Are biofuels going to be a drain on world food resources? Not necessarily was the message at the All Party Parliamentary Renewable Transport Fuels Group meeting held in London yesterday.One of the arguments put forward is that there is a considerable amount of waste food. This seems to be supported by EnCycle, a commercial company, which aims to exploit this seam of untapped energy by converting the 17m tonnes/year produced in the UK, about 30% comes from the food processing industry. EnCycle aims to turn some of this waste food into methane, and other products. A report by the BBC says that about a third of the food grown in the UK goes to waste.
There is a real opportunity for biofuels from food waste in a developed country like the UK where we have pretty efficient ways of getting food from the farm to the plate, but is a real opportunity in places like India, which wastes Rupee 580 bn ($/Euro) year because of poor post harvest facilities such as cold chains. If some of that waste could be converted into biofuels, it could go a long way to improving the lot of the rural poor.