Biofuels are combustible fuels created from biomass.
“Firewood is the oldest bio-fuel mankind has used, now we have biogas, gasohol and many more. Carbon dioxide is produced when these burn, but as long as the trees and plants are allowed to re-grow, burning them simply helps carbon on its way round its natural cycle.
What is biogas? If we collect the faeces from humans and farm animals and place them in a ‘digester’ we can mimic what happens in a cow’s intestine, and we get biogas. There are many such digesters in use all round the world, where the gas is used for cooking and lighting and the remains are a rich fertiliser. Biogas digesters are used in most sewage works where the methane is burnt to generate electricity.
Another example of biofuel is agricultural waste for example wheat straw. Nowadays we are growing crops especially to use as a fuel. In Brazil sugar from sugar cane is fermented to make alcohol ‘gasohol’ to fuel their cars. In Europe and USA vegetable oil is made into fuel for diesel engines. When these fuels are burnt the carbon returns to the atmosphere ready to be used again the next year when the crops grow again, which explains why these fuels are called carbon-neutral.
However, these are not all good. Growing bio-fuel crops uses large amounts of fossil fuel for fertilisers and manufacturing; and it uses large areas of agricultural land needed for food production.
There is hope however: scientists are trying to grow oil-rich algae using seawater and sunshine. This does not use valuable agricultural land and needs no fertilisers.”
(via Student Energy)
What is Carbon Neutral and Biofuels
Economic, Environmental and Social effect of Biofuels
Text and videos by The Fuse School – Global Education