New Research Shows Further Damaging Effects of Some Biofuels

New research has shown that the levels of Nitrous Oxide emissions associated with the growth of some biofuels are enough to cancel out any beneficial effect in terms of reduced CO2. Nitrous Oxide emissions associated with growing maize and rapeseed may be much higher than previously thought. These crops require significant amounts of nitrogen-based fertiliser to grow, and Nitrous Oxide emissions may be as much as 3-5% of nitrogen fertiliser input.

Nitrous Oxide persists in the atmosphere for longer than CO2: over a 100 year time frame, each molecule of N2O has an impact on global warming 296 times that of a molecule of CO2. It can also react in the atmosphere to create nitrogen oxides, which damage the ozone layer.

Growing alternative crops for use in biofuels, such as willow, poplar and switchgrass, could result in much lower N2O emissions.

Link to Research Paper