The Pros and Cons of Ethanol as a Renewable Source of Energy

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I. Introduction

One of the most hotly contested debates in today’s realm of environmental concern is how to secure energy for the maintenance and improvement of quality of life in the future. To date, humanity has been blessed with plentiful reserves of cheap crude oil, which can be refined into a multitude of items that make the lives of many so convenient—gasoline, heating oil, natural gas, plastics, and fertilizers. In some parts of the world, these technologies merely facilitate survival. But concern over what happens when these supplies dwindle is universal. Science has revealed that oil will not last forever at the rate it is being consumed. Therefore, alternatives must be developed that can provide sustainable levels of energy well into humanity’s future. We are entering a world in which, energy-speaking, renewable is the name of the game.

In addition to facilitating the weaning of humans from fossil fuels, renewable energy poses many environmental benefits because renewable means clean. Most scientists will argue that, though the degree to which we benefit might be speculative, human and environmental welfare will increase with tapping of renewable energy sources. If modern science is in any way accurate, using clean and renewable energy would result in better air quality, curbing of climate change and the Greenhouse Effect, and perhaps even the luxury of supplying most or all of our energy domestically. This means that countries like the U.S. would stand heavily resistant to both the ramifications of a global energy crisis and to international political tensions surrounding the trading of oil. Despite its being more expensive, there is much to be gained from renewable energy.

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...erations, we must make the leap.

Works Cited

Ethanol.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4/15/2007. http://0-search.eb.com.tiger.coloradocollege.edu/eb/article-79648

“Gasoline.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4/15/2007. http://0-search.eb.com.tiger.coloradocollege.edu/eb/article-9036148

Godoi AFL, Ravindra K, Godoi RHM, Andrade SJ, Santiago-Silva M, Vaeck LV, Grieken RN. 2004. “Fast chromatographic determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in aerosol samples from sugar cane burning.” Journal of Chromatography A 1027:49-53.

Hodge C. 2002. “Ethanol use in US gasoline should be banned, not expanded.” Oil and Gas Journal 100:20-27.

Wackernagel M, Rees W. 1995. “Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth.” Gabriola Island (Canada): New Society.

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