Wednesday, 13 February 2008


Ethanol is sometimes praised as the great fuel of the future, a biofuel which is significantly decreasing carbon dioxide emission. In most cases this is just not true and ethanol has some other setbacks.

The European Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warns that “the current push to expand the use of biofuels is creating unsustainable tensions that will disrupt markets without generating significant environmental benefits. The ethanol is generally produced from sugarcanes, wheat or corn. the ethanol produced contains less energy than an equal amount of gasolin. The general problem is that to produce the raw material for ethanol often large areas of forest are burned down creating large emissions. In the end the ethanol is often even giving more emissions than gasolin. Furthermore, cultivation for ethanol production is taking up large areas that would be needed to produce food. For example, filling up one SUV fuel tank one time with ethanol uses enough corn to feed one person for a year.

Another solution is distilling ethanol from cellulose, which will not compete with food production. However, this is depleting the soil where it is grown. Also the production of ethanol requires energy, which often comes from natural gas or oil.

Biofuels is the future, but there needs to be significant development before they can make any real changes. The use of ethanol is more important as a indication of willingness to change, than as a solution for reducing emissions.

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