Food vs Fuel: Can We Get it Off the Table?
by Robert Vierhout (Ethanol Producer Magazine/EPURE) …If a magazine like the Economist is writing that the U.S.A. uses 40 percent of its corn for the production of biodiesel (yes, he said biodiesel), you wonder if the journalist really went any further than using just the cut and paste function of his computer. I have the strong feeling that most, if not all, of the journalists who cover food/fuel don’t do any research at all and are merely stating their own political view.
And then there are the politicians who see an opportunity to gain political brownies, such as the German minister of development affairs who recently called for an immediate stop on the distribution of E10 because this fuel increases world hunger. Now, the facts. Only in 12 percent of all gasoline in Germany is there E10. This might be 100 million liters (26 million gallons) of pure alcohol per year, 60 percent of it made from grains (mainly wheat), which would be around 150,000 tons of wheat, or 0.1 percent of the total EU annual wheat production. Yes, minister, you are right: stopping E10 in Germany will indeed reduce hunger substantially in the world. Oh yes, and don’t bother about the 50 percent of food that is being wasted in the EU. Those 89 million tons per year of foodstuff wasted, as shown in a European Commission report, are peanuts compared to what we use for E10.
The food/fuel issue is deeply rooted and I fear that we as biofuel producers will have to live with this. The food/fuel controversy will not be taken from the antibiofuel menu until the moment biofuels are no longer “served.” We can only do one thing, and that is continue to educate and tell the true story on food and biofuel. The people with common sense will understand the story we tell. READ MORE