Humans have been burning fossil fuel for over a century and a half now. In that time, we have become rather good at finding, extracting, and refining the crude product from which these fuels are made. Unfortunately, no matter how good we are finding and extracting fossil fuels, their supply is limited by the length of time it takes for them to form. Sooner or later, supplies will begin to dwindle and price will begin to climb. Eventually, fossil fuels will disappear altogether. Current estimates suggest that there are between 50 and 150 years of fossil fuels remaining. The longer as demand is based on remaining at current energy used levels. The shorter estimate is based on the more realistic expansion of our energy needs in the coming decades.
Availability and Production of Biofuels
Unlike fossil fuels, biofuels are a renewable energy source. Because biofuels are derived from a plant matter (and occasionally animal matter) that can be harvested annually, or the case of algae monthly, biofuels are theoretically unlimited. Unfortunately, they do below the surface of the appearance of unlimited scalability is a more complicated picture. Restrictions are traded more deaths in the article on the drawbacks of biofuels, but a brief consideration reveals that the major limiting factor in biofuel feedstock production is a threat to the food supply.
Because the same land is required to grow fuel as is required to grow certain biofuel feedstock, crops like corn and soybean, which take up a great deal of land and water resources, do not produce enough energy per acre to meet current fuel needs without seriously compromising the food chain. This is the reason that higher density crops, like algae and Jatropha, are being actively researched.
Availability and Transport of Biofuels
Delivery infrastructure can be considered an abstraction of availability. After all, a fuel that is easily produced but not easily transported (like electricity from solar panels in the Sahara desert) is still limited and its availability. biofuels are similar in many ways to fossil fuels. They are liquids at standard temperature and pressure, have reasonably high energy densities, and can be distributed with only minor modifications to existing infrastructure.
When considering modifications, it is important to also consider the Biofuels can be burned and standard internal combustion engines with only minor modifications made to the robber in fuel lines and gaskets. This is in stark contrast to fuels like hydrogen or electricity, which both require complete redesigns of everything from the engine to the transmission of vehicles.
Clearly, in the area of availability, biofuels are the pop up a list of alternatives and, as supplies of fossil fuels slowly dwindle, biofuels will also become relatively more available than our current go to fuel source. Availability is one of the major driving forces in the adoption of alternative energies, making biofuels the next logical choice as other alternatives are still under development and are perhaps decades away. In fact, biofuels are already showing up in flex fuel engines, as major components of the fuel supply in countries like Brazil, and as additives this standard fossil fuels and almost every nation. The transition to engines that run entirely on biofuels is likely to be subtle, though the rate of change is increasing as the search for alternative fuels intensifies. The United States military, for instance, plans to replace 50% of its fossil-based jet fuel with biofuel alternatives by 2016.