An evaluation of cassava as a biofuel crop focusing on crop yield, ethanol conversion rate, and water, soil and atmospheric contamination
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An evaluation of biofuels is imperative to relieve human dependence on fossil fuels as well as to reduce negative impacts on the environment that result from the burning conventional fuels. Due to the exponentially growing global population, demands for fuel are constantly on the rise. Biofuels are seemingly the perfect alternative to conventional fuels; however it is important that their use is not creating more substantial issues than the ones they are attempting to solve. Cassava is an energy crop that is becoming increasingly popular, especially in China who purchased 98% of Nigeria’s cassava starch production in 2010 to convert to ethanol. Cassava contains potentially toxic levels of cyanogenic glycosides which, when disturbed, produce the toxic chemical hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Due to this toxic release, I hypothesize that cassava production on a large scale for the purpose of manufacturing biofuels will have a more so negative effect on both human and environmental health with regard water, soil, and the atmosphere. This assessment was conducted by compiling previous data from online sources and scholarly articles. The results support the hypothesis that cassava production and processing for biofuel use is negatively impacting environmental health however, further research is required to accurately address cassava as a biofuel as production increases.