The recent study in biofuels, which is any liquid fuel made from plants and other biological matter like animal waste and leftover cooking fat, is taking the world by storm! These fuels help to meet transportation demand and can be used as substitutes for petroleum-based fuels like gasoline and diesel, two harmful chemicals that are inducing climate change.
What are biofuels used for?
Advanced research in biofuels aims to produce higher-grade fuels like for commercial flights and jet fuel. While some of these “advanced biofuels” are already in production, none are being used in nearly the amounts of “first-generation” ethanol and biodiesel.
How are they made?
Many different biofuels are in production and composed of different elements. In fact, The Bioenergy Technologies Office(BETO) is making these fuels from varied ingredients. While most gasoline is sold in the U.S. and mixed with 10% ethanol, the most common biofuel creation process uses bacteria and yeast to ferment starchy foods like corn into ethanol, a partial replacement for gasoline. There are also new ways to create cleaner-burning fuels that are better for the environment and human health: this can be done using less valuable biomass like algae, grasses, woody shrubs, or waste from cooking, logging and farming
What are the challenges?
There are many challenges to making biofuels that are truly carbon neutral. This reasoning is due to the multi-step process used to create biofuels—fermentation, the energy for processing, transportation, even the fertilizers used to grow plants. This detailed plan may emit CO2 and other greenhouse gasses even before the fuels are burned. The farmland used to grow biomass can also have its own climate impacts. These include if it takes the place of CO2-storing forests.
Want to learn more about biofuels?
Check out these biofuel based companies in Canada!