Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fetalvero: The ‘great green hope’

WHEN we talk about the rising cost of oil on a relative basis considering the demand, the “gooey” gold is getting to be more expensive than gold itself. While last year, my P500 filled half of my car’s fuel tank, now it barely fills a quarter of its full capacity.

Several legislative measures have been passed if only to encourage the entire nation to produce biofuel. Biococo and methylester started production as Bioactive pioneered renewable fuel. ZOOM, a book about the global race to fuel the car of the future written by Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, both correspondents for The Economist, extensively tackled the subject of alternative fuels with the end in view for a clean-energy portfolio of the future. They cautioned though that no single alternative fuel can displace the entire petroleum economy.

The “great green hope” according to the book is the “technological breakthroughs that booster pilot biofuel plants to actually scale up in the commercial marketplace particularly biodiesel made from garbage... cellulosic ethanol. If perfected, this newfangled ethanol would be more efficient and greener than Brazilian sugarcane ethanol.” The authors added that cellulosic ethanol could also be made from virtually any agricultural material—be that prairie grass or agricultural waste—and not just corn.

The book underlined former United States president George W. Bush, an oilman from Texas, who in his 2006 State of the Union address trumpeted the virtues of ethanol, a motor fuel made from grain alcohol.

Ethanol comes from corn. Corn is an alternative to palay and we have vast corn fields in the country. The book noted that ethanol from corn is much less efficient than Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol. We also have hectares of sugarcane plantations. What are we doing with both agricultural resources? In the United States, subsidies in the form of tax waivers have somehow encouraged production of the alternative fuel.

High oil prices should prompt our government to move toward production of biodiesel that comes from vegetable oil, or its rival biodiesel blends that use soybeans, rapeseed, switchgrass and even garbage and turkey carcasses. Garbage is what we have in abundance, in fact, tons upon tons. So what is our government doing with the information that we can actually find an alternative to the costly fuel and at the same time find a solution to the twin problem of garbage disposal and dump sites?


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