PLANTS; THE FUEL FOR FUTURE
Oil is a basic commodity on earth. Whether it is a matter of energy need for humans, mills or engines, oil is key solution. Vegetative oil and petrol; both are very important for human race. One is for living cells and second is non-living machines.
Current bad situation
Fossil fuel oil is predicted to run out in near future. The world has gotten so used to and addicted to the use of oil that without a suitable substitute there will be disastrous consequences. It is inevitable fact that everything has its doomsday and fossil fuels are going to meet their doomsday. Declining global oil productive capacity, economic vulnerability and Global climate change has created incentive to reduce an “addiction to oil”.
On the oil supply side, there are no major undiscovered oil reserves and on the demand side, we cannot expect to put the growing Chinese and Indian middle class into vehicles without a significant oil price response. Alternative fuels clearly emerge as a supplement which can be readily introduced into the existing transportation infrastructure.
Corn, sugarcane, soyabeans, sunflower, palm are being used as a source of vegetative oil since from many centuries. Oil from plants that was once only thought to cooked to provide energy to human body. No one can ever have a glimpse in his mind that the same oil can be used to harness energy from mill and drive engines. As they are source of food for humans, in a same way they can fill the stomach of cars.
Agriculture is a sector which provides economic boost to economy as in contributes to growth directly and indirectly by providing its own production and providing raw material for industries like textile and garments. These are usages of agri products since from ages. But recent increase in cost of petroleum and consequences of global warming gives fresh momentum to review agri culture as a way to diversify our sources of energy for secure renewable energy future. The agri-crops can be used to extract biofuel from them to run industry and transport. Sugarcane, soyabeans and other oil producing crops can be used in cars, military vehicles and even heavy duty generators and power stations.
Worldwide productions of ethanol doubled and production of biodiesel is quadrupled. Fuel from agri sources offer a quite good alternate to 1. Rapidly increasing prize. 2. Increasing scarcity and toxicity of fossil fuels.
Factors driving demand of the biofuels:
- Rising fuel prices
- growing energy demand
- awareness of renewable energy resources
- expand the crop market internationally
It is not just the oil and diesel that lead us to form a biofuel setup but also the fact that through this strategy we will not only harness the carbon dioxide already present in the air but also reduce the footprint through production of a fuel that has reduced emission. Biofuels have the potential benefit of reduced net life-cycle greenhouse gas production as compared to their petroleum alternatives. This is not to claim that biofuels are environmentally friendly or even carbon negative. So it is both the need and environmental responsibility that leads us go for this plan.
Biofuels can also control soil erosion as more land acres will be cultivated for crops for biofuel production so humus level and fertility of soil increased. It will also provide solution to stop flight to the cities and creating successful economy in Pakistan. As rural jobs increase, poor will less likely to migrate from rural to urban areas. There is another thing it may also cause food shortages as it has been happened in some areas that are producing biofuels.
So, biofuel is a solution that can both avoid the Economic jam and also stop Climate Change so if the question is why, my answer will be why not.
Written By: Saman Khan (MS, Env Sci, IESE, NUST) & Maryam Najeeb (MS, Env. Economics, PIED)