Biofuel As A Sustainable Power Source

Biofuel As A Sustainable Power Source

The energy crisis has already prompted a war; that is if you believe conspiracy theorists and the media. There might be some truth to this matter, at least if we take a closer look at the dynamics of supply and demand of fuel all over the world.

What Is BioFuel?

Biofuel is an energy source derived from recently deceased biological matter while fossil fuel (i.e. raw material for gasoline, kerosene, diesel and etc.). In theory biofuel can be derived from any carbonated source, but in practice it usually comes from plants like corn, palm, sugar cane, wheat, jatropha and algae. These feedstock sources are popular for the two most popular end products which are used for cars and machineries: bioethanol and biodiesel. Bioethanol comes from either sugar crops or fermented starch.  Biofuel does not just come from plant crops, although a margin of them does.


Since bio fuel maybe gaseous, liquid or solid fuel other categories also apply. Way up in Tibetan mountains biofuel have been in use for hundreds of years. Tibetans use manure from their goats, donkeys, horses and cows as a substitute for wood. Animal waste are common pollutants, converting it into useful energy helps eliminate its negative effects.


Other alternative fuel resources are used oils. People eat, and thousands and millions of gallons of used oils are thrown down the drain which leads to rivers and oceans. Oil does not decompose ergo recycling and converting it into biofuel is in order. In addition, landfills maybe of some use after all. Landfills emanates polluting gas which contain methane, a combustible gas which is the primary content of the gas we use for cooking, and heat.

Liquid biofuels are getting generous media attention because of the worsening air conditions in severely populated areas. Cars produce almost 60% of our air pollution. Vehicles need highly combustible energy so that it will function. Liquids and gases are easier to handle because it can be contained and pumped, so handling is less expensive.

Biofuel And Cars

There are two types of biofuels that maybe used in cars: biodiesel and bioethanol. Biofuel is very popular in Europe. In that part of the world most car manufacturers make vehicles with diesel engines, so using biodiesel instead of pure diesel is a relatively easy transition. If a car is unmodified owners may blend up to 20% biodiesel with regular diesel. Biodiesel comes from fats and used oils, these by products are the processed through what’s transesterification. Transestirification is a chemical reaction produced by adding an acid base to the fats. The result is biodiesel.

Bioalcohol is produced when starch, sugar and cellulose are fermented. The results are three popular types of alcohols: ethanol, butanol and propanol. Among the three it is argued that either ethanol or biobutanol maybe used in gasoline running cars, but it seems that biobutanol won the bid because it now called biogasoline. Biogasoline is formed by acetone, butanol, and ethanol fermentation and through scientific modifications.

With social enlightenment and a new found concern for the welfare of the environment more and more sustainable power resources are being discovered and invented. When all hope seems to have been lost a new glimmer looms in the horizon. It is heartening to see that men who cause the slow but sure death of the earth are trying to find ways to help it recover and be its vital self again.

Biofuels are a Green Energy Source | solar power and green energy

Biofuels are a Green Energy Source

Biofuels are also a green energy source. It has been around for a very long time and lately, people are beginning to take notice.

Liquid biofuel which is the one used in cars is a natural and renewable domestic fuel that can only be used for diesel engines. This can be made from vegetable oils mostly soy and corn. The nice thing about it is that it contains no petroleum, is nontoxic and biodegradable.

By fueling up with biofuel, you decrease the pollutants in the air because it does not emit anything. Right now, it is the only fuel approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), passed every Heath-Effects Test of the Clean Air Act and meets the requirements of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

One example of this is biodiesel which is made from alcohol like methanol and a chemical process that separates glycerine and methyl esters (biodiesel) from fats or vegetable oils. Aside from methanol, some countries have also experimented with corn and sugarcane to create their own version of biofuel. 

Glycerine is a common products and this is used in making toothpaste and soap. Since it is quite new, the process of converting it is quite expensive and right now, this is still much more expensive per gallon compared to petroleum.

But if you look at what you pay for it, the returns are huge because you get to do your share to preserve a cleaner environment, an improvement in air quality and a reduction of cancer-causing agents. 

A cheaper and primitive way to make bio-diesel is by collecting cooking oil and then processing it. This may not good your car’s engine so be careful if you decide to use it. 

If you are skeptic about biodiesels, studies have shown that its performance on the road is just as good as petroleum in terms of power to efficiency, hauling and climbing. You can use this in its pure form or blend with petroleum fuel. The most common mix in the market is 20/80 and is referred to as "B20." This means that 20% is biodiesel and the remainder is 80%. Another version is the E85 which is fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. 

The best part about using biodiesel is that you only have to make a few changes in your engine to be able to use it. Aside from making the car run, it also helps clean the engine. If you are concerned that this will void the warranty of your vehicle should there be a problem, don’t worry because it doesn’t. In the US, B20 is the most common one available but there are only a few gas stations that carry it. 

When car’s first rolled out in the beginning of the 20th century, Henry Ford planned to make these vehicles especially the Model T’s run using ethanol. Tests have even shown that these may also run using peanut oil. 

This never materialized because huge oil deposits were discovered and diesel was cheap. It was only when our demand for oil increased in the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and in the early part of this year that people began to realize that to reduce our demand for foreign oil that we should try using biodiesels and other forms of alternative energy. 

Is it too late? Not yet because there is still time to use biofuels and others as green energy sources. 


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