Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Great Biofuel Lie

I saw an orange handle for the biofuel pump (10% ethanol) today, and it reminded me of the biofuel issues:
A lot of people don't realise, that the ethanol is actually made from palm oil. Where does palm oil come from? Well most of it comes from Malaysia and Indonesia. The make it by first cutting down pristine tropical rainforest, home to some of the most diverse and exotic species in the world such as orang-utans, pygmy elephants, cats, bird eating spiders... once the forest is cleared, they plant palm oil trees.
Ironically once you add the carbon cost of clearing the original rainforest, then the carbon costs involved in extracting the palm oil and then synthesis into ethanol, the total carbon released by the ethanol is actually around three times that of the equivalent carbon cost for extracting,refining and burning the petroleum.
Hence, although it is called Biofuel, it actually means that you are releasing three times more carbon than had you filled up with just petrol, and you are destroying non-renewable rainforest.

The reason why the pump is orange? Thats the color of the orang-utans they had to kill to make the bio fuel, silly.

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