Certification of biofuels and biomass

I have written a number of times about the problems with biofuels and biomass. Most governments seem to accept that these are “renewable” fuels and because of that associate them with low carbon fuels. They fail to understand that not all the carbon dioxide is taken up with new growth and in some cases, like ethanol made from corn, the net carbon dioxide emissions are higher than those created by burning oil. For that reason I have classified biofuels and biomass as “dirty” renewables.

The message is beginning to sink in. The European Union is now encouraging (but not mandating) member states to set up certification programs for biofuels, including wood and wood chip. I do not know yet how the certification system would work – no one does – but we can only hope that the standards would be stringent and genuinely address the problems that certain biofuels create, by banning them, or at least withdrawing all energy subsidies for them. Some criteria would clearly be established; palm oil from trees planted in cleared tropical forests could not possibly meet these criteria and neither would much of the wood pellets important into the United Kingdom for biomass boilers. It would also mean an end to ethanol imported from the United States made from corn masquerading as a green form of diesel oil for car engines.

Unfortunately the move is about a year too late. There are already strong vested interests in maintaining the status quo which will lobby and fight to preserve the subsidies upon which dirty renewable fuels have been built.

6 Responses

  1. Interesting and disappointing – so much effort is made to find a green alternative and so desperate are we to be green that we seem to latch on to the wrong things. I’m sure in the fullness of time there will be a totally rock solid alternative, that’s agreed across the board and then we can all get on it and start reducing our carbon correctly.

    I know Adrian believes in carbon sequestering, i need to know more though. His site is very informative, but i cannot help be put off by his character, which unfortunately undoes( for me) some of the good work that he has done.

    I know that you sell solar systems but how much energy goes into making them, how green are they? What’s their carbon reduction efficiency is there is such a term lol.

    Do they save more carbon emitting energy than is consumed in their manufacture?

    Respect and Peace!

  2. Thanks Robert, i will check those figures out now.

    I knew you would have considered this, but if you don’t ask you don’t get.

    Thanks again and have a great weekend – Come on England!

  3. The energy that comes from any liquid fuel known is from the oxidation of hydrogen bonded carbon. That ethanol contains less carbon means more of it has to be burned, thus no reduction in carbon use.

    The oxygen in alcohols is oxidized and is not involved in the process. Calling alcohols “oxygenated” is a fraud.

    Ethanol from corn or “biomass” has to be distilled three times to eliminate water from the fermenation “must.” Thus, it consumes more energy, usually from petroleum, than it produces and twice as much must be burned in a car to produce equivalent energy.

    Ph.D’s like James Hansen and Heidi Cullen have been lying about these matters for 20 years. Cullen may not know better. She was an Eastern Religions major undergrad and got a Ph.D. in the Religion of Global Warming. If you say the words “mole” or “stoichiometry” to her she blinks. She is a total fraud.

  4. If this is the case Adrian, won’t the companies and the end users be paying huge amounts of carbon tax to use these alernatives, or will the companies manning and distributing the fuels get a discount, being that they are the same crowd as is making the new carbon tax rulings for everyone, its one great big crock and needs to be exposed really quickly before we are all realy paying to pollute.

  5. Mr. Obama is a socialist; believes in big government and this just fits into the whole plan. It is just more panic power politics. They played us like a violin with the cold war, fearing a country that did not have the means to attack us, collecting huge taxes for more war toys when we had enough nukes to take care of anything that could ever come up so they said, “They’re too horrible to use.” Instead we spent one million more young men, made that many widows and two million fatherless children who now have emotional problems as evidenced by their being so many Democrats.

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