Tag Archives: biofuels

Bioenergy (wood burning) is not carbon-neutral

“There is one problem. Ecologists say that the claims of carbon neutrality, which are accepted by the European Union and the British government, do not stand up to scrutiny. The forests of North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi — as well as those in Europe — are being destroyed to sustain a European fantasy about renewable energy. And with many power plants in Europe and elsewhere starting to replace coal with wood, the question of who is right is becoming ever more important.” click here

Fraudulent Biofuel Credits Costly to Government, Consumers, Investors

“There may be $1 billion worth of fraudulent biofuel credits circulating in the U.S., according to a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criminal investigator.” click here

Ethanol Worse for Environment than Gasoline?

DeCicco, J.M., Liu, D.Y., Heo, J. et al. Carbon Balance Effects of US Biofuel Production and UseClimatic Change (2016). doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1764-4

The use of liquid biofuels has expanded over the past decade in response to policies such as the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that promote their use for transportation. One rationale is the belief that biofuels are inherently carbon neutral, meaning that only production-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be tallied when comparing them to fossil fuels. This assumption is embedded in the lifecycle analysis (LCA) modeling used to justify and administer such policies. LCA studies have often found that crop-based biofuels such as corn ethanol and biodiesel offer at least modest net GHG reductions relative to petroleum fuels. Data over the period of RFS expansion enable empirical assessment of net CO2 emission effects. This analysis evaluates the direct carbon exchanges (both emissions and uptake) between the atmosphere and the U.S. vehicle-fuel system (motor vehicles and the physical supply chain for motor fuels) over 2005–2013. While U.S. biofuel use rose from 0.37 to 1.34 EJ/yr over this period, additional carbon uptake on cropland was enough to offset only 37 % of the biofuel-related biogenic CO2 emissions. This result falsifies the assumption of a full offset made by LCA and other GHG accounting methods that assume biofuel carbon neutrality. Once estimates from the literature for process emissions and displacement effects including land-use change are considered, the conclusion is that U.S. biofuel use to date is associated with a net increase rather than a net decrease in CO2 emissions.

European Union Biofuel Regulations created 80 Percent More CO2 than Conventional Oil

“A study published in late April by an environmental group found that Europe’s biofuel regulations created 80 percent more carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than the conventional oil they replaced. The report estimates the biofuels create new emissions equivalent to putting an extra 12 million cars on the road.” click here

Studies Used to Support Biofuels are Flawed? Apparently so…

“ANN ARBOR—Nearly all of the studies used to promote biofuels as climate-friendly alternatives to petroleum fuels are flawed and need to be redone, according to a University of Michigan researcher who reviewed more than 100 papers published over more than two decades.” click here for press release


Wastewater Algal Ponds for Biofuel Production

Mehrabadi A, Craggs R, Farid MM. Wastewater treatment high rate algal ponds (WWT HRAP) for low-cost biofuel production. Bioresource Technology 2014 Nov 13. pii: S0960-8524(14)01606-X. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.11.004.

Growing energy demand and water consumption have increased concerns about energy security and efficient wastewater treatment and reuse. Wastewater treatment high rate algal ponds (WWT HRAPs) are a promising technology that could help solve these challenges concurrently where climate is favorable. WWT HRAPs have great potential for biofuel production as a by-product of WWT, since the costs of algal cultivation and harvest for biofuel production are covered by the wastewater treatment function. Generally, 800-1400GJ/ha/year energy (average biomass energy content: 20GJ/ton; HRAP biomass productivity: 40-70tons/ha/year) can be produced in the form of harvestable biomass from WWT HRAP which can be used to provide community-level energy supply. In this paper the benefits of WWT HRAPs are compared with conventional mass algal culture systems. Moreover, parameters to effectively increase algal energy content and overall energy production from WWT HRAP are discussed including selection of appropriate algal biomass biofuel conversion pathways.

Click here for full paper (fee).