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Environmentalists Debate the Promise of Biofuels

Two recent studies published in the journal Science suggest that growing additional biofuel crops might actually increase the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere, especially if existing forests or grasslands must be cleared for biofuel farming. Do the fuels make sense from an environmental and economic standpoint?

When U.S. politicians talk about biofuels, most of the time they are talking about ethanol made from fermenting corn. However, there are many other types of biofuels, including biodiesel from algae and cellulosic ethanol technology. Experts discuss various approaches to biofuels and the advantages and disadvantages of each.


Daniel Kammen, professor of energy at the Goldman School of Public Policy; co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment; founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley

David Tilman, professor and presidential chair in ecology at the University of Minnesota; director of Cedar Creek Natural History Area

Harrison Dillon, president and chief technical officer, Solazyme, Inc.

Wes Bolsen, chief marketing officer and vice president of business development at Coskata, Inc.

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