An intro to BioFuel

Biofuel has become the buzz of the energy industry. Until now, we have posted on Biopharmaceutical and Material handling. A few posts related to Biofuel shall follow. The relationship between BioPharma and Biofuel shall also be discussed.

Biofuel is the type of fuel that is derived from the living or dead biological material. It can be broadly classified as solid, liquid and gas fuel. Biofuel can be produced from any carbon source especially from photosynthetic plants. Liquid Biofuel is used pure or in a specified mixture to fossil fuel to drive vehicles. Gaseous Biofuel like Gobar gas is used for cooking. Biofuel industries are expanding in most of the energy starved continents.

Biofuel produces energy without increasing carbon content in the atmosphere as against the fossil fuel and thereby does not contribute to global warming (Though still in debate) as fossil fuels.

Liquid Biofuel: There are two major fuels liquid category. Diesel and Petrol. Two of the liquid Biofuel can be used to substitute diesel and petrol namely Biodiesel and ethanol respectively and used in the engines directly. Though till date 100% usage of Biodiesel and ethanol is not widely reported, mixtures of various proportions are proved to perform as the fossil fuels.

Ethanol is produced from crops rich in either sugar (sugar cane or sugar beet) or starch (corn or maize) and then ferment to produce ethyl alcohol (ethanol). Biodiesel is produced from plants that contain high amounts of vegetable oil (oil palm, soybean or jatrobha aka jatropha) which on heating can be burned directly in a diesel engine, or the oils can be chemically processed to produce fuel.

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