Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Debates in Biotechnology

Debates in Biotechnology

Ratings: (0)|Views: 480|Likes:
Published by mqphan
Three controversies in the field of biotechnology
Three controversies in the field of biotechnology

More info:

Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: mqphan on May 23, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





How cano biouels lead us toenergy inde-pendenec?
Do stemcells have thepotential tosave millionso lives?How much o our diet con-sist o generti-cally modifedoods?
DebatesIn Biotechnology 
Minh Phan
Biofuel is dened as solid, liquid or gas fuel derived from recently-dead biological material, whereas fossil fuels are derived from long-dead biological material. Theoretically,biofuels can be produced from any (biological) carbon source; although, the most commonsources are photosynthetic plants. Globally, biofuels are most commonly used to power vehi-cles and cooking stoves. Biofuel industries are expanding in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The main debate regarding biofuels centers around whether they are a good means to reversingglobal climate change and helping replace oil, or at least reduce oil prices. Biofuels have becomeincreasingly attractive in recent years because they offer the possibility of both reducing green-house gas emissions and helping replace oil. This possibility exists primarily in the use of biofuelsin vehicles and other forms of transportation that utilize petroleum products. Biofuels, there-fore, are potentially helpful in so far as they can replace the use of petroleum in transportation.
Biofuels produce less greenhouse gases.
Tradi-tional petroleum-based gasoline and diesel fuelsemit substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. Bio-fuels, by contrast, burn much more cleanly, emit-ting far fewer greenhouse gases from the tail-pipe.Any such reduction in emissions is valuable in theface of global warming, and should be embraced.
Carbon neutral biofuels only emit CO2 theydraw from atmosphere.
Biofuels are less pollut-ing than fossil fuels because CO2 is absorbed inthe process of photosynthesis by the very plantsthat are being used to produce biofuel. Another way to think of this is that, in the cycle of thisprocess, plants are grown which absorb C02from the at-mosphere to photosyn-thesize and grow. When theseplants are converted intobiofu-el and then burned,the C02 that is releasedinto the atmosphere isequiv-alent to the C02that was absorbed by theplant in the process of photosyn-thesis. This means that the amount of C02 re-leased is equivalent to the amount absorbed,
Can biofuels help combat global warming ? 
Biofuels production and use may increase green-house gas emissions
. Almost all biofuels usedtoday cause more greenhouse gas emissions thanconventional fuels if the full emissions costs of pro-ducing these “green” fuels are taken into account.Plant-based fuels were originally billed as betterthan fossil fuels because the carbon re-leased when they were burned was bal-anced by the carbon absorbed whenthe plants grew. But even thatequation proved overly sim-plistic because the process of turning plants into fuels causesits own emissionssuch as ren-ing and transport.
Developing new land for biofuelscan release green-house gases.
Sepa-rate studies released by Princeton University andthe Nature Conservancy show that ethanol maybe even more dangerous for the environment thanfossil fuels are. As a Princeton study points out,clearing previously untouched land to grow bio-fuel crops releases long-sequestered carbon intothe atmosphere. While planting corn and sugarcane in already tilled land is ne, a problem aris
B a c k  gr o u n d 
-ses when farmers churn up new land to grow morefuel or the food and feed displaced by biofuel crops.In addition The destruction of natural ecosystems — whether rain forest in the tropics or grasslandsin South America — not only releases green-house gases into the atmosphere when they areburned and plowed, but also deprives the planetof natural sponges to absorb carbon emissions.Cropland also absorbs far less carbon than therain forests or even scrubland that it replaces
and that biofuels are, thus, carbon neutral.
What are the economic pros and cons of biofuels? 
Developing a biofuel economy is more expen-sive than alternatives
. An Oregon State Univer-sity study done by Dr. Bill Jaeger looked at the en-ergy (BTU’s) contained in certain fossil fuels andbiofuels and compared to the fossil fuel energy re-quired to produce, process, and transport them.Replacing a BTU of gasoline with a BTU of biofuel will contribute to energy independence if fewerfossil fuel inputs are required for biofuel than pe-troleum based fuels. For this to be the case, abiofuel’s net energy balance ratio (NEB) must begreater than that of gasoline or pertroleum die-sel. If a biofuel represents a small improvementin NEB ratio, but a big increase in cost then it isnot a viable means of achieving energy indepen-dence. For all of the biofuels studied by Jaeger,energy independence is achieved at costs that are6 to 28 times higher than other policy options
Biofuels are essential to replacing waning andhigh-priced petroleum.
Robert Zubrin wrote inthe Spring 2008 edition of 
The New Atlantis 
, “Onthe world markets, the cost of a barrel of oil is,at this writing, over $120. In the United States, agallon of gasoline now costs, on average, roughly$3.50. Even when adjusted for ination, both of those gures are now higher than they have everbeen—higher than during the 1973 oil embargo,higher than during any subsequent peak. And yet, bizarrely, instead of focusing their attentionon the staggering cost of oil and its ruinous im-plications for global growth and economic wellbe-ing, American policymakers and energy analystshave begun to decry a different fuel—one thatholds the key to ending our dependency on ex-pensive oil purchased from countries with inter-ests inimical to our own. Biofuels can play a cen-tral part in weaning the United States from oil.”

Activity (3)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads
melberida liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->