Biodiesel is made by the mixture of alcohol that is typically alcohol with vegetable oil, animal fats or cooking grease. It may be used on its pure form or as an additive as a renewable alternative fuel for diesel engines. This will help minimize harmful vehicle emissions. Ethanol and biodiesel are the two most widely used types of biofuels. Ethanol, an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor, is an alcohol modified to utilize it as fuel and to make it drinkable. Ethanol is produced by fermentation through a technique the same as beer brewing of any biomass containing carbohydrates. It comes from starches, yeast and sugars but there are constant analysis to permit it to be made from fibrous substance like those found in plants. Ethanol and biodiesel are both clean which may be produced in local communities using equipment that a domestic workshop can make and maintain.
More significantly, biofuel is a quality fuel as it has the capability of improving the performance of your engine. Biofuel cleans your fuel system and lessen harmful emissions to facilitate lengthening the life of your vehicle. Biofuel is anticipated to yield important energy security and advantage to its consumers as it is a good alternative to the traditional diesel fuel. It is considered as the most promising replacement for non renewable fossil fuel such as petroleum and coal. However, not all parts of a certain plant can be used which limits technology to its production. To resolve this problem, the second generation of biofuel became the more feasible solution to achieve fuel production. The first generation biofuel are those that are produced from starch, sugar and vegetable or animal fats and oils. Now the second generation biofuel are non food crops such as wood chips, grasses, waste biomass, trees, stems and stalks of plants etc.
Biofuels do not produce toxic emissions compared to traditional fuels and do not promote global warming as the carbon they emit is taken back to the environment. Despite all these benefits, there are some disadvantages too as biofuels are not readily accessible even if its use is not complicated. It is in fact, very simple and easy to use as you don’t need to modify your engines, it does not require special equipment and any automobile do not need complex changes. However, due to lack of biodiesel pumps and ethanol at existing filling stations, it would still take time to make biofuels readily accessible. Biofuel production has the need to grow more crops so that the demand will be met. Though biofuels are renewable, the crops are not enough. Thus, it uses more energy than they can give.
There are various methods done to reduce dependency on fossil fuel and carbon footprint to achieve an eco-friendly lifestyle. One of the new researches is converting the common algae into renewable fuel that can be used in automobiles with combustible type engines. According to the research done in the University of Kansas, the algae can survive on sunlight, nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon dioxide from which organic acids and biofuel is produced. Carbohydrates are extracted after scraping the algae and drying it and which are converted to natural sugars. The sugars are converted into butyric, lactic and acetic acids via fermentation process. The butyric acid is again converted into butanol and this process was made faster by electrodeionization. It is a special technique developed to make the entire fuel conversion process speedier and less costly. Thus, it makes the new conversion process less expensive and certainly more efficient. This process makes the water healthier and less polluted and the algae is safe for marine flora and fauna as it uses extra nitrogen and phosphorous in the existent water. By growing and harvesting the raw material, this process can make rivers and lakes healthier.
Biofuel is currently produced from plants and microbes and that the carbohydrate, fats or oils generated are refined to produce biofuel. But now there is a new discovery to get the microbes produce fuel from the proteins instead of utilizing the protein for its growth. This new research is being done in the University of California in Los Angeles wherein their focus is to induce microbes to produce a specific kind of proteins that can be refined into biofuel. They are letting the cells to retain the nitrogen, take out just the ammonia, and once done with biofuel reduction, the residue is a better kind of fertilizer due to the low nitrogen levels. This will help lessen greenhouse emissions during fertilizer production as this will reprocess the nitrogen back and help in maintaining a nitrogen neutral state. This will result to less harmful emissions during fertilizer production.
In the United States, the Army is leading the way in biofuel and alternative energy production in order to reduce the demand load. The US Army helps in reducing energy costs by using 4,000 new electric vehicles by 2014, multiple net-zero solutions for bases and the use a new 500-megawatt solar power plant that will help end the reliance of the base on the public electric grid. As for the Navy, they launched a carrier strike group that will run completely on alternative fuels including an aircraft carrier, two destroyers, submarine, and F-18 Hornet fighters. And as for the US Air Force, they emphasized on establishing alternative fuels for the Air Force to secure the reliability of supply and prevent price volatility. The Air Force is using renewable sources as an alternative to its 37 bases.
A global support for advanced biofuel research and development is still in need for support to improve conversion efficiencies and reduce costs. Sustainability of biofuels is an important step towards assurance that the biofuel production and use will result to a positive socio-economic and environmental impact. Because of its promising potential, biofuel still has future. World transportation can be provided by biofuel by the year 2050. The IEA technology roadmap shows how biofuel production can be expanded in a sustainable way. The increase of biofuel consumption in a sustainable way can bring important life cycle benefit for the environment.