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Aug 26, 2006

Here are some articles from my University paper (yesterday's edition). They are related to my recent's in a lot of people's conciousness! This gives two sides and provokes questions for research..... Take it all in and enjoy the brainstorm!

you can go to this link if you don't want to read the article here... got to opinion and Fueling the Future.

Fueling the future

Biofuel cost outweighs reward

Traveler Editorial Board

Issue date: 8/25/06 Section: Opinion
 Before we travel to the land of floating cars that run on banana peels, ending all our pocketbook woes and saving the environment from the depths of a global meltdown, we must choose.

We can take a turn and head to Gas-ville. Fuel-efficient technology can cut fuel demand to a relative rate like we had in the good old days, when gas was cheap and bottled water was a joke.

On another road, we fork into a network of paths: Bio-fuel Lane, Hydrogen Highway, Electric Avenue.

Questions about fuel alternatives, bio-fuel, hydrogen engines and fuel-efficient automobiles are constantly surfacing in reaction to increased gas prices.

In February, President Bush signed the Advanced Energy Initiative. His letter in support of last year's Energy Policy Act called for funding a 22 percent increase in clean-energy technology research at the Department of Energy.

He wrote, "to change how we power our automobiles, we will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips, stalks, or switch grass."

Thank you, Mr. President.

E-85, an 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline fuel mix, is available at 600 fuel stations across the country.

A buffet of alternative energies is available to reduce the heavy toll of gas prices on our economy. Maybe we can use biofuels to cutout the oil-man but biofuel is not a permanent solution. Its journey to the mainstream market is marred with criticism.

David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell, and Tad W. Patzek, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Berkeley, conducted a detailed analysis of the energy input-yield ratios of producing ethanol from corn, switch grass and wood biomass as well as for producing biodiesel from soybean and sunflower plants, published in "Natural Resources Research."

Energy input to produce these biofuels nullifies the positive. Corn requires 29 percent more fossil energy than it produces. Switch grass requires 45 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced. Wood biomass requires 57 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced. For biodiesel productions, soybean plants require 27 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced. Sunflower plants require 118 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.

When selecting your alternative fuel of the future, don't forget about the environment.

Bill Chameides, chief scientist for Environmental Defense, a high profile non-profit organization based in Washington, hosted a seminar on global warming April 14 at the UA. His crew of scientists study ice core data, measuring carbon dioxide concentrations in polar glaciers.

Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are currently riding at 380,000 parts per million. Throughout hundreds of thousands of years of ice core data, he determined that Earth had never topped out at more than 300,000 parts per million.

The Environmental Protection Agency Web site,, attributes the increase in carbon dioxide to "the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities."

In 1997, the United States contributed one-fifth of global emissions.

Last century, our forefathers selected petroleum fuels as their biomass (any living matter that can be converted into usable energy through biological or chemical processes) of choice. Internal combustion engines were efficient and fast. Depending on the selection of cylinders and horsepower, cars could be fast and powerful or hearty and efficient.

This century we stand at the brink of a decision that will shape not just prices at the pump but the very air we breathe and the quality of the food we eat.

The year 2006 is filled with electronic options that our parents could only begin to fathom after seeing "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Internet connections flow through the air. You can have a conversation with a virtual loved one on the other side of the world that can be viewed on a flat panel television screen hanging on a wall.

Five years after the film's illustrious predictions for the 21st century, we find ourselves in a not too foreign world with a few more problems than the film had let on. "2001: A Space Odyssey" did not tell us how to power all our high-tech gadgets.

The sun, Earth's ultimate energy source, sends heat energy through the atmosphere and into plants, water, animals and people, heating it all up. That's good, until human energy needs burn enough biomass - coal and gasoline in this case - into the atmosphere to offset Earth's natural balance of atmospheric gases.

We want a fuel that will take us to the mall/grocery store/dog park without burning carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We want it clean, green and we want it cheap.

Come on hydrogen and solar power.

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Saturday August 26, 2006, 8:22 am
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Sonnenshine m.
female, age 35, committed relationship, 1 child
Fayetteville, AR, USA
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