Bioethanol: time to stop comparing apples to oranges
What about using biofuels to replace fossil fuels? Let’s not be too hasty! From a strictly environmental point of view, this is not always a win-win process. Indeed, if we are to succeed in comparing like with like, many other factors need to be taken into account such as the reduction of greenhouse gases which is required by European regulation. If we want to objectively consider all the environmental impacts of biofuel, one method in particular seems appropriate: Life Cycle Assessment. Implemented by a chemical engineer at the University of Liege, this method has yielded informative results with regard to the use of bioethanol.
(1) By extracting a molecule of water from bioethanol- known as catalytic dehydration, we obtain bioethylene which can be used for the manufacture of plastic.