What are Bio-fuels? Simply put. Bio-fuels are natural fuels that are created when biological matter decomposes. Mostly from plant life. And are present in three forms of matter, namely. Solid, Liquid and Gas. In this article we will take a closer look at the various types of bio-fuels, the advantages, disadvantages and differences between bio-fuels and fossil fuels.
In brief,Bio-fuels differ from fossil fuels in the following:
Million of years are required for the creation of fossil fuels whereas in comparison. Bio-fuels can be created in a very short space of time, within days in some cases.
Fossil fuels generate huge amounts of pollution. Bio-fuels are comparatively safer.
Fossil fuels are not renewable, once they are depleted. They are gone forever. Unlike bio-fuels, that can be created, basically at will.
There are four categories of bio-fuels. Which are First, Second, Third and Fourth generation. Which can be explained as follows.
First generation bio-fuels are derived from vegetable matter. For example, vegetable fats, starches and sugar. All of which are derived from food-crops. A few examples of this type of bio-fuel are bio gas, bio diesel and vegetable oil.
The second generation of bio-fuels is mainly derived from waste biomass, thus making it a more balanced option compared to the first-generation bio-fuels. Different kinds of alcohols and diesel generated from wood fall into the category of second generation bio-fuels.
The third generation comprises of bio-fuels derived from algae. Algae are farmed on large scales for creating these bio-fuels. The algae fuels are extremely environment-friendly as they can easily decompose into the soil without harming it.
Lastly, the fourth generation bio-fuels use a method in which micro-organisms are raised which work with carbon dioxide to generate the fuel.
From the above, it can be reasonable safe to assume that bio-fuels may be the answer for the replacement of the ever diminishing fossil fuels. A few of the main advantages of bio-fuels can be listed as follows:
Bio-fuels can lessen the increasing burden on gradually vanishing fossil fuels.
Being extremely environment friendly. Bio-fuels assist in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
Bio-fuels can be very cost-effective for the consumer. A good example of this is Bio-diesel.
However, bio-fuels are not without criticism. Though beneficial on the environment. There are disadvantages. Some of the main criticism’s are:
The debate on the viability of first generation bio-fuels has been ongoing. The main issue being the impact on food production when food is needed for the production of fuels. Some people believe that if food crops are used to generate fuel. The quality of the crops may no longer be fit for human consumption.
Making bio-fuels require acres of farming land, thus encroaching upon the natural habitat of plants and animals.
In closing, let me just add. With the ever present threat of global warming and depleting fossil fuels which scientists will lead to the eventual demise of out planet. I believe that the time has come for man to find safe solutions to replace our fuel requirements to protect our planet. Maybe bio-fuels are the answer. Only time will tell.