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Biofuel: A Source Of Energy That Replaces Petroleum Usage

1281 words - 6 pages

The holding capacity of the world’s resources is getting progressively pushed to its limits and will continue with the population expected to rise seventy percent by 2050.With the world’s population continuing to rise so too does the consumption of copious amounts of natural recourses including depleting nonrenewable products such as fossil fuels. A combination of alternative energies sources along with the reduction of dependency on fossil fuels can reduce the effects of global warming. In an effort to combat this problem scientists have turned to biofuels as an answer. Biofuels are energy sources that are produced from living organism which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the ...view middle of the document...

According to scientists biofuels reduce global carbon dioxide emissions because during the plants life, photosynthesis filters carbon into usable oxyen. (Petrou & Pappis, 2008). Throughout that time before conversion to cellulosic ethanol it is removing carbon and is completely renewable. The biomass must be equal or greater to the previous biomass to remove a substantial amount of carbon dioxide from the environment. Doubling crops on the same plot of land will allow for greater amount of biomass throughout the year (Tilman et al. 2009). Creating certain harvested biofuels between conventional food crops seasons it would increase biomass without effecting the food yield. Furthermore, there would be a balance between environmental protection as well as food production stability.

Nonfood feedstock provide the best development for biofuels due to their low agricultural input while increasing economic gain. Studies present evidence that biofuels benefit when their biomass is produced on land with low economic value. Switch grass and other woody plants can be converted to create cellulosic ethanol on poor quality land with low use of pesticides (Ragauskas et al. 2006). Very few food staples can be converted since they have a high energy output after being processed. Corn grain ethanol would not be effective because it requires a large amount of pesticides to produce a soil crop. Soybean biodiesel on the other hand needs fertile land however, the benefits outweigh the cost since it takes far less energy to convert biomass into biofuel (Hill et al. 2006). The advantage of cellulosic ethanol being created that it produces more practical energy than any another biofuel on the market without having a high production cost.
It has been predicted that cellulosic ethanol would be competitive against corn grain ethanol however, it would be cost effective to reduce the amount of corn grain ethanol produced because of converging cost. Low input biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol has the potential to provide higher net energy with a lower environmental impact (Hill et al. 2006). These fuels are economically inexpensive compared to petroleum costs since marginal land is used with very little fertilizer needed. Cellulosic ethanol has the potential to fuel supplies with greater environmental benefits than petroleum or current food based biofuels today.
The controversy over biofuels attracts attention due to it might interfere with food production yields. Currently the main global issue is to produce enough crops to feed the increasing world’s population, but the assumption that biofuel and staple crops are correlated is incorrect. Little to no competition would occur to food crops since feed stocks would be used like perennial plants (Tilman et al. 2009). Biofuels are assumed by many, to be created from first generation technology by using sugars, starches and oils however, presently technology has produced fourth generation fuels produced from specially...

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