"The Efficiency Of Biofuels"
The effects of global warming can't be overlooked any longer, claiming there is not enough evidence to support the idea that the earth is slowly warming up. Research the world over clearly shows that unless we start taking action immediately then we are in for some irreversible ecological damage before the end of the century. The need to change over to alternative energy sources has never been more necessary. This is where biofuels come in. Basically these non- fossil fuels are extracted from plant material and are one of the best green energy sources that we know of next to solar energy.
Biofuels are already being pushed as the alternative to petroleum due to their relatively low pollution output. As a result they are known as 'carbon neutral' biofuels because they release exactly the same quantity of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as they absorb during their growth. This is why biofuels are popular with investors.
The increasing scarcity of fossil fuel energy supplies is a direct result of indiscriminate fossil fuel exploitation. Ecologists claim that, unless we curb our use of fossil fuels then our society will be in trouble. Biofuels therefore are becoming an increasingly pressing concern. Biofuels are distilled from organic matter and it is one of the best ways of producing 'green' energy. However, the most popular biofuel, ethanol, which is produced from vegetables, corn oil or sugar cane, is not sufficient to meet all our future energy requirements.
Although some people claim that ethanol should account for 10 percent of world energy supplies by 2025 and an incredible 30 percent by 2050, the current level is a very small 2 percent.
The first generation of biofuels consists of bioalcohols, biodiesels and biogas. The first one of these is derived from the anaerobic breakdown of starch rich plants; the next one is obtained from overheated vegetable oil while the last one is created from the breakdown of organic matter.
One of the major problems with first generation biofuels is that they are produced from edible crops. Their successors, the second generation biofuels use the inedible and discarded part of the food crop. The problem with this is that the biofuel it produces cannot be manufactured on a large enough scale because of the limited amount of raw crop material required.
Algae fuel is the next type of biofuel. This has by far the greatest future potential. Consuming small amounts of energy while producing considerable fuel output, there is little doubt as to why algae fuel is viewed with such enthusiasm by scientists. Improved methods of oil extraction that the algae produces are constantly being sought by those involved in this research.
There is also a new strain of biofuel emerging as well. This fourth generation biofuel is extracted from microorganisms. This could be the answer to our future energy needs.
Until the technology exists to unlock the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy, we will have to depend on alternative energy resources like biofuels. Unless we implement them then there is the possibility of a future energy crisis.
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