Is Biofuel Craze a Mirage?
In September 2007, Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter for Times Online, warned us that we may need to jump off the biofuel bandwagon. Calculation showed that rapeseed and maize biodiesels produced up to 50-70% more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels. Maize, is the main crop being used to create biofuels in the US; rapeseed in the main crop in Europe.
As published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, a team of research scientists from Britain, US and Germany found that the use of biofuels released twice as much nitrous oxide as what was thought previously. And nitrous oxide is 296 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide!
Is the biofuel answer to global warming an extravagant mirage?
Other problems arise with the advent of huge production of crops to create biofuels.
Deforestation of our rainforests and other lands to provide enough space is a big one. We face more deforestation in Brazil. The environmental group, Friends of the Earth, have already determined that almost 90% of deforestation in Malaysia between 1985 and 2000 was done to create palm oil plantations, palm oil being a cheap means of producing biofuel.
Some 12 million acres are needed to meet the U.S. demand for ethanol. Where will we get enough land to grow all that corn? How much will it take from food crops? U.S. farmers are predicted to plant some 90.5 million acres of corn in 2008, the highest since 1944. Corn prices in the grocery stores were up by one half in 2007; how high will they go?
A guest editorial in the February 18th Tampa Bay Times suggested that the production of ethanol from corn may use nearly as much or even more energy than it yields.
In his state of union speech, George Bush recommended that the country invest in Advance Battery Technology to solve the energy crisis.
Electric cars are on the rise; however, the question remains, where does the power that goes into the batteries come from?
Emanuel Hillmann, CEO of Battery Power Solutions, which markets Battery Life Saver, a product invented by the late Charles Van Breemen, forwards the concept of energy conservation and energy efficiency.
“The effort to move from fossil fuel to biofuel is laudable, however, much is to be gained by advancing energy efficiency through advanced battery technology and cleaner, more efficient engines. Expanding the use of electronic cars will take just that.”
Your battery manufacturer does not tell you that the lead acid battery you buy off the shelf has most likely already lost some of its efficiency due to the formation of lead sulfate on its plates. Lead sulfate is the main reason batteries go bad; they don’ t give off as much power as they used to, wasting energy. Batteries need more frequent charging and more frequent replacement.
The environmental consequences of replacing batteries are monumental. While battery recycling appears to prevent lead acid batteries going into the landfills, most battery recycling plants are in third world countries, where environmental laws are lax– Mexico, Venezuela, South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa, China, India, Japan and Brazil. Secondary lead smelters in third world countries burn batteries which leach acid and lead into waterways, poisoning livestock, workers and villagers.
“As a scientist and someone involved in biotechnology development, these things concern me. I am greatly interested in preservation of the environment and natural resources, “Hillmann explains…”Energy efficiency is a vital part of going green. That is why I took the pilot seat of Battery Power Solutions when Van Breemen passed away.
I see a great future in using advanced battery technology to create energy efficient vehicles, to preserve and conserve energy in all manner of applications.”
Van Breemen died suddenly in April 2007 after researching many more inventions that improve the environment.
Battery Power Solutions continues his work.