What Are Biofuels?
These are fuels that are directly or indirectly obtained from organic material known as biomass. This organic material may include plant and animal waste. Energy derived from biofuels is known as bioenergy.
Over 10% of the energy used across the world comes from biofuel. In the past, biofuels were only used for heating and cooking but modern technologies have allowed for various conversion techniques by biofuel manufacturers.
Bioenergy is now being produced in either gas, solid or liquid forms.
This is one of the two main types of biofuels. It is normally used as a substitute for petrol. Bioethanol is produced from plants rich in starch such as maize and cane through the process of fermentation.
This is also a type of biofuel. It is produced from oily crops like rapeseed and soya.
Importance of Biofuels
Countries and states are striving to meet growth timelines. Nearly all the activities that can make these visions attainable depend on energy. As such, the demand for energy has been on the rise with a projected increase of 50% in the next 7-8 years.
As it is right now, a big portion of today’s energy comes from fossil fuels. While it’s a powerful source of energy, the process of extracting fossil fuels is dangerous and has adverse pollution effects on the environment. As a result of this, many countries have started looking at alternative means of energy and this focus is steadily resting on biofuels.
Countries are slowly shifting to the use of biofuels in the transport sector which is the major consumer of energy. Leading biofuel manufacturing companies are adopting modern techniques aimed at boosting biofuel production.
Biofuels help to reduce greenhouse emissions. Although many factors are contributing to the evidenced change in the global climate, combustion of fossil fuels is one of the major causes. There is an international effort to stabilize the concentration of dangerous gases. Biofuels are seen as one of the most viable efforts.
Biofuels have no environmental hazards. Although they also release some carbon dioxide during combustion, it’s the same one that is extracted from the same atmosphere during production.
Biofuels are good at reducing the amount of harmful organic compounds that are released into the air. For instance, when ethanol is added to fuel products such as gasoline, it causes it to burn more exhaustively.
With ethanol in the mixture, many petroleum products need not be leaded.
Because bioenergy is degradable, users need not worry when the biofuels spill. This is unlike fossil fuels which are not only toxic but also non-degradable.
4 Ways in Which Biofuels Benefit the Society
There has been a necessary debate on the sustainability of bioenergy with some raising concerns about food security. It’s worth noting that there are other biofuel raw materials such as algae, cooking grease and grasses which are being transformed into usable fuel.
Production of bioenergy offers 4 major benefits to society. These are:
- Stability of the fuel prices
Because they offer an alternative source of fuel, biofuels reduce the dependence on fossil fuels which are mostly imported. This helps to stabilize the transport expenditures. This in result protects the consumer from exploitations which may arise from frequent price fluctuations.
- Reduced greenhouse emissions
Biofuels are made from plants. In their growth, they emit carbon dioxide; when they burn, the same carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere. As such, there are no increased levels of this gas released into the air when biofuels are combusted.
- Reduced dependence on fossil fuels
With an alternative source of fuel, states can stop fighting over areas normally seen as rich in fossil fuels and instead focus on other development matters.
- Creation of jobs
The production of biomass and the conversion of the same to energy is a process that creates employment for farmers, engineers, companies and other innovative professionals.
The existing amounts of fossil sources are not in a position to meet the current or projected energy demands. Fortunately, biofuels are a suitable alternative. Aside from being locally available, these inputs used in biofuel production are highly renewable and the end products are degradable.