What are Biofuels

Also known as agrofuel, these fuels are mainly derived from biomass or bio waste. These fuels can be used for any purposes, but the main use for which they have to be brought is in the transportation sector. Most of the vehicles require fuels which provide high power and are dense so that storage is easier. These engines require fuels that are clean and are in the liquid form.

The most important advantage of using liquid as fuel is that they can be easily pumped and can also be handled easily. This is the main reason why almost all the vehicles use liquid form of fuels for combustion purpose. For other forms of non transportation applications there are other alternative solid biomass fuel like wood. These non transportation applications can bring into use these solid biomass fuels as they can easily bear the low power density of external combustion. Wood has been brought into use since a very long period and is one of the major contributors of global warming.

Biofuels are the best way of reducing the emission of the greenhouse gases. They can also be looked upon as a way of energy security which stands as an alternative of fossil fuels that are limited in availability. Today, the use of biofuels has expanded throughout the globe. Some of the major producers and users of biogases are Asia, Europe and America. Theoretically, biofuel can be easily produced through any carbon source; making the photosynthetic plants the most commonly used material for production. Almost all types of materials derived from the plants are used for manufacturing biogas. One of the greatest problems that is being faced by the researchers in the field is how to covert the biomass energy into the liquid fuel.

There are two methods currently brought into use to solve the above problem. In the first one, sugar crops or starch are grown and through the process of fermentation, ethanol is produced. In the second method, plants are grown that naturally produce oil like jatropha and algae. These oils are heated to reduce their viscosity after which they are directly used as fuel for diesel engines. This oil can be further treated to produce biodiesel which can be used for various purposes. Most of the biofuels are derived from biomass or bio waste. Biomass can be termed as material which is derived from recently living organism. Most of the biomass is obtained from plants and animals and also include their by products. The most important feature of biomass is that they are renewable sources of energy unlike other natural resources like coal, petroleum and even nuclear fuel. Some of the agricultural products that are specially grown for the production of biofuels are switchgrass, soybeans and corn in United States. Brazil produces sugar cane, Europe produces sugar beet and wheat while, China produces cassava and sorghum, south-east Asia produces miscanthus and palm oil while India produces jatropha.