The modern era of energies is now steering away from fossil fuels and to new alternatives. Many of these alternatives have the potential for successful, sustainable use in the United States. Biofuel is one of those alternatives being perused. It has potential; however, the Mascoma Biofuel plant in Newberry, MI is one of the first of its kind. Biofuel relies on organic matter (this particular process uses aspen wood chips) to produce ethanol, typically with an input/output ratio of 1:1 up to 1:5.
Where this becomes a problem is using this technology on a large commercial scale, like the Newberry plant is planning to do. This also has the potential to have mandated increase by Proposal 3 in the 2012 election. If passed it changes to the State Constitution of MI that will change the mandated output from 10% to 25%. The amount of projected output in ethanol will have equal increase in timber harvest. Based of forest maturity rate this will result in unsustainable deforestation. This is not a certainty but a realistic concern for potential catastrophic consequences for our forests based on this proposal.
Vote NO on Prop. 3
This is part of the Commercialism of Bio-fuel: Sustainability of Alternative Energies research proposal
Produced by NMU BS Undergrad Student of Environmental Study & Sustainability