Presentation on theme: "Economic growth: industry needs power! Can biofuels power the ‘new’ economy? Where will they come from? Biofuels: To Grow on Land or at Sea? “Plough versus."— Presentation transcript:
Economic growth: industry needs power! Can biofuels power the ‘new’ economy? Where will they come from? Biofuels: To Grow on Land or at Sea? “Plough versus pond” From left to right: EU biofuels directive – oil-seed rape a key feature; legal requirement for 10% biofuel content in petrol by 2020; growing oil rich microalgae in outdoor ponds; oil palm plantation in Indonesia; farming seaweed for bioethanol; the food versus fuel debate. (credits: Green Guide Spain; Wikipedia; Seambiotic; Greenpeace; Bio Architecture Lab Inc; Columbia Daily Tribune.) Terrestrial biofuel crops: e.g oil-seed rape, palm oil (biodiesel); wheat, sugar beet, corn, maize (bioethanol). Aquatic biofuel crops: microalgae (biodiesel); seaweed (bioethanol). 1 st generation biofuels: made from food crops 2 nd generation biofuels: made from non-food crops or waste e.g. miscanthus grass 3 rd generation biofuels: “advanced and sustainable biofuels” e.g. microalgae. Water: need to irrigate or fill ponds/tanks? Using drinking water or ‘grey’ water? Fertilisers: nutrients for growth? Cost? Source? Application – how much and how often? Impact? Light: photosynthesis? Natural or artificial? Is light needed – if not why not? Growing season: how many crops and how often? Harvesting and access: farm mechanisation (tractors, combine harvesters). How to harvest algae? Labour: New jobs! Diversifying livelihoods. Land-based farming-highly mechanised=low labour costs. Not so for algae farming. Impact of minimum wage? Food security or energy security? “Food versus fuel debate”. Climate change? Replacing fossil fuel use. Reducing CO2 emissions? Fixing/storing carbon? Life-cycle assessment or “cradle to grave analysis”: Examining the environmental impacts at all stages of production. Do biofuels do more harm than good? Which is better- land or sea? Safety: Which is more dangerous, farming on land or at sea? Costs – in money and lives? Environmental Impacts – and the “what ifs?” Knowledge and Technology – the “hows?” Consumer demand: transport Infrastructure reliant mainly on liquid fuels. Price rises: fuel and food. Spiralling costs of fossil fuels. Biofuels causing steep rises in basic food stuff! Space: is there enough land to grow food AND fuel crops? Pesticides: Land farming has had its ‘Silent Spring’ moment. What about algae farming? Multiple uses: e.g. seaweed farm: fuel, food, coastal protection, tourism (diving), fish nursery etc = many different stakeholders. Palm oil plantation? Supply chain: we want ‘drop-in’ fuels. Are there ‘designer’ biofuels? Timescale: Agriculture has been around for 10,000+ years. We have domesticated many arable crops. Intensive algae farming about 50 years old with no domesticated strains. We are land farming experts; we are algae farming novices! Habitat loss or habitat creation? Monocultures? Polycultures? Impacts on biodiversity? Costs? Of production? Distribution? Price at the pump? Where’s the profit? Ownership? Who owns what? Farmers own the land; The Crown Estate owns the seabed – but who owns the water? Environmental versus social ethics: Are we prepared for industrial-scale algae farming? Genetic modification? GM crops are a reality. Can they be contained? If so, how? Synthetic organisms – there is already an ‘artificial’ algae! Politics: EU subsidies? Common Agricultural Policy for farming; nothing for aquaculture Social Impacts – the “whys?” Taxation: biofuels from land get tax breaks. Why is it not the same for algae fuels? Stuck in the past: Is our infrastructure e.g. internal combustion engine a “technological dinosaur”? An island nation: we must make more use of the sea! Is aquaculture the new agriculture? Can we do it? Farmers farm, fishermen fish. Who grows algae? Pollution of land, water and air: which will have the biggest impact?