Those who are said to be dead live longer: bio-fuel is becoming a role model for sustainability

Biofuel is not just for the representative of Bioenergy community who is for the Energy transition in the fuel market committed, but at the same time also for the most criticized renewable energy source. In the past 3 years, regular shitstorm volleys have hit the proponents of biofuels, which have led the industry to the fundamental questions of their own right to exist. The forced catharsis and preoccupation with one's own dark side has changed the bio-fuel industry forever. I am pleased that after a long time I can finally report on bio-fuel as an advertised role model. Thanks to political, technical and legal developments, bio-fuel is becoming a role model for sustainability within energy and agriculture. How did this development come about? Let us look back a few years when criticism and the media shit storm about bio-fuel slowly built up ...

Bio fuel is not dead

The holy grail of sustainability

It is the year 2007. The awareness of the need for climate protection measures and the growing awareness of the finite nature of oil have led to rapid success within the bio-fuel industry. The climate protection and the resulting energy transition movement have set the course for a greater use of bio-fuel in Europe and the USA. There was a broad consensus that bioethanol and Biodiesel are useful in overcoming several social challenges:

  • Reducing dependence on finite and fossil fuels such as oil and coal
  • Supporting agriculture in developing countries that cannot afford to import fossil fuels (rising oil prices)
  • As a result of the agricultural revolution in developing countries (point 2), a faster fight against world hunger was seen
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 +) into the atmosphere
  • Strengthening regional land and bio-based circular economy

Then the disappointment came and we had to experience again that the world is more complex and unpredictable than we often like. You cannot predict the developments and effects of a highly acclaimed and therefore rapidly growing industry on the rice board! To put it cautiously, this has led to the fact that in practice not all high hopes for the savior biosprit have been fulfilled. On the contrary, it suddenly came to light that every technology also has a dark side.

Some experiences in recent years have changed the perception of the sustainability of bio fuel. More specifically, the developments outlined below have covered the industry like a hurricane and sustained embossed.

Sustainability triad

1. The social sustainability of bio fuel

The explosion in food prices and the resulting food crisis in 2007-2008 (Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico) shook the foundation of renewable fuels for the first time. In addition to other causes (agricultural speculation, increasing meat consumption, Droughts etc.), the biofuels were identified as the main responsible for the rise in food prices and the associated hunger catastrophe.

Today, after a few years Time for studies Biofuel will get away much better through new contexts of global food prices in general and a thorough analysis of the tortilla crisis in particular. The first very emotional reaction was supplemented by rational facts. In my opinion, most experts today agree that the cultivation of maize for conversion to bioethanol has an impact on the development of local agricultural commodity prices. However, the impact of bio-fuel production on the development of world food prices is considered to be very limited. This assessment can be understood if one considers how small the share of bioethanol in global grain consumption is. It even fell again last year and is around 6 percent.

Bio fuel and global grain consumption

Nevertheless, the Tortilla crisis has taken its place in the collective unconscious as a tragedy and urges us to learn from the mistakes we have made.

In addition, the scenario that is currently being considered more strongly Biofuel also for overcoming hunger can make an important contribution. And the next generation of bio-fuel made from substrates such as algae, waste and cellulose also stands for the recognition of the social sustainability of bio-fuel.

2. The ecological sustainability of bio fuel

We now come to the second allegation against the sustainability of bio fuel: the lack of ecological sustainability. In the sustainability triad of the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag that met in 1987 ("Provision to protect the earth's atmosphere") a reasonable balance of social, ecological and economic sustainability is recommended. Nature and environmental protection are important, but not the only items to be protected.

Back to the criticism of biofuels. Another setback for the bio-fuel industry was the shocking images that the increasingly industrialized palm oil production in Indonesia and sometimes in Malaysia brought with it. The rapid economic rise of both countries in Southeast Asia is close to that Cultivation of the most effective oil plant in the world bound. Jobs, education, infrastructure and many other pleasing achievements have been achieved in the wake of palm oil success. The states were accordingly not very careful when it came to protecting their valuable virgin forests. Only in passing should it be mentioned here fairly that Europe completely destroyed its primeval forests many decades ago. Here too, the reason was to focus on economic development and a higher standard of living.

Back to Southeast Asia. The fact is that around 5 percent of palm oil is also used for the production of biodiesel. There was strong criticism of the esterified bio-fuel (biodiesel) and this subsequently became a symbol for the deforestation of rainforests.

Plam oil usage for bio fuel 2011

Here too, it is true that dealing with bio-fuel has a dark side. But biofuels are not alone, and certainly not the main, responsible for the destruction of valuable ecosystems. And one should take into account that this destructive side of the partial overexploitation of palm oil also has a very bright side, which is reflected in the economic development of Southeast Asia. That is why the palm oil conflict is primarily the consequence of a difficult need dilemma between ecological, social and economic sustainability.

Since the tragic experiences of the palm oil industry, we have become aware that the withdrawal of oil goes hand in hand with severe withdrawal phenomena. Still, I stick to that one Switch from petroleum to vegetable oil a necessary step is if we don't want to radically change our lifestyle. But even if we do nothing, our standard of living will change under the prevailing conditions (fossil resources are becoming scarcer and more expensive); and probably not in our favor!

This article runs under the headline "Bio fuel is becoming a role model for sustainability". So far, however, the focus has been on working through the dark sides of bio fuel. That these dark experiences of the bio-fuel industry ultimately helped to improve the sustainable use of the valuable substance biomass (development of Certification systems for sustainability) will be considered in more detail in the next article. For the sake of completeness, this article is supposed to deal with the last sustainability dimension of bio fuel.

3. The economic sustainability of bio fuel

Let us not pretend that anyone who builds an industrial plant for several hundred million euros must be able to at least pay his workforce with the income from the operation of the plant and ideally also want to make a profit. This is the same with biofuels as with any petroleum refinery that supplies us with the petroleum products that we consumers want every day. Without the possibility of financial gain, nobody takes the risks and invests in the complex and expensive construction of a biodiesel or Bioethanol plant. That is why every entrepreneurial action also needs a sustainably functioning business model. And it is precisely this economic sustainability that is needed, because of me investment security (see Verbio AG), is currently at great risk when building bio-fuel plants.

The use of bio-fuel is closely linked to the wish of society, especially drivers, to actively contribute to climate protection and the energy and raw materials transition. Bio fuel is currently the only alternative that enables a quick, affordable and comparatively gentle energy transition in the mobility sector. Electric Mobility, Car-sharing concepts or the complete abandonment of driving are further alternatives for the withdrawal of fossil raw materials. However, these alternatives are all significantly more expensive, still require a lot of development time, or impose major restrictions on drivers. All alternatives are important, but in my opinion, bio-fuel contributes to climate protection the fastest and most uncomplicated!

The players in the bio-fuel industry have also taken up this claim: that they are climate-neutral and thus a direct contribution to climate protection. Especially when growing classic (outdated?) Energy crops In the first generation, scientists have now found that the simple calculation that the plant absorbs as much CO2 for its growth as is released when the bio-fuel produced from it is burned does not work. Today one is more realistic and takes into account that the cultivation of energy crops and the refinement of agricultural raw materials also require process steps which have an additional energy requirement. Especially in a fossil fuel economy, this means further emissions from bio-fuel.

At this point, I would also like to remind you that the downstream production processes for the extraction, processing and transport of fossil raw materials also release additional emissions! So if you extend the emissions calculation to include the processing processes, you also have to do the same for the fossil fuels. And then the biofuels are in a much better position again. To my knowledge, this has not been the case so far. Only bio-fuel has to demonstrate its ecological footprint across the entire value chain in order to be used as bio-fuel in Europe. This unequal assessment of fossil and renewable fuels has been reflected in the complex model approach ILUC sharpened. The concept of indirect land use changes (ILUC) is very controversial and would have a greater impact on biofuels than all other fuels. Measuring with a double standard is a deep reason why the entry of bio-fuel into the fuel market is currently so slow. That is why the EU Commission has struggled so hard in recent years, one-sided ILUC factor for bio fuel introduce.

Without the clear promise that the carbon footprint of bio-fuel is for the most part significantly better than that of fossil fuels, alternative fuels will find it very difficult in the highly competitive fuel market. The economic success of Bioethanol & Co depends on whether they will be the only ones who have to meet high sustainability standards and whether European emissions trading (ETS) can be revived.

Biofuel: Released from the dock with high demands

Finally, a short summary.

All 3 target corridors for sustainability (ecological, social and economic) are mutually dependent. Sometimes they conflict with each other and sometimes they favor each other. Anyone who is criticized as sharply as the energy source bio-fuel and is practically forced to deal with the topic of sustainability at all levels, naturally learns a lot about the ideal of sustainability in this process. This is the reason why bio-fuel is currently advancing from the accused to a teacher of sustainability. The next article will report that there are already concrete examples of this exemplary function of the highly criticized bio-fuel.

Feedback on sustainability and bio-fuel are very welcome!

25 comments on “Those who are said dead live longer: bio-fuel is becoming a role model for sustainability”

  1. This article is poorly written, poorly researched, and pervaded with environmentally unacceptable theses.
    Some of the arguments defy logic, others can be quickly refuted, important facts and details are left out - in short, I do not see that the author cares about global connections, but preaches his own unrestrained lifestyle.
    I almost have the impression that he wants to sell me something!
    Regardless of whether it is "bio" fuel or not, it doesn't have much to do with climate protection - on the contrary: I think it is irresponsible to the rest of humanity and future generations!

  2. If you make such a clear announcement, it would be nice and convincing if you could give examples. Which jobs are poorly researched? Which thesis is not justifiable from an environmental policy perspective? What facts and details are left out?
    This gives readers the chance to form their own opinion and the author of the article has the opportunity to make improvements. Maybe here and there he only expressed himself unhappily. As for the "writing" ... there may be some passages that are worded a bit bumpy, but your comment is also not error-free (arguments are without logic ... they do not evade it; imprecise sentence with but a "rather" would have been good here ). Putting the "poorly written" charge first is a harsh and, to some extent, subjective judgment that it will make it difficult for the author of the article to openly accept and consider the rest of their comment. Just imagine that I started my answer with "Your comment is also badly written". That definitely affects how you perceive the rest.

  3. Hello Ms. Deneck, I am sorry if I do not express your opinion with this article and you take a completely different position on the sustainability of bioenergy. I am aware that some readers find my opinions on bioenergy provocative or unconventional. But that's why I wrote this article in part because I think it's a shame how unresponsible we deal with the potential of bioenergy in the social debate.

    I have been writing regularly about bioenergy for 4 years, have attended many bioenergy events and have followed the international climate and environmental protection debate as intensively as possible, and have observed the development of the energy transition in Germany. In addition, I worked for Greenpeace, BUND and NABU on a voluntary basis, and I accompanied and helped shape several projects within the bioenergy industry. On BiomasseMuse alone, I have now written 300 articles on gaseous, liquid and solid bioenergy in the electricity, heating and fuel markets. For the research on the articles, I discussed with very keen critics and passionate supporters of bioenergy and formed the opinion that I represent in this article about the sustainability of this renewable energy source.

    If you want to criticize my opinion, I am open to it and even grateful to learn something about it. But to do that, you need to bring the facts and details into the debate that you think are “bad” or name the product that you feel I want to sell to you. If you do not, it is impossible to discuss these criticisms and find solutions to them. If you like, please write an article with your opinion on bioenergy. I will then publish it immediately on BiomassMuse.

  4. Hello Mr. Kirchner,
    I have already described some criticisms here, but apparently my criticism was not allowed and was apparently deleted again.

  5. Are you serious? If you assume that I have censored your comment, please look for another forum to stink around. In my last comment, I even offered that you could publish your own article on BiomassMuse to express your opinion on bioenergy. If you do not want to write your criticism or are convinced that I will censor your comments / articles, then just leave it. Your decision.

  6. Cornelia Daniel-Gruber

    Oh my god, if that's true, it's very last-rate. Pretend to have commented so you don't have to do the work. I hope for Frau Denk that this is not true ...

  7. Dear Ms. Gruber,

    it is not true, I have tried four times and again the criticism has not been accepted.
    Why do you think I'm lying?

  8. Hello Mr. Kirchner,
    thanks for the offer, I'm not an author, but maybe I can pass the offer on to an expert.

    I sent my comment three times, most recently about half an hour ago. If you moderate this page, should you have registered it?

    Well, then I'll try it again (maybe it was because of the attached link):

    "I wrote that this article was badly written because that's what I mean.

    Here are just a few points why I feel like I'm being sold stupid. However, I see a lot more points, to have a discussion about it is the wrong place here.

    In fairness, I acknowledge that many problems are touched upon in this article, but they are greatly downplayed or dealt with in more detail.

    There are some points in the writing style that I cannot see, for example the author writes:

    “Bio-fuel is currently the only alternative that enables a quick, affordable and comparatively gentle energy transition in the mobility sector. Electromobility, car-sharing concepts or the complete abandonment of driving are further (?) Alternatives for the deprivation of fossil raw materials. However, these alternatives are all significantly more expensive, require a lot of development time, or impose major restrictions on drivers. ”

    Like now, is there a single alternative or are there still others?

    Car sharing has been around for a long time and is cheaper for users.

    Waiver even cheaper is immediately available, but why complete waiver? What does the author want to say with this threat?

    Are there not nuances and other alternatives, why not more energy-saving models, using existing technology and relying on new developments?

    Apart from the fact that the text is indecisive, it also sends the completely wrong signs.

    Restrictions and use of new developments are excluded from the outset. By now everyone should know that in a world in which the most populous nations are catching up industrially and more and more people want the lavish western lifestyle, not only will fossil resources be used up very quickly. That this massive overexploitation causes environmental damage that is irreversible.

    In fairness I have to admit that this will be admitted, but that is justified with inadequate (weird) arguments.

    I think Malaysia and Indonesia, in particular, are quite explosive because they are at stake no less than the annihilation of the livelihood of many, if not nationwide. Indonesia is also the world's strongest CO2 emitter, the main cause is the frightening expansion of palm oil monocultures, and the certification system for sustainability (RSPO), which was founded in 2004, has not changed that. For quick information, I refer to a current radio broadcast by Deutschlandfunk (wwwDOTdradioDOTde / dlf / sendungen / Umwelt / 2247456 /) and recommend that you delve further into this topic.

    The argument - only mentioned fairly - that Europe completely destroyed its primeval forests many decades ago is questionable:

    Because we have already burned up our own jungle for a long time, can the others do the same - or can we do the same with others? Only in passing: The German jungle was destroyed many hundreds of years ago, the later consequences were, among other things, strict forest protection laws from the Middle Ages. Some have even been threatened with the death penalty for removing wood from the forest. At that time (and later after a recovery period) the forest was so damaged that everyone's livelihood was in question.

    Forest protection laws still exist, but mostly the economic aspect is in the foreground. Today we have other sources of raw materials and there are only tiny spots that are protected from economic access, where at best in a hundred years - so the hope - jungle could arise again. "

  9. Dear Manuel,

    I am not an author, so I do not have to be able to write well, but I know that arguments have no logic.

  10. And cleared up another misunderstanding. All's well that ends well :-) Nice that you have discovered this and published your full comment again without a link. The spam bots are apparently not very squeamish.

    Now for your long execution and (finally) substantive criticism of bio fuel.

    POINT 1: Lack of logic on the subject of alternatives

    I mean biofuels are the only alternative if we want a “QUICK, affordable and comparatively GENTLE energy transition in the mobility sector”. That is probably not very elegantly and misunderstood by me. What is meant is that only if all 3 properties for the energy transition in the mobility sector are desired, then we can not avoid Biospit. Ultimately, these 3 points stand for ecological (RASCHE), economic (AFFORDABLE) and sociological (GENTLE) sustainability as the ideal of a "sustainable energy transition". A mix and compromise with which, as far as I know, many actors and those affected by the energy transition could live.

    POINT 2: Car sharing as an alternative

    Car sharing is a fine and very "smart" way to accelerate our oil withdrawal and protect the climate. But it requires many cuts, especially from the passionate drivers among us. It's probably unfamiliar, less cozy and less spontaneous. But I don't have a car and I mainly use public transport. That's why I'm rather neutral on this topic. In a big city like Berlin, public transport is often even more convenient (keyword: finding a parking space + parking fees). But I can only congratulate those who won car sharing and retired their own car.

    POINT 3:

    When I take a critical look at the palm oil industry in Indonesia and Malaysia, I think we have a similar opinion. However, I believe that we should be careful not to point our fingers at other countries simply because we have already learned our lesson on this point. In any case, I have listened to representatives of the Malaysian government who are just as shocked by the rapid deforestation as environmentalists in this country. Nevertheless, they are pro palm oil because they support the economic and social developments in their country. If the Europeans have to intervene here (and we are doing this quite clearly with the new EU bio-fuel policy), then we should stir the international drum for the sustainability awareness we have built up. If our way is so great (and it is not bad), then other countries will take it over.

    The comment is quite long, so I'll first make a POINT at this point

    Finally, the link to the broadcast on Deutschlandradio, which you had posted several times in vain:

  11. Let's agree on a tie on this point and blame it on the overzealous spam bots who like to see linked comments as spam. In 95 percent of the cases of the incoming “comments” this is also true. Every blog needs spam bots, otherwise it goes under!

    A misunderstanding that luckily could be uncovered!

  12. I generally don't believe in monoculture production. When cultivating energy crops, there is also the fact that they supplant that of food.
    That is why bio-fuel cannot be an alternative for our mobility while people in the growing countries are starving.

    The question is also who benefits from the growth of the respective countries. As with us, it is least likely to reach the bottom somewhere else.

    Certainly not for those whose livelihood is destroyed.

    It is no secret to Greenpeace that sustainability seals are usually not worth the paper they are printed on.
    In my opinion, biomass - apart from that made from waste - does not belong in the tank!

  13. Volker Hasenberg

    Dear Mr. Kirchner and forum participants,
    First of all, many thanks for the critical discussion by everyone involved. In your basic thesis, Mr. Kirchner, I agree with you. Due to the strong criticism and the sensitive topic (“tank plate”), the biofuels are under critical observation more than all other products and consequently have to meet sustainability requirements more than all other agricultural and forestry products.
    Biofuels, for which natural areas or even meadows are turned into cultivated areas, are doing a terrible job of protecting the climate, that's right. However, this also applies to all other products. Although this does not release biofuels from responsibility, it shows that the public discussion is being narrowed and not being conducted objectively (the destruction of Southeast Asian primeval forests in favor of palm oil plantations is mainly due to the increased demand for palm oil as food in China, the EU and other markets).
    Taking into account the entire upstream ("well-to-wheel"), which is done for biogenic as well as fossil fuels and a uniform basis for comparison is already legally anchored today (e.g. EU guidelines RED and FQD), biofuels have one CO2 advantage of 30-70% depending on the feedstock and conversion technology. In regions like the EU, where we do not actually need all of our agricultural area for food, it would be wrong not to use this potential for climate policy and economic reasons, and nevertheless to take methodologically critical CO2 factors into account for iLUC effects.
    However, biofuels made from crops are never quite off the mark
    can free up people to burn food and still drive hunger in the world. With increasing global demand for biofuels, the pressure on agricultural land naturally increases, because another market (fuels) generates demand. In this respect, iLUC's approach (which I missed in your article, Mr. Kirchner) is not wrong. However, since direct causality cannot be proven in real terms, it is currently methodologically very controversial because the CO2 load varies enormously depending on the approach.
    In my opinion, biofuels will only be accepted in the long term if they can be produced independently of agricultural land (keywords 2nd and 3rd generation). However, we are still a long way away from this, which is why the use of conventional biofuels (biodiesel, ethanol) should be limited to a small proportion of fuel demand in order to keep unwanted effects (iLUC, hunger, rainforest destruction ...) as low as possible.

  14. Dear Mr. Hasenberg, thank you for your differentiated feedback on the topic of bio fuel.

    The problem of the bio-fuel debate in the media is, in my eyes, that the potential and risks of these renewable energy sources are reported very rarely as balanced as you have just done. This is a frustrating status quo for citizens who are convinced that biofuels can contribute as much to hunger eradication and climate protection as they do worldwide. If even friends believe that bio-fuel is primarily responsible for deforestation, it is frustrating. With the reference to the increased food production in China, you have put this problem into perspective.

    But it does not help the proponents of Biosprit enough if a small number of interested experts know about the dark AND light side of Biosprit, while at the same time the majority of energy consumers obtain their information via Spiegel-Online. I can't say anything about the other SPON articles, but what has been written there about bio fuel in the past 3 years is underground and for me it has nothing to do with balanced journalism.

    Issues such as next-generation biofuels, the successful establishment of certification programs or projects for the agricultural revolution in developing countries are almost never addressed. This is the main reason why the bio-fuel image is so one-sidedly dark.

    At the moment, I still see the biofuel contribution to climate protection as the least advantage, precisely because there is no investment in the next generation of biofuels. I think achieving greater independence from oil is a much more pressing problem. China, to be careful, is pursuing an interesting oil strategy that spans the globe. Europe would be well placed to at least partially free itself from this hotly contested resource. It doesn't have to be 50 percent biofuels, but I find the tough fight for the use of 10 percent renewable fuels not very sensible and actually irresponsible for a country that does not have any noteworthy oil production.

  15. When I first warned a company about using palm oil in BHK in 2006, I was told that the energetic use of palm oil was only 1%, contrary to the enormous needs of the food and chemical industries. Today I can see in your graphic that with demand increasing worldwide, the share of palm oil consumption for renewable energy production is 5% - a 500% increase (the share within 6 years).
    In addition, I would like to remind you of the enormous disadvantages for the climate that result from changes in land use for the climate, but also mostly to those living in these areas.
    The premise that an economic development of a natural resource also requires social and ecological benefits is the fairy tale that German forestry has been preaching for decades in its leaky wake theory.

    For me, converting highly sensitive (in contrast to our latitudes) tropical primary ecosystems into socially exploitative, mafia-established and biodiversitely impoverished economic systems remains the worst of all possibilities.

  16. The success of palm oil cultivation is impressive and terrifying at the same time. With an unbeatable area efficiency of 4 - 6 tons of vegetable oil per
    The hectare and year of palm oil is significantly higher than the yield of our domestic rapeseed oil (1.5 - 2.5 Jato). It was probably only a matter of time before a strong industry developed in Malaysia and Indonesia to recover the treasures of this local resource - with all the economic, social and environmental disadvantages.

    But as I said before, political representatives in the countries concerned are very aware of this sensitive balance between economic and ecological sustainability. That is why Malaysia, in particular, has been very tough on overexploitation over the past few years. The protection of their valuable forests / ecosystems has matured into an important national goal, just like in Brazil. I don't want to talk about it and I don't want to apologize, but I believe that every industry, especially in periods of strong growth, does things that it subsequently regrets. What would be your suggestion on how Malaysia and Indonesia should deal with the local forests and palm oil plantations?

  17. I would like to point out once again that the "affected representatives" are usually NOT in the government, so speak to those who are really affected!
    Take a look, for example. to West Papua (as long as it is still standing), one of the current hot spots of raw material exploitation!
    Feel free to take a deeper look, but be careful, it could hurt!

    It's not about spreading “prosperity”, we want people (I mean people, not governments) who neither want nor need this to impose our system so that we can continue to consume happily.
    I am ashamed!

    In addition, we dig our own grave.

    If we as Europeans wanted to show the other countries a really "great way", we should completely rethink!
    And that should go much deeper than the creation of ever more worthless sustainability seals.

  18. What I would be happy about is if we do not put all biofuels together, but that it is worth differentiating!
    Okay, there is a dark side to biofuel manufacturing (I frankly don't know the situation in West Papua), but how much is that? The really predominant share (officially even 100 percent) of the bioethanol and biodiesel used in Germany now comes from sustainable cultivation!

    There is the destruction of valuable ecosystems for the cultivation of food, cosmetics, biofuels, furniture etc. This is sad and we will probably not be able to stop 100 percent because greed is also part of the human being. I think it's worth fighting against grievances! But I find it too extreme to draw the conclusion (and that would be consistent) that we can no longer buy products from Asia, South America, Africa etc. because there is a risk that the people / companies on site will be different have ecological, social and economic goals. In my opinion, this toad has to be swallowed if one supports the growing together of the world (globalization) in principle. But at this point the discussion definitely differs too far from its origin (bio fuel!).

  19. Please give me a brief description of the social benefits of illegal land sales, followed by the displacement of the smallholder residents of these lands. They are likely to be surpassed by the economic advantages that a diversified rural income structure gives up in favor of mostly international investment and the subsequent exploitation of fewer workers.
    Mr. Kirchner, have you ever been to a country where palm oil is produced or have you ever read reports other than the glossy brochures of certification companies? Corruption largely determines land use there - and if you then export the palm oil there is nothing more than a banana republic, because all further refinement steps are carried out almost exclusively in the countries in which the economic and social benefits that you have described also exist.
    Incidentally, the government in Brazil has long since turned around again, there can be no more talk of hard persecution, rather of incentives to invest in clearing forests (here, moreover, for bioethanol).
    The crux with renewable energies, and its distribution premise, so to speak, was and should be again that they are produced regionally, that must also apply to their raw materials, especially if they are pure consumables or operating materials and not construction materials. There are still many areas in Europe that allow a creative, individual but not highly industrialized (and therefore only interesting for large capital) cultivation.
    And the industries that used to ruin so much in this country did so in a far more stable ecosystem than the tropical forests - and with far fewer mechanical options - so the comparison you always strive for lags.
    But I have long suspected that you are a positivist believer in the market, where income for few means benefits for everyone - and this ideology, like the party it represents, has become obsolete.

  20. So I didn't vote for the FDP, if that's what you mean.

    As I said, I can understand your arguments against bio-fuel. I cannot say anything against the disadvantages and risks of an industrialized palm oil industry. Both points are mentioned repeatedly on this page. Since we are largely on a line, I think. I just refuse to say that all bio-fuel is devil's stuff, as it has been in many big media over the past few years. Fortunately, that is changing again. Fortunately, the agricultural revolution in developing countries, the next generation of biofuels (algae, waste, cellulose, etc.) and the contribution to detaching from oil are points that are finally regaining the attention they deserve.

    We also share the view that the regional cultivation of energy crops is ecologically far better than the global transport of agricultural and forestry products. Unfortunately, the external costs of industries (environmental damage, emissions, etc.) are not yet included in the market price, which is why industries are economically much more successful. If external costs were taken into account more, biofuels, and in particular regionally produced ones, would probably have become established long ago. So much for the accusation that I am a positivist market believer.

    Incidentally, I will soon be traveling in Southeast Asia, but the reality can hardly be worse than the dramatic and very one-sided images in selected media (burning rainforests, starving children in Africa).

    The way you talk about biofuels gives you a very differentiated picture of these energy sources. That makes me happy and I can fully respect your rather critical view of bioethanol and biodiesel. That is all I would want for consumers of energy and oil. A fair picture of bio fuel. Biofuel is not just hunger and environmental degradation, but in some cases it is just the opposite.

  21. Christine Denck

    Dear Mr. Kirschner,

    Surely you have now researched the situation in Papua, where unfortunately only one of the focal points of the consequences of our hunger for resources is, after all you are a specialist journalist.

    In this regard, I would like to refer to the ARTE theme evening, which can still be seen on their website until tomorrow:

    wewewe: future [PUNKT] arte [PUNKT] tv / en / topic / skepticism about growth

    An answer to many questions?

  22. Hallo,
    I cannot understand some of the comments here.
    You have to look at renewable energies or biofuels objectively.
    Anyone who does so comes to the conclusion that renewable energies are the only alternative for a better future.
    The most important thing is ecological cultivation, sustainability and the efficiency of all processes. For example, it makes no sense to leave thousands of hectares of land in Germany unused to import potatoes from Egypt. But it also makes no sense to grow wheat in Germany and then export it to Africa. It is particularly questionable to what extent arable land that is not tilled with wheat actually benefits the hungry of the world.
    Since most of the so-called developing countries would definitely have the agricultural potential to supply themselves centrally, the problem lies elsewhere. But this post was not about maximizing profits and unscrupulous global exploitation of some companies, but about biofuels from energy crops as an opportunity!
    Of course, it is fatal to cut down rainforest to grow sugar cane for fuel or soybeans for German dairy cows on the cleared areas. Sooner or later the states and its people will understand the connections and mistakes made. Education and development aid are therefore essential. On the other hand, you have to get politicians (with import bans) to enforce laws that promote organic agriculture and sustainable forestry. Furthermore, it is of course ultimately our buying behavior that massively influences the market. Whether exotic fruits,
    the 15 € jeans from Bangladesh or the paper that has no FSC or blue angel! Everyone has to do something.
    Our future generations will have no choice but to rely on biofuels. Whether it will be corn, silphia, algae, hydrogen, biomethane (obtained from electrolysis) or electricity, the technologies already exist today.
    If you can afford it financially, you should already convert your car today and use renewable biofuels such as bioethanol E85 or bioethanol from your region.
    This is the only way to put pressure on the oil industry and the huge algae plants in Africa's deserts can come ...


  23. Hi everybody,
    a lively discussion about problems that cannot be easily solved. Fantastic…

    In this context, I would like to present an exemplary company.
    LipiTec in Thuringia is a biorefinery that deals with waste fats from the German food industry. The company emerged from the idea of ​​replacing paraffin and palm oil in candles with the natural waste material. The company has succeeded in this development and the candles are ready for the market. The company also plans to incorporate the material in other products so that fewer and fewer raw materials (palm and paraffin use.) Have to be transported from far away countries.

    The company's guideline is always to use raw materials as food first, then to recycle it to the next highest quality product, as long as it can be reused and recycled until the energy use arrives at the very end. Accordingly, anyone who burns palm oil, rapeseed and other food commits a crime against humanity.

    To date, the products can be found under the "Biokema" brand name.

    So you see, there are still higher-quality uses for so-called "organic waste" before you burn them forever.

    Best regards,

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