The Pros of Using Biofuel: Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1582 Words
Date:  2022-04-14

Introduction

Biofuel is a fuel extracted from organic matter. It is obtained from biological activities like agriculture or anaerobic digestion as opposed to fuels derived from geological activities like those involved in the development of fossil fuels like petroleum and coal. Biofuels can be extracted directly from plants or indirectly from industrial, agricultural and domestic refuse. The word biofuel is usually used to refer to liquid fuels like ethanol and biodiesel which are used as alternatives to transport fuels such as petroleum and diesel. They can also be used to refer to solid fuels such as wood pieces and biogas. Two major types of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel, ethanol being an alcohol while biodiesel being an oil. Ethanol is produced through fermentation and it can be used as an alternative or an additive to gasoline. Biodiesel is formed through extraction of natural oils from vegetation and seeds in a mechanism called transesterification. Biodiesel can be burned in diesel engines. Biofuels can also be classified as first, second or third generation. First generation biofuels are obtained from food crops such as maize and sugarcane. Second generation biofuels are obtained from cellulose matter like wood and grasses. Third generation biofuels are obtained from algae. Advanced biofuel is a term used to refer to a new field of biofuel production which makes use of refuse such as garbage, animal fats and used cooking oil to obtain liquid fuels. This paper analyzes the pros and cons of using biofuels.

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The use of biofuels helps in reduction of greenhouse gases. According to Nebraska Ethanol Board, the use of ethanol as fuel decreases the emission of greenhouse gases up to about 65 percent. Scientists from Australia say biodiesel obtained from cooking oil reduces the emission of greenhouse gases by 87 percent when compared to petroleum diesel. Fossil fuels like oil and coal lead to increase in temperatures which can lead to global warming. The burning of fossil fuels leads to the production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases confine the suns radiation which results to increase in temperatures on earth leading to global warming. Biofuels are therefore better fuel means compared to fossil fuels when it comes combatting the problem of global warming. To reduce the release of greenhouse gases, people are using biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel in houses, vehicles, and industries (Garden & Efficiency, 2018).

Biofuels are a sustainable source of energy. Biofuels are obtained from plants which can grow and be repeatedly planted. Some crops are perennial and do not need to be planted again. Crops such as Rapeseed produce a significant amount of energy which has a high oil content, meaning it can provide much energy when burned. Perennial plants like Switchgrass are a high energy source. Switchgrass produces about five times the energy they use to grow. Fossil fuels are not as sustainable as the biofuels. Fossil fuels are formed through geological processes within the universe over millions of years. Since fossil fuels take long to develop, they are therefore not sustainable. An indication that someday the world may run out of fossil fuels, which would make us heavily rely on biofuels (Garden & Efficiency, 2018).

The use of biofuels brings a positive impact to the economy of a country. In 2011, more than 400,000 jobs were created and continued to increase from ethanol as per the US energy department. Around 1.7 million jobs were created from biofuels across the world, and more than a million more jobs were created from other bioenergy types. According to Consumer Reports, biodiesel vehicles have more than 20 percent better fuel economy compared to automobiles powered by gasoline (Hill, Nelson, Tilman, Polasky & Tiffany, 2018). Biodiesel produces fewer emissions, including benzene which causes cancer and reduced pollution by minimizing the number of particulates on air. Less pollution implies that healthcare costs will be low. Also, as biodiesel becomes a better fuel efficiency, firms that use diesel can realize more profits by selling it. Biodiesel will thus improve the fuel economy which in turn will enhance the overall economy of the country.

Biodiesels use result in the high performance of engines. Biodiesels can work in existing diesel engines with minimal or no adjustment to the engine or the fuel system with the performance remaining the same. However, some biodiesel automobiles may be slow in cold climates due to ice crystals formed in engines. The crystals are a result of many vegetable oils having a high saturated fat content. Biodiesels obtained from some vegetables like Canola have a lower saturated fat content which makes it difficult for the ice crystals to form in chilly conditions. Biofuels make engines last longer since oil has a high viscosity rate. According to Biodisel.org, high biodiesel blends have no impact on the performance of a vehicle's engine. Due to the presence of oil in biodiesels, the fuel lubricates engines which reduce wear and tear (Hill, Nelson, Tilman, Polasky & Tiffany, 2018).

The use of biodiesels will reduce the dependence on foreign oil. Growing energy crops at homes will reduce a country's reliance on foreign oil. Reduced dependence on foreign oil will eliminate the possibility of the 1973 oil problem. In that year, countries producing oil in the Middle East put oil exportation to a halt which led to increase in oil prices. The high prices were a big blow to most economies in the world. In the United States, people queued for long to buy the little gasoline that was available. Governments across the world struggled to find ways of dealing with the fuel crisis. Later, the oil-producing nations started exporting some oil, but the thirst for oil was still there. As biofuels can be obtained from energy crops, planting many such crops will eliminate the possibility of a similar energy crisis thus reducing the reliance on oil from other nations (Garden & Efficiency, 2018).

Using biofuels has more health benefits than using fossil fuels. Researchers in Sao Paulo city in Brazil found that using ethanol instead of gasoline and diesel would result in health advantages such as; saving over 1300 lives annually, saving the country more than $180 million annually and preventing about 1800 healthcare admissions annually. According to Reilly, more than 9000 people in America die due to pollution from gasoline engines (Rogers, 2017). Gasoline releases many deadly pollutants such as acetaldehyde and nitrogen oxide. Acetaldehyde interacts with the sun to produce smog which makes many people sick with cancer and some respiratory diseases. On the other hand, biofuels produce fewer toxins into the air. Biofuels reduce the components that form smog which reduces the chances of suffering from conditions such as Asthma. Also, biodiesels don't produce sulfur oxides which would lead to the formation of acid rain. Ethanol has better combustion than gasoline as it produces less pollution (Rogers, 2017).

Biofuel refineries are more environmentally friendly compared to other energy refineries. Oil refineries convert crude oil to final products and in the process produce many poisonous chemicals which cause cancer such as benzene and formaldehyde to the environment. The refineries also produce lead and sulfur dioxide among other pollutants which result in heart diseases, asthma, and other complications. Biofuel refineries on the other hand convert feedstock like a cone into biofuels which is more environmentally friendly. Ethanol factories run by natural gas produce few pollutants. Ethanol plants using biomass or biogas produce few gas emissions and are therefore cleaner than fossil fuel refineries (Rogers, 2017).

Biodiesel use is more energy efficient. Production of biodiesel is natural, and more energy efficient when compared to other fuels. According to researchers from the University of Idaho, for each unit of fossil fuel energy required to grow and process soybeans into biodiesel, more than four units of energy is produced. On the other hand, for each unit of fossil fuel needed to provide petroleum diesel, less than one unit of energy is generated. According to the United States Department of agriculture, farmers together with refineries are using better methods of production and fewer fossil fuels to convert soybeans into energy-efficient biodiesel. (Rogers, 2017)

Conclusion

In conclusion, this paper has talked about the pros of using biofuels. It has highlighted the meaning of biofuels and several classifications of biofuels. We have seen that the use of biofuels has more health benefits compared with other sources of energy such as fossil fuels. We have also seen that biofuels are more energy friendly than fossil fuels. From the paper, it can be noted that the use of biofuels result in a better economy as less will be spent on healthcare and more jobs will be created. It can be seen that biofuel refineries produce fewer pollutants when compared with fossil fuel refineries. It is high time the world uses more biofuel energy and less fossil fuel energy considering such factors as health, environmental conservation, and the general economy.

References

Advantages and Disadvantages of Biofuels - Conserve Energy Future. (2018). Conserve Energy Future. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-biofuels.php

BBC - GCSE Bitesize Science - Biofuels : Revision, Page 4. (2018). Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/triple_ocr_gateway/beyond_the_microscope/biofuels/revision/4/

Garden, H., & Efficiency, F. (2018). Top 10 Advantages of Biofuels. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from https://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/biofuels/10-advantages-of-biofuels8.htm

Hill, J., Nelson, E., Tilman, D., Polasky, S., & Tiffany, D. (2018). Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from

Rogers, J. (2017). Back to basics: 4 advantages of biofuels | Think Bioenergy. Think Bioenergy. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from http://thinkbioenergy.com/back-to-basics-4-advantages-of-biofuels/

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The Pros of Using Biofuel: Research Paper. (2022, Apr 14). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/the-pros-of-using-biofuel-research-paper

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