History of Biofuels

Biofuels in the solid form has been in use ever since man discovered fire. Wood was the first form of biofuel that was used even by the ancient people for cooking and heating. With the discovery of electricity, man discovered another way of utilizing the biofuel. Biofuel had been used since a very long time for the production of electricity. This form of fuel was discovered even before the discovery of the fossil fuels, but with the exploration of the fossil fuel like gas, coal, and oil the production and use of biofuel suffered a severe impact. With the advantages placed by the fossil fuels they gained a lot of popularity especially in the developed countries. Liquid biofuel have been used in the automotive industry since its inception.

One of the first inventors to convince the people of the use of ethanol was a German named Nikolaus August Otto. Rudolf Diesel is the German inventor of the diesel engine. He designed his diesel engine to run in peanut oil and later Henry Ford designed the Model T car which was produced from 1903 to 1926. This car was completely designed to use hemp derived biofuel as fuel. However, with the exploration of huge supplies of crude oil some of the parts of Texas and Pennsylvania petroleum became very cheap and thus lead to the reduction of the use of biofuels. Most of the vehicles like trucks and cars began using this form of fuel which was much cheaper and efficient.

In the period of World War II, the high demand of biofuels was due to the increased use as an alternative for imported fuel. In this period, Germany was one of the countries that underwent a serious shortage of fuel. It was during this period that various other inventions took place like the use of gasoline along with alcohol that was derived from potatoes. Britain was the second country which came up with the concept of grain alcohol mixed with petrol. The wars frames were the periods when the various major technological changes took place but, during the period of peace, cheap oil from the gulf countries as well as the Middle East again eased off the pressure.

With the increased supply the geopolitical and economic interest in biofuel faded away. A serious fuel crisis again hit the various countries during the period of 1973 and 1979, because of the geopolitical conflict. Thus (OPEC), organization of the petroleum Exporting countries made a heavy cut in exports especially to the non OPEC nations. The constant shortage of fuel attracted the attention of the various academics and governments to the issues of energy crisis and the use of biofuels. The twentieth century came with the attention of the people towards the use of biofuels. Some of the main reasons for the people shifting their interest to biofuels were the rising prices of oil, emission of the greenhouse gases and interest like rural development.