Agro fuel, commonly known as bio fuel, is derived from biomass. It can be a solid, liquid or gas fuel. Bio fuel is now a common means of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and is now used as fossil fuel alternative. It is eyed to replace fossil fuels in the near future. However, it was researched that though bio fuel reduces the greenhouse effect, the release of Nitrous Oxide from commonly used bio fuel contributes much to global warming. Let’s see what you need to know about bio fuels.
Bio fuels are now used in many countries and are now extensively expanding in big continents such as Europe, Asia and America. The production of biofuel was highest in Germany in 2021. Bio fuels are derived from any carbon source, particularly plants. According to studies, it is environmentally safe to produce bio fuels because the sources are easily replenished.
How bio fuel is made
The most common use of bio fuels is for the automotive and transportation industries.
Bio fuels are made in three generations.
The first-generation bio fuels
First generation Bio fuels are made from crop goods such as sugar and starch, vegetable oil and animal fats. With the help of conventional technology, these components are used to manufacture some sorts of bio fuels. In countries with warm climates, bio fuels made from vegetable oil are now being used as fuel for automobiles with diesel engines. Because vegetable oil has a low quality for fuel, it has to be mixed with conventional diesel fuel. Bio diesel is a common first-generation bio fuel. It is similar to mineral diesel. Bio diesel is made from vegetable oil mixed with sodium hydroxide and methanol. Like vegetable oil, bio diesel is now used in diesel engines but has to be mixed with mineral diesel.
Another type of first-generation bio fuel is bio alcohol. It is produced biologically with ethanol, butanol and propanol. It is done through fermentation. Of all three, butanol is the only liquid and the only bio alcohol that can actually produce high energy. An automobile should first be modified before using butanol. Otherwise, it can cause the engine to burn when mixed directly with existing gasoline engines. Ethanol fuel is used worldwide. Sugar is fermented to create enzymatic digestion. It is now considered as a replacement for gasoline and it is safe to mix it with gasoline at any percentage. Methanol is produced from natural gas which is a kind of fossil fuel. Hydrogen economy has long been used by many countries but is now being replaced by methanol. Bio gas is a very effective product of bio fuels. It is produced from biodegradable waste materials through the process of anaerobic digestion. Solid bio fuels are made from wood, charcoal and dried excrement.
The second-generation bio fuels
The second generation of bio fuels is produced using biomass to liquid technology that extracts bio fuels from non-food crops. Bio hydrogen is one common type of second-generation fuel. It is now used in fuel cells to produce electricity. DMF is manufactured from fructose, glucose using biomass to liquid process. DMF is now widely used in compression ignition engines.
Biomethanol, almost the same as methanol, is now being used in automobiles and can mix with petrol with up to 20% without any significant changes. FT diesel or Fischer-Tropsch diesel is not used with fossil diesel without any relevant effect. Wood diesel, another type of second-generation bio fuel, is extracted from wood chips. The oil produced is mixed with unmodified diesel engines and the charcoal byproduct is used as a fertilizer.
Third-generation bio fuels
The third-generation bio fuel is from algae. In some countries, algae farming is now a growing industry to suffice the need for cheaper oil. Usually aquatic unicellular green algae (Chlorophyceae) are used to produce biofuels.
The industry for bio fuel is now growing in some countries. Resources for bio mass are continuously being discovered as the demand for bio fuels increases. Other uses of bio fuel are also continuously being discovered. In some countries where oil is expensive, bio fuels have been applied for cooking indoors. However, it was noted that it is also one of the sources of health problems in these places.
Benefits of bio fuels
A number of benefits are noted upon the use of bio fuels. Reduction of greenhouse effect, fossil fuel use, increase in energy security, increase in rural development and poverty reduction are some of them. With industrialization widely embraced by many countries, the need for fuel is increasing. With the high cost of current fuels being used, some countries cannot accommodate competition with rich countries. But with bio fuel, it is now possible.
However, the use of bio fuel is not unlimited. It has limitations like other sources of energy. Manufactures and producers of bio fuels should know well that the resources should be replaced or replenished rapidly. Otherwise, a more negative effect will come into the picture. Though some negative effects were mentioned with the use of bio fuels, the advantages are still greater.
With proper knowledge and understanding of bio fuel, everyone worldwide will surely benefit from bio fuels.