Sunday, May 11, 2008

Another bad idea

A second bad idea above the fold of today's JSODT.

Using food for fuel is bad. It can even be evil.

You simply cannot create an adequate amount of ag-based fuel, be it ethanol or biodiesel, to support the world's economy without disrupting the agriculture of food. The effect of replacing only 2% of U.S. motor fuels with ethanol (as we a currently doing) has already proven to be a disaster.

Following a group of student engineers attempting to make a biodiesel reactor, as the Journal Sentinel did for a year, is one way to appreciate what America is up against in its fight to kick the oil addiction. The problem - often no more than a distant worry humming in the background of our national agenda - has whipped into a storm as record-setting gas prices gust through the economy.

"I think it would be great if we could actually start a Manhattan Project to develop new energy technologies," said Victor Lin, a chemistry professor at Iowa State University.

But this is not the story of a once-in-a-lifetime project drawing on the nation's best scientific minds. It is the story of a group of college students - young, untested and hopeful enough to tackle one of the major problems they've inherited from the previous generation.

"Oil addiction," what a loaded term. Why is using oil bad? No need to explain. Like global warming, leftists do not allow you to question this assumption. But with an open mind you will understand that modern oil production and refining is less disruptive to the environment than any of the bio-alternatives.

If making biodiesel was easy, if it made environmental and economical sense, and if it could be produced on a large enough scale to make a difference; for-profit corporations would already be mass producing the stuff.

Biodiesel will never be more than a cottage industry and will never make a major positive impact to the environment or reduce the world's use of petroleum. Biodiesel, like ethanol, has the very real potential to cause denuding of the rainforests and starvation among the world's poorest people.

Will someone please explain why biodiesel is a good thing?

I add these five Marquette engineer-wannabes to my soon to be growing list of Deathnocrats.