All Biofuels Are Not Created Equal by David Tilman and Jason Hill
818 Words4 Pages
“All Biofuels Are Not Created Equal” is a very informative article that everyone should be aware of. The authors of this article show how biofuels can be made to benefit Earth. Our ecological footprint is so big that everyone requires 2.5 Earths to maintain the same lifestyle. What does this reveal? It reveals that Earth’s resources are being diminished. This means that the world needs to do something to prevent this so Earth can last for future generations. The way that biofuels are being made is not very effective in helping this problem. This is because it either requires deforestation or the burning of fossil fuels, which the world is trying to stop. Instead of using corn or sugar cane as ethanol, alternative crops should be used…show more content…
The great thing about using alternative crops is that they can be grown on less fertile land; such as land that has been depleted of most of its nutrients from years of farming. The authors participated in an experiment where they explored the amount of bioenergy that could be produced by planting 18 different native prairie plants on infertile soil. “We found, on this highly degraded land, that the plots planted with mixtures of many native prairie perennial species yielded 238 percent more bioenergy than those planted with single species” (Tilman, Hill). This led them to the conclusion that having high plant diversity leads to high productivity. These plants also required very little fertilizer.
This experiment was very beneficial because it showed them a new way to make ethanol that is much more efficient than the way it is currently being made. Using the alternative crops method to make ethanol also allows them to harvest the crops year after year, since the crops can grow on infertile land. Making ethanol out of corn, which is what everyone is using now, is not very efficient. “But because of how corn ethanol currently is made, only about 20 percent of each gallon is ‘new’ energy” (Tilman, Hill). This is because fossil fuels are being burned to harvest the corn, and then to turn the corn into ethanol in refineries. This method saves very little energy but creates more