Biofuels: The Answer to Our Energy Problem
Biofuels are fuels made from plants or animals matters. They include
* Wood, wood chippings and straw
* Biogas(methane) from animals and plants matter
* Ethanol, diesel and other fuels made from plants matter and waste oil
Ethanol and diesel are mainly made from the crops such as corn, rapeseed and sugarcane. They are called biodiesel. These are now being used in many MEDC’s for their cars because when petrol and diesel are burnt they emit lots of carbon dioxide into the air and causes lots of pollution and global warming. Great pioneers such as Henry Ford and Rudolph Diesel designed cars which could be compactable with Biofuels. Before World War 2 the UK and Germany sold Biofuels which were mixed with petrol or diesel made from crude oil. This biodiesel is made from fermentation and other various chemical processes. The MEDC’s have made the access to Biofuels because it the only way they have found for reducing the greenhouse gases compared to convectional transport fuels and as it is a MEDC they have enough place and money for taking over this project.
Information taken from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6294133.stm
Bioethanol is a biofuel and is produced from starch which later breaks down into glucose by the enzymes and forms yeast. When this is mixed with petrol it becomes a fuel which could be used in our cars and other purposes. It is a good idea because it is carbon neutral. It is carbon neutral in the sense it produces only a small amount of carbon dioxide during combustion and the plants makes use of all that carbon dioxide during the process of photosynthesis which therefore neutralizes the whole balance of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Biodiesel is another biofuel which is generally palm oil or rapeseed (canola) oil. It is blended with normal diesel for use in engines.
Image taken from http://www.utahbiodiesel.org/images/making/Making_Biodiesel.gif
When this was created people noticed a few benefits as well as limitations of Biofuels. There was an obvious conclusion that Biofuels are the best for the environment as
* Biofuels are non toxic and a renewable resource.
* Solved the problem that the world is running out of oil.
* Reducing the effect of global warming.
* It also reduces dependence on the other countries for fuels, trade and other transportation costs and gives more jobs to people.
* Biodiesel reduces harmful gasses, 100% sulfur, 47% black smoke given out by cars, 78% carbon dioxide and 48% carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere.
* Reduces waste products.
* Increases life of engine.
* Burns clearly.
The above information is taken from http://www.labiofuel.com/default.php?location=benefits
These were all a few benefits of Biofuels but apart from this, farmers stroked for its negative impact on the environment. They have stroked for not enough land space, labors, machines and other chemical products like fertilizers and pesticides that are used for making the crops grow much faster than normal and even in a good condition. There were a few research and case studies done where they could come up with a solution. According to the case study the rapidly growing biofuel market will keep farm products prices high over the next decade and has also estimated that the prices will rise up by between 20 % and 50 % by 2016.
The current problem that many people are facing are that it is very expensive compared to the normal fuel because there are many forest that are being cut down and making of biofuel has to undergo many chemical processes. There has also been a shortage of land for making this fuel and so it has to be made in one place and then transferred all over the country which is obviously making it more expensive by the land shortage and transportation of that fuel.
As I went to the website http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jan/14/biofuels.energy and found that there was a report which said that biofuels made from corn and sugar cane could have a greater environmental impact than burning fossil fuels which could cause deforestation and then soil erosion, causing a major disaster to the small plants and animals by destroying their habitat.
I even heard that biofuels may push farm prices up as for this method there is a lot of field work required which may require more labors, machineries, pesticides and fertilizers. To transfer the fuel all over the country again transportation charges are quiet high and during transportation if the tanker uses normal fuel it may pollute the air and reduce the oil content. And if the tanker uses biofuels it may charge lots and by the time he reaches the destination he would have used up all the fuel from the tank for taking his tanker to the destination as there is no biofuel tank station installed anywhere. This economic impact also has an effect on the people buying it.
People won’t be able to afford for biofuels as it will become expensive in future . they can have only three options, they will have to stay without any fuel, spend a bit more than before for achieving it or spending a lot for buying fuel made out of fossils because there will be a limited supply of oil so the price may increase.
After studying about biofuels I feel that it should be developed in most parts of the world as it is overcoming the problem of shortage of oil supply from the fossils. It is a really good method as it is a renewable source and also non-toxic which is reducing global warming and other harmful gasses emission. I feel that it should be developed but with a reasonable price because when the price becomes high at a sudden no one will be able to buy it and all the hard work done by the farmers to grow the crops and maintain them will go waste. In a way this also helps the poor people to find themselves a good job as this will become very popular and then the farmers will be able to earn almost twice as much as they used to earn before. It will
* Reduce global warming
* Utilize waste products
* Create a balanced carbon cycle in the atmosphere
* Overcome the problem of shortage of oil from fossils
* Reduce waste product
* Burn clearly
* Provide more job to the poor people
* It is renewable and non-toxic
So due to all these advantages, USA and Europe are wanting to develop this as soon as possible as it is not very polluting and reduces some threats of harmful gases and global warming. They are wanting to develop this method because it is renewable. I derives from plants, gets used in the vehicles and releases CO2 which later gets used by the plants during photosynthesis. It gets back from where it had started and does the same circle again and again. So to conclude I would say that biofuels should be developed as it is solving one of the major environmental problems of our daily life.