Biofuels Advantages and Disadvantages

Biofuels Advantages and Disadvantages
by Mike Sullivan

Biofuels are environment-friendly fuels that can be produced from decomposing orgainic matter. They are mainly derived from crops and plants, and can be liquid, solid or even gas.

Bio-fuels are different from fossil fuels in the following ways: 1. Fossil fuels take millions of years to make whereas bio-fuels can be made extremely fast, in a matter of days. 2. Fossil fuels generate huge amounts of pollution. Bio-fuels are comparatively safer. 3. Bio-fuels are renewable sources of energy unlike fossil fuels.

Bio-fuels have been categorized into four types: first generation, second generation, third generation, and fourth generation.

The first generation bio-fuels are derived from vegetable fats, starch, and sugar, which are in turn derived from food-crops. The first generation fuels are also derived from animal fats. Biogas, bio-diesel, and vegetable oil are some examples of this type of bio-fuels.

The 2nd generation of biofuels are derived from waste biomass. This would include oil, alcohols and diesels produced from things such as felled trees.

The 3rd generation comes from algae. Algae can be farmed on a large scale for this purpose, and the fuel that algae produces is usually very environmentally friendly.

The 4th generation of biofuels are those produced from excretions of microorganisms. The microorganisms are farmed in large scale reactors and excrete chemicals that can be used as fuel.

Advantages of biofuels include: 1. They reduce the burden on fossil fuels which will one day run out. 2. They are eco-friendly, unlike many bio fuels, and will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 3. They can be very cost effective when used correctly.

Disadvantages of bio-fuels include: 1. Economists have long debated on the usefulness of first generation bio-fuels when compared to the food that could be grown instead. Generating fuel from food crops makes food crops unworthy of human consumption. Some people believe that being a higher priority than fuel, food should not be farmed for making fuels but for human consumption. 2. Making bio-fuels require acres of farming land, thus encroaching upon the natural habitat of plants and animals.

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