Is the biofuel dream dead?

On Thursday March 26th I chaired the first of the monthly science public debates at the new Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin. The topic for debate was ‘Is the Biofuel Dream Dead?”. On the panel was Professor Keith Smith of the Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental Science at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Smith co-authored a recent controversial paper with Nobel winning chemist Paul Cruzen stating that the N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels. You can find a description of the study here and details of the debate on the science gallery website.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Is the biofuel dream dead?

  1. MartinWalshe

    Hi Cormac,
    Nice blog you have coming along. Glad to see your bringing WIT into the 21st century :)
    Another big concern of Bio Fuels is the impact it will have on food supplies. If fields are used for biofuel instead of food it may have a further impact other than on emissions. Especially if this is going to be grown in poorer countries where there is already a shortage.
    Article was a good read would never of taught it was a 70% increase over fossil fuels.

    Martin.

  2. coraifeartaigh

    Hi Martin, you’re absoutely right – it’s the competition with land for food that is the major concern with 1st generation biofuels.In fact, this was the one issue all sides in the debate agreed on.

    What’s not so clear is whether second and third generation fuels, in principle much better, will do the business…Cormac

  3. There are design problems.