Biofuels no longer realistic, says expert

THE biofuels ‘bubble has burst’, one expert has claimed.

Prof Denis Murphy of the University of Glamorgan said the realisation crops were being diverted away from much-needed food production meant their role as energy providers was diminishing fast.

“I personally would not invest in a biodiesel plant in the UK,” he added at the NFU Cymru conference this week.

The emergence of second generation biofuel crops such as grass or tropical vegetation not being grown for food might be an option, but were still a long way off reality.

He also said the first generation of GM crops, which were commercialised in 1996, had been ‘moderately successful’, but contained only two modified traits, herbicide and pest resistance.

Second-generation GM crops, with a much wider range of traits, were under development with more farmer and consumer relevant traits, such as improved food quality, drought tolerance and disease resistance.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Successful economies like the USA and Brazil have done the complete opposite - Brazil produces 50% of it's fuel from Bio crops.
    The UK as a nation wastes huge resources which go into landfill and our rivers everyday. If these resources were used effectively then there would be plenty of bio crops around.
    I also note the professors opinion is the polar opposite of the bio renewables estimates created stating a huge amount of the UKs energy requirements could be met with bio crops.
    The professors comments also go against DEFRA's up and cimoing set aside policy - seems as though wasting land is far better than feeding people or creating fuel.

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  • Algae ? How much research in the UK is geared toward algae production that can be utilized for biofuel production?

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  • "Expert" in what sense? You've given me no reason to believe this guy other than that he calls himself Professor.

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  • Does anyone publish estimates of the percentage gain from growing various crops for bio-fuels? I suspect that if the energy inputs for cultivating the ground, making and applying fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, harvesting, delivering the crop to the processing plant and processing it are all subtracted from the energy value of the fuel produced, then the gains will vary from small to non- existent. Anyone care to prove me wrong?

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  • Growing crops for biofuel production is an investment in loss for us all. John Tuck is right with his comment(s).
    Biofuel production is industrial farming at it's most wasteful and it'll take us even further away than where we are now from how we should be most utilising 'our' land.
    Prof Denis Murphy is spot on, and it's what the enlightened already knew.

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