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Biofuels

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Biofuels: The Good, the Bad and theSuperbad

Biofuels: The Good, the Bad and theSuperbad

Published in: Education, Technology, Business

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  • 1. BIOFUELS:  THE GOOD, THE BAD AND  THE UGLY ­E25 Bonus Project ­May 22, 2009
  • 2. THE GOOD  Creates new jobs:     200,000  (refineries) + 800,000      (related fields – R&D etc) by 2022  $$: •   Economic growth with new jobs, investments of $37b •   Save $350bn in oil imports until  2022  Stepping stone to future:       “Bridge” to more efficient products like cellulosic ethanol  Quicker impact:     Fewer regulatory hoops for commercializing biofuel  technology than for medical therapies 
  • 3. THE GOOD  Environmentally       Favorable:      Positive environmental       externalities ­ 22% reduction       in emissions vs. gas  Energy Diversification:        ­ Independence from traditional           sources of energy        ­ Diversifying away from oil concentration in Middle East “What is important for energy diversification via biofuels is that there  be alternative, reliable, and inexpensive sources of fuels from suppliers  that are not traditional oil producers. As substitutes, the prices of  biofuels and petroleum products will equilibrate in a free trade regime  on the international market.” (Knowledge Exchange Series)      
  • 4. THE BAD  Energy Inefficient:       Energy­output < Energy­input (by  29%/gallon of ethanol)  Unsustainable Cheap Prices:     With increasing demand for sugar and  corn for biofuels,  their prices won’t  stay low  cost of producing biofuels  will rise “The basic problem with most biofuels is amazingly  simple: Using land to grow fuel leads to the destruction  of forests, wetlands and grasslands that store enormous  amounts of carbon.” (NY Times)
  • 5. THE UGLY  Ethical Dilemma:  Food Source:         With a large impoverished  population, inefficient use of food  resources may not gain immense  popularity  Compensation:         Famers receive minimal profits  Environmental Degradation:       Soil erosion; immense insecticides,  herbicides use; water/air pollution “Cutting down a slice of carbon­capturing forest in  order to plant corn for clean­burning ethanol does not 
  • 6. CNBC Video! Biofuels Gone Bad... On June 7, 2008, “Britain became the first Western nation to announce  that its biofuel production will be curbed, since it’s likely causing rising  food prices and rainforest destruction.” Biofuels could sink 10.7 million Indians into poverty and force grain prices  up in the European Union by 15 percent.” (Popsi.com)