Biofuels are often touted as a promising low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, but could they ever be produced on a scale that makes them a viable alternative energy source? Monash climate scientist Graeme Pearman has done the sums.
They don’t stack up well. The trouble is that, although the planet is bathed in solar energy, photosynthesis doesn’t capture it very well. Even the most efficient plants only turn 1% of it into usable energy. To put that into perspective, Australia’s entire current wheat crop would produce less than 4% of the nation’s energy needs.
There is a Cosmos Science lesson based on this article available in the unit named