What are Biofuels?

external image 30949-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Yellow-Gas-Nozzle-Emerging-From-A-Yellow-Corn-Biofuel-Pump.jpgThe word biofuels usually refers to ethanol and biodiesel. Biofuels are liquid fuels used for transportation, and are produced from biomass materials.[1] Converting corn or animal fat into liquid fuels forms biomass, and then is used as replacements for gasoline or diesel. Biofuels having lower carbon dioxide emissions than other fuels, havebiofuels_consumption.pngbiofuels_production.png led Federal laws to increase the production and consumption of domestic biofuels.
Biofuels are mainly produced through carbonsources. Biofuels are the best way to reduce the
emission of greenhouse gases.[2] Today, the use of biofuels has expanded worldwide. Some of the major producers, and users of biogases are Asia, Europe, and America. Biofuels are the most pure and easiest available fuels on earth.

History of Biofuels

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Biofuel has been used for a very long time for the production of electricity. This fuel was discovered earlier than the discovery of fossil fuels, but with the exploration impactof gas, coal, and oil production.[3] Rudolf Diesel is the inventor of the diesel engine.The diesel engine has become the engine of high fuel economy worldwide. Diesel and early experimenters on vegetable oil fuels, envisioned that pure vegetable oils could power early diesel engines for agriculture in different areas of the world, where petroleum was not available.[4] The diesel engine works on compression ignition, when fuel is injected into the engines cylinder after air has ben compressed to a high pressure and temperature. When this fuel enters the cylinder it burns rapidly, forcing the piston back down and converting the chemical energy in the fuel into mechanical energy. During WW2, the high demand of biofuels was due to the increased use as an alternative for imported fuels.[5] When Germany underwent a serious shortage of fuel, this caused various inventions to take place like the use of gasoline along with alcohol that was derived from potatoes. In 1973 and 1979, a fuel crisis hit various countries. Exporting countries had made a heavy cut in exports especially to non OPEC (organization of the petroleum) nations. This attracted attention, and made energy and the use of biofuels a huge issue. The main reasons people shifted their interest to biofuels is the rising prices of oil, emission of the greenhouse gases, and interest like rural development.

First Generation Biofuels

external image T1220162-Biofuel_research-SPL.jpgFirst generation biofuels refer to fuels that have been produced from things like starch, sugar, animal fats, and vegetable oil.[6] The most common types of first generation biofuels include:

Vegetable oil is used in old diesel engines that have indirect injection systems. It is used to create biodiesel.

Biodiesel is mixed with mineral diesel, this mixture can be used in any diesel engine. The diesel engines under warranty are converted to 100% biodiesel use. Studies show that most people can run their vehicles on biodiesel, without facing any problems. Vehicle manufacturers recommend the use of 15% biodiesel mixed with mineral diesel.

Bioalcohols are biologically produced alcohols. It can be used directly in a gasoline engine and is considered a direct replacement for gasoline.

Ethanol fuel can be put to use in petrol engines as a substitute for gasoline. Automobile petrol engines can work on mixtures of gasoline and ethanol. The mixture of these two is used as a winter oxidizer, so atmospheric pollution is decreased. The mixture of gasoline and ethanol has more quantity of octane, therefore the engine would burn hotter and most efficiently. This type of fuel is most commonly used particularly in Brazil.

Other Biofuels:


Are Biofuels better for the Environment?

Biofuels contain no sulfur, which makes them better for the environment compared to other fuels. When a fuel containing sulfur burns, it is harmful for the environment because it creates a harmful gas, which is known to cause acid rain. Biofuels also reduce NOX emissions, which are greenhouse gases.


This article talks about how biofuels may be more harmful than fossil fuels. Even though biofuels are supposed to reduce carbon and project the environment, this article talks about how they may be more environmentally harmful than fossil fuels because of derived palm oil. This article will give people more knowledge about biofuels, and give them more to think about. This way people can see the pros and cons involving biofuels.


Ethanol: a clear, colourless alcohol. It can be mad from the starches or sugars found in various agriculture crops, such as corn, barely, and sugar cane.

Biomass: a renewable energy source, from living, or recently living organisms.

Biodiesel (biofuel): fuel such as methane produced from renewable biological resources such as plant biomass, and treated municipal and industrial waste.

Mineral Diesel: mineral oil that is made from petroleum.

Octane: any of several hydrocarbons having eight carbon atoms connected by single bonds. It is commonly added to gasoline to prevent knocking from uneven burning of fuel in internal-combustion engines. Octane is the eighth member of the alkane series.


History of Biodiesel Fuel [internet]. 2012 Pacific Biodiesel, Inc. [cited Jan 15 2012]. Available from

Biofuels The fuel of the future [internet]. 2010 [updated 2010; cited Jan 15 2012]. Available from

What are Biofuels and How Much do we Use [internet]. [updated Sep 2009; cited Jan 15 2012]. Available from
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