Biofuels are fuels made from biological substances such as crops, trees, and waste substances. They are mainly ethanol and biodiesel. Biofuels can be used alongside other petroleum products or on their own. Because they are made from organic substances, these fuels are highly degradable compared to fossil fuels.
What Is Ethanol?
This is alcohol fuel made from sugar-based plant organisms. Plants used for ethanol production include sugar beets, corn, barley and potato skins. In the United States, Ethanol is mainly made by processing corn. However, scientists are exploring more mays to make whole plants usable in the process.
Ethanol and Gasoline
Majority of the gasoline products available today have up to 10% of ethanol in their composition. This proportion is acceptable and all motor vehicles with an engine that’s powered by gasoline can comfortably accommodate it.
There are other specific types of vehicles that can accommodate even higher percentages of ethanol in gasoline.
Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils and fats. Biodiesels can be used on cars with a diesel engine without having to change or modify it. In its pure form, biodiesel is biodegradable and does not contain any toxins.
Biodiesel Blended With Diesel Fuel
Because of its biodegradability, biodiesel is normally blended with diesel fuels made from petroleum. This move helps reduce the level of air pollutants that are contained in petroleum-based oil products.
Ethanol and biodiesel are more environmental friendly because they do not emit harmful gases during combustion. This reduces the chances of the greenhouse effect which is caused by harmful gases that trap the sun’s rays into the atmosphere.
Because of its benefits, many countries that are concerned about the recent global warming are shifting to the use of biofuels as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels. This shift has been a major boost for companies dealing in biofuel manufacturing.
Biofuels Create an Alternative for Fossil Fuels
Economic establishment involves a lot of energy consumption. The endeavour by different countries to build their economies has led to an increased demand for oil products. Some states have even declared war on each other, all because of fossil fuels deposits.
Due to the increased energy demand, the supplies are quickly running out. Fossil fuels deposits are not renewable; they take millions of years to form. This has created the need to come up with a solution that will provide a sustainable source of energy.
Biofuels have fitted this bill. Economic analysts have expressed their confidence, that biofuels can effectively stabilize economies even when fossil fuels supplies are disrupted. The move by leading countries to accept these fuels as an alternative further proves this assertion.
Uses of Biofuels
Whenever biofuels are mentioned, biodiesel is the product that crosses the minds of many. There is a prevalent thought that biofuels are only used in transportation. However, there are other different uses of biofuels as discussed below.
Vehicle transportation is the most common use of biofuels. In the US alone, approximately 30% of biofuels are used in this sector. Globally, vehicle operations and transport take over 20%. In a show of embracing biofuels, leading motor vehicle manufacturers have continued to invest in models that are powered using biofuels.
Cleaning Up Oil Waste
Having been made from organic materials, biofuels are biodegradable and therefore environmental friendly. As such, they are used to clean waste and grease from oil products. It has been proven to be a potential detergent for cleansing areas whose water has been contaminated by crude oils.
The efforts have yielded: a number of contaminated areas gaining a substantial recovery.
Biofuels are also used to decrease sulphur levels in fuel. When used together with diesel oil, biofuels help keep the engine functioning properly, for longer.
For Household Cooking Needs
Biodiesel is a suitable alternative to kerosene and other cooking fuels that are made from fossil. The advantage of using biofuels over fossil-based fuels in cooking is that, as it burns, biodiesel does not emit harmful gases into the air.