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Did Hugo Chavez Call Bio-Diesel Lover Sean Penn a Criminal?

In the ever complicated environmental tussle between clean fuel and responsible use of resources the differing opinions over the use of biofuels has produced an interesting contrast of ideas — fueled by Ethanol.

Sean Penn, actor/activist has just initiated a cross-country trek using a fleet of biodiesel buses carrying about 300 people that will burn the corn fuel for 1,800 miles from the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and ending in New Orleans for the annual jazz festival. Penn appeared twice yesterday at Coachella. He said of the trip, "I see this as a reckoning. My generation and those that came before have to recognize the numbing of incentive that we've passed on to the change hungry, imaginative, smarter than us youth of today." To see the larger implications of Penn's good intentions,

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Penn might mean well running his trip on corn, but he may have created an unlikely opponent. On the other side of the biodiesel debate is Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez who claims that “a US push to boost ethanol production during a world food crisis is a crime.”

Chavez also said that “the corn needed to fill an average car with ethanol would be enough to feed seven people for a year.” Venezuela is putting their corn where their mouth is, and will donate more than 385 tons to food to Haiti to help ease the suffering since the food shortages toppled their government.

Is Penn taking corn out of the mouths of the hungry while on his journey to try to inspire change and "encourage individuals to take individual actions"? Do you think biofuels are responsible for the current food crisis? Are they the answer to cleaner and renewable fuels, or just an eco-fairytale?

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Join The Conversation
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Somehow my Beaker the Muppet Chemistry Set never included instructions on how to make biodiesel....
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Yes, thank you Cabaker. You are most knowledgeable. I also get the sense that you somehow actually make fuel in your backyard.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
btw, any diesel car can be modified to run on biodiesel, its really a matter of changing hoses mostly. ethanol is a different story. personally, i think biodiesel is a better idea. its easier to implement, we don't need to make sweeping changes to the technology we have, and that way we're still buying some kind of oil (though much less of it) to support the countries that rely on oil sales. to me it seems like the biggest win-win...
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Two separate things entirely. Ethanol is alchohol in its purest form. As of right now, 100% ethanol is not approved for use in the US. So some people add ethanol to regular fuel because it lowers emissions. Most cars can run on an ethanol blend, but not on pure ethanol. Biodisel is diesel you buy and then cut with some kind of oil. You can actually make biodiesel in your garage with oil, lye and some other chemicals. Most commercially sold bioldiesel is a blend such as B20, which means 20% of the diesel is biodisel and the rest is petrodiesel... Does that make sense?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Quick question: Is ethanol a form of biodiesel or are they two separate things entirely?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Ethanol doesn't work. I have been shoving corn into my fuel tank for the past week and, yeah, it's cheaper, but now my car won't run. Stupid biodiesel.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Usually i have daydreams of snow, and jumping in and rolling in it.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
i think the bottom line is both of these people have a serious political agenda and unfortunately the political system we live in is based around energy security (war in iraq anyone?) and being that chavez is a DICTATOR and not taken seriously, he has a really uncanny way of taking any opportunity to get some attention. it's good that we are having this debate here, i think lots of people could benefit from knowing more about the nuances of it all.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Snowing?! hahah SUCKERS! ;)
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Good morning all! I hope the plight in WI makes your rain feel a little better. IT'S SNOWING HERE!!!! We're supposed to get 4- inches.... Where's spring?!?! I could go for some global watming right now
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
i gotcha yesteryear, its all good
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
haha, no prob Whatever... lets drive it on home! :) ha ha, get it? drive? boy i make myself laugh so hard...
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
cabaker: sorry if it seemed i was trying to "school" you on biofuels. the point i'm trying to make is that the original source is a bit misleading... sean penn isn't taking an ethanol tour of america, and chavez was complaining about ethanol, not biodiesel.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Oh, whatever...Whatever! :)
whatever100 whatever100 9 years
oops, sorry, now I see that others have covered that same point.
whatever100 whatever100 9 years
biodiesel is not the same thing as ethanol
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
well, now I know I can't use them interchangably. And since I'll probably forget the next time the subject comes up in conversation, I'll just keep my trap shut. :)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
yesteryear, thats exactly what i was saying. that many people don't know the difference between the terms biodiesel and biofuel, so they can mix them up.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
It is cold and rainy here, and I am either catching a cold or my allergies are kicking in. :cry: Thanks for clearing that up cabaker. You are in your element ;)
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
cabaker: actually "biofuel" has become a catch all term, not biodiesel... and ethanol is not biodiesel. so i think this might be a little misleading. saying ethanol is harming the food supply makes sense, but biodiesel comes from used biomass (cooking oil) so it's quite different. anyway, i read up on the actual point of this bus caravan penn is leading, and the biodiesel buses are only a minor element, it's actually more about doing public service around the country and inspiring young people to get involved. i think it's an awesome idea and if i wasn't stuck in an office all day, i might join them.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
It's cold here today! I got a sunburn Saturday, so I'm liking this nutty weather. There's nothing nicer than warm skin and cold air, I think!
syako syako 9 years
It's a purty monday here :coffee:
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I think biodiesel has become a catch all name for alternative fuels, mechanically biodiesel is diesel that has been cut with some kind of oil. Ethanol is exactly that, ethanol which a car has to be designed to run on. You can run a regular diesel car on biodiesel if you make a few modifications, but when it comes to ethanol i believe the car has to be designed specifically to be able to use it without much damage... theres some debate on that though.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Mornin! I hate Mondays. Especially rainy ones.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
and goodmorning ya'll! happy Monday!
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