What is Biofuel?
Biofuel means any fuel (solid, liquid or gas) manufactured using biomass derived from natural resources. This requires anaerobic decomposition of natural plant or animal waste. These fuels include methane and hydrogen as gaseous fuels and methanol, ethanol, acetone and biodiesel as liquid fuels.
The Future of Biofuel
The future of biofuel is of keen interest around the globe. The world’s biofuel production has substantially increased in the last two decades, and there is still room for more. The EU, the United States, and Brazil produce biofuel. However, the recent shift of other global players to renewable fuel production and environmental concerns have increased the global demand for biofuel.
That being said, the production of biofuel presents a significant challenge as the raw material for manufacturing biofuel includes vegetable oils, sugar, corn and other biomass. Increased production can have a negative effect on these materials, which also form a significant part of the world’s food requirement.
These biofuels are renewable fuels since they are derived by processing animal and plant materials, which are renewable sources.
What are the sources of biofuel?
Any biological substance, such as animal waste, grass, crops, wood, and agricultural waste, can be utilised for producing biofuel. Some of the sources include:
- Animal fat
- Wood chippings
- Corn oil
- Canola oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Palm oil
- Soya bean oil
- Sunflower oil
Different Types of Biofuels
The following are the major types of biofuels:
Ethanol is a plant-based organic fuel derived from sugars and plant starches. By-products from sugar manufacturing, such as molasses or plant waste, are fermented under specific conditions to produce ethanol.
Biofuel, or biodiesel, is a cleaner-burning fuel and an alternative to fossil fuels. It is produced by combining vegetable oils and animal fats with alcohol in a trans-esterification process, which involves breaking down glycerine to release fatty acids. These acids are then combined with alcohol molecules and form biodiesel. The resulting fuel is biodegradable and non-toxic.
Also known as green diesel, HVO refers to a synthetic paraffinic diesel purified through a hydrotreatment process to provide a longer shelf-life as compared to regular diesel. HVO fuel can be stored for up to 10 years and offers a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It can also remain usable in temperatures as low as -32 degrees Celsius.
CHP (combined heat and power) biofuel is mainly sourced from waste oils, oil-rich plants, animal materials and other by-products. It offers a reliable alternative to fossil fuels in both power and heat generation.
Different Blends of Biofuels
There are multiple blends of biofuels available in the UK, such as:
- B7, containing 7% biofuel and 93% of fossil fuel
- B15, containing 15% biofuel and 85% of fossil fuel
- B20, containing 20% biofuel and 80% of fossil fuel
- B30, containing 30% biofuel and 70% of fossil fuel
- B50, containing 50% biofuel and 50% of fossil fuel
What are the uses of biofuel?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented the Renewable Fuel Standard program, also known as the RFS program, which requires that all fuel manufacturers blend their conventional fuels with a specific proportion of biofuels.
Biofuels are not only an incredible alternative to fossil fuels but also a clean and renewable fuel source. They can be replenished easily as they’re produced from biomass. Low emissions make them an attractive fuel option for eco-conscious businesses and citizens. They can be used for numerous purposes, including the following:
Primary biofuels, still in their raw state, have been in use for heating homes for centuries. These materials are still in use in many developing countries where no alternative sources are available. While the environmental profile of these biofuels is not as desirable as it could be, secondary biofuels that have been processed in a refinery can serve as an efficient and eco-friendly alternative to the natural gas used to heat many homes in the Western world, too.
There are some biofuels, such as biodiesel and bioethanol, that can serve as a good substitute for the fossil fuel in vehicles. These fuels can also be used as additives and boost efficiency while reducing harmful emissions considerably. However, not all the vehicles in the UK are outfitted to handle biofuels.
The aviation industry is certainly one of the biggest contributors to harmful emissions to the atmosphere. That is why a blend of biodiesel and kerosene, known as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), has become increasingly popular as a potential substitute for traditional jet fuel. There are multiple blends of SAF, but, at present, only HEFA-SPK (Hydro-processed esters and fatty acids – synthetic paraffinic kerosene) is mature enough to be used in the aviation industry.
Advantages of Biofuels
- Biofuels are carbon neutral and cause extremely low emissions.
- These fuels are produced from renewable sources.
- They can be blended with fossil fuels to reduce carbon footprint.
- Biofuels are improving constantly due to the advancement in technology.
Disadvantages of Biofuels
- Biofuels cannot operate in low-pressure and high-altitude conditions.
- They sometimes require blending with fossil fuels.
- They can prove to be very expensive as compared to traditional fuels.
- They provide lower energy yield than the traditional fuels.
Contact 123 Oil for any queries related to biofuel. We supply the best quality of biofuel throughout the UK with same/next-day delivery.