Whew, biofuel appears to have jumped the shark:
"I first started to think that the biofuels movement might be slipping into la-la land when I spotted a news item early this year about a 78-foot powerboat named Earthrace. ... Skipper Pete Bethune, a former oil industry engineer from New Zealand, was trying to set a round-the-world speed record running his 540-horsepower engine solely on biodiesel."
"Bethune's biodiesel came mostly from soybeans. But 'one of the great things about biodiesel,' he declared, is that "it can be made from so many different sources.' To prove it, his suppliers had concocted a dollop of the fuel for Earthrace from human fat, including some liposuctioned from the intrepid skipper's own backside."
"Given the global obesity epidemic, that probably seemed like a sustainable resource."
This came from an excellent article in the November 2005 Smithsonian about the many limitations of biofuel, or "biofool," as some critics in the financial world call it. Author Richard Coniff warns us about the mad rush to biofuels: we're letting our "blind enthusiasm leads us into economic and environmental catastrophes." Ample evidence of that lately.
Another excellent energy article was in last week's Weekly Standard, Food Riots Made in the U.S.A., which examines the limits of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and biofuel. Solar energy in these forms is dilute and massive tracts of land would be needed to generate enough energy to support an industrialized nation. Ahhh, but then there's nuclear energy:
"The nucleus of the atom is the greatest storehouse of energy in the universe....If we are ever going to access enough energy to run our industrial economy without overwhelming the environment in the process, we are going to have to find it in the nucleus of the atom."
"...a 1,000-megawatt coal plant must be fed by a 110-car train loaded with 16,000 tons of coal arriving every day. Meanwhile a nuclear reactor of the same size is fed by a single flatbed truck that arrives with a new set of fuel rods once every 18 months. The energy stored in the nucleus of the atom is almost incomprehensibly larger than the energy stored in fossil fuels or the kinetic activity of wind, wave, or water."