Monday, February 04, 2008

Algae hold the key to the biofuel conundrum

  • 02 February 2008
  • Rachel Nowak
  • Magazine issue 2641

It is no secret that biofuels made from food crops such as corn and palm oil have driven up food prices and depleted rainforests, often without reducing net greenhouse emissions. The message was driven home by two recent UK reports, first from the Royal Society and then last week from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee.

The days of unbridled enthusiasm for first-generation biofuels have passed, even if production is still rising. Last week the European Commission controversially called for 10 per cent of transport fuels to be biofuels by 2020. Yet the drive to develop second-generation biofuels - ethanol brewed from plant cellulose in the form of wood, grass, or even waste - is edging towards commercialisation in the US.

Many experts say this next generation holds the greatest promise in the short term for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from transport, with potentially far fewer of ...

The complete article is 688 words long.

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