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Are Biofuels Worse For The Environment Than Petrol-Based Fuels?

Are Biofuels Worse For The Environment Than Petrol-Based Fuels?
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Biofuels like ethanol or biodiesel release more carbon dioxide than petrol-based gasoline, a new University of Michigan (UM) study revealed.

Contrary to popular belief, and what their name might suggest, biofuels are not so environmentally friendly after all. The key to this finding is at the farmland, where the raw materials for biofuels are first grown, UM Energy Institute professor and author of the study in question, John DeCicco, explained to the Detroit Free Press. Nobody was considering tailpipe emissions versus crop growth in the past, he added.

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Many have argued that biofuels are carbon-neural, meaning that, while growing, the plants used to produce biofuels remove as much carbon dioxide as the fuel will generate when burning. Nonetheless, the researcher found that these crops only managed to offset 37 percent of the carbon emissions produced by biofuels.

It should be noted that biofuels advocates have argued DeCicco’s research was funded by the American Petroleum Institute, which has a strong interest in witnessing the failure of biofuels.

Moreover, the domestic production of fuels reduced the need to import them, and thus, the necessity to deploy troops close to the — often hostile — production areas. "It's just common sense — we don't deploy troops in a cornfield," Jim Zook, executive director of the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan and Michigan Corn Growers Association explicated.

With both federal and state policies promoting the use of biofuels as an eco-friendly option to petrol-based fuels, further investigation is needed… and fast!

Some Companies Involved In The Biofuels Industry

  • Renewable Energy Group Inc (NASDAQ: REGI).
  • Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE: VLO).
  • Pacific Ethanol Inc (NASDAQ: PEIX).
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM).
  • Andersons Inc (NASDAQ: ANDE).
  • Cosan Ltd (USA) (NYSE: CZZ).
  • FutureFuel Corp. (NYSE: FF).
  • Green Plains Inc (NASDAQ: GPRE).
  • Novozymes A/S – ADR (OTC: NVZMY).

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Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no interest in any of the securities or entities mentioned above.

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