I want to share the analysis of Suzanne HUNT, Janet SEWIN and Peter STAIR on alternative fuels against oil in the annual report of Worldwatch Institute, named State of the World 2006, which is published by Tema Foundation by taking the publishing rights.
In 1925, Henry FORD, the Chairman of the Executive Board of Ford Motor Company has stated the following to New York Times correspondent: The fuel of the future will be able to be obtained from the sumac-like fruits that you see along the road, apples, weeds, wood shavings, nearly from anything. There is a fuel in every part of all vegetables that can be yeasted.
Following the 80 years of delay in oil age, today the biological fuels have come back due to the impact of developing technology, growing environmental concerns, support of the farmers and increasing oil prices. Biological fuels are obtained from plants-for example from sugar cane or soy bean-and other edible raw materials. The most commonly used biological fuels-biofuel-in transport are ethanol and biodiesel; today more than 90 % of global biofuel production is made with ethanol. Biodiesel is obtained from the conversion of vegetable oils into a fuel similar to diesel oil.
The global ethanol production has increased more than two-fold since 2000; the biodiesel production, which started from behind, has nearly tripled. On the contrary, oil production has increased just at the rate of 7% since 2000. Ethanol is used in 40 % of the non-diesel motor fuels in Brazil which is the pioneer of the development of biofuels since 1980 to date and produces the 37 % of the ethanol obtained from sugar cane all over the world. The increase in the oil prices as of 2004 has increased the interest towards the biofuels and caused the other countries follow Brazils method.
Like the conventional fuels, ethanol and biodiesel can also be used in areas other than land transport. Today more than 300 small planes are flying with ethanol. To convert motors with gasoline into etanole; the ones waiting for Embraer, which is one of the biggest plane producer of the world and the creator of the plane running with ethanol, has formed a queue that will last for two years. Biodiesel is gradually becoming common in sea transport. It is expected that biofuel production will increase in the short run upon the opening of production facilities all around the world. Today Jilin in China has the biggest ethanol facility in the world with a capacity of eight-fold of an average American distillation facility. The Chinese government is promoting the mixture of ethanol-gasoline gradually in more cities and states. Meanwhile, India is establishing pilot biodiesel facilities to make a more swift entry to the diesel sector. The ethanol producers in USA predict that they will double their capacity of ethanol production from corn starch until 2012 and thus they will meet 4-5 % of the need of the approximate transport fuel of USA.
Farmers, energy companies and consumers all over the world now understands that biofuels are not a fantasy or as far as they consider. Many energy experts believe that biofuels has the capacity to supersede the oil within the following few decades all over the world.
However, there are still serious questions to be replied together with the economical and environmental benefits to be obtained upon a considerable increase in biofuels in the following years. Can the biofuels increase fast enough to supersede most of the oil consumption in the world? Does the production of crops to be used as a fuel waves aside the crops to be consumed as a food and natural life settings? Does it use up the soil? How the transition to biofuel affects the global climate?
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