What is biofuel, and how can we benefit from it? Here, we explore some interesting facts about biofuel, how it is obtained and its uses in today’s modern world.
The Basics on Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel produced through a process called biological carbon fixation. This type of process involves the conversion of inorganic carbon such as carbon dioxide into an organic compound.
The molecule found in the product that results from biological carbon fixation is similar to what living organisms have. In the case of carbon fixation that takes place in a living organism, this is considered as biological.
Carbon fixation can also produce various compounds including alcohols, fats and proteins. Once the molecules in these compounds are used to supply energy, they function as a fuel. Hence, biofuel is the product of this process of transforming carbon dioxide in a type of organic compound for energy generation or fuel.
Aside from biological means, biofuels can be produced through chemical reactions. The entire process takes place in a few days to months. However, with fossil fuel, millions of years may be required before fuel is produced.
The most important component to create biofuel is carbon dioxide that will be changed into another molecule. Then, the final product is completed in a shorter amount of time instead of millions of years, such as in the case of how fossil fuels are made.
What about Biomass?
It is also worth noting that there is such a thing as biomass, which refers to dead materials or organic matter. Examples of biomass are stalks of sugar and corn kernels, and these are all renewable materials.
On the contrary, fossil fuels have limited supply expected to run out in the next period of years. Thus, it may be beneficial to start producing hydrocarbons to provide demands for energy in a quicker manner.
Both biofuel and biomass are renewable, and these are produced quickly and more efficiently with the use of sustainable farming methods. It is possible to replace biofuel that are already used within a shorter period, unlike in the case of fossil fuel that forms after millions of years.
There are different types of biofuels, which come with varied chemical structures. The following are various types of biofuels and their functions.
The main benefit of ethanol is the fact that it burns cleaner with less carbon monoxide, as compared to gasoline. There is also a need to use more ethanol to obtain equal amounts of energy that gasoline offers.
Moreover, engines should be modified to be made compatible to function when ethanol is used on them. As for the smog production, ethanol is observed to produce a greater level of ozone than what gasoline can generate.
This biofuel comes in the form of liquid. In terms of transportation, it is rather convenient since there is no need to compress it as what requires to be done with methane because it is in gas form. When compared to methane, methanol has one-half more energy to supply demands for power.
The best thing about biodiesel is the little amount of sulfur compounds and particulate produced. It also burns much cleaner than regular diesel. However, there is a concern when it comes to its energy component since it is less than what is found in standard diesel. Furthermore, engines need to be altered to become compatible with biodiesel, otherwise, the engine parts will corrode easily.
The energy component in biobutanol is less than what gasoline has. Nevertheless, it is enough to power a car that normally runs on gasoline. There is also no need to modify a vehicle’s engine before it can use biobutanol.
Additional Facts about Biofuel
It has been years since biofuels were invented, and even Ford’s Model T vehicle was designed originally to function with ethanol. When it comes to the production of biofuel, scientists have discovered that it would be possible to produce it in a nearly unlimited amount due to its renewable quality.
However, there is an immense demand for energy in today’s world, and with the little amount of land area left for farming, it may be difficult to produce a larger supply of biofuel.