Biofuel's Downsides

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

How well do you know your biofuels? Better yet, how well do you know the factors that may keep them from being put to use on a large scale? Try this quiz to test your knowledge about the downsides of popular biofuels.

What does it cost to convert a car to run on biodiesel?

Biodiesel conversions are popular because they're relatively simple. Still, the cost to modify fuel lines, gaskets, injectors and filters can add up. Many conversion kits cost more than $500.


How much pollution is created by fertilizer runoff worldwide?

Pollution from fertilizer used to grow plants such as biofuel crops is hard to measure. It's considered "nonpoint" pollution since runoff from a field can contaminate water hundreds of miles away.


How many people in the world live on only $1 to $2 per day?

The approximately 800 million people living on less than $2 a day are most at risk for food insecurity: the inability to obtain adequate nutrition. Increased demand for biofuel crops could threaten these people's tentative access to food.


What's the gel point of biodiesel?

One of biodiesel's greatest drawbacks is its high gel point: Some types of biodiesel solidify at above-freezing temperatures.


How much energy does it take to produce a gallon of biodiesel?

Considering the wide variety of crops that can be used to produce biodiesel, it's not surprising that the cost to produce it varies widely from crop to crop. Overall, though, biodiesel takes a significant amount of energy to produce.


Which country produces the most biofuel?

Despite the hope that biofuels will lead to locally produced fuel the world over, biofuel production is still limited to certain countries. Germany leads the world in biodiesel production, while the U.S. leads in ethanol production.


How does biofuel compare to petroleum's energy storage ability?

This one's hard to determine, given the variety of available biofuels. While alcohols such as ethanol can pack a bigger punch than gasoline, some biodiesel sources only carry a fraction of the stored energy of petroleum diesel.


What is monoculture?

Monocultural farming, which focuses on growing one heavily concentrated crop instead of a rotation of various crops, can have serious environmental drawbacks, including pest attraction and heavy fertilizer use. These problems could worsen with increased biofuel farming.


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