Tuesday, November 18, 2008

International Biofuels Conference Brazil Online!

Biofuels 2008 is being held in Sao Paolo this week at the Grand Hyatt. Conference speakers will be dealing with the economics, technology, and politics of biofuels around the world.
Brazil is keen to see ethanol -- the carburant derived from processing organic materials -- used more frequently in vehicles around the world.

The South American country is the biggest exporter of ethanol, which it makes from sugarcane, and the second-biggest producer, after the United States.

The plummeting price of oil in recent weeks, however, has cast a shadow over prospects of boosting ethanol exports. A lower price for gasoline undermines the argument for biofuels.

There is also a lingering debate over food prices spiking because of increased farming of biofuel crops at the expense of traditional food crops.

The conference, in Sao Paulo, was to start with three days of technical discussions before ministers took over for the final two days. _AFP
Looking over the conference schedule, you might think that this is just another vacation for fat bureaucrats at taxpayers' expense. Fair enough. But that is to be expected, on the bureaucratic front. We expect better from scientists and technologists.

The real breakthroughs and advances will happen far from the world stage. The most important bioenergy breakthroughs will come via a convergence of biotechnology and nanotechnology. They may even come from the work of closet nanobio-hackers. Technology is getting a lot more interesting, now that very powerful tools of change are falling into the hands of ordinary people.

The energy Luddites in the narcissist-elect's new administration should think about that strong undercurrent long and hard before setting out to define a new age of planned energy scarcity and deprivation.



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