Biofuel is a renewable source of energy used to generate electricity or power. This is a type of fuel which gathers energy from biological carbon fixation. Different sources are used to collect biofuel like solid biomass, liquid fuel and biogases etc. Biofuels gained popularity among public after rapid increase in oil and electricity prices, another reason of its popularity is concern about global warming cause by emission of carbon dioxide. From ancient times gasoline and diesel are being used but they were known as fossil fuels, biofuels are also similar to fossil fuel expect they are made from plants instead of decomposed animals.
In US, most if the gasoline is blended with ethanol which is also part of alcoholic drinks. For alcoholic drinks fragmentation of carbohydrates in corn and sugar is done. Some famous procedure followed for producing biofuel includes chemical reactions, fermentation, and heat to break down the starches, sugars, and other molecules in plants. The leftover products are then refined to produce a fuel that cars can use.
Types of Biofuels:
Different countries are using various kinds of biofuels like ethanol, biodiesel, biogas, bioethers and vegetable oil etc. here we are going to discuss briefly about some of types of biofuels .
Bio-alcohols/Ethanol: biologically produce alcohol which is popularly known as ethanol is produced by action of microorganisms and enzymes through the fermentation of sugars or starches. Besides this, biogasoline which is now considered as replacement of gasoline also composed through these processes. Bio-alcohols are today counted as most commonly founded biofuel around the world and different methods are used to produce it.
Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to any percentage and most of the cars today runs on petrol which is blend of bioethanol with petroleum. Ethanol has smaller energy density than petroleum therefore more fuel produces less energy in case of ethanol. It is also used to fuel bioethanol fireplaces.
Biodiesel: in Europe biodiesel is used most commonly as it is produced from oil and is liquid in form. Mostly fatty acids are used in production of this type of biofuel and methyl is top on the list of these acids. The pure form of biodiesel is lowest emission diesel fuel but liquid petroleum gas and hydrogen are more clean combustion but are not widely available. Biodiesel works best with diesel engines and many engines now cover warranty for B100 use with them as well.
Biodiesel is also safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, one-tenth as toxic as table salt, and has a high flash point of about 300°F (148°C) compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125°F (52°C).
Vegetable oil: vegetable oil is although a kind of liquid biofuel but it is not used as fuel in cars or to produce energy in industries. Its lower quality or used vegetable oil can be used after processing and cleaning as car fuel. This processed oil work best with older diesel engines that do not run on common rail or electronic diesel injection system. Indirect injection engines due to their combustion chamber design work best with vegetable oil. This system sometime works best without any conversion as well.
Pros and cons of using biofuel: Biofuels are derived from the decomposition of biological or organic waste. Most biofuels are formed from plant matter. They are found in liquid, solid or gas states.
- Biofuel is completely renewable type of energy source
- Gas emission from biofuel is less than any other renewable source
- It does not took years to grow its crops
- It is founded in different generations
- Biofuels are easy to use but not as easy to find
- Carbon emission is low but still it is contributing in global warming
- Some first generation biofuel are not sustainable
- Trend of growing biofuel crops more than food crops is rising