Biofuel’s are any fuels that contain energy from a geologically recent carbon fixation. They are produced from live organisms. This carbon fixation is found in examples of micro-algae & in plants too. Biomass conversion the process of converting a living or recently living organism into fuel. This is most often seen with plants or material derived from plants. There are 3 ways to convert this biomass into convenient energy: Chemical Conversion, Biochemical Conversion & Thermal Conversion. This process can be used to create fuel in gas, liquid or solid form. The resulting Biomass is used as a biofuel. The need to find energy stability & rising oil prices are causing a rapid increase in the popularity of these types of fuel.
Bio-ethanol is an alcohol created by fermenting carbohydrates from sugarcane or corn. Another similar process is being researched using trees, grasses & other non food sources to produce ethanol. Ethanol is used to as an additive to gas in order to reduce the emissions & increase the octane mostly but it can be used as a fuel for vehicles in the pure form. Brazil & the United States currently use Ethanol widely. Biodiesel, made from animal fats & vegetable oils, can be used to fuel vehicles in it’s pure form as well. Again it is used most often as an additive to gas to reduce emission of hydrocarbons, particulates & carbon monoxide from diesel powered vehicles. I live in Baltimore and I try to imagine how many lungs would have been spared if those large trucks, like the ones used by all the Baltimore movers were burning biofuel instead of oil based fuels like diesel and gasoline.
In 2010 production of Biofuel worldwide reached 105 billion liters which was up 17% from 2009. This means that biofuels accounted for 2.7% of the worldwide fuel used for transport. Biodiesel contributed to this in the most. Brazil & the United are the top producers of ethanol. They account for 90% of global production. The world largest producer of biodiesel however is the European Union making up 53% of the biodiesel produces in 2010. 31 countries & 29 states or provinces worldwide had regulations in place requiring the blending of biofuels with gasoline. The International Energy Agency wants to meet at least a quarter of the demand for transport fuels by 2050 thereby helping to reduce & eventually rid ourselves of dependence of coal & petroleum.
No matter how you look at it the world is showing signs of change due to mankind’s need for fuel. Without it much of what we have accomplished through the ages would not have been possible but now it is time to look for alternatives. We need to learn to balance ourselves with the environment & use only what we can replace. Without serious step in the right direction the future for our planet as well as mankind looks very gloomy. Look at some of the largest cities in the world & you see a haze in the air around them. Think of the methane produced by cattle to feed us currently. If we continue to abuse the environment there will surely be devastating consequences.