Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I wish I had more time to write a bit but I'll have to leave you with just the information. Commentary to come on Monday.


This one comes from my dad via BusinessWeek. This is the most important collection of data I've seen in a long time. Understand this chart!

To cut greenhouse gases as cheaply as possible, start with the measures on the left that pay for themselves, then take the more expensive steps on the right. McKinsey says that doing all the things below, including those unlabeled, would cut 3 billion metric tons of emissions per year in 2030 vs. what they would be at current growth rates. That would put emissions below current levels. The width of each bar is the volume of emissions reduction, and the height is the cost in today’s dollars.


As much as biodiesel intrigues me, this is no thermodynamic surprise by any means. EcoGeek scoops an EV World report that shows solar power to be 1000 time more efficient that soy biodiesel. This is in terms of acreage of land, BTW. From EcoGeek:
At the bottom end of the scale is soybean biodiesel, which can provide only 2,400 miles per acre per year. Corn ethanol is more than six times as efficient, yielding 18,000 miles per acre per year. But because of the relatively slow rate of production from plant-based fuels, these options far fall below the productivity of directly produced energy.

The same acre can produce 10 times as much energy from wind as it can from corn ethanol, 180,000 miles per acre per year. But both corn ethanol and wind power pale in comparison with solar photovoltaic, which can produce more than 2 million miles worth of transport per acre per year.

Nail in the coffin for biofuels? Not really... we still have a long transition period before we're switched over to the next long generation of transportation. This information, however, is important to truly understand if you're a big green advocate. Just because something is an alternative to petroleum does NOT make it tacitly better.

Great chart, also from EcoGeek:

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