Go Nuclear and Dump Biofuels, Mexican Scientist Proposes
March 2, 2013 • 9:48AM

Biofuels cannot possibly represent a solution to Mexico's energy problems, says Dr. José Ricardo Gómez Romero, a professor in the Dept. of Basic Sciences and Engineering at the Iztapalapa campus of Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University. Instead, he recommends the country direct its research efforts to nuclear energy and forget about biofuels altogether.

Speaking Feb. 28 at the roundtable "Biofuels: Solution or Problem?" at the II Nanotechnology and Environmental Quality Symposium at the Metropolitan University's Azcapotzalco campus, Gómez Romero pointed out that the corn, wheat, sugar cane, and other food crops now used to produce biofuels can't even cover 10% of the current 784,000 barrels daily of national gasoline consumption—not to mention the implications of using food to produce fuel in a nation such as Mexico.

Dr. Gómez Romero said Mexico would do better to redirect its research efforts to nuclear energy, as it is a clean and more sustainable form of energy. Unfortunately, he added, its development in Mexico was halted due to fears about its safety, provoked by "certain sectors." Biofuels, he underscored, offer no solution, either in quality or quantity.

At the same seminar, Dr. Joaquin Pérez-Pariente forcefully condemned the use of food as fuels, noting that biofuels production meant producing corn and other crops for the sole purpose of "burning them in cars." Huge tracts of fertile land will be taken out of production for food, he warned, creating greater scarcity.

The director of the Institute of Chemical Catalysis and Petroleum from Spain's Council of Scientific Research asked what "social criteria" was used to dictate using food for fuel, and debunked the notion that biofuels are "clean" fuels.