When Green is Not Green - Biofuel Plants May be just as Bad for the Environment

 We like to think that if we start to produce biofuels that can be renewed or regrown that is that we will be doing the environment a favor.  The truth is that growing our fuel is not as clean as many people are making it out to be.  Just because the plants are green doesn't mean that were helping the environment.

British Petroleum and Associated British Foods announced that they are going to build a joint facility to refine biofuels and open by 2009.

The Saltend facility, on an existing oil refinery site, will make 420m litres of ethanol a year when it begins production in 2009.

Source: BP and Associated British Foods join forces to build £200m biofuels plant | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited

This project will essentially grow wheat and turn it into a biofuel.  The problem with this concept is that farming is not always good for the environment.  Farming requires the elimination of trees and it often requires a great deal of chemicals and fertilizers.

Cutting down trees is bad for air quality and chemicals and fertilizers often run off and contaminate the water supply.  Plus the cutting of plants also contaminates the air so when the wheat is harvested at two will have an impact on air quality.  Plus at the end of the day burning biofuels made from plants is not that much cleaner than burning gasoline made from oil that was made from plants millions of years ago.  At the end of the day we're talking about putting more carbon in the air.

Putting more carbon in the air is bad for people that need to breathe the air and it's bad for global warming.  Growing biofuels made the good for countries that are trying to reduce their dependence on oil, but don't kid yourself into believing that it's good for the environment.  It satisfies a partial problem related to the energy crisis, but it doesn't satisfy the problems of global warming crisis.

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