BioFuels and Food Price Increase
WHERE DOES BIOFUEL COME FROM?
From the NCTF
Biodiesel is produced from virgin vegetable oils (mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids) through a refinery process called transesterification. This process uses a chemical reaction to remove glycerin from the oils. Biodiesel can be produced using a variety of U.S. crops including flaxseed, cottonseed, sunflower and canola. However, most biodiesel sold on the open market today comes from soy bean, a crop currently grown by over 400,000 farmers in 29 states.
Fuel-grade biodiesel must be produced to strict industry specifications (ASTM D6751) in order to insure proper performance. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Biodiesel that meets ASTM D6751 and is legally registered with the Environmental Protection Agency is a legal motor fuel for sale and distribution.Raw vegetable oil or homegrown biodiesel that does not meet ASTM fuel specifications cannot be registered with the EPA, and is not a legal motor fuel.
The last statement is disturbing. No biobus and no recycled fastfood veggie oil then?
From what I've gathered, these biofuels are produced in farms since they are derived from crops. So what does this mean?
1. New farms must have been put up
2. Some old farms must have changed their crops to avail of the biofuel subsidy that the government gives
1. There is definitely an increase in the usage of fresh water from new farms producing non food crops
2. There has been a decline in the production of food crops
I am speaking a priori here, so feel free to contend with my point.
Main questions that should be asked:
1. Does the decrease in food crop production correlate with rising food prices?
2. Does the increase in biofuel crop production correlate with the decrease in fresh water supplies?
Speculatively, speaking, if the answers are all yes. The next questions would have to be propounded:
1. Could/Should we temper this unbalance?
1. The market dictates to the farm producers what they would plant
2. Government intervention
Consider these articles:
- Biofuel boom threatens food supplies, says Nestlé chair
- Organic Foods Hurt by High Food Prices, BioFuel Boom
- Biofuels are Bad for Feeding People and Combatting Climate Change
- US Survey Ties BioFuels to High Food Costs, Hunger
I am not a natural scientist and I don't have all the numbers to back me up. But if these are all true or if this is not just FUD from the fossil fuel industry then we could be making a bigger mistake with biofuels.Think about it.