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PV and biofuels - Aug 14

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Doubts over 'green' solar panels

Daniel Parker, The Scotsman
SOLAR panels fitted to homes may be harming the environment more than convenional sources of energy, according to a study by scientists.

More energy is used to build, run, and recycle solar panels compared with that for fossil fuel systems, according to researchers.

The findings indicate that although large scale solar panel systems are beneficial, the environmental advantages of smaller scale systems such as the ones which can be fitted to ordinary homes are slim or non-existant.

The research was carried out by a team in Greece which looked at the reasons why renewable energy technology has not yet reached a high enough standard to compete with fossil fuel systems.

They conclude a vast amount of energy is consumed during the manufacturing process of solar panels.
(14 August 2007)
Discussion about the Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI) of photovoltaics has been going on for years. -BA

Biofuel Must for India, Say Experts

Ashok Sharma, Associated Press
Energy-starved India should invest in spurring large-scale cultivation of jatropha, a plant with seeds that can be mixed with fuel to form biodiesel, experts said Monday.

India produces nearly 30 percent of its annual crude oil requirement of nearly 120 million metric tons (132.28 million US tons). It imports 70 percent of its requirements, and experts see jatropha as a potential wonder plant.
(13 August 2007)
It may not be such a good idea to build an entire energy policy on a "wonder plant," for which the process has not been fully developed. -BA

Biofuel Boom Threatens Gummy Bears

DSL, Spiegel
If crops continue to be more lucrative as biofuels than foodstuffs, then gummy bears could soon become a candy only the rich can afford.
A rise in crop prices is threatening to jack up prices on gummy bears and other sweets. Meanwhile, the food and beverage industry in Germany is lobbying for government subsidies for biofuel crops to be eliminated.

If crops continue to be more lucrative as biofuels than foodstuffs, then gummy bears could soon become a candy only the rich can afford.
First it was tortillas in Mexico, then it was Frosted Flakes in America and recently German beer (more...). Now the latest food to become the victim of prices pushed up by the massive shift of crops to biofuel are Germany's beloved gummy bears.

Prices of glucose, the second main ingredient in the chewy candies after sugar, rose by 30 percent in 2006.
(13 August 2007)

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