According to a Houston Business Journal story, “Rice report weighs biofuels and water resources,” as the title suggests, Rice University released a report, “The Water Footprint of Biofuels: A Drink or Drive Issue?.”
While petroleum and nuclear are shown in the report to use a few hundred liters per defined energy unit, irrigated corn and soybean biofuels require tens of millions of liters of water for the same amount of energy. However. . .
“. . .the theoretical irrigation water requirement for prairie-grown switchgrass is zero. Nevertheless, despite intensive research activity on plant genomics and metabolic engineering to facilitate conversion of lignocellulosic feedstock into biofuels, current technology is not yet economically feasible to meet our large biofuel requirements from such feedstocks.”
Nobody says your home grown biofuel crop has to power the whole planet, just your grease car.
The Freeways To Fuel FAQ describes a national plan to turn roadside weeds into fuel.
“Nearly all highway areas in the United States have monetary costs to maintain. Utah’s Department of Transportation (UDOT) alone has nearly 6000 miles of highway roadsides that require maintenance at costs of $300 per mile in 2006. A potential cost reduction could be realized in using this land to grow biofuel feedstock crops. The fuel made from these crops could then be used in the DOT’s fleets and other state vehicles.”
Some interesting news from E-Fuel’s website, “The final production model of the revolutionary MicroFueler was unveiled to the world by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento, CA.” One important benefit listed on the technology page is:
“Processing organic waste material through the MicroFueler is the ultimate environmentally friendly solution, as it uses materials otherwise bound for landfills and converts them into fuel for your home and business.”
New Scientist reported a Mound-day item about a soil reclamation and fuel generating project in Belarus, “Biofuels Could Clean Up Chernobyl Badlands.”
Another biofuel item. Autoblog article “No Brainer of the Day: Making Biodiesel at Home is Dangerous.”
Another water item. TreeHugger slideshow of the “World’s Dirtiest Rivers and Lakes.”