1. The cultivation of second generation biofuels can require anywhere from 2 to 84 times the amount of water required to produce an equivalent amount of usable energy by way of fossil fuel usage.
2. Though free of sulfur, second generation biofuels often emit nitrates, contributing to such environmental problems as acid rain.
3. In general, these biofuels contribute to an end product with a notably lower energy content than fossil fuels.
– Biodiesel has, on average, about 90% the energy content of petroleum diesel.
– Ethanol has, on average, about 50% the energy content compared to gasoline.
4. The total land area needed to produce enough second generation material stands as highly problematic. For instance, jatropha, a promising oil-seed crop, would require over 27 million square kilometers to supply the world’s energy demand. This area is larger than the U.S. and Russia combined.
In a scenario such as the one described above, the vast amount of land clearing needed to meet this spatial requirement would almost certainly set the combating of carbon emissions back a period measurable in centuries.
(Composed by Robert King, edited by Eli Karp)
Patterson, Bob. “Competing Global Resources: Food vs. Fuel.” North Carolina State University. PDF. Nov. 2011.
“Second Generation Biofuels.” N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.