Use of biofuels, biodiesel, bioethanol etc is it feasible, ethical, sustainable and environmental?

Hi Dave and Chris
Can I add my bit?
UK homegrown biofuel could, at extreme, only supply 3 or 4% of UK transport fuel.
Ethanol is such poor EROEI and competes directly with food, wheat, sugar, it should not count.
We only have ~6M hectares of ploughable land (as in WWII). The figures for WWII are sobering and illustrate for example the limited supply of milk and meat from  permanent grass pasture. We had tight rationing and still needed to import 1/3 of all our calories. Now with 61M people we have about 4 persons per acre of cultivable arable land. Even if the yield per acre of wheat is now double, because modern varieties can use much higher NPK input, we would see biofuels increase imports of both food and, from very dubious sources, vegetable oil.
Oil Seed is better than ethanol but must be grown in rotation and realistically could supply considerably less than the 5 – 6% of UK diesel demand that might be reached if the maximum possible OSR crop were all devoted to diesel.
This means large imports of bio-oil if refineries are to reach an economic critical throughput.
In which above cases, Dave A’s concerns apply in spades.(Are you aware that already there are extant planning applications for power stations that will burn imported vegetable oil; actually Palm Oil? An appalling waste IMHO.)
A similar case for biofuel / diesel increasing net imports for EU as a whole is made by JRC Reports to the EC.

Gasification of coppice energy crops grown on poorer ground and under poorer growing conditions might supply another few % if a case could be made for changing our transport to NG (gas) driven. Not going to happen? We are not US of A. Savings and electricity from renewables / nuclear for transport seems better way to go.
best
Phil
— On Sun, 9/5/10, dave andrews <> wrote:
From: dave andrews <

Hi Chris – thank you for inviting me to pontificate!!!  (not that I need much encouragement)
 
I am only against bio diesel etc when it involves chopping down perfectly good rain forest, or Savannah or the other land category in South America no one has ever heard of, and growing oil crops; or turning grain production into petrol etc.
 
It has been shown that all of these are very dubious in terms of carbon savings and very bad for orangutans.
 
I would be in favour of Sea Water Green House, plus ADRECS to create fresh water and to create NEW biomass in deserts along with renewable electricity  which could then be converted into some sort of bio fuel. Some of the carbon residues could be sequestrated.
 
That works for me.
 
As you know I am pretty keen on ammonia as a fuel source for heavy vehicles, planes etc.
 
And of course we should have far less personal transport and more directly powered electric transport such as trams and railways.
 
And of course, coal can readily be made into fuel and with CCS…….not so much of a problem.
 
best
 
Dave A
 
On 8 May 2010 22:55, Chris Hodrien < wrote:
> Dave, I hadn’t hoisted in that you were quite so ‘anti’ bio-diesel (and
> liquid biofuels in general?).
> It seems to me that they have a legitimate transport role (especially for
> air travel),  though smaller than once thought because of ‘fuel vs. food’
> and ‘fuel vs. forest’ issues, and that the attraction of refining into a
> product compatible with retrofitting into all the millions of existing
> engines on the road (while recognising the resulting refining costs + energy
> losses) were self-evident. So I would be interested in a bit more detail on
> your own arguments against it, especially where (what end-uses) you think
> that ‘available’ biomass (wastes if nothing else) should go instead. I am
> quite amenable if you want to argue that animal/human food products are
> higher ‘value-added’ than fuels, if that’s part of it – you might well be
> right! Rgds,  Chris.

One comment on “Use of biofuels, biodiesel, bioethanol etc is it feasible, ethical, sustainable and environmental?

  1. We need:

    Less energy use, less personal transport and more communal transport in cities and towns.

    Improved long distance and high speed rail services and less short haul air travel.

    Goods should go by water or rail, bring back airships for air travel.

    If we gave back our cities to people we would have much better life styles. Our problems are that we designed our cities for cars not people.

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