What are biofuels and how are they different from traditional fuel sources?
Put simply, the difference
between biofuels and oil
(or other fossil fuels) is simply how long the biological
material used to create the fuel has been decaying.
newer organic materials, like corn, are grown specifically to create biofuels
they remove carbon
from the atmosphere, making them an environmentally sustainable
alternative. Environmentalists argue that the amount of carbon
removed from the atmosphere is comparable to the amount of
carbon released as fuel, making biofuels "carbon neutral".
two of the most common types of biofuel are ethanol and biodiesel.
in particular uses ethanol extensively to power automobiles,
derived mainly from sugar cane or vegetable oils that are
converted into biofuels.
is, however, ethanol will never fuel all of the world's automobiles.
Just to power all the cars in the United States with ethanol
would require that a full three quarters of the world's land
surface be devoted to growing crops for ethanol production.
economic impact is also seen in a significant rise in the
price of many basic food crops, such as corn, as more and
more farmland is converted from food to biofuel production.
Biodiesel is another alternative fuel that is being heavily
researched. Biodiesel is made by converting either animal
fat or vegetable oil. Like ethanol, one of the main criticisms
of biodiesel is that it takes a disproportionate amount of
crops to produce a relatively small amount of fuel.
The future of biofuels
everyday new discoveries into biofuels research - such as
algae - has sparked renewed interest in biofuels as possibly
a more earth-friendly alternative to crop growing.
yields more fuel, and unlike other more traditional crops,
requires neither vast tracks of farmland nor fresh water.
More research under investigation includes new ways to combine
waste management and fuel production by recycling and
converting vast amounts of municipal or agricultural waste
to also produce biofuels.
Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center
- US Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
portal with extensive information on alternative biofuels,
along with alternative fueling station locater, information
on current laws and incentives, and industry trends and facts
based on data analysis.
Biofuel - Wikipedia- A complete survey of the various types of alternative fuels
currently used or under development including ethanol, methanol,
biodiesel, propane and more, with photos and related resources.