Are Biofuels an Alternative to Fossil Fuels?

Are Biofuels an Alternative to Fossil Fuels? One of the most dominant topics around energy and energy use regards the impact that a particular type of energy has on the environment. In this regard, there is promotion of the need to embrace the use of renewable energy sources in a bid to limit environmental impact brought about by fossil fuels and also limit climate change. Some of the renewable sources of energy identified include the wind, sun, hydropower and geothermal resources.

An area of contention arises with regards to the consideration of biofuels as renewable energy sources and hence an alternative to the usage of fossil fuels. The paper that follows takes a critical look at biofuels and their environmental impact with a need to draw conclusion on whether they are a better alternative to fossil fuels with regards to environmental impact. The choice of this topic is based on the need to come up with alternative sources of energy that have little impact on the environment.

What are biofuels?

The first point of focus is on consideration of the elements of biofuels. A biofuel refers to any type of fuel whose production is through modern biological processes such as through anaerobic digestion or agriculture. In contrasting between biofuels and fossil fuels, biofuels come from biological processes while fossil fuels come from geological processes. Biofuels can either be gaseous, solid, or liquid fuels whose production is from biomass. The biomass from which the conversion of fuels takes place is such as food crops, residues from agriculture, bio-energy crops, algae, animal manure, and wood and forestry waste (IEA, 2011).

Are Biofuels an Alternative

The raw material from which biofuel is manufactured from biomass is referred to as the biofuel feedstock. From such feedstock, the liquid biofuels that are produced include ethanol that comes from starchy foods fermentation and biodiesel coming from soybean and oil crops such as oil palms. Ethanol and biodiesel are both fuels used to power machinery including vehicles.

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