chownah wrote:Cropping land to produce oil for biodiesel brings to mind the question of how much land do we want to stop using for feeding the world's population and to start using so that the richest 25% of the population can jump in their car and go cruising for tofu McNuggets.
This is an excellent point, chownah, one that was brought up in the documentary and addressed to the farming community. Apparently farmers into biodiesel are also into growing two crops on the same land Canola apparently has a short enough growing cycle so that both can be done in the total growing year. The farmer interviewed was also using biodiesel to fuel his farming vehicles. No doubt there will be much change in the agricultural industry as a result of farmers having to serve both the energy and food industries.
resource: http://www.agmrc.org/renewable_energy/b ... griculture
There is some evidence that the biofuels industry will also benefit the farmer struggling to survive. The more farmers capable of surviving will also mean that food stuff production with come from more diverse sources rather than just industrial farm production. The net result being a lowering of food costs in the long run.
Another interesting concept brought up was developing enzymes to decompose the cellulose in not only canola bean plants, but in corn, where most of the crop is disposed (turned under) and the land left fallow (unused) for a year or two so that the till and nitrogenous components think organic fertilizer can build-up. A trip was made to Puerto Rico to examine types of bacteria and fungus, which are apparently very aggressive decomposers / biodegraders. resource: Cellulosic Biofuels http://www.biotechnologyforbiofuels.com/content/5/1/45
Interestingly leaf-cutter ants were also examined because they have formed a symbiotic relationship with a fungi and mold, which they feed their cuttings to in a form of cultivation, because the fungi and mold can breakdown the cellulose in the leaves to a point where there are sugars produced, which the leaf cutter ant uses for nutrition.Bacteria and The Leaf Cutter Ant: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 084144.htm
Another approach mentioned was in a olive canning plant, where they used olive pits as a renewable biofuel to help with processing and manufacturing fuel.
There are many, many opportunities to utilize what would otherwise be considered waste to reduce energy usage. Every pound of biofuel utilized means one pound of fossil fuel which does not have to be burned.