October 27, 2011 - For the past few decades, many solutions have been offered to solve our energy crisis. Bio-fuels were heralded as a clean, cheap and renewable energy source that would satiate our ever growing demand for energy. We now have corn ethanol blends have appeared at gas pumps, new facilities are growing and processing algae and new jobs are being created for this booming industry. Rolf Westgard of the University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education program joined us to talk about our energy usage.
Using food for fuel has become a contentious issue as a number of issues have cropped up. The industry has only been able to sustain itself using massive subsidies which eliminate any cost saving benefit. The prices of food around the world have sky rocketed as more farmers raise crops for energy consumption rather than for the dinner table. The process of creating biodiesel was championed as being a green alternative, but some numbers show that it produces an equivalent amount of pollution.
Although nearly everything we do throughout the day has involved energy in some form it is still abstracted from our lives.What is to be done about this? We need alternatives to the finite amount of oil reserves. The American oil industry has been propped up for years by subsidies, is it unfair to hold bio-fuels to a different standard? Are their other ideas that we’re not considering?