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Producing Biofuels and Ethanol from Corn not Worth the Effort, Study Finds

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Following on from Bush's "addicted to oil" speech, plant-derived ethanol and biodiesel are being heavily promoted by the biotech industry as a much-needed - and environmentally friendly - outlet for the glut of genetically modified crops that consumers are rejecting, but...
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The Biowatch Bulletin - May/June 2006 [excerpt]
PRODUCING ETHANOL AND BIODIESEL FROM MAIZE IS NOT WORTH THE EFFORT, NEW STUDY FINDS

A new study from the University of Cornell and the University of Berkeley, California has found that turning plants, such as maize and sunflowers, into fuel, uses much more energy than the resulting ethanol or biodiesel generates. The study analysed energy input-yield ratios of producing ethanol from maize, switch grass and wood biomass as well as for producing biodiesel from soybean and sunflower plants. The report of the study, published in Natural Resources Research (Vol.14, 65-76) found that:

* maize needs 29% more fossil energy than the fuel it produced
* switch grass needed 45% more fossil fuel than fuel produced
* wood biomass needed 57% more fossil fuel than fuel it produced
* soybean plants needed 27% more fossil fuel than the fuel produced
* sunflower plants needed 118% more fossil fuel than the fuel produced

Swiss multinational Syngenta recently applied to the South African Department of Agriculture for permission to import genetically modified maize (event 3272) for conversion into ethanol. The maize will not be planted in South Africa. It will be imported in a ground form but Syngenta acknowledges that event 3272 could contaminate the food and feed chain. The company is also applying for permission to import event 3272 in the United States of America, the European Union and China. Grain SA has objected to the application.
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Worse Than Fossil Fuel
December 6th, 2005
Biodiesel enthusiasts have accidentally invented the most carbon-intensive fuel on earth By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 6th December 2005 http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/12/06/worse-than-fossil-fuel/

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