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Biofuels bottom of the heap in impact study

Source:  Copyright 2009, SciDev.Net
Date:  January 7, 2009
Byline:  Wagdy Sawahel
Original URL: Status ONLINE

An ambitious attempt to rank future energy sources according to myriad repercussions of their use has found biofuels to be the most undesirable option.

Use of ethanol caused the most climate damage, air pollution, damage to land and wildlife, and chemical waste, according to the analysis.

The study, which claims to be "the first comparative evaluation of proposed large-scale energy solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security", considered the implications of using each of 11 different energy sources to power three types of new-technology vehicles -- run either on batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or ethanol fuel.

It weighted their contributions to global warming, air and water pollution and thermal pollution (for example from discharging power station coolants into water). It also considered their effects on water supply, land use, wildlife and resource availability. Indirect effects on energy security, nuclear proliferation, ...

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