Response to the Missoulian article of Dec. 25, 2013, “Universities receive $10M to study biofuels,” by Martin Kidston:
The premise of the article and the proposed “trees to fuel” process is a misrepresentation: dead and dying forests are not “carbon waste!” All of that so-called biomass is being utilized by forest species for ecosystem-services that politicians, corporations and some researchers don’t measure or even value.
Establishing “five trial refineries near potential biomass sources” may be an impossible task for any long-term project because, as trees are logged from the forests, the sources of biomass move farther and farther away from the refineries, which increases transportation costs, increases impacts to the environment from additional greenhouse gasses, and ultimately makes the “trees to fuel” conversion facilities carbon producers – not carbon neutral.
Even if the “trees to fuel” process really has an overall mass balance that is carbon neutral, the overall energy balance for the “trees to fuel” process will most likely still produce heat that will exacerbate global warming/climate change.
But we, the American people, are spending $10 million to try to bring new technology “to the table” even though the merits or effectiveness of that technology are unknown and only speculative and the economics will only work if financial subsidies are available and huge areas of federal forests are allowed to be logged by these corporate speculators.