The Advantages of Biofuels

Oil prices have a great impact on everyone.  Every time there’s an increase, people feel it, even if they don’t drive a car.  Some suggest we use biofuel to lessen the impact of the rising fuel costs.

But what is biofuel, and how does it differ from fossil fuel?

Biofuel is produced from recycled elements of the food chain, and from plants.   It is used in vehicles, and is considered a sustainable and renewable source of energy, as compared to majority of liquid and gas fuels used today.  Conventional fuels are fossil-based, and there are limited sources available.  These sources are depleting fast, and if we don’t find a good replacement, one day our cars will basically stop running.

Types of Biofuels

Biofuels can be used in their pure forms, or they can be blended with other fossil fuels.  There are two basic types: biodiesel, and bioethanol.  These are currently available on the market and most engines are compatible with them.   There is no need to modify one’s existing engine in order to use them.

Biodiesel

This type of biofuel is created using a process that combines oil with alcohol, in the presence of a catalyst, to produce either methyl or ethyl ester.  The alcohol used can either be methanol or ethanol. The esters are then blended with the standard diesel fuel, or can be used in their pure forms (100% biodiesel).  Biodiesel can replace diesel or can be combined with it in such a way that it helps run diesel engines with little or no modifications required.  Biodiesel is said to be better for the environment because it produces less in terms of emissions, while at the same time being made from renewable supplies.

Bioethanol

Bioethanol is made by oxygenating various agricultural stocks, such as sugar and starch crops.  It can be used in existing engines, although a small amount of conventional fuel is needed for cold starting. Vegetable ETBE is used at present, as a fuel additive that can enhance octane rating.  The vegetable ETBE is a replacement for MTBE, which is made from unsustainable sources.

Controversy

Biofuel might appear to be a promising renewable energy solution, but there are still some issues that need to be addressed regarding its use.  While its use may lower the level of carbon emissions on the planet, the production of biofuel has caused debate.  The concern is whether crops should be used for fuel or be reserved for use as food.

Hopefully these problems can be resolved.  Biofuel might be an inexpensive and renewable source of energy, but people certainly shouldn’t starve because of it.

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8 Responses to “The Advantages of Biofuels”

  1. Martin July 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    Agree with your posts. It make sense to start from personal responsibility and actions. Alternative fuels, solar recharges for mobile gadgets, wind mills that can be use in your country house all that can be applied right now.

    • Anna July 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

      @Martin – thanks for the feedback! You are right, there are plenty of solutions that can be implemented on a right-now basis.

  2. Melody November 2, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    I appreciate your willingness to state that biofuels are not a panacea. There are issues that must be resolved, such as those that you suggest. Actual efficiency, implications to world-wide food costs, etc… being others. Thanks for encouraging clarity about these imperfect, yet promising fossil fuel replacements.

  3. Patrick November 19, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    Personally i think alternative energy is a very important thing for discussion and It’s also very much important to know about other people’s thinking and ideas.I always search various sites for gathering ideas about business and other things and it is good..Anyway best wishes for this site.

  4. mechanic February 1, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    Good to have the information, thank you. Scientists are finding new biofuel sources all the time … one recent one came from algae, so helped clean up the environment in two ways! I think they are just an interim solution until hybrid technology, hydrogen fuel cells and full electric engines powered renewably become more mainstream, anyway.

    • Anna February 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

      @mechanic – Hybrid technology definitely sounds interesting, particularly if two sources of clean energy can be used. It might help eliminate potential barriers where supplies of certain energy sources are limited or can only be obtained in specific locations.

  5. jaqualine@Biofuels April 29, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    ya its true that petrol prices increases day by day and government prove fail to stop price hike so in this case biofuel is better to opt as a alternative.

  6. Connie Robertson January 26, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    Permissions request – International Baccalaureate Diploma Course Companion: English B
    by Kevin Morley, Kawther Saa’d Al Din, Tiia Tempakka and Jeejan Ab Awad

    I am obtaining copyright permissions on behalf of the International section of the Educational Division of Oxford University Press which is preparing to publish the above 448 page, full-colour paperback textbook for students aged 16-18 whose first language is not English. It will be released in September 2012 in an initial print run of 5,150 copies (total print run 20,000 over 5 years), selling at £27.00 GBP.

    On behalf of the authors and the publisher, I would like to request permission to reproduce the material shown at the end of this letter in this textbook. I require non-exclusive World English language rights as only about 200 sales each year will be in the UK market.

    I would be very grateful if I could have your reply as soon as possible. If you do not control all the rights, please would let me know to whom I should apply immediately.

    Thank you in advance

    Connie Robertson

    MATERIAL TO BE INCLUDED IN IB Dip CC: English B

    ‘The Advantages of Biofulels’
    by Anna, 13 March 2009
    published at http://livingclean.com/alternativeenergy/advantages-of-biofuels/

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