Eyes are opening in China to the cost of bio fuels.
World grain supply not enough to produce bio fuels
The use of cereals and palm oil in producing bio fuels is forcing a price hike on basic foods. Non edible plants now being tested. Meanwhile Beijing sets out plans for renewable energy sources, even if in the short term more expensive than coal.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China wants to double its use of renewable energy by 2020, such as hydro energy, wind power and solar energy as well as biofuels by increasing their extraction from cereals and vegetable oils. But the high costs are presenting obstacles.
After an initial enthusiasm the world has become aware that it is not capable of producing sufficient grain to feed its population and produce biofuels. The boom in biofuels in recent years has led to sharp rice in world grain prices, with widespread grave social repercussions. David Jackson, of Lmc International Ltd London, estimates that by 2015 a further 100 million hectares of crop production (half the size of Indonesia) will be needed to meet just 5% of vehicle consumption. But to obtain this, entire forests would be decimated.
Sugar cane produces more ethanol, but it requires a lot of water in...(complete story here).
Some of the same issues that China faces are relevant to other countries. Bio fuels is only a small part of the answer -- and probably a temporary bridge to new technology at best. We need to be looking at radically new technologies for future energy needs.