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Biofuel Energy Facts

Written By Aromal Karuvath on Saturday, March 2, 2013 | 3:07 AM

Biofuel is a renewable energy, which is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biological carbon fixation is usually done by producer organisms or plants. Energy security is one of the most discussing subject in 21th century. Adequate traditional energy sources such as coal, petroleum, nuclear fission energy are not much available. To build a energy secure world we have to think about new, efficient and renewable energy source.

Miscanthus Bio-fuel Crop
Miscanthus Bio-fuel Crop by D H Wright, on Flickr
Increasing prices of petroleum fuels, forces us to search for new energy sources. Among several renewable energy sources such as geothermal energy,tidal energy,solar power, biofuels and wind energy, biofuel is gaining increased public and scientific attention. Biofuels includes fuels derived from

  • Biomass conversion
  • Solid biomass
  • Liquid fuels
  • Biogas

Examples for biofuels


Bioethanol is a gasoline addictive , which is prepared by fermentation of carbohydrates produced in sugar or starch crops such as corn or sugarcane. Pure ethanol is enough to run a vehicle, but it is usually used as a gasoline addictive. Bioethanol increases the octane content in gasoline, there by improving the vehicle emissions. It need to develop more efficient plant designs to convert the lignin portion of plant raw materials to fuel by fermentation. 

Although, by reacting ethylene with steam it is possible to produce bioethanol. The gasoline-ethanol mixture burns more completely and reduces polluting emissions. The most common gasoline-ethanol blend is termed as E10 which contains 10% ethanol and 90% petrol. In United States and Brazil ethanol fuel blends are widely used. The main advantage of this fuel blend is that it does not need any  modifications to the engine to run on this fuel blend.


Biodiesel is a biofuel which are widely used as an addictive to the diesel fuel. Biodiesel is able to run a diesel engine in its pure form. Biodiesel is derived form vegetable oils and animal fats by using a process called Transesterification. In Europe Biodiesel is the most common biofuel. 

Other Biofuels

  • Green diesel
  • Vegetable oil
  • Bioethers
  • Bio gas
  • Syngas
  • Solid bio fuels
  • Second generation bio fuels

Merits/advantages/benefits of bio fuels

1. Some bio fuels can be directly used in existing engine in its pure form. No modification to the engine is needed.

2. There are Governments are promoting people to buy bio fuel cars by offering tax incentives.

3. They do not contribute extra carbon dioxide molecules to the atmosphere. But releases carbon dioxide that fixated by the plants during photosynthesis.

4. Bio fuel reduces carbon emission by 50-60%

5. Bio fuel is a renewable energy source.

6. Bio fuel can decrease nation's dependence on foreign fuel sources.

7. Bio fuels can produced locally, which can employ hundreds of workers

Demerits/disadvantages of bio fuels

1. Farming bio fuel crops in an area may result in natural habitat destruction.

2. May release greenhouse gases such as Nitrous oxide into the air.

3. Bio fuel pumps are not common. This discourages people to buy bio fuel cars. 

4. Less energy output. It require in large amount to release energy equivalent to traditional energy source.

5. Machinery and plants for bio fuel production and extraction requires a large capital investment.

6. Fuel crops may affect nations food security.