Biofuels: A controversial resource


Very few new innovations have been introduced and accepted without controversy and liquid biofuels are no exception. Tony Wheatley explores biofuels across the globe further, a controversial resource in any language.

Although there is little consensus over when, it is generally accepted that global production volumes of oil and natural gas must ‘peak’ at some point in time. Undeveloped reserves, new discoveries and new extraction techniques will continue to provide growing volumes in the future, but recent price trends reflect global fears of its eventual depletion.

Liquid biofuels, derived from food crops promised an early solution to the challenge of reducing the developed world’s dependence on fossil fuels for transportation. In Europe, targets for biofuel substitution were carefully calculated to support the overall objective of limiting global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average temperature.

Stavros Dimas, the EU’s Environment Commissioner, admitted recently that its goal of sourcing 10% of Europe’s transportation fuel from biofuel resources by 2020 overlooked some sustainability issues. In his 2007 State of the Union address, ex-president George Bush announced his ‘Twenty in Ten’ plan for the US that is similarly flawed.

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