio-fuels with the same brush ~ the problem is more with the current production systems and economic incentive programs.
Thanks again for providing the soap-box, Nadine! It’s now bed-time for this new reader!