Just last month the PM announced the appointment of a taskforce to “examine the latest scientific evidence on the impacts of ethanol and other biofuel use on human health, environmental outcomes and automotive operations” (quote not at above link).
Is Australia lagging behind the rest of the world in promotion and use of alternative fuels?
New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman suggests that the answer to the US’s dependence on oil imports is powering cars with electricity and ethanol.
Friedman suggests that, “It costs only about $100 a car to make it flex-fuel ready. Brazil hopes to have all its new cars flex-fuel ready by 2008. …if you combined a plug-in hybrid system with a flex-fuel system that burns 80 percent alcohol and 20 percent gasoline, you could end up stretching each gallon of gasoline up to 500 miles.”
With grain a source of ethanol, could our wheat belt produce the energy to power Australia’s cars?
WA grain grower and 2003 Nuffield Scholar, Aaron Edmonds, has suggested that wheat will not be profitable in the future because of the vast amounts of energy required for production – referring to the energy required to produce nitrogenous fertilisers.
Edmonds has written (not at above link) that, “Given this staunch illogical opposition to transgenic crops by a vocal minority and the huge emerging problem of expensive fossil fuels, it is not surprising to hear some amongst the grains industry proclaim that the whole (GM) argument will be won over the issue of energy. After all, you don’t eat diesel. The US soybean industry, over 80% GM, is processing more and more oil to produce biodiesel. New GM soybean varieties are being bred to improve oil qualities to better fuel performance. Government mandates are being set and it is likely that as the crude oil situation unfolds, crop values will be dramatically increased if they can help satisfy our insatiable demand for energy.”
I might make this Part 4 of my ‘GM Food Crops’posts. Part 3 was posted on 14th June.