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Growth Potential for Biofuels 1 RUNNING HEAD: Growth Potential for Biofuels Biofuel: Energy Independence? December 13, 2009 Growth Potential for Biofuels 2 Executive Summary This paper will discuss the history and growth potential for biofuels as a way to relieve our dependence on foreign oil in the United States. It will look at the different sources available to produce biofuels, and whether biofuels would actually result in a reduction of green house gases. Lastly, I will discuss the controversy of taking food stock away from the food supply chain and turning it into fuel, causing possible increases in global food prices.

Currently the United States imports 317 billion gallons of oil from around the world each year (http://tonto. eia. doe. gov/ask/crudeoil_faqs. asp). This is a major threat to our security because our commerce, defense, and livelihood depend on foreign oil. Because of the current wars in the Middle East, and the sudden increase in oil prices a few years ago, there has been renewed interest in expanding the United States production of biofuel and biodiesel. Biofuel or ethanol is a replacement, or additive, for conventional gasoline; where biodiesel is a replacement to conventional diesel.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), most gas stations in the US now have ethanol as an additive to the gasoline we purchase on a regular basis (www. usda. gov). History of Biofuel Biofuel and biodiesel are not a new development, rather, Henry Ford’s first car ran on biofuels, and the diesel engines were designed to run on peanut oil. When petroleum oil was found to be inexpensive, and readily available, it replaced biofuel and biodiesel, it has been the dominant fuel source since then. The oil embargo of the early 1970’s brought about interest in a way to extend gasoline supplies.

In Brazil this brought about a major change in the national strategy for fuel production and the car manufactures. Brazil grows sugarcane in large quantities Growth Potential for Biofuels 3 from which they produce their biofuel. Recently, Brazil has become completely independent from foreign oil; they produce 4. 8 billion gallons of ethanol fuel each year for their cars and trucks (Bourne 2007). Current Process The process of making biofuel and biodiesel is a straight forward process where the sugars, starches, or plant fiber from the corn, sugar cane, or plant mass is fermented and turned into alcohol that is then burned.

This process is similar to making beer or whiskey. The corn is mixed with water and heated then the starch is converted to sugar. The yeast turns the sugar mixture into alcohol is then removed from the water. The left over grain is fed to cows and the remaining water, which is high in nitrogen, is used as fertilizer. Predicted Growth The predicted growth of biofuel over the next decade is very promising. Currently the United States has the capacity to produce 5. 6 billion gallons of biofuel. The Energy Policy ACT of 2005 mandates the production 7. 5 billion gallons of biofuel by 2012.

Former President Bush in his January 23, 2007 State of the Union address, urged Americans to increase that number to 30. 1 billion gallons of ethanol by 2017 (Baker, A, Sahniser, S, 2006). We are very near our maximum capacity for biofuel production and more manufacturing plants will be required to reach this goal. The United States government is making $200 million available for loans for building biofuel manufacturing plants (Bourne 2007). The price of corn has spiked in recent years, in turn causing farmers to plant the largest corn crop since World War II.

About a fifth of the corn harvest will be converted to ethanol; Growth Potential for Biofuels 4 more then double the amount from five years ago (Bourne 2007). As seen by the graph below, over the last 10 years the price of corn has gone up 96. 74%. Supply and demand economics suggests that as prices increase more farmers will want to capitalize on this by producing more corn, causing prices to fall again. (Source USDA) Dec 1999 – Nov 2009: 84. 384 (96. 74 %) Corn – Monthly Price $350 $300 $250 $200 $150 $100 $50 $0 Jun-00 Jun-01 Jun-02 Jun-03 Jun-04 Jun-05 Jun-06 Jun-07 Jun-08 Dec-99

Dec-00 Dec-01 Dec-02 Dec-03 Dec-04 Dec-05 Dec-06 Dec-07 US Dollars per Metric Ton of Corn The United States government pays $2 billion in subsidies to farmers not grow or produce any crops (www. usda. gov). In 1985 the United States Congress passed the Food Security Act; one of the provisions of the act called for the reduction of the amount of farmland on which crops, including corn, are allowed to be produced. This is done by paying landowners not to farm their land (www. usda. gov). This results in fewer crops in the market and a higher price for the crops that are produced.

Some farmers have been doing this for years even though corn prices have soared. If we were to gradually decrease the amount paid out to these farmers, Dec-08 Jun-09 Growth Potential for Biofuels 5 those fields could be brought into production to raise crops, and lowering prices for corn. This extra grain could easily be used for the biofuel industry. With the increase in corn prices, it is becoming more profitable to grow corn than doing nothing with the fields (www. usda. gov). This would increase the available corn to 13. 6 billion bushels, resulting in an additional 29. billion gallons of biofuels. This alone would almost reach Presidents Bush’s goal of 30. 1 billion gallons of biofuels (www. usda. gov). Researchers are looking for alternatives to making biofuel from our food supply. We are in the beginning stages of converting plant material, called cellulose, such as cornstalks, prairie grasses, or algae into biofuel. Currently the best case scenario for the conversion of corn into ethanol is inefficient, for every one unit of energy used to convert the sugar rich food source into fuel only 1. 5 units of energy are produced in return (Bourne 2007).

Researchers are using the knowledge gained over the past decade of biofuel production and applying that knowledge to alternative substances referred to as cellulose. Cellulose is the generic term applied to plant material like corn stalks, garbage, and sawgrass. Sawgrass is a rapidly regenerating plant that requires little cultivation or fertilizers. It can grow in marginal soil conditions that currently cannot sustain other harvestable crops. The potential for cellulose is a 1:36 return on energy investment. This would be a giant step forward in biofuel technology and would not take grains away from our food supply.

Scientists will have to perfect, or adapt, current techniques to break down the plant material into a usable medium that will allow for fermentation for this method to be feasible. For every one unit of energy applied to corn to produce biofuel, only 1. 3 units are return. In Brazil they use sugarcane and are able to produce 8 units of energy for every one unit of energy used in the manufacture of biofuel (Bourne 2007). The chart below compares the Growth Potential for Biofuels 6 amount of energy output of corn, sugarcane, and cellulose to the amount of energy applied in the manufacturing process.

Environmental concerns Plants remove carbon from our atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis Millions of years ago the plants that removed carbon from the air, it is this carbon that is released into the atmosphere when coal and petroleum based oils are used. When we burn fossil fuels, we add carbon to the atmosphere, burning biofuel also releases carbon that came from the plants. Since the carbon is absorbed and released within a short period of time, environmental groups refer to this as carbon neutral. Currently the burning of fossil fuels is releasing carbon more quickly than can be absorbed by plants.

This is causing an abundance of carbon in our atmosphere and causing the concern about global warming. It seems a little shortsighted to say that one release of carbon is neutral, while the other is having a detriment on our environment, Growth Potential for Biofuels 7 when both are completing the same cycle of releasing carbon that plants absorbed through photosynthesis (Hall 1996). The manufacture of ethanol has harmful affects on the environment. The manufacturing process produces a large amount of carbon dioxide from the yeast turning the sugar mixture into alcohol.

During the process, the mixture is heated which is currently being done by burning natural gas or even coal, releasing carbon from fossil fuels. Environmentalists call biofuel a green alternative to oil. However, looking at the entire life cycle of biofuel we find that it is far from reality. Energy Independence Last year the United States imported 317 billions of gallons of oil from around the world. (http://tonto. eia. doe. gov/ask/crudeoil_faqs. asp). The Unites States government, as an incentive to promote biofuel production, subsidizes biofuel in the form of tax incentives.

The tax incentives for biofuel have declined in recent years from$. 54 / gallon in 1998, to $. 51 / gallon in 2005, to $. 50 /gallon today (www. usda. gov). These subsidies require that a minimum of 10% ethanol mixture (E10) be added to gasoline. Mixtures with higher concentrations of ethanol, up to 85% ethanol (E85), can be found in the US, mainly in the upper Midwest (www. usda. gov). However, E85 cannot be used in the standard engine of the cars we buy. Newer engines are being produced and marketed that are capable of running E85, the Chevy FlexFuel engine is one example.

If half of the cars on our roads today used ethanol in these concentrations, it would have a dramatic impact on our oil consumption, possibly lowering our thirst for imported oil by 200 billion gallons (http://tonto. eia. doe. gov/ask/crudeoil_faqs. asp). This is still short of the goal. To completely achieve energy independence we will need to improve our energy conservation in order to stretch our gasoline production. To make ourselves energy independent biofuels, along with conservation will need to work in concert to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Growth Potential for Biofuels 8 Biofuel vs. ood supply The demand for biofuel has diverted large amounts of corn and soybeans to laboratories from grain silos which animals, such as cows and chickens, were fed. How has this affected the price of beef that we purchase at our local grocery stores? Up to 1/5th of the corn grown this year will be used to manufacture biofuel (Bourne 2007). When comparing the price of beef against the price of corn for the past 10 years, I found a limited coefficient of correlation of . 639 between them. This means that even though corn prices have gone up 98% while the price of beef has gone up only 62%. (Source USDA) Dec 1999 – Nov 2009

Beef vs Corn Prices $6. 00 $5. 00 $4. 00 $3. 00 $2. 00 $1. 00 $- Beef Corn Jan-04 Dec-99 Sep-02 May-05 Feb-08 Apr-01 Oct-06 Jul-09 r=. 639 Conclusions Since the renewed interest in biofuel started in the 1970’s countries around the world have been making strides to increase their energy independence. Brazil has been able to become energy independent, the United States is slowly achieving that goal. While corn is easily to convert to biofuel, the energy return compared to the energy needed for production is poor. If we are able to perfect the use of cellulose for biofuel production, there is potential for huge

Growth Potential for Biofuels 9 energy gains while lessening the burden on our food supply. Even though the expansion of biofuel is required by law it also makes good environmental sense. Using biofuel will allow us to use less fossil fuel thereby, releasing less carbon into our atmosphere; this would slow or even reverse the effects of global warming. With the advancement of biofuels, we are slowly weaning ourselves from foreign oil and increasing our national security. Growth Potential for Biofuels 10 References Baker, A. , Sahniser, S. , (2006) Ethanol Reshapes the Corn Market.

Amber Waves, Vol 5, p 6671, Retrieved November 29, 2009 from United States Department of Agriculture. Bourne, J. K. , (2007) Green Dreams: Making Fuel from Crops Could be Good for the Planet – After a Breakthrough or Two. National Geographic. p 38-59. October 10, 2007 Calomiris, C. W. , (2007). Food for Fuel? ; Debating the Tradeoffs of Corn-Based Ethanol. Foreign Affairs, 86(5), p 157-162. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global. Cortez, L. A. , Griffin, M. W. , Scaramucci, J. A. , Scandiffo, M. I. , Braunbeck, O. A. , (2003) Considerations on the Worldwide use of Bioethanol as a Contribution for Sustainability.

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, Vol 14 (4) p 508-519. Retrieved from Emerald Insights on November 11, 2009. Koh, L. P. , Ghazoul, J. , (2008) Biofuels, biodiversity, and people: Understanding the Conflict and Finding Opportunities, Biological Conservation, Vol 141, p 2450-2460. Retrieved from Science Direct on November 11, 2009. Lew Fulton. (2005). Biofuels for transport: A viable alternative? Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD Observer,(249), 41-45. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global. McGinnis, L. (2007). Fueling America-Without

Petroleum. Agricultural Research, 55(4), 1013. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry. Growth Potential for Biofuels 11 Newman, N. , (2009) Counting the Costs of Going Green, Engineering & Technology, 25 July -7 August 2009, p 48-51. Retrieved from EBSCO on November 11, 2009. Perry, A.. (2008). “Power Plants” Prevail at the National Arboretum. Agricultural Research, 56(9), 22-26. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry. Ren, Z. , Lin, Y. , (2001) Global Warming and its Astro-Causes. Chapter 5 Retrieved from Emerald Insight on November 11, 2009.

Suszkiw, J. , Marcia, W. , (2007). Genetic Snapshots: Help Brighten Switchgrass’s Future. Agricultural Research, 55(4), 14-15. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry. United Stated Department of Agriculture, http://www. usda. gov/ Retrieved on November 29, 2009. US Energy Information Administration. (n. d. ). Crude Oil FAQs – Energy Information Administration. Retrived November 29, 2009 from http://tonto. eia. doe. gov/ask/crudeoil_faqs. asp Wood, M.. (2008). From Garbage to Gas. Agricultural Research, 56(9), 13. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry.




Sharing Information Analysis


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Sharing Information Analysis


In any case, people have grown into believing that what they do is only meant to quench their desires. As such, different habits and deeds have been adopted by different individuals depending on the degree of satisfaction. The following analysis seeks to determine how different individuals from different age gaps incorporate media use in their lives in the effort to make them feel comfortable. Through consultation with prior conducted interviews, the analysis goes through the response of each interviewee and the drives the interviewer put in place to get the available feedback. By going through them, the analysis will provide details of how each one fits in into the general media use by different individuals in the modern society. At the end of it all, we will be able to come up with a direction of the factors contributing to the differences or similarities when perception is put in place regarding media use in the society. We will be able to analyze each one and draw conclusions which can be used to find out why or why not different degrees of media use are present.

Part A

In the first interview, the subject is Kathie. The interviewer was able to have her talk about her habits and her levels of satisfaction when it comes to media use. According to her, media use is part of not only her life but also of the people around her. Her family and friends are part of too. She says that she is drawn into its diversity and that she considers what she does in it part of her life. However, she draws caution into how much she indulges. On average, she is an individual who doesn’t want to be too deep. She also works around helping her friends keep it into minimal and avoid aggressive media use as it is unhealthy.

On her interview, Sara says that she is more into media than most of the things going on around her. She says it is a big part of her life and she cannot do without it. On top of that, she does not pay much attention to the security levels of the media platforms she uses as she is always excited to get into the next phase rather than checking if it is secure. However, she is of the idea that its aggressive use can be hurting if a person posts or says an inappropriate thing. She says that changing her aggression is hard as most part of her life revolves around it. The interviewer takes her along a series of discussions to determine whether she feels safe when handling social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Apparently, security is not one of her main concerns when online. We can say that she is a person who is easily excited about media use and who feels that they cannot cognitively operate without it.

On her part, Marine portrays a cautious and less indulging person. She is not into media use evident by her saying that she only visits Facebook once every two weeks and Instagram only once a week. From her responses, we can say that she belongs into the group of people who think that the media cannot do her any good if she overindulges in it. She believes that media use can be hurting if not controlled. Owing into publicity and sensitivity of personal information, she addresses her friends to always be cautious when using media platforms.

Part B

According to the material provided in the interview, the interviewer was well prepared. The contents of her questions are straight and do not require complex explanations. She gave her subjects the relevant information which made it easy for them to come up with answers. According to all the respondents, there was no need to ask any questions at the end of the interview. The information they gave could be said to be the best response available.

On the other hand, the interviewer did not push her subject to answer her questions. He gave them time to come with answers and repeated the questions wherever and whenever it was necessary. The interviews have shown just how much important to give your subjects room to answer the questions. According to Edward Jones and Richard Nisbett, people’s reaction can be read through their trying to justify what they do. From that, we can conclude what exactly leads them to have certain behaviors (Jones & Nisbett, 1987). According to the interviews, the interviewee all had a different basis to draw their conclusions. The interviewees cited a different reason for media use. That made the interview relevance and kept it on perspective.

For an interview to be effective, both parties should feel free when dealing with each other. In that case, it is always advisable to make it more engaging than directing. That ensures professionalism and encourages people to give honest feedback. On her side, the interviewer made sure that she had all the relevant material with her. In her mind, she knew that she had to direct her subjects on the kind of response she needed. In their writing, Richard and Edward say that it is hard to come up with a direction when determining the sources and reasons for divergent of opinion when a person does not go through the underlying factors. The interviewer gave the interviewees the freedom of feeling in control. That way, it was easy for her to understand them more as they opened up on what made them indulge into media use as much as they did. That way, the interview was successful and provided all the information necessary to come up with a conclusion. Despite the differences in opinions when it comes to media use, we can say that the subjects all had the same perspective. According to the text Cognitive Dissonance by Leon Festinger, people always have the fear of having shortcomings in the things they love to do. Even though Marine exercised caution in her use of media platforms, she knew that its shortcomings may catch up with her. Unlike her, Kathie was fully aware of the levels of damage it could cause and sought caution first. From that, we can say that people are always aware that the bad sides associated with any aspect of life can affect them in one way or another (Festinger, 1962). The interview opened up on the three ladies’ fear of exposure which should that they were not psychologically prepared to handle its shortcomings despite the knowledge that it could be inevitable in the end.

Part C


Even though the interview incorporated different people from somewhat different class levels, it showed the underlying fact that none of them needed be told how vulnerable they were. It also provided a basis to draw a conclusion on why different aspects of life have a difference in their manifestation. For instance, Rache Botsman, in her talk on The currency of the new economy is trust, different people from different classes do band together when seeking a common ground when making decisions. That’s why online activity has been rampant when it comes to sales and marketing (Botsman, 2018). Dues to geographical restrictions, media use has been crucial. Sara and Kathie wanted to socialize with their colleagues to know recent trends in lifestyle. Same as launching new products, their drive can only be rubber-stamped by the majority opinion.

We can say that the interviews were more eye-opening as they showed that media use was meant to make people feel like they belong. Marine, in her occasional use of Facebook and Instagram, shows that she wanted to be part of that culture. There was no other way she could fulfill that urge other than joining the platforms. She was the other depiction of Sara who knew that she belonged into it and did not want to be left behind when changes came along. That way, people like Marine felt the pressure and that they had to make the effort to be part of it too.

At the end, how people view the same things can be contrasted by small changes. If someone became too attached to it, they risked being swallowed up by the whole hype surrounding it. Even though privacy is always the main concern, the formation of unhealthy habits such as laziness and ignorance is possible. That leaves people vulnerable which can be dangerous. The analysis shows that it is not only possible to predict what people want and perceive to be healthy for them, but also how they perceive the involvement of others.


Botsman, R. (2018). The currency of the new economy is trust. Retrieved from


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