Comment 105

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted None at

I wrote in this report that biodiesel is a net energy sink, and some readers have called me on it, referring to studies that conclude it's actually a net energy gain. Charges and counter-charges of bias abound in the debate, with the pro-biofuels side accusing the anti- side of collusion with oil interests, and the anti- side accusing the pro- side of collusion with agribusiness interests (e.g. the massively subsidized Archer Daniels Midland). In such a heated climate, it's difficult for lay readers to make educated assessments. However, even proponents concede that the energy gain is only modest - say, on the order of 1.3 units recovered for each unit invested. That's a poor ERoEI, and there's no way it's going to be able to scale up to replace the 10/1 ERoEI of petroleum. There's just not enough farmland in the world to feed both people and cars.

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