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September 26 2012
Controversey over the impact of biofuel production on food isn't new; nor is the question of whether there is enough land to grow them on. Carbon emissions are also a concern because making biofuels can eat up energy, producing more emissions.
So which fuels are greener? A recently released study by Empa, a research institute in Switzerland, attempts to quantify how green – or not – biofuels are relative to their fossil cousins. While almost all of them (except soy and oil palms grown in Malaysia) reduce carbon emissions and are far better for the ozone layer, most are actually worse than gasoline when it comes to issues of land use, human health, or agricultural pollution. The only choice that seemed to be better than gas overall was methane from wood chips made in Switzerland, and a close second was methane (natural gas) from sludge (also made in Switzerland).
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