Oil price is increasing day by day because now oil is going to be drained and our supply is insufficient to use in the future. Many experts are studying about alternative energy and they have found a wide range of fuels. The U.S. Department of Energy administers (EPAct) said “Alternative fuels are biodiesel electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, methanol, natural gas, and propane that are defined by the U.S.A Energy Policy Act of 1992” (n.d, para.1). Moreover, “Several emerging fuels are under development. Many of these fuels are also considered alternative fuels, which are Biobutanol, Biogas, Biomass to Liquids (BTL), Coal to Liquids (CTL), Fischer-Tropsch Diesel, Gas to Liquids (GTL), Hydrogenation-Derived Renewable Diesel (HDRD), P –series, and Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel” (U.S Department of Energy, n.d, para.2). Much alternative energy has problems because they should change net systems to fit for new energy systems, need a lot of money, and require more research and development to be realized as nuclear, coal, dam, and oil systems. However, biofuels are different from other alternative energy, because this fuel can be realized as a source and can give us many benefits. Biofuel is a renewable alternative fuel, and provides energy security, emissions, and safety benefit.
Biofuel can be produced from renewable resource of plant or animal origin. Biofuel has two kinds of material: “Bioethanol is made from sugar and starch products while biodiesel is produced from vegetable oil or animal fats” (The New Zealand Herald, 2007, para.2). Studies tell us that biofuels have positive energy balance: “The US Environment Protection Agency and the Worldwatch Institute highlight that one unit of energy input creates 1.3 units of biofuel energy output using corn, eight units of output using sugar cane and up to 36 units of output using cellulose. This compares with 0.83 units of output for one unit of fossil fuel input, which always has a negative energy balance” (Travers, 2007, para.8). In 2006 about 33 billion liters of biofuels were used around the world (Travers, 2007). Some developed countries are using biofuels and have a plan for vehicles and transportation such as Ireland, which is using biofuels (Travers, 2007), The EU has a plan to replace biofuels more than 10percent of its petrol use with biofuel in 2020 (Mandelson, 2008), and New Zealand will use biofuels for at least 3.4 per cent of total fuel sales by 2012 (The New Zealand Herald, 2007).
Korea is a small country, 98,480 sq km. We do not have oil and import oil from other countries. Korea can farm crops to get biofuels. Korea would no longer have to depend on other countries to import fuels if we could make fuels by ourselves. Biofuel has a lot of benefits. Biofuel is a domestically produced, clean-burning, renewable substitute for oil. Using biofuel improves public health and the environment, and provides safety benefits.
Koreans need biofuels, which could give us many benefits and solve many problems such as environmental, economic and technological problems.
First, environmental pollution, which is kind of big problem in Korea, can be alternated by biofuels. Especially, air pollution is the biggest problem in Seoul, the Korean capital. Many Seoul people have pains because of conservative diseases such as atopy, splenitis, chest complaint etc. I have had atopy since I was 12 years old. This disease has not been healed until now, but when I go to rural areas and the countryside, the atopy could be better and less itchy on the skin. People suffer from atmospheric pollution; “Atopy, which has recently become widespread at a rapid pace around the world, is triggered by allergens in the air or in food” (Kim, 2006, para.2). Current medical technology cannot heal those diseases, which are prevented by fresh and clean air. Bae (2007) writes, “Korean government will also tighten regulation eco-health policy, which aims to curb children’s health problems due to pollution, such as atopy” (para.2). Biofuels offer many environmental advantages when we compare them with fossil fuels. The greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels are up to two thirds less than those of fossil fuels according to Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) (Travers, 2007). John Travers said, “These reductions result in a cleaner environment and help countries meet their Kyoto obligations” (2007, para.5). Biofuel can help sufferers to decrease their pains or cure their problems in Seoul and any other rural areas.
Second, biofuel should give Korea a big competitive edge to improve its economy. Korea earns dollars through exports to the U.S.A, Europe, China, Japan and any other countries. Especially in trade, Korean’s most important countires are America and Europe. However, Europe has built up regulations to import goods, which should be related with friendly environmental factors. Kanter states, “A fierce debate is unfolding about whether industry and European economy can afford higher commitments to pollution-reduction targets” (2007, para.7). For example, if goods are produced through an eco-friendly process, it can be charged less custom duty and have a reduction of tax. That is a big advantage when we compete with other companies and local firms. Europe approves biofuels as eco-friendly fuel and they try to use the biofuel for their major gas. The EU environment commissioner said that they try to improve 10 per cent of its transport fuel from biofuels (Conner, 2008). Biofuel can improve the Korean economy and give Korean companies a competitive advantage.
Finally, biofuel can develop Korean technology to be eco-friendly. Most developed countries prefer eco-friendly technologies, and that is the biggest trend in the world; “Europeans manufacturers have spent far longer working to make their products safer and less hazardous to the environment” (Kaplan, 2007, para.1). In the future Korea will not be able to sell goods if they are not made with an eco-friendly process. Many countries are trying to get advanced environmental technologies, and that will give them big money for the future. Korean’s future economy is engaged in technology because now Korean economic power is high technology, which covers our weakness in lack of natural resources, expensive labor, and small land. Most of the advanced countries study it very hard, and Korea also must catch up in environmental technology with biofuel.
My opponents say biofuel might make new food security risks. Siwa Msangi said, “Strong international policies are needed to stop the biofuel production revolution threatening food security for the poor” (2007, para.1). However, they are wrong, because fuel prices have hit an all time high, and influence food prices. John Travers said, “A recent study by consulting group LECG found that rising energy prices have twice the impact on the consumer price index for food than the price of feedstock used for ethanol” (2007, para.9). Next generation biofuels, which are cellulosic content and algae, are not related with food as wood and grass are. These sources are more efficient and low cost (Travers, 2007). Most of agriculture uses machines, which need fuels. Fuel cost is also a big part of expense for agriculture.
In conclusion, now biofuel technology takes in the advanced technology trend and European countries have started to use biofuel for their transport fuels. Koreans also should try to join in the trend, and that can solve our environmental, economic, and technological problems. Korea needs biofuels technology for our future.
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