Questions Technology

How do biofuels work?


Vicky Sen

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Overexploitation of Fossil Fuels has led to their decrease tremendously. Moreover, fossils fuels pollute the environment which in turn leads to Global Warming.

Biofuels, on the other hand, do not pollute the environment. Biofuels are the fuels made from recently harvested plant materials like crops and recently died plants. Biofuels are usually in liquid forms.

There are two main types of Biofuels which are Ethanol and Bio-Diesel.

Ethanol is used as a substitute for gasoline whereas Biodiesel is used as a substitute for diesel as the diesel engines.

Now Biofuels are classified in the following types:

  • 1ST Generation Biofuels: These are extracted mainly from food crops. For ethanol, the prime food crops include sugarcane, maize, etc.  While for Biodiesel the prime food crops are soybeans and canola.
  • 2ND Generation: These type of biofuels are prepared from plants rich in cellulose like wood and grasses.
  • 3Rd Generation: These type of biofuels are produced from lipid produced by algae.
  • Advanced Biofuels: These are produced from waste materials like garbage, animal fat, etc.

How are Biofuels produced?

At first, the raw materials (mainly corn, maize, and barley) are crushed and transformed into a powdery form. The powder is composed primarily of sugar and starch. The sugar is mixed with water while the starch undergoes a process known as saccharification. Now, as a result of this glucose is produced at the end of both the steps. 

The glucose undergoes fermentation to produce alcohol. The water molecules are then extracted from the alcohol, to yield pure ethanol.

Now let us see how biofuels work?

Biofuels and fossil fuels work in the same manner. 

The fuels undergo the process of combustion which produces different gases and yields energy. This energy generated is used to power up the vehicular engines or any such compatible sources.

These biofuels can be used directly or can be used as a mix with traditional fossil fuels.

They pollute the environment lesser when compared with fossil fuels.

Benefits of Biofuels

The most original feature of Biofuels is that it is a renewable source of energy.

Biofuels are an ideal source of energy for countries with less/no oil reserves.

The end products of Biofuels which is mainly carbon-di-oxide is taken up by different plant sources which prevent environmental pollution.

Biofuels maintains the condition of the vehicular engines, which improves their longevity.

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