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Biofuel Related N2O Emissions Outweigh CO2 Benefits

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posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 12:42 PM
Following a recent 180 degree turn, the impact of biofuels in terms of greenhouse gas emissions is now widely considered worse than conventional fuels derived from petroleum, due to N2O emissions from fertilisation.

The culprit, N2O (nitrous oxide) has a half life of 100 years, is many times (~300x) more powerful than carbon dioxide and is a precursor to more toxic NOx compounds. That's Before going into issues such as land use, opportunistic promotion of genetically engineered engineered crops and the associated impact on societies around the world, mind you. (.pdf)

1 Introduction

N2O, a by-product of fixed nitrogen application in agriculture,
is a “greenhouse gas” with a 100-yr average global
warming potential (GWP) 296 times larger than an equal
mass of CO2 (Prather et al., 2001). As a source for NOx ,
i.e. NO plus NO2, N2O also plays a major role in stratospheric
ozone chemistry (Crutzen, 1970). The increasing use
of biofuels to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and
to achieve “carbon neutrality” will further cause atmospheric
N2O concentrations to increase, because of N2O emissions
associated with N-fertilization. Here we propose a global average
criterion for the ratio of N to dry matter in the plant
material, which indicates to what degree the reduced global
warming (“saved CO2”) achieved by using biofuels instead
of fossil fuel as energy sources is counteracted by release
of N2O. This study shows that those agricultural crops most
commonly used at present for biofuel production and climate
protection can readily lead to enhanced greenhouse warming
by N2O emissions.

despite fervent support by ideologically motivated (opportunistic) 'ecological' activists, biofuel from crops never fulfilled any of its promises, yet exceeded expectations in terms of negative side effects. the current food shortage is of course one example and even the most sanctimonious denial cannot conceal the fact that 80+ Megatons of corn converted into ethanol every year in the US alone could feed millions of people, without even taking displaced food crops into account.

the entire biofuel tale is a sign of complete insanity, which will undoubtedly continue as long as the profits are good, while humanity suffers the consequences. i'm fully aware i'm again stepping on an array of toes by posting this thread, but biofuels are more than a sick joke, and i'll call a spade a spade, because someone has to do it, after all.

The work is currently subject to open review in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Crutzen has declined to comment until that process is completed. The paper suggests that microbes convert much more of the nitrogen in fertilizer to nitrous oxide than previously thought—3 to 5 percent, compared to the widely accepted figure of 2 percent used by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to calculate the impact of fertilizers on climate change.

For rapeseed biodiesel, which accounts for about 80 percent of the biofuel production in Europe, the relative warming due to nitrous oxide emissions is estimated at 1 to 1.7 times larger than the relative cooling effect due to saved fossil CO2 emissions. For corn bioethanol, dominant in the US, the figure is 0.9 to 1.5. Only sugarcane bioethanol—with a relative warming of 0.5 to 0.9—looks like a better alternative to conventional fuels.

again, if you want to claim the benefits of switchgrass, you'll have to use it, first. bait and switch is an old and tiresome tatic, besides, converting waste to electric energy and fuel will have to be prioritised anyway, because we'll have to get rid of garbage anyway.

related threads:

[edit on 18.4.2008 by Long Lance]

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 01:49 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with you, sir. Irresponsible "green" technologies that grant enormous profit to their producers... are one of the biggest reasons, I feel, that AGW proponents' motives are untrustworthy.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 05:48 PM
I have discussed the issues of biofuels with my Professor that specializes in climate change (UofT), he wholeheartedly agrees with the fact that biofuel is a bad attempt from the government to reduce global warming.

This is a basic example of science taken way out of proportion (scientist "hmm I wonder if we could use biofuels...") and business opportunists playing with the government (businessman "hey, this can help reduce global warming!") and the government being unwise and decided to subsidize biofuel crops => which ultimately increased hunger in the world as well as.... well what you see in the article above.


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