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Pros of biofuels
- Cost: Biofuels have the potential to be significantly less expensive than gasolineand other fossil fuels. This is particularly true as worldwide demand for oil increases, oil supplies dwindle, and more sources of biofuels become apparent.
- Source material: Whereas oil is a limited resource that comes from specific materials, biofuels can be manufactured from a wide range of materials including crop waste, manure, and other byproducts. This makes it an efficient step in recycling.
- Renewability: It takes a very long time for fossil fuels to be produced, but biofuels are much more easily renewable as new crops are grown and waste material is collected.
- Security: Biofuels can be produced locally, which decreases the nation's dependence upon foreign energy. By reducing dependence on foreign fuel sources, countries can protect the integrity of their energy resources and make them safe from outside influences.
- Economic stimulation: Because biofuels are produced locally, biofuel manufacturing plants can employ hundreds or thousands of workers, creating new jobs in rural areas. Biofuel production will also increase the demand for suitable biofuel crops, providing economic stimulation to the agriculture industry.
- Lower carbon emissions: When biofuels are burned, they produce significantly less carbon output and fewer toxins, making them a safer alternative to preserve atmospheric quality and lower air pollution.
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Cons of biofuels
- Energy output: Biofuels have a lower energy output than traditional fuels and therefore require greater quantities to be consumed in order to produce the same energy level. This has led some noted energy analyststo believe that biofuels are not worth the work.
Food shortage may become an issue with biofuel use.SOURCE
- Production carbon emissions: Several studies have been conducted to analyze the carbon footprint of biofuels, and while they may be cleaner to burn, there are strong indications that the process to produce the fuel - including the machinery necessary to cultivate the crops and the plants to produce the fuel - has hefty carbon emissions.
- High cost: To refine biofuels to more efficient energy outputs, and to build the necessary manufacturing plants to increase biofuel quantities, a high initial investment is often required.
- Food prices: As demand for food crops such as corn grows for biofuel production, it could also raise prices for necessary staple food crops.
- Food shortages: There is concern that using valuable cropland to grow fuel crops could have an impact on the cost of food and could possibly lead to food shortages.
- Water use: Massive quantities of water are required for proper irrigation of biofuel crops as well as to manufacture the fuel, which could strain local and regional water resources.
The Future of Biofuels
Countries in the Horn of Africa like Kenya and Ethiopia have already given 700,000 hectares of land to foreign biofuel producers, and the region can’t afford to lose all that land to one single crop. While we need to be providing food aid to the region, the amount of food aid the international community can afford has dropped as a result of these rising food prices. In order to create a long-term solution, western governments need to get rid of their biofuel quotas and subsidies because they are causing more farmers to switch the land that used to be used to grow crops to land for growing biofuel crops.