Biofuels are controversial in the world of renewable energy-- overall, are they more of a positive or negative when it comes to reducing GHG emissions? Should they continue to be a key part of government clean power policy?
- November 29, 2018
- 369 views
Biofuels, such as biomass based on wood, grass, corn, waste, and more, have often been a controversial topic when it comes to clean and renewable energy sources. One main debate centers around the fact that they do in fact release greenhouse gas emissions when they are burned and how to balance that on the climate accounting sheets when the farming of these organic materials sucks GHG from the atmosphere in the first place-- does that make them clean or not? Are they carbon neutral? There's also debate about how renewable they are-- the fuel sources, such as corn or trees, can certainly be re-grown, but with a finite amount of farming land available and much of it being needed to feed a growing population, can they be truly be considered renewable? Then there comes the debate about how much benefit biofuels (and their government mandates) actually do in the shift to clean energy when the biofuels themselves get transported by polluting trains/trucks/etc.
Given these debates, it's no surprise the support and growth of biofuels has stalled. So I wanted to pose the question to Energy Central's Clean Power Community-- where do you stand on the biofuels debate? Do they do more harm than good, are they beneficial but they divert focus from more important areas, or are they an integral part of the clean power transition? Or is the answer something else entirely?