Biofuels - Essay Example

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Biofuels For the past few years, there has been a marked increase in the prices of oil due to fast depletion of the oil reserves. This has led to general economic difficulties in many countries. This has motivated the production of biofuels as the as an alternative and aid in maintaining or increasing the social and economic strength of local communities…
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Download file to see previous pages This paper examines cons associated with biofuel production as well as their counter views. Advantages of biofuels As earlier noted, biofuel is produced from agricultural crops, especially corn. This means biofuel has generated a market that competes with the food market for crop harvest. Recent studies have shown that the increased dependence on this type of fuel has led to a rise in the demand for food crops in the energy market. Farmers are motivated to channel their crops there due to high market prices for their produce. This has in turn has led to a decrease in supply of agricultural products in the food market. In effect, low supply of food commodities in the food market has translated to increased global food prices (Bruce et al, 2010). According to FAPRI (2009), biofuel production has also encouraged farmers to limit their production of other crops and concentrate on corn. This has led to the reduction in the supply of other types of crops hence an increase in their prices. Extensive corn production has also encouraged extensive land use and potential encroachment into wild habitats, forests, and swampy areas. This threatens the potential of the land to sustain future generations, especially encroachment to wetlands. Bruce et al (2010) states that during biofuel production, a lot of energy is used making the project uneconomical. In some cases, the energy used is more than what is produced. For others like ethanol, 1 unit of energy produces 1.5 units of ethanol. It should also be noted that biofuel are produced from biomass. This is renewable and degradable hence it will have cumulative long-term negative effects on the future generations. A study on biodiesel utilization has revealed that there is an increase in NOx in biodiesel emissions. This means, it has not served to mitigate the effects of fossil fuels upon the environment. Counter views Concerning the contribution of biofuel to increased global food prices, biofuel cannot be totally be blamed for it. This is because such a project can only be undertaken by a country after a thorough assessment of its ability to feed its people and the availability of excess for biofuel production. Currently, there are enough farms to grow crops that support this project. Countries which produce biofuel like the US and Brazil have significantly increased their corn, sugarcane and vegetable oil production. Farmers plant this crops knowing they are meant for two markets. In some cases, they even have a surplus of these commodities at the end of the year. According to Colitt (2008), improved economic condition leading to better feeding can be blamed for the rise in food prices. Though it may be said that biofuel production is uneconomical due to its input verses output, the situation has changed over the past couple of years. There have been significant improvements in technology ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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