Not too long ago, biofuel was the new buzzword for a potential future without dependence on fossil fuels. Since then, serious issues have come to light calling into question the real sustainability of this process.
Can we produce enough fuel?
As with resource recovery plants (refuse into energy), there is a concern about having enough raw materials to sustain processing efficiencies. It was found that most plants became very inefficient because there wasn’t enough garbage getting to the plant. In this case, can enough corn be grown, delivered and processed to maintain biofuel demand and efficiency for this expensive process?
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Who’s producing the food?
So where are all the raw materials coming from? Farms. Seems like a no-brainer. If we can grow our fuel, then we have no worries. But there is much to worry about.
Unfortunately, the farms being used to grow corn and grain are diverting their crops to the fuel processing plants instead of supermarkets. As pricing normally follows a supply and demand model, the corn and grains that were used to feed livestock is now more expensive; the meat and poultry that eat the more expensive food is now increasingly expensive to purchase at the market.
Combine those expenses with the increase in fossil fuel prices— which fluctuate according to human whims than supply & demand— and there is a deteriorating situation to deal with. As people have less money and higher expenses, someone has to answer the question. Is this form of sustainability truly sustainable in this place and time?
The future may hold a different answer, but we all have to live in the now. What do you think?