Bio fuels - Are they good?
As the term suggests, bio-fuels are fuels that are formed when
biological matter decomposes. The bio-fuels are mostly derived from
plants. Bio-fuels exist in all the three states of matter: solid,
liquid, and gas.
Difference between bio-fuels and fossil fuels
Bio-fuels are different from fossil fuels in the following ways:
• Fossil fuels take a million years to build whereas bio-fuels can be made extremely fast, in a matter of days.
• Fossil fuels generate huge amounts of pollution. Bio-fuels are comparatively safer.
• Bio-fuels are renewable sources of energy unlike fossil fuels.
Different types of bio-fuels
Bio-fuels have been categorized into four types: first generation,
second generation, third generation, and fourth generation.
The first generation bio-fuels are derived from vegetable fats, starch,
and sugar, which are in turn derived from food-crops. The first
generation fuels are also derived from animal fats. Biogas, bio-diesel,
and vegetable oil are some examples of this type of bio-fuels.
The second generation of bio-fuels is mainly derived from waste
biomass, thus making it a more balanced option compared to the
first-generation bio-fuels. Different kinds of alcohols and diesel
generated from wood fall into the category of second generation
The third generation comprises of bio-fuels derived from algae. Algae
are farmed on large scales for creating these bio-fuels. The algae
fuels are extremely environment-friendly as they can easily decompose
into the soil without harming it.
The bio-fuels in the fourth generation are derived by a method in which
micro-organisms are raised to work with carbon dioxide to generate
Advantages of bio-fuels
Bio-fuels prove advantageous in the following ways:
• Bio-fuels lessen the burden on gradually-vanishing fossil fuels.
• Bio-fuels are environment-friendly. They help reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
• Bio-fuels, especially, bio-diesel prove to be very cost-effective for consumers.
Disadvantages of bio-fuels
Bio-fuels are not bereft of criticism. Though beneficial for the
environment, bio-fuels have its disadvantages, paradoxically in the
environmental purview. Bio-fuels have received criticism for many
reasons, a couple of which are stated below:
• Economists have long debated on the usefulness of first generation
bio-fuels when compared to the lack of food they cause. Generating fuel
from food crops makes food crops unworthy of human consumption. Some
people believe that being a higher priority than fuel, food should not
be farmed for making fuels but for human consumption.
• Making bio-fuels require acres of farming land, thus encroaching upon the natural habitat of plants and animals.
Make power at
home with solar and wind energy to eliminate your power bill. Get our
complete guide at Earth 4 Energy