Instead of pumping biofuels into our cars, researchers in California are finding benefits in using these biofuels to generate electricity.
Although sun and wind represent energy sources that are simply harvested from the environment, biofuels generated from corn or algae are more complex because they need time and significant space to grow. In particular, scientists are starting to recognize that the negative impacts on the environment resulting from growing corn outweigh the benefits.
In a paper published in Science, researchers used a computer model to estimate the efficiency of using plants to generate electricity rather than using them for fuels. Per unit of cropland, they found an increase of 81% transportation kilometers when electric vehicles were powered by bioelectricity compared to the traditional vehicles using an internal combustion engine powered by ethanol. Greenhouse gas emissions offset also increased by 108%.
However, the article doesn't address economics such as the availability of electric-powered cars and consumers' likelihood of buying them.