View Full Version : Disturbing article on Biodiesel
08-12-2005, 09:48 AM
Found this disturbing article by George Monbiot on how biodiesel is set to be created from palm oil plantations which replace rainforest.
http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/12 ... /#more-964 (http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/12/06/worse-than-fossil-fuel/#more-964)
08-12-2005, 10:06 AM
Love George Monbiot's little proverb..... “Tell people something they know already, and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new, and they will hate you for it.”
08-12-2005, 10:31 AM
Worse than I thought...
In the US farmers love biodiesel, so does Monsanto and other agro cheical/GMO companies. Numberone source of biodiesel in US? Soy. %90 of the soy is GMO. No market for food soy in thoses quantities, except pigs and ccattle, and, even then the market is flooded, so.... Biodiesel.
The GMO soy guarantees more sales of Round Up and licensing fees, so Monsanto is happy, and it gives monocrop petroleum dependent farmers a new place to sell their crops, since noone outside the US wants the GMO soy and canola from the US.
Of course the 10 calories of petroleum in to one calorie of food out applies to biodiesel as well, so, not even going to true cost accouting (too wide spread in damages and costly to summarize neatly here, but extremely stupid idea, for sooooo many reasons, and I don't want to pontificate too muc :lol: ), but just on calorie accounting alone, an extremely depressing ratio, enough to send anyone into a depression.
Biodiesel is NOT the answer, tho, as the article points out, the folx making diesel from fish and chip oil are all heros, at least in my book, and I am hoing to top off my tank some day with waste veggie oil (WVO).
Peter, as usual, thanks for posting this.
Hehe...beat me to it Peter, lucky I checked before I posted a 2nd one!
So much for Europe leading the way...
08-12-2005, 01:15 PM
:? Ummm most disturbing.....
So is my interest in producing my own bio diesel from cannola (rapeseed) grown on my property not a good thing???
The waste oil use is a bit of a problem out here as would have to drive miles and a bit to collect the waste oil.
Will have to research further???
08-12-2005, 01:23 PM
No, its not necessarily a bad thing, just figure out the calories involved. If you can get more than you spend, its all good!
If you can figure it our, I would lke to know.
We anted to put in a few hundred oil palms to make biodiesel...., and we might still, once we know more about the post harvest work and what is involved....
It's a good question Cathy.
The way I understand it, the only way bio-diesel could be sustainable is if it was harvested and processed without use of oil or oil products (including biodiesel), then used very locally. I may be wrong on that, it may still work out to be an energy negative system once you calculated the true cost of zero-oil harvesting and processing.
Then again, if it's a task that absolutely requires the use of bio-diesel, it's a case of whether or not the other parts of your system can absorb the 'loss' of producing that bio-diesel...I think that may be a sustainable way of managing its usage...but it certainly means fuel is for emergencies and absolute necessities only.
As the article states, it takes 4 centuries of biomass to replace just one of our current years usage of oil...even planting out the entire face of the earth we would need to increase our yields several hundred times over...
One thing I do know for certain, is that the only reason even the best current bio-diesel growers survive is through subsidies and an availability of cheap oil...which doesn't bode well for the future of the concept.
Perhaps if it was streamlined and intensely localised, and we research more into algae and other higher yield methods of producing bio-fuel, it can work. It's just a long way from being the great 'green solution' that the government and others who should (and do) know better are presenting it as. IMO, the whole ethanol industry in Australia is there to prop up the sugar industry and shore up National Party votes by heavily subsidising bad practice broadacre sugar cane farms in their electorates...all in the name of a 'clean green future'...Liberal Party style...
Maybe I'm a little cynical...but I get a bit upset to see such 'solutions' offered without any real facts or science confirming their viability attached...we are fiddling while Rome burns due to such deliberate misleading of the public... :(
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