While this post might perhaps appear to be slightly off topic, I’m posting it anyway, because IMO it illustrates the power of “smart” commercial marketing and lobbying pitches to the masses, who are not interested in hearing about any disturbing facts of our accelerating environmental problems, and are willingly lured into believing marketing pitches that contradict established physics.
Lately, it has become very popular for organizations in the transportation and energy sectors to refer to “renewable fuels” in their environmental policy, and mission and vision statements: for instance, yesterday I attended a corporate presentation given by one of the largest public transportation companies in Europe, where the person presenting was shining with pride over the fact that more than 60% of their buses are now powered by “renewable fuel”.
The notion of “renewable fuel” is an oxymoron, contradicting the fundamental laws of thermodynamics – in particular, the second law of thermodynamics, stating that entropy in a closed system is ever increasing. Thus, while it is true – based on the first law of thermodynamics – that energy can not be created nor destroyed, the second law proves that energy can not be “renewed” into any useful form allowing it to be reused.
A more correct way to express the “environmentally friendly” policies of these transportation companies using various bio-fuels etc would be to state something along the lines of “…we are using recycled organic garbage to power our vehicles…”