Category Archives: biofuels

In the Bigger Picture….

7 Recommended Agricultural Links ○ ○ ○

1 . AGRICULTURAL CONTRIBUTOR: Here’s a Nobel prize winner worth reading about if you’ve never heard of him: Artturi Virtanen. Among other things, he was promoting biological nitrogen fixation prior to 1940.

By Susanne Dambeck for Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

2 . BIOFUELS ARE THE ULTIMATE FOOD WASTE: A new working paper from WRI again informs the world that biofuels are not green.

By Andrew Steer and Craig Hanson for WRI

3 . FOODIE TAKEDOWN: Here’s a takedown of the “foodies”. (I am equally dismayed by all of the food waste shallow-thinking headlines that bombard us these days.)

By Michael Roberts for Greed, Green, and Grains

4 . BIOLACQUER: In Europe, they are using tomato skins by-product to coat metal food container cans for safety and sustainability.


5 . JAPANESE INDOOR VERTICAL FARM: This short video is worth watching if indoor cutting edge lettuce growing fascinates you. It features Japan’s CNG City Farm.

from Horti Daily

6 . EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Pollan about the future frontier of psychedelics in medicine.

by Michael Pollan for the New Yorker

7 . POPULATION MAPS: Discussions about the future of food production mean little if we ignore these maps.

By Megan Willett for Business Insider

These links were selected by Kay McDonald. Note that Wednesday Editions of “In the Bigger Picture…” focus on general and business related subjects and Friday Editions focus on grassroots subjects. For continually updated news about agriculture, please utilize the news feeds on the right sidebar here, and on the “Latest Ag News” tab above.

How Biodiesel Came Into the Picture

“We” had too much -an overproduction of- soybean oil, so a farm checkoff program led to the funding necessary to begin what is now a major biodiesel industry (with taxpayer help). Every couple of years, the biodiesel per gallon tax credit is passed (usually retroactive to the last lapse of coverage) in Congress in their “cleaning up” end of the year bill.


There is 3 Percent Less Energy in our Gasoline Supply with Added Ethanol

I cannot figure out why there isn’t a greater backlash from the U.S. citizen about our nation’s ethanol policy. While the world’s food and agricultural journalists are in a constant toot about food waste and how to prevent it, they don’t seem to notice that we are wasting the production from some of the best farmland in the world, the American Midwest, by burning massive amounts of corn for fueling our vehicles.

The environmental consequences are also enormous. This policy is causing alarming losses of soil from this rich productive region, it is a large reason behind the fertilizer run-off that creates the Dead Zone in the Gulf, and the policy has also led to a sad loss of monarch’s, songbirds, and biodiversity.

The EPA made a small move towards sanity when it attempted to reduce the mandates set above the blend wall, but now it has failed to follow-through, at least until after this November’s election, it would appear.

This U.S. policy is mandated food waste.

And it is less energy in your gas tank.

From the U.S. Energy Information Association:
Increasing ethanol use has reduced the average energy content of retail motor gasoline

EIA has adjusted its estimates of the energy content of retail motor gasoline in the Monthly Energy Review (MER) to reflect its changing composition. Ethanol and other oxygenates, which have lower energy content than petroleum-based gasoline components, have seen their share of total gasoline volumes increase from 2% in 1993 to nearly 10% in 2013. As a result, EIA’s estimate of motor gasoline’s average energy content per gallon has declined by about 3% over this 20-year period.