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Should Governments Mandate Biofuels? Essay

The bioenergy quest is on. And with this quest, man moves so expeditiously and responsibly. Others, on the other hand, think otherwise: man moves so expeditiously but irresponsibly. After all, one does not jump off from a vehicle on the fast move. Every one wants clean air but due to man’s activities, he dirties and tarnishes the very air he breathes. This is the basic regulatory reason behind setting up of the motor vehicle emission standards. The standards, however, have been pushed tougher to a limit, which sometimes causing debacle between a Federal agency and the other, or one environmental agency and one Senate committee.

Among other vehicles, emission standards have been set for common vehicles like cars and light trucks. Options for Reducing Green House Gas The main target point of authorities concerned has been on reducing green-house gas emission coming from traditional fossil fuel. For reducing green-house gas, government authorities recommend using fuel-efficient vehicles and switching to efficient and readily available renewable energy fuels. One of the choice biofuels is ethanol. It is sometimes attributed as the spirits of wine.

Ethanol is a colorless inflammable liquid with boiling point at 78. 5 ? C. Ethanol is obtained through fermenting sugary biomass. When used as biofuel, it burns more cleanly than the ubiquitous petroleum fuel. Aside the actual benefit from fruit or grain, using biofuel crops has indeed produced substantial unintended consequences, too. From the early propagation phase of the energy crops such as palm oil or soybeans, critics have dubbed the steps as Europe’s blind steps at producing biofuels at the costs of virgin rainforests.

This is so, since producing large areas of energy crops have allegedly caused the wholesale clearing of forestlands and the razing of wildlife forms in Borneo, Brazil, and elsewhere, according to observers. No Turning Back Now Early researches on alternative renewables had shown some remarkable features convincing enough to unleash their promising performance. Besides, biofuels have the capacity of reducing harmful carbon emission on a larger scale. The main task now is producing ample sources and then letting the public accept the biofuels’ credibility.

With pressures coming from spiraling cost of petroleum fuel and the cumulative effects of carbon emission relating to global warming and climate change, there has been no turning back now from using the readily available and cleaner biofuels. Delivering the 2007 State of the Union address in January, President Bush has suggested using 35 billion gallons a year of organic fuel like ethanol and biodiesel for the coming 2017 year ahead. This amount is about 7 times the amount in current use. Thirteen years from now, about 30% of all U. S. motor vehicles’ fuels would come from biomass fuels.

Starting with corn-based biofuel at a stage that needs further refining, the U. S. , however, has been showing the way of achieving fuel independence from the Middle East petroleum producers. Biofuel processors expect further improvements with corn-based ethanol biofuel in due time. Current research experience with corn-based ethanol may open up new veins for more promising and efficient alternative biofuels, which uses the entire plant’s cellulose instead of just using the edible parts like grains or fruits. Promising energy crops surfaced

Plant scientists have been on the look for promising non-food plants that have more intrinsic energy output than corn or soybean. So far, some perennial crops have been listed like switchgrass and the wild tropical plant Miscanthus giganteus native to Asia and Africa. Both plants are easy to grow requiring less water and fertilizer input. It is then un-surprising to have a good yield of these energy plants when provided with complete cultural needs. Domesticating or acclimatizing the above-mentioned biomass fuel plants in marginal areas and patches of land unsuitable to most staple crops will surely save rainforests.

This is like the case of Indonesia and Malaysia’s rainforests razed for palm oil biofuel. Wildlife will also be preserved as in similar case with Borneo’s Orangutan displaced from razed reserve Currently, biofuel projects have been gaining fast and massive momentum worldwide. Recently, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the Chile counterpart have signed joint biofuel cooperation in sharing Brazil’s expertise in ethanol production and use. Brazil has intended to help Chile develop its biofuel technology.

Meanwhile, a double- decker bus runs by ethanol made from Brazilian sugar cane has joined a fleet of 7 hybrid-diesel electric buses that ply the routes in London (EENSonline, 2007). Even the aviation field has joined the biofuel euphoria when Virgin Atlantic earlier announced its plans for 2008 flying a 747 jumbo jet fueled with a biofuel-kerosene mix (Telegraph, 2007). The Philippines, one of the world’s largest coconut producers, has planned building a biodiesel plant using coconut oil in southern part of the country.

Construction will starts by the middle of this year to respond to the growing needs for biofuels (News Today, 2007). Aside from the main biodiesel product, researchers have found that they could also harvest other gains from biodiesel by-products. Researchers at Iowa State University working with the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Services (ARS) have found that glycerin by-product can be given as feed for pigs. Glycerin gives the same diet effects just like giving pig the common corn-soymeal diets (All About Feeds, 2007).

Meanwhile, in Taiwan, this government has recently mandated a 1% biodiesel and ethanol blend in all diesel and gasoline sold. In 2010, this ratio increases to 2%. Even car makers have something to grin with delight about. In Brazil, auto sales have risen 28% in 2006 from year 2004. With this in view, Renault, some time in July this year, will launch flex-fuel version of its Logan in Brazil. And so the euphoric die has been cast, so to say, and the ethanol-biodiesel excitement has been gaining momentum ripple effects.

When the use of the above-mentioned biofuels are still in the “take-off” stage, some anxious large companies, single or in combination with other companies, have started tinkering something new developing what they call the next-generation biofuels. With this nexus, Chevron and Weyerhouser, considered as one of the largest companies in terms of forest product resources, has found efforts to do the research. The objectives have been focused on technology packaging on transforming wood fiber and other non-food cellulose-rich materials into inexpensive but cleanly biofuels for cars and trucks (PRNewswire, 2007).

Top World Producers Currently, the U. S. is the main ethanol producer. In 2005, it produced some 3. 9 billion gallons. Last year, it produced 4. 9 billion gallons. In 2006, it consumed some 5. 4 billion gallons of ethanol. U. S corn-based ethanol costs more to produce than sugar cane-based ethanol. Brazil is the second largest producer. It produced 4. 5 billion gallons in 2006. It has exported some 900 million gallons in 2006, making it the world’s top exporter. Some countries are indeed not in harmony with the ethanol policy.

From the very early stage of launching the ethanol program, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed his concern that the implementation of the ethanol program will cause more harm than benefits, let alone, starving the low-income groups. With the escalating prices of feeds, fertilizer, grains, corn, staples like the Mexican tortillas, and other commodities across the globe, rampant questions continuously echo if the biofuel projects benefit the economy. On the same line, even the Cuban leader Fidel Castro has expressed his dismay as to Mr. Bush’s ethanol biofuel initiative.

Some negative remarks that have come from such world leaders against the ethanol initiative are certainly based on their having incomplete grasp of the program. Later in a meeting, the alarmed Venezuelan President expressed his position telling that he is in favor of ethanol production but what he is against to is in using the basic staples like corn as what U. S. have done in making ethanol. Emphasizing what he means, Chavez compared the more efficient Brazil’s bioethanol projects with that of the less efficient U.

S. corn-based process. When renewable biofuels have become competitive, selling for less than traditional power sources and their benefits outweigh the unintended consequences, then certainly, the cost of producing renewables have become not an economic burden after all. You are now entering the very bright and promising bioeconomy era. Happy motoring! References All About Feeds. (2007, April 16). Retrieved, April 30, 2007, from http://www. allaboutfeeds. net/tsal/allaboutfeeds. portal/enc/_nfpb/true/_nfpb/true/_ pagel. abc/ts_page_newsfts_portal_new_sing/eed EEN online.

(2007, April 24). Retrieved, April 30, 2007, from http://www. EENonline. co. uk/4news/23-04-07_3 News Today. (2007, April 20). Retrieved from http://www. thenewstoday. info/207/04/19/pca- to. pw. up. s000. b10. fuel. plant. in. capiz. html.. PRNewswire. (2007, April12), Retrieved, April 29, 2007 from http://www. prnewswire. com/cgi- bin/stories. pl? ACCT=104$STORY=/www/story/04-12-2007/0004564126&EDAE= Telegraph. (2007, April 24). Retrieved, April 30, 2007 from http://www. telegraph. co. uk/news/main. jhtml? xml=/news/2007/04/nvrgin724=xml.

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