Reactions to Pimentel’s lecture at Duke

Dr. Pimentel, a long-standing critic of the energy efficiency and sustainability of biofuels, gave a lecture at Duke last Tuesday. I was not able to attend, but the biofuels community in the Triangle is abuzz with reactions to the event. Everyone I heard talk about it was rather under-whelmed. Pimentel came across as unconvincing and inconsistent.

Lyle from Piedmont Biofuels about Dr. Pimentel:

He was a rambling old man. The slides in his power point presentation were not consistent or powerful. He traveled through different energy measurements, sometimes metric, sometimes American, sometimes BTUs, sometimes kilocalories. And he provided a strange mixed up message that was virtually incomprehensible.
On the one hand he faulted over population for the earth’s demise, and he struck me as someone with a genuine interest in conservation. On the other hand, he offers nothing but coal as a fall back position for dwindling energy reserves.
“Burn it while we still can,” was a common refrain. Forget biodiesel. Make liquid fuels from coal. Shrug.
He offered a forty five minute lackidasical trip through a hundred numbers and measurements, none of which are supported by any other energy balance research. His numbers are at odds with Argonne National Laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Lab, the USDA, and the DOE.
He seemed alone on a whacko fringe, like someone who might enjoy an evening with the cold fusion folks, or perhaps the handful of global warming skeptics.
Energy Blog: Pimentel Tonight

Too bad that the work of this rambling old man produces headlines in the national news that reflect badly on alternative fuels.

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