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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
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