by Ron Douglas
Biofuels……..using waste materials to create fuels!
Biofuel isn’t one of the well known types of renewable energy but an important one to understand. The process begins when plants to through photosynthesis. There is chemical energy stored inside of it that can be released. What they create is a type of biomass and that can be turned into fuel.
It can then be burned in combustible engines. There is still plenty of research that needs to be done in the area of biofuel. The process right now of converting it isn’t as effective as it should be. It is also extremely time consuming and expensive to do so.
Biofuel can be in the form of a liquid or a solid. Vegetable oil that is used as an alternative fuel source for some vehicles out there is a type of liquid biofuel. It can be natural or it can be reprocessed after it has been used. Some restaurants give their used vegetable oil to those that burn Biodiesel in their vehicles. Once it has been cleaned they are able to use it without harming their vehicle.
Some types of food items are grown in higher supply than the demand just so that ethanol can be produced. It is usually mixed with about 15% regular gasoline in order to make the mix work. It seems that many in the business of growing such food items though don’t always agree with this use of it. They feel the foods should be used to feed those in need.
Biofuel is most commonly found in the form of a solid though. For example burning wood falls into this category. You can use it to cook with and to heat your home instead of relying upon natural gas. The downside though is that this can emit dangerous elements into the environment.
There is ongoing testing where the variables are being controlled right now in the area of biofuel. It is believed this type of renewable energycould one day be a breakthrough in the area of supplying fuel for our vehicles. Look for great things to be coming up in this area in the future.
If we can figure out an affordable process for using biofuel we can create more than half of what is depleted annually from our natural resources. This is what facts continue to motivate researchers to move forward and funders to continue with grant money to allow it to happen.
The one issue that seems to be a concern is that in order to generate more biofuel to use, there is a great deal of land that has to be accessed. That could mean land normally used for growing food and other resources is no longer available. A close eye will need to be kept in that particular area.
As some of this concern has come to light, other forms of biofuel to be able to use are being introduced. Since these natural products are able to give off heat that can be transferred to fuel. Even trash can be used to create biofuel. This means less of it will be around to remain in landfills.
One of the most successful biofuel companies out there is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is known as BFC Gas & Electric. They are able to recycle approximately 150 tons of materials each day at their facility. They process wood remains from projects and from sawmills in the area.
There is also paper that is used instead of being wasted when it was used for projects and scraps remain. Sometimes there are types of paper and cardboard that can’t be successfully recycled so it is processed here.
Crops that have been ruined, diseased plants and trees, and the corn stalks that remain after harvest all work as well. More than 40,000 homes in the Cedar Rapids area are provided with electricity from this particular company. They are really working hard to put the use of biofuel to work for the benefit for their community.
In some other areas the use of changing cow manure into biofuel is being done. This is something that not everyone finds appealing but it can be a viable way to get more benefits out of such waste. There are still many details of this type of biofuel to be worked out though.