Sensible biofuel points

Over on Climate Policy you can find Daniel Kammen, a professor at Berkeley – which recently won a $500m donation from BP to look at alternatives to traditional gasoline —  make a number of very sensible biofuel points…

He outlines exactly the kind of green fuel we don’t want…

Ethanol, made from corn and refined to ethanol in a plant run on coal can be worse for the environment than using regular gasoline,

the kind of green fuel we do want…

Cellulosic materials turned into ethanol in a plant run by natural gas, or far better wind power or the plant’s own waste energy and heat, is far, far better than gasoline.

How we could get there

What is needed next are a series of regional or national efforts to examine what the lowest carbon fuels are for different regions: plug in hybrid vehicles running off a clean grid; clean biofuels; high efficiency vehicle standards, and so forth.

It will be interesting to see how BP manages to take the last point on board in the future, given that the business of gasoline is to ship as much of a commodity, undifferentiated product as cheaply as possible around the globe. We’d have to see a significant change to the firm’s business model. What do you think Lord Brown?

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