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Biofuels

Producing biofuel from plants uses more energy than it produces

Thursday, July 06, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: biofuels, renewable energy, health news


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(NewsTarget) A joint study from the University of Cornell and the University of Berkeley has uncovered evidence that producing biodiesel from plants such as maize and sunflower uses up more energy than the resulting fuel produces.

Hot on the heels of President Bush's recent State of the Union Address, in which he said Americans were "addicted to oil," the study in the journal Natural Resources Research reviewed input/yield ratios of maize-, switch-grass- and wood-derived ethanol and biodiesel produced from soybeans and sunflowers.

It found that: The production of maize-derived fuels requires 29 percent more fuel than it produces; soybean biodiesel requires 27 percent more fuel than it produces; switch grass uses 45 percent more fuel than it yields; wood biomass requires 57 percent more fuel than it produces; and sunflower plants require 118 percent more fuel to produce than it creates.

America is not the only country leaning toward biofuels. The Swiss company Syngenta recently requested permission to import genetically modified maize (known as event 3272) from the South African Department of Agriculture. Although Syngenta admits that event 3272 could contaminate the food and feed chain even if shipped in ground form, the company is applying for permission to ship it to the United States, the EU and China for use in making biofuels. Farmers' interest group, Grain South Africa, has openly objected to the Syngenta application.

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