Biofuels vs. Solar Engery

Topics: Carbon dioxide, Fossil fuel, Natural gas Pages: 3 (1040 words) Published: July 29, 2008
With an increasing awareness in the fight against global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, governments around the world are looking for alternative sources of energy. These include wind, solar and hydro energy sources, known as renewable sources (Able to be regrown). However, one fuel source in particular is currently being used and produced to power both vehicles and electrical generators around the world; biofuels. Biofuels are renewable gas or liquid fuels made from plant matter such as corn, sugar cane and vegetable oils. The two main types of biofuels are known as ethanol and biodiesel; both made from feedstock and are expected to largely reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Yet, are biofuels really a viable alternative to solar energy with this fight against global warming increasing?

Biofuels, although thought to be renewable and greenhouse efficient are actually not green to produce. Currently all around the world including Australia thousands of hectares of forests and farmland are being destroyed to produce feedstock capable of being turned into biofuels. In parts of Brazil endangered rainforests and animals are being destroyed to plant corn or sugar cane. It is thought that with the increasing need and want of more fossil fuel products, biofuels and solar energy will pave the way to a greener future. Crops such as corn, wheat and sugar cane will simply be burnt and the alcohol produced will power vehicles and machines. Whereas the use of solar panels for household electricity and also in some cases to power vehicles is thought to be a more “green-friendly” method of energy.

The production of ethanol can be done by chemical reactions and fermentation using a lot more energy than conventional fossil fuel refining. Manufacturing biofuels is also increasing the need and consumption of fossil fuels (Such as gas and petroleum used to run power stations) so we can burn what otherwise would be food. According to one source “Approximately...
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