The dirty little secret about bio fuel

by Steve, May 12th, 2006

politicsSo while I’m on a rant roll about enviro-yuppies and their Prius fetishes, hows about biodiesel? More and more you see (at least in Portland) old beater VWs and Mercedes diesels with “powered by biodiesel” bumper stickers. The good news: When your stuck behind them on the freeway, they stink like over-cooked french fries, not a belching diesel truck.

The bad news (and this is really, seriously bad news for the enviro-weenies who drive them): producing liquid fuel from biomass is horrendously inefficient. It takes 27% more energy to produce biodiesel from soybeans than you get back in terms of usable fuel. It takes 118% more to produce it from sunflowers. That’s right, you evil do-gooders, you’re wasting more fossil fuel by switching to biodiesel.

Ethanol’s no good, either. The best source, corn, requires 29% more energy to produce than you get back.

Check out this brief story about a study by Cornell professor David Pimentel. It would appear that the gubmint push for biofuel (amounting to some $3 billion in tax-payer funded subsidies to ethanol refiners) is nothting but pork for agribusiness (my conclusion, not Pimentel’s) .