12 July 2007

Why Biofuels Are Bonkers, Part 3875

I knew biofuels were environmentally bad news, but it seems that they are even worse than I imagined:

Glub, glub. The plant consumes over a million kilos of corn per day. That’s good news for area farmers especially as the price has almost doubled due to high demand. The bad news is that our current agricultural system is petroleum-soaked. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers, machinery, irrigation pumps, and grain transport all depend on the stuff. Sustainable Table reports that each acre of corn, just in chemical pesticides and fertilizers, requires 5.5 gallons of petroleum .

Glub, glub. The plant uses 275 tons of coal a day, trucked down from Wyoming. Five rail cars, powered by diesel engines, head east with the finished ethanol each day.

Shluurrp. The plant uses 600,000 gallons of water every day to produce 150,000 gallons of ethanol. This water figure doesn’t account for pumped irrigation water (requiring petroleum) during corn cultivation.

So, nominally bio-friendly biofuels actually require lots of concretely polluting petrol and coal in order to be manufactured. So, wouldn't it just be easier to spend a little more time working on electric cars, renewable energy, you know, all that boring old stuff that might actually mitigate things, instead of creating this Escheresque staircase of pointless energy transmutation?

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