Target: David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Goal: Commend contest for advanced biofuel research
The United Kingdom’s government is offering £25 million as a prize to the best demonstration of plants for advanced biofuels. These biofuels are liquids made from non-food organic waste materials like wood or straw that are meant to replace fossil fuel resources like petrol. Applaud this competition and its efforts to reduce carbon emissions without cutting into the food supply.
Advanced biofuels avoid the problems of existing biofuels that are made from plants that also act as food sources, like wheat and corn. Research also shows that advanced biofuels can now be a commercially viable option, and this contest is a form of incentivizing alternative sources of energy that don’t impede on the food supply. This competition for demonstration plants for advanced biofuels aims to reach the stage of widespread production. The initial step in the competition will be a feasibility study that will lay out the design of the competition and stipulate the needed criteria for the contestants.
The controversies that have arisen with what is called first generation biofuels, like palm oil, are its fuel over food priority. Prices for staple foods like bread increase because of the competition between agricultural firms over land to be used for food or fuel. Biofuels from food crops have been criticized for taking food away from the people, whether it’s by forcing people off their lands or simply using the crops to fuel cars instead of feeding people. Lucy Hurn, the biofuels campaign manager from ActionAid, says that food that could feed 100 million people are instead being burned up as fuel in cars. The United Kingdom’s Department of Transport Minister, Norman Baker says, “It’s hugely important that we decarbonise transport. We have been uphill and down dale on biofuels in the past few years. What we need to do is distinguish between good biofuels and bad biofuels, and this competition will produce good biofuels.” Please sign your name in support of this search for more sustainable energy resources.
Dear Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron,
The United Kingdom’s creation of a competition that calls for innovative solutions to the problems posed by energy fuels is truly commendable. Biofuels made from wheat and maize crops have been criticized as adding to the hunger problem by increasing food prices, since they decrease food supply. Hopefully with the £25 million incentive offered by this contest, pioneering advanced biofuels technology will be put into large-scale production.
The United Kingdom’s transport industry is in dire need of more sustainable fuels. Biofuels made from maize and wheat crops are problematic in the sense that they decrease the food supply, thus driving up food prices that people cannot afford. However, other waste organic material like wood or straw, if manipulated correctly could resolve the problems created by first generation biofuels.
In Europe, one in eight people go hungry everyday so this contest for biofuels made from non-food organic materials is a welcome alternative along with reforms to cap the production of biofuels made from food crops. I applaud the United Kingdom’s government for encouraging new research and applications of advanced biofuel technology.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Berkeley Lab via Flickr