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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Misinterpretation of the term 'BIOFUEL' and problems thereof

I am NOT really for BIOFUEL that is manufactured from edible foods..converting good to eat food into fuel when there is so much of population explosion and the ensuing increase in food needs.
The term BIOFUEL has in the recent day and time come to include various varieties of fuel.Some of them make sense and stay true to the concept of them being environmentally friendly while some others are totally defying the basic principle.
The word Biofuel was initially coined to denote any fuel that is organically derived from organic sources.
To be very technical, Petroleum by itself is also derived from Plant matter or organic material.The only difference is that it has taken that organic matter thousands of years to convert into crude oil..So, technically, Most fuel is biofuel including coal and crudeoil.
But then, the term by itself was coined to denote alternative organic sources of fuel that don't take as long to be formed and are renewable in a certain way.
I had to write this blog entry coz a lot of people wanting to be environmentally conscious are mistaking Biofuel to be a fool- proof green has its own pitfalls.
Let me broadly classify the various Biofuel options available to use
1/ COMPOST OR WASTE DERIVED BIOFUEL-By far the best and ideal source to create biofuel would be waste---that can be composted to produce cooking fuel-- Everyone who has a garden or backyard can try doing this. .All the kitchen waste/farm animal waste/human fecal waste and other biodegradable matter could be buried in a deep trench like enclosure to produce compost.This then can be further degraded in specially constructed tanks(which are fairly easy to construct) to produce very very efficient cooking fuel or gas based heating for the home.
This option is a WIN-WIN SITUATION, All you are using is waste-You are recyling the stuff-the compost can be as such used as organic garden manure..The cooking gas takes care of kitchen cooking energy needs.The same gas can work for heating needs too.Very good , dontcha think?

2/Using already used cooking oil to produce biofuel for vehicles--I am very skeptical about this option.
I hear that MC donald's uses the already used oil-(the oil that was used to fry the various things they make and sell ) to make biofuel and then run their transportation trucks...
Well..for one, the oil they are using has already been used and if it is not used to make biofuel would perhaps just be discarded by then..Keeping that in mind..the option that such oil instead of being dumped in garbage dumps is actually being put to use..That is AN ATTEMPT AT SENSIBLE RECYCLING.
But having said that, all i am wondering is "HOW MUCH OF OIL DOES MC DONALD'S OTHER FAST FOOD CHAINS USE IN A DAY TO BE ABLE TO PRODUCE THAT MUCH OF WASTE OIL" cough cough..that much of oil fried stuffs are being consumed by people each day and that pretty much explains the obesity and diabetes and coronary artery diseases amongst the fast food chain patrons..But that is going be a whole other blog entry on unhealthy food patterns.

One must remember that such crops are grown on farmland and that crop of food is actually edible and i consider this kind of biofuel absolutely defeating the purpose of environmentally sensible...Food is precious..
The human population is ever exploding and so are food needs which grow each year..If one is going to go ahead and use good farm land to produce food that is not going to be eaten and is used instead to power vehicles..that is absolutely undesirable....
There is already not enough land to produce enough food to feed everyone..By using more farm land to produce fuel to run the vehicles of some elitist pseudo environmentally conscious group while a whole other group are going to bear the brunt of this act by going without food is NOT ACCEPTABLE.It doesn't make sense.
Using good to eat food to make fuel defeats the purpose of minimizing vehicle usage and saving the environment .unless you are using already used vegetable oil to make your are not doing justice to the purpose of environmental conservation .
4/FIREWOOD etc-wood is by itself biofuel too(technically speaking since it doesnt take thousand years to grow a tree-but mind you it does take years and years to grow a big enough tree to yield firewood)..but firewood produces more smoke than energy..not really a great trait for an ideal fuel..there ya go...worst possible option .If you are using wood chips to burn your barbeque..think are doing no good .

Now for the summation :
An energy source is considered to be efficient only if it can produce large amounts of energy with minimum wastage....and In lieu of recent developments where the production of biofuel from edible foods has been more or less banned , i would like to explain more about why they had to do it...
BIOFUEL PRODUCED FROM VEGETABLE OILS IS NOT ENERGY EFFICIENT.It doesn't provide enough energy that qualifies it to be deemed efficient.We are all attempting to find fuels that produce a lot of energy with complete combustion ...and gasoline definitely is highly energy efficient which is why we use it to run vehicles..Our attempt all along has been to find enviromentally efficient fuels that are comparable to gasoline and yet somehow are more enviromentally friendly .Also..I am sure all of you are aware of the food shortage situation is senseless to let some people starve while some others get to use that food as biofuel..ya know..get my point?

Compost derived methane gas is a great biofuel while vegetable oil derived Biodiesel is not such a good idea. Solar powered vehicles are definitely better than biodiesel.Ofcourse , Solar power has its own pitfalls..but that is a whole other blog entry.
Take care everyone..ride a bike for short distance solo commutes.hugs !

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