Can we find one that works before it’s too late? – If we can’t burn gas maybe we can burn grass. But if we get that grass from our prairies, we may be destroying some of our wildlife. Spraying DDT almost caused a silent spring. Will ethanol do the same thing?
The unintended consequence of crop-based biofuels may be the loss of wildlife habitat, particularly that of the birds who call this country’s grasslands home. This is not happening because we’re turning grass into gas, it’s because we are clearing so much prairie in order to plant more corn.
The rapidly growing demand for corn ethanol, fueled by a government mandate to produce 136 billion liters of biofuel by 2022 (more than 740% more than was produced in 2006) and federal subsidies to farmers to grow corn, is causing a land-use change on a scale not seen since virgin prairies were plowed and enormous swaths of the country’s forests were first cut down to grow food crops.
What’s the solution? There are at least two ways to produce bioenergy without destroying wildlife. One is to use biomass sources that don’t require additional land, such as agricultural residues and other wastes from municipal, animal, food and forestry industries. Another is to grow native perennials (that’s a nice word for weeds) such as switchgrass.
But forget all those boring biofuels, let’s run our cars on chocolate! Can the idea of ‘green motorsport’ actually work? Yes, according to researcher Kerry Kirwan, who led the research team which designed and built the world’s first fully sustainable Formula 3 racing car.
The car is made from woven flax, recycled carbon fiber, recycled resin and carrot pulp for the steering wheel. It runs on biofuel made from chocolate and animal fats and is lubricated with plant oils. But it’s not just an environmentally friendly car, it is also fast. The car has a top speed of 135 mph, can achieve 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and is turbo charged to give it more torque.
To learn more, click here and here.
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