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Page added on November 29, 2007

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The Implications of Biofuel Production for United States Water Supplies

In addressing the supply side of oil and gas depletion, much hope has been put into the scaling of ‘biofuels’, by applying new (and old) technologies to annual crops to create ethanol or biodiesel, thus providing chemically viable alternatives to the transportation liquids derived from crude oil. Much of the biofuels debate thus far has focused on their lower energy balance, vis-a-vis crude oil. While this is important, analysis of the impacts on non-energy inputs and impacts should a massive scaling of biofuels occur, urgently needs to be discussed. The National Academy of Sciences recently published a report titled “Water Implications of Biofuel Production in the United States”. The paper outlines impacts and limitations on both water availability and water quality that would follow the pursuit of a national strategy to replace liquid fossil fuels with those made from biomass.
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