Biofuels: Pros and Cons

Biofuels: Pros and Cons

With growing interest in the biofuel industry many people around the world have begun exploring a number of different ways to generate combustible fuel from biomass – a substance derived from either plant or animal byproducts. With biofuels, however, there are a number of pros and cons that are associated with each as well as their general usage:

Pros

1. Biofuels can be derived from both plant and animal waste, meaning that biomass can be collected and used for fuel generation purposes from a number of different sources and eliminate the need for most foreign-based fuel supply.

2. A combination of biofuels with conventional petroleum-based fuels or pure biofuels generally have significantly reduced greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions than pure petroleum-based burning. This can reduce emissions by up to 70% in most cases and provide an overall cleaner burn in most energy production processes.

3. Thanks to renewable nature of biofuels any sort of biomass-based fuel derived from living material can be considered a virtually limitless renewable energy source able to provide energy to even many existing fuel systems at little or no change to the existing system mechanics.

4. Because of the various aspects involved in biofuel production the biofuel industry can have an overall highly positive effect upon both local and overall economic conditions in countries of operations, creating many jobs as well as other opportunities for further development and helping to stimulate overall domestic market consumption.

Cons

1. Biofuels are not actually fully “green” in that they have carbon emissions during their burning. While it is true that these are generally lower than conventional fossil fuels used today this does not mean that they are eco-friendly replacements and at best can be considered “carbon neutral”, meaning that plants used for biomass production will offset any carbon emissions generated during the burning of the biofuel product they are used to create.

2. Although biofuels can be created through a number of different means the overall cost for extracting adequate amounts of bimass is generally much more costly than if conventional petroleum-based fuel was simply used for energy generation purposes.

3. Despite the flexible usability of most biofuels some cannot be fully utilized in all current engines, such as gasoline-based car engines. A biofuel utilizing virtually pure vegetable oil as a base, for instance, can prove little usability to a gasoline powered car that requires refined petroleum to operate. Further, even some more durable diesel engines still require slight modifications to handle some biofuels effectively before they can utilize all biofuels to the fullest extent.

4. The over-usage of many biomass bases such as corn for ethanol production has resulted in a number of economic balances in some areas due to corn’s importance in both the fuel and foodstuff sectors. This is a major concern for a number of different biomasses being used as biofuels as many people feel this can have an overall negative impact on many consumers if left unchecked and lead to some potential economic stability in select production sectors vying for usage of a shared product.



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