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Chilean Gas Crisis: Biofuel Perspectives

Cold temperatures in Argentina this week decreased the supply of gas to Chile. Even though the Argentinean government declared that Chileans will be provided their regular supply of gas, Chileans are seeking other energetic alternatives to ensure the energetic supply for the country. This week, the Ministers of Economy, Energy, Agriculture and Revenue decided to release biofuels from a tax in order to promote their use.

Ecoperiodico (ES) explains that this tax also applies to gasoline and diesel, and with this measure the prices of bioethanol and biodiesel will be a third of the price of one liter of gasoline.

Chile decidió el miércoles eximir a los biocombustibles de un impuesto específico que pagan las gasolinas y el diésel para fomentar su uso, en medio de preocupaciones por un menor suministro de gas natural desde Argentina, su único proveedor del recurso.

Chile decided this Wednesday to eliminate a specific tax on biofuel, that is also paid on gasoline and diesel in order to promote their use. This takes place in the middle of the concerns about the reduced supply of gas from Argentina, which is the only supplier of this resource.

The note continues explaining that Chile imports almost all of the fuel that it consumes, and this decision will help reduce the fluctuations in fuel prices and gas supply. One of the most affected areas is the northern part of the country. One of the projects that is concerned for this area is from the Ministry of Interior. The Interior Minister, posted on his blog (ES) an agreement with the University of Tarapacá to develop the crop “Jatropha” on 1,500 hectares. Jatropha is a shrub that is used in Europe and the Middle East to generate biofuel.

Also in regards to biofuels, but not related to the energy crisis, Atinabiotec (ES), which is a blog that publishes biotechnology-related news, posts the results of The Insurance Society Co-op, which warns about the dangers for the environment due to the use of biofuels. One of the issues is that the use of biofuels can help reduce the greenhouse effect, but on the other hand, it can also increase the use of agriculture land for biofuel plantations. This could decrease the amount of available lands for agriculture in countries that still have famine.

Local newspapers and television said that the gas for domestic use will be supplied. The most serious situation is for the companies that must find other sources of fuel in order to operate.

1 comment

  • The Journal SCIENCE has exposed the biofuel hoax.

    “Using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.” – Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land Use Change (SCIENCE)

    story at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1151861

    The problem is growing land crops to make biofuels. Switchgrass will be almost as bad as corn or rapeseed. General Motor’s idea of making ethanol from garbage is great if it works, but it is still unproven. There is some future hope for biodiesel made from algae, but that is still in the science speculation stage.

    As making biodiesel out of rapeseed or soybean oil costs the same as making regular diesel fuel out of crude oil that costs between $209.US rapeseed) and $232.US(soybean oil) a barrel, the idea that we are achieving “energy independence” through biofuels is ridiculous. Politicians have jumped on the biofuel bandwagon because they want the farm vote, and biofuels sound wholesome superficially, even though biofuels are creating global food price hyperinflation, up 40% in 2007 alone, causing water shortages due to water lost to irrigation, and unleashing many times more greenhouse gases than using Alaskan or Saudi crude oil.

    Please see – “The biofuel hoax is causing a world food crisis!” at:

    http://home.att.net/~meditation/bio-fuel-hoax.html

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