Biofuels

Palm oil plantations are a main cause of forest loss in Southeast Asia, and are driving people off their land, as well as threatening the future of rare species including the Orangutan. UK imports of palm oil may double if proposed subsidies for biofuels power stations go ahead in 2103. Picture courtesy of Rainforest Rescue.

Biofuels refers to liquid fuel such as vegetable oil or plant-derived ethanol. The fuel can be mixed with transport fuel in our vehicles, burned in power stations to generate electricity (the process is similar to that of new large-scale biomass power stations) or burned to generate heat. Typical examples of biofuels feedstocks are rapeseed oil, palm oil, soya, maize, wheat and sugarcane.

In a rush to find new forms of energy, the government is promoting burning biofuels as ‘clean and green’ – but the reality is starkly different. ¬†Biofuels demonstrate quite clearly how more and more desperate measures are being turned to in energy extraction at the expense of the environment and society; they are a form of ‘extreme’ energy.