EnviroLink Forum

Community • Ecology • Connection
It is currently Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:39 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:48 pm 
Offline
New User
New User

Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:42 pm
Posts: 3
Our over-dependance on an increasingly dwindling supply of fossil fuels has prompted a huge amount of research into alternative energy sources, with biofuels being one such means of energy. However, there are currently many downsides to this type of energy, including environmental, financial, and ethical concerns, which raise the question of whether there is any sort of future for biofuels.

What are biofuels?
Technically, biofuels are fuels created from living matter or the waste they produce, including wood and straw, pellets or liquids made from wood, methane extracted from animal faeces, and ethanol and diesel made from plant materials of waste oil. Today, the majority of biofuels are in the latter category, with ethanol and diesel made from processing, primarily, corn, sugarcane and rapeseed.

The history of biofuels
In its solid form, biofuels have been used since man first discovered fire. Wood is the earliest form of biofuel and was used by early man to cook and keep warm. Before fossil fuels were discovered to be a wonder fuel, wood was even used to produce electricity. Since then, biofuels have largely been used in the automotive industry and early cars such as the Model T Ford and the first diesel engine were designed to run on biofuels. As with electricity, the discovery of efficient and relatively cheap fossil fuels reduced the usage of biofuels in vehicles. More recently, thanks to the rising price and ever-diminishing supplies of fossil fuels, interest in sustaining rural development, and concerns over greenhouse gas emissions, biofuels have come back into the spotlight again as an alternative means of energy.

Environmental and ethical concerns
In theory, biofuels are less polluting than fossil fuels. Burning biofuels may produce carbon dioxide but growing the plants should combat that by absorbing a comparable amount of gas from the atmosphere. However, the energy used to farm and process the fuels can make them just as polluting as conventional fossil fuels. There are also concerns that biodiversity may be harmed as great swathes of land, including rainforest rich with plant and animal species, are cleared to grow crops. There could be a human as well as an environmental cost, if biofuels compete for land with the agricultural sector and divert food from human mouths to engines.

So is there a future for biofuels?
If a shift to electric cars occurs, liquid biofuels would have no place but in aviation (jet engines need the high energy density that only chemical fuels can provide). However, use biofuels in power stations to generate electricity and there could still be a place for them. Second generation biofuels focus on the processing of agricultural, industrial, and municipal solid waste so that no further crops need to be grown and harvested. The technology to process the cellulose in plant waste is still in development but its success or otherwise will determine whether biofuels have a future. Until then, energy providers are working tirelessly to supply renewable energies of all types to homes and businesses across the globe.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:59 am 
Offline
Member with over 1000 posts!
Member with over 1000 posts!

Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:17 am
Posts: 9576
Certainly, they would be a step in the right direction.
The trick is to make sure they're part of a recycling system.....
Using used cooking oils rather the growing corn solely for bio-fuel use would make more sense, methinx....


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:01 pm 
Offline
Member with over 1000 posts!
Member with over 1000 posts!
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:59 am
Posts: 2243
Location: Central Colorado
The main thing is to reduce all HGHG emissions 90% within a decade, max. Or ecocide. :shock: :cry: :mrgreen:
Nice cut and paste first post with no intro mary221. :razz:

_________________
"With every decision, think seven generations ahead of the consequences of your actions" Ute rule of life.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”― Chief Seattle
“Those Who Have the Privilege to Know Have the Duty to Act”…Albert Einstein


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:48 pm 
Offline
New User
New User

Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:42 pm
Posts: 3
Johhny Electriglide wrote:
The main thing is to reduce all HGHG emissions 90% within a decade, max. Or ecocide. :shock: :cry: :mrgreen:
Nice cut and paste first post with no intro mary221. :razz:


Haha.. I have written this last week and thought to post it here. My friend told me about this forum and joined it to share my work :-({|= I am finding this forum very interesting and useful to enhance my knowledge on Environmental Issues. :idea:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:52 pm 
Offline
New User
New User

Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:42 pm
Posts: 3
Iowanic wrote:
Certainly, they would be a step in the right direction.
The trick is to make sure they're part of a recycling system.....
Using used cooking oils rather the growing corn solely for bio-fuel use would make more sense, methinx....


Agree with you.. I also always appreciate and promote 3Rs for better environment - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle..


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:17 pm 
Offline
EnviroLink Volunteer
EnviroLink Volunteer
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 10:45 pm
Posts: 20474
Location: Southeastern US
The future of biofuels is unfortunately limited. We currently could not hope to replace any significant portion of the energy consumption with biofuels so it is more of a niche market than a viable energy source to replace fossil fuels.

A combination of various renewable energy sources can be combined to replace a larger portion of the mobile sources, but the limitations of current technology seems to make it merely a stop gap effort now.

_________________
With friends like Guido, you will not have enemies for long.

“Intellect is invisible to the man who has none”
Arthur Schopenhauer


"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
Albert Einstein


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:56 am 
Offline
Member with 50 posts!
Member with 50 posts!
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:24 am
Posts: 87
Biofuels have much lower EROEIs, may eat up food supply, etc.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group