Biofuel is defined as solid, liquid or gaseous fuel obtained from relatively recently lifeless or living biological material and is different from fossil fuels, which are derived from long dead biological material. Also, various plants and plant-derived materials are used for biofuel manufacturing.

Globally, biofuels are most commonly used to power vehicles, heat homes, and for cooking. Biofuel industries are expanding in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Recent technology developed at Los Alamos National Lab even allows for the conversion of pollution into renewable bio fuel. Agrofuels are biofuels which are produced from specific crops, rather than from waste processes such as landfill off-gassing or recycled vegetable oil.

Biomass or biofuel is material derived from recently living organisms. This includes plants, animals and their by-products. For example, manure, garden waste and crop residues are all sources of biomass. It is a renewable energy source based on the carbon cycle, unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal, and nuclear fuels.

It is used to produce power, heat & steam and fuel, through a number of different processes. Although renewable, biomass often involves a burning process that produces emissions such as Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2), but fortunately in quantities far less than those emitted by coal plants. However, proponents of coal plants feel that their way of doing it is a lot cheaper and there is a lot of dispute over this.

Biomass is one of the few forms of energy that can be used in a carbon negative manner[citation needed]. When biomass is combusted to produce heat, it releases less carbon than was absorbed by the plant material during the plant's lifecycle[citation needed]. This is because approximately one third of the carbon absorbed by the plant during its life is sequestered in its roots, which are left in the soil to rot and fertilize nearby plant life, and combustion of biomass produces 1-10% solid ash (depending on type of plant used), which is extremely high in carbon (this ash is commonly used as fertilizer).

Animal waste is a persistent and unavoidable pollutant produced primarily by the animals housed in industrial-size farms. Researchers from Washington University have figured out a way to turn manure into biomass. In April 2008 with the help of imaging technology they noticed that vigorous mixing helps microorganisms turn farm waste into alternative energy, providing farmers with a simple way to treat their waste and convert it into energy.

There are also agricultural products specifically grown for biofuel production including corn, switchgrass, and soybeans, primarily in the United States; rapeseed, wheat and sugar beet primarily in Europe; sugar cane in Brazil; palm oil and miscanthus in South-East Asia; sorghum and cassava in China; and jatropha and pongamia pinnata in India; pongamia pinnata in Australia and the tropics. Hemp has also been proven to work as a biofuel. Biodegradable outputs from industry, agriculture, forestry and households can be used for biofuel production, either using anaerobic digestion to produce biogas, or using second generation biofuels; examples include straw, timber, manure, rice husks, sewage, and food waste. Biomass can come from waste plant material. The use of biomass fuels can therefore contribute to waste management as well as fuel security and help to prevent global warming, though alone they are not a comprehensive solution to these problems.

Related post :

  1. Biofuel : Third Generation Biofuels
  2. Biofuel : Second Generation Biofuels
  3. Biofuel : First Generation Biofuels
  4. Making Biodiesel From Waste Vegetable Oil

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