it's been a while since my last post, so i am sharing this interesting post which i have resently come across.
Even though most of today’s major machines and vehicles do indeed run on gasoline, petroleum based products and fossil fuel derivatives, the steady decline of many major elements of our environment requires that we continue to look into making some huge changes, and this most definitely includes a much greater degree of effort and focus on alternative fuel sources. One of the most promising types of alternative fuel sources is biofuel. What is biofuel? Keep reading for a brief overview regarding this very special type of fuel.
In fact, there are actually several different types of biofuels. The different types of these fuels vary partly depending on the different types of applications that they are intended for. For example, this includes the distinction made between biodiesel and biogas. These are obviously intended for use with different applications, such as diesel engines versus standard car engines.
However, perhaps what proves to be even more of an important distinction as to how these special types of fuels are categorized is based on the type of materials and resources that they are derived from. First, all types of biofuels are derived from some type of biomass. Biomass refers to a wide variety of organic and natural resources that include solid biomass, liquid fuels and different types of biogases.
Biofuels can actually be extracted or derived from both living and nonliving (they were at one point) materials. However, all of these materials and original resources must have been organic and not synthesized in order for them to truly be considered as a biofuel. Some of the more prevalent origins that you may notice in regards to biofuel derivations are algae, decomposed wood and vegetable oil.
In addition, another special type of biofuel is bioethanol. This type of fuel is one of the more commonly seen types of biofuel that you may have already seen available at your local gas station. And this type of biofuel is an alcohol which is produced through the process of fermentation of sugars from plant materials, such as sugar and starch crops.
Due to very important factors such as what seems to be almost constantly rising oil prices, significant spikes in harmful greenhouse gas emissions, the steady depletion of some of our most important natural and nonrenewable resources and other highly important factors all highlight the immense importance of making sure that we continue to put a great deal of effort into further developing the efficiency and cost effectiveness of all the different types of biofuels.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Biofuels
The world is getting warmer and the price of oil continues to rise. Fortunately, there are several different important methods and innovative resources that are now being taken advantage of that are helping to address these very important issues. Among the top things that we are doing to address these important issues is biofuel. However, as the different types of biofuels that are now in production and development are still relatively new to the market, there is still a good degree of debate as to the overall efficiency, effectiveness and safety of biofuels. Keep reading for an overview on the advantages and disadvantages of biofuels.
First, we will start with the immense advantages of the different types of biofuels that are available. As more and more technology for biofuels production become more widely available, the cost of producing this special type of fuel will continue to be even less expensive when compared to the steadily rising price of oil barrels. It probably will not be too long before the prices at the pump will simply make gasoline almost too expensive for lower economic classes to be able to afford it.
Another huge advantage of biofuels is the source material that they are derived from. Mainly, biofuel is derived from renewable energy sources such as biomass and various crops. This has a huge and distinct advantage over fossil fuels since they are non renewable and feature a limited supply, which is more rapidly approaching complete depletion.
In addition, since this special type of fuel can be produced just about anywhere, especially in areas of high crop concentrations, such as the highly agrarian economy of the United States, this means that there is an excellent chance for economic stimulus afforded through the increase in jobs that this type of fuel production will create throughout the nation.
Some of the major disadvantages that are often associated with biofuel is that it features a significantly lower energy creation or output than traditional fossil fuels, gasoline and diesels. This means that there is a greater quantity of this type of fuel necessary to create the same amount of energy as that which is produced by traditional types of fuel.
And while it is good that these fuels can be produced from renewable resources such as food crops, this can also have the adverse effect of raising food prices in the long run as the demand for more food crops continues to increase.
How is Biofuel Made
With rising greenhouse gas emissions, increasing pollution, steadily depleting natural resources, and spiking oil prices, we now have a much greater need for alternative fuel and energy sources than ever before. Biofuel is the next generation of fuels that can possible provide us with this type of sustained alternative energy. Keep reading for more information to answer the question of how is biofuel made.
Where does the first phase for biofuel production begin? The sun takes credit for the very first step in this process. The sun helps to grow crops and plants, which are then eventually used to produce biofuel. Biofuel is actually derived from biomass, which can come from gas, solid and liquid states.
These crops that are specifically grown to be used to produce biofuels are referred to as feedstocks. These feedstocks are the raw and unprocessed form that the bio fuel is derived from. Among the more common types of feedstocks and crops that are used for the production of biofuels are corn, sugar crops, and forests. In addition, even some of the byproducts of materials such as those that come from wood can be used in this process. These special byproducts are often converted to the liquid forms of biofuels, which include methanol and ethanol. With the ability to use these byproducts, production methods have gotten a lot less expensive since there is much less waste involved.
In addition, there are also certain natural oils that are also used to help produce this special type of fuel. For example, oil palm, soybean and algae are surprisingly capable of being burned directly in certain types of furnaces and engines and can also be blended with certain types of fuels or petroleum based fuels for a more powerful blended mixture.
Furthermore, certain bio active agents are also being developed which essentially stimulate the activity of biomass. This mixture and addition of these special bio agents creates a catalyzing reaction to encourage more efficient production of the elements necessary for the creation of biofuels.
Another means of producing biofuel that has proven to be especially efficient and cost effective is the conversion of vegetable oil to a burnable fuel that can be used with most types of engines.
And while we have come a very long way with our biofuels production capabilities, there is still a great deal of research and development that needs to be done before we can expect to see the widespread, everyday use of these special types of fuels. However, the technology for it is just around the corner and we can expect some very exciting developments soon enough.
China slashes corn ethanol subsidies to curb import pressures
In China, the government has slashed corn ethanol subsidies to 500 yuan from 1,276 yuan per ton last year as it works to reduce production from corn, saving it for animal feed. The USDA says Chinese corn imports may quadruple during 2011/12 as a result of increased demand and reduced corn supply. Between 4 million and 5 million metric tons of corn goes to ethanol every year, producing about 1.35 million tons of ethanol.
India debuts $150M clean energy fund
In India, the country’s researchers have teamed with the US to develop a $150 million R&D fund for clean energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, University of Florida and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will participate from the US side while Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology-Hyderabad, and CEPT University-Ahmedabad will participate from the Indian side.
Bioplastics from human hair developed
In the United Kingdom, wired.co.uk reports that Thomas Vaily has created a bioplastic from human hair. Vaily is quoted, “… bioplastic resembling leather”, and that it’s “biodegradable and flexible, allowing it to be formed into a variety of everyday objects.”