Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Study IDs Energy Gains and Eviro Impact of Biofuels

Specifically corn ethanol and soybean biodiesel. The report shows that they both produce more energy than what it takes to produce the fuels. This has been a sticky point since other research had shown otherwise. However, soybean biodiesel is the cleanest of the bunch, reducing greenhouse emissions by 41%. Plus soybeans do not need the same chemicals that are normally used with crops and could reduce the chance of polluting ground water.

Article: Researchers Identify Energy Gains And Environmental Impacts Of Corn Ethanol And Soybean Biodiesel
The amount of energy each returns differs greatly, however. Soybean biodiesel returns 93 percent more energy than is used to produce it, while corn grain ethanol currently provides only 25 percent more energy.

Still, the researchers caution that neither biofuel can come close to meeting the growing demand for alternatives to petroleum. Dedicating all current U.S. corn and soybean production to biofuels would meet only 12 percent of gasoline demand and 6 percent of diesel demand. Meanwhile, global population growth and increasingly affluent societies will increase demand for corn and soybeans for food.

The authors showed that the environmental impacts of the two biofuels also differ. Soybean biodiesel produces 41 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel fuel whereas corn grain ethanol produces 12 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.

technorati tags: , , , , , ,