- Sep 23, 2007
Fertilizers for biofuel crops could increase greenhouse gases
However, there is another concern with biofuels. The current crops that are being used require huge amounts of nitrogen-based fertilizers to produce. It turns out that a significant portion of the nitrogen in the fertilizers is actually consumed by bacteria in the ground and then given off as nitrous oxide. Previous estimates had placed this at about two percent of the nitrogen, but new studies place that number closer to three to five percent. Since nitrous oxide has twice the greenhouse effect of CO2, it can offset much of the benefit of using biofuels in place of fossil fuels. Until we can start using feed-stocks that don't require huge amounts of fertilizers (much of which is also produced from petroleum) it may be counterproductive to mess with most current biofuels.
[Source: TreeHugger, thanks to Wyatt for the tip]