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Biofuels create jobs and ensure power security

Nov 21, 2012

Yali Friedman, editor and publisher of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology says that the greatest benefit of all biofuels apart from the environmental and economic factors is that it creates the opportunity for diversified economic growth.

Yali Friedman

The future outlook for biofuels is great and is driven by several factors, one of which is the global desire for energy Independence. As people become more ‘worthy’, their energy usage too goes up.

We simply have to find more ways to produce energy. I think the greatest benefit of all biofuels apart from the environmental and economic factors is the fact that it creates the opportunity for diversified economic growth.

When most of us think about biofuels, we think about making ethanol or biodiesel. But, a functional biofuel enterprise has many sides to it. So, in addition to making just the main product there are a lot of other things which could be derived in the process like wax and cosmetics to name a few.

And, what is interesting is, it creates opportunity for many different enterprises to work together in one bio-refinery and sell different products. Therefore, instead of creating economic growth in only one area, like the fuel area, all the different categories can work together and create more value and also a paradigm for profits. Because, if the cost of fuel goes up or down, the profitability of the main product becomes a factor, the other products can actually proffer against that.

And so, if one day you are not making profit by selling fuel, you can make money by selling wax or cosmetics and that is the greatest profit as it directly addresses poverty. It allows more people doing different types of games to find profitable enterprises.

For countries like India and Pakistan, which are without ample fuel resources, biofuels are beneficial as these nations do not have the fortune of domestic petroleum deposits. Biofuels also create opportunities for people who might not have had proper work or education.

Challenges for biofuels are present all over. If the challenge in a developing country is feeding the poor, a wealthy country also has to face the challenge of feeding the poor. In some countries, like India, there are great economic disparities. The biggest challenge is to encourage people to go for sustainable ways using diverse input streams and using diverse output markets, so that the biofuel enterprises can be sustainable over a long time.

Biofuels are here to exist and present huge opportunities, what we need to see is how we can use those opportunities. Biofuels can be a poor man’s friend in future by dealing with the problem of affordable energy and ensuring power security, building a situation when you are no longer dependent of just one source of power.
(As told to Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia)


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