Iowa Biofuels Help Fight Against Global Warming
The recent release of the United Nations (UN) report on global climate change underscores the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists now believe are directly linked to global warming. While the report notes the increased likelihood of crop-withering droughts, severe hurricanes and devastating floods, it also shines a spotlight on Iowa-made biofuels as one possible answer to the threat of global warming.
Iowans already have gotten the message on alternative fuels such as E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, sold at approximately 60 stations statewide. Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, estimates that slightly more than two million gallons of E85 were sold in Iowa last year, a three-fold increase over 2005 E85 sales.
According to Tim Gerlach, a vice president for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, because more Iowa drivers are choosing E85 instead of gasoline, a considerable amount of carbon dioxide–a primary greenhouse gas–already is being prevented from entering earth’s atmosphere. He conservatively estimates that Iowa’s E85 users eliminated 17,000,000 pounds–8,500 tons–of carbon dioxide in a single year.
According to Jessica Zopf, environmental health coordinator for the American Lung Association of Iowa, biodiesel is another clean air choice for Iowa and the globe. She projects that Iowa will have 15 biodiesel plants operating within two years. Using biodiesel can reduce overall smog and ozone forming potential by as much as 50 percent, she says, and cuts diesel fuel’s immediate health risk, particulate pollution, by up to 30 percent.
Grant Kimberley, director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association, notes that biodiesel is already well established in the Hawkeye state. He says that more than 55 percent of Iowa farmers currently use a biodiesel blend in their operations.
In addition, Kimberley says, Iowa’s petroleum retailers are making it easier to purchase biodiesel by making it more available at the pump, and each day Iowa trucking firms are using more biodiesel.
The Iowa Clean Air Choice Team is a group consisting of the American Lung Association of Iowa, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Soybean Growers Association, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, and the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.