POLICY - BIOFUELS
November 17, 2008
Net energy under fire
Rating biofuels by net
energy -- the amount of energy a fuel or energy technology produces
minus the energy it consumes -- is questionable, according to researchers
who say that a broader set of metrics is needed to assess the sustainability
of new energy technologies.
Opponents of net energy say that biofuels should be assessed
on how much petroleum they displace, how much they reduce greenhouse
gas emissions, how they affect land use and their impact on economic
growth in the developing world, as well as their net energy.
Proponents of the net energy metric say that policymakers
need the hard numbers it provides to make decisions about which fuels
The debate has been presented in three publications in the
journal Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining: Net
Energy: Still a (Mostly) Irrelevant, Misleading and Dangerous Metric,
Net Energy Debate: Response to Professor Dale, and Response
to Dr. Poldy's Questions in This Issue.
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November 17/24, 2008
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