• 1 hour Total Could Lose Big If It Pulls Out Of South Pars Deal
  • 3 hours Dakota Watchdog Warns It Could Revoke Keystone XL Approval
  • 20 hours Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 21 hours Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 21 hours Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 22 hours Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 23 hours Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 1 day Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 1 day Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 1 day U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 2 days Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 2 days Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 2 days South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 2 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 2 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 2 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 5 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 5 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 5 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 5 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 5 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 5 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 5 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 5 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 6 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 6 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 6 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 6 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 6 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 6 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 6 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 7 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 7 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 7 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 7 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 7 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 7 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 7 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 8 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
Alt Text

Is U.S. Biofuel In Jeopardy?

With the reversal of previous…

Alt Text

New Tech Could Turn Seaweed Into Biofuel

Scientists discovered an unlikely abundant…

Alt Text

New Process Makes Ethanol Sustainable

A new breakthrough has shown…

The Truth About Biofuels!

The Truth About Biofuels!

Just a few decades ago, “biofuels” were all the rage in the media, as many well respected “power pundits’ predicted that they would eventually prove to be a leading “vanguard” movement amongst a variety of well touted alternate energy options.

Then recently, over the past 2 years, as the prices of crude oil began to rise to historically elevated levels and even the most dedicated “oil optimists” began to worry when or if the ascent would top off , ‘biofuels” where once again purported to be our “Super Saviors” that would eventually satisfy a great deal of our energy needs.

Now that we’ve had 40 years to observe the actual effects and realities of biofuels, we have a wonderful opportunity to truly gauge the “real world” results and determine for ourselves, whether they are a realistic alternative, or just another over hyped fuel.

First of all, what exactly are biofuels?  Bio-fuels are what are known as “Renewable Fuels” in the sense that they are processed exclusively from organic materials such as plants and animals; often referred to as “Biomass.” There are two distinct types of fuel labeled as bio-fuels; one is “Bioethanol,” known to most people simply as “Ethanol” and the other fuel is “Biodiesel.”

Ethanol is the primary substitute for gasoline / petrol utilized to run most road driven transport vehicles. The fuel is produced by the sugar fermentation process, derived from carbohydrate rich plants such as corn, wheat sugar cane and straw, as well as willow and numerous other poplar trees, sawdust, wild grasses, cereal, sugar beets, sorghum, even Jerusalem artichokes.

Biodiesel is the alternative fuel utilized to replace conventional “fossil fuel” diesel. It is manufactured through a process called “transesterification” and derived from a vast number of raw, oil bearing crops such as soybeans, rape seed and palms and used vegetable oils, as well as algae, various animal fats, beef tallow and even fish oil.

So now that we know precisely what we are talking about, what have the results panned out to be? Judging from a neutral “Pros and Cons” perspective, have biofuels:

(A) Shown to be the highly hyped and hoped for harbingers of planet saving, inexpensive, renewable energy.


(B) Begun to show previously unsuspected limitations and disappointments, as many well intended but scientifically unproven predictions start to evaporate under the hot light of 40 years of factual observation?

On the positive side, biofuels are unquestionably renewable, which is a powerful benefit as we begin to face the facts about our progressively diminishing supplies of fossil fuels. Also, depending on where we choose to put our priorities, biofuels could quite easily prove to be practically limitless, as long as we are willing to take crops originally grown to feed people and animals and divert those food resources to the processes of making fuel!

Last but not least of the positive advantages of biofuels is the fact that these fuels do give off less harmful waste products, smoke and pollutants than traditional fossil fuel do, so that’s definitely a very big “Plus” for biofuels.

However, on the other side of the coin is the fact that even with all the media, corporate, governmental and social support, high hopes and big plans for biofuels, not only have these renewable, alternative fuel sources NOT replaced fossil fuels, but world wide, they are a mere “2.6%” of our fuel currently utilized to energize the planet.

Meanwhile, major oil companies such as Esso, Chevron, Murco, Prax and Topaz still have not successfully been able to supply a biofuels that actually meets environmental standards while BP (British Petroleum) reports a mere 4% of its biofuels as currently meeting necessary environmental standards!

World wide oil companies, research corporations, bankers, investors and governments around the globe openly confess that they are still loosing billions of dollars annually, simply trying to get biofuels “up to par” in both fuel efficiency as well as environmental regulations. Some companies are going broke while others have completely gone under!

Now many prominent ecologists and  biologists are concerned that biofuels are not only eating up much of the worlds financial resources, but also in danger of eating up the worlds food resources, as more and more foodstuff is now being taken away from the moths of hungry people and processed to create energy and effectively drive industry.

Others scientists are beginning to bemoan the effect of all the additional methane and other gases now being released during biofuel production, doing great damage to the earth by increasing the “green house gasses!”

So, at least as far as the facts of today are concerned, biofuels are still, at this point, a mixed blessing with a side order of some unexpected curses that seriously need to be carefully monitored. Only time will tell if these renewable, alternative fuel sources ever prove to live up to the high expectations predicted back in the late 60s and early 70s, but it’s important to keep an open mind while we keep our eyes open regarding the future of biofuels!

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Anonymous on October 16 2010 said:
    The article about biofuels has not mentioned the misantrophy brought about by growth skepticism.It should be known that it can affect social & economic stability, environmental conservation & protection, public governance and safety, energy, communication & transportation improvements and many more.You are missing the point about this wide philosopical and ideological phenomenon - and some people are justifying their hatred of human achivements, especially today.I know it is important that keeping eyes open and keeping an open mind are there regarding biofuels development. More important, though, that there are real concerns about the impact of growth skepticism have on people's minds. It's the worse thing you might see which is the wrongheaded - and misanthropic - approach towards economic growth and social change.
  • Anonymous on October 16 2010 said:
    And remember: I am going to write down about the real aspects of growth skepticism that exists even today. Please be careful of the claims by some people who are deemed misanthropic (in my opinion).Thank you.

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News