FACT: Producing biofuels--which have a very low power density (0.3 watts/square meter)--requires farming a lot of land.
- If all of the oil used for transportation purposes was replaced with corn-based ethanol, 700M acres worth of corn would have to be planted. Consider this: That's 37% of the land mass of the continental United States.
- Okay, how about including soy-based biodiesel? Unfortunately, that would reqiure 3.2B acres of land. Consider this: That's 1B acres more than the size of the entire United States.
- So, how about solar panels which have a density of 6 watts/square meter? Yes, that would require less acreage. But, an oil well producing 10 barrels of oil/day has a power density of 27 watts/square meter and requires the use of very little land.
FACT: Producing corn ethanol raises the price of food.
- As the use of biofuels increased between 2002 and 2008, grain prices rose 140%.
- Between 2006 and 2011, biofuel production across the globe doubled to 1.64M barrels/day. However, ethanol contains less energy than oil, so the actual energy produced by biofuels was the equivalent of 1.2M barrels of oil/day. Global energy use from all sources is equivalent to 250M barrels of oil/day. That means nations across the globe used 247M acres of land to produce less than .05% (one-half of one percent) of the world's energy.
- In 2012, 40% of the U.S. corn crop was directed to ethanol production rather than food production.
The simple fact is that Americans now have to pay more for food in order to implement the environmentalists' dogma of saving the environment by producing more biofuel...paying an "indirect tax" to protect the environment.
But, the narrative doesn't end there, although it does for the mainstream media. The poor also have to pay more for food, exacerbating hunger not only in the United States but also across the globe. Can't blame the "evil oil corporations" for those outcomes. No, it's those who worship at the altar of environmentalism and all of those people in Congress they cowed into passing legislation to translate environmentalist dogma into public policy.
Oil currently is the most efficient way to generate power density as well as to keep the price of food low. Burning food to fuel cars and trucks ends up not only being uninformed energy policy but also demonstrates a profound ignorance of the facts.
Let the discussion begin...
To read Robert Bryce's research, click on the following link:
"Biofuels Are a Bad Idea."