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Advantages and Disadvantages of Biofuels



BY: Nidhi Uppangala | Category: Environmental Biotechnology | Submitted: 2010-06-22 20:29:16

Introduction:


Biofuels are combustible fuel materials produced or derived from biomass. Most commonly these biofuels are in the form of alcohols, esters, ethers and also other forms of hydrocarbon compounds. Biodiesel and bioethanol are two widely used forms of biofuels. Biofuels are in great demand and interest of public and also scientific community, because of some of the factors like oil price hikes, increased energy need and also concern over the greenhouse gases emitted from the fossil fuels.

Biodeseil is produced from biomass such as vegetable oil and rapeseed oil and also can be produced from used cooking oil and animal fat (tallow).

Bioethanol is produced from carbohydrate crops such as maize, sugar beet, wheat, potatoes and also other varieties of starch and sugar crops. Bioethanol produced from cellulose present in the common vegetation are also called as cellulosic ethanol. For example researches are going on to extract bioethanol from a variety of grass such as switchgrass, these grass grow to a height of 12 feet, and also Ford's Model T car was originally designed to run o biofuel, such as ethanol.

Advantages of Biodiesel:

1. Biodiesel is extracted or produced from renewable resources.
2. Biodiesel performs just like normal diesel (fossil fuel)
3. It causes less air pollution when compared to the normal diesel fuel
4. Engine designed to work on biodiesel produce less pollution when compared with normal diesel-engines
5. It is less inflammable when compared with normal diesel
6. Biodiesel can be mixed with fossil fuel diesel, this way also it works fine
7. It is biodegradable fuel; hence reduce the possibility of soil contamination and also underground water contamination during transportation, storage or during use.
8. As biofuel do not contain sulphur, the chemical element responsible for acid rain, hence biofuel are environment friendly.
9. To use biodiesel as fuel there is no need of engine conversion in comparison to other biofuels.
10. Durability of engine increases considerably when using biodiesel as combustible fuel
11. Biodiesel produces nearly 78% less carbon dioxide than the normal fossil fuel like diesel
12. As biodiesel has higher cetane and lubricity rating hence it improves efficiency of engine and also operating life cycle.

Disadvantages of Biodiesel:

1. Biodiesel is more expensive than the normal diesel
2. Biodiesel usage is less suitable in low temperatures
3. Biodiesel as fossil fuels cannot be transported using pipelines.
4. Only a little number of petrol station offer biodiesel-fuel
5. It gives out more amount of nitrogen oxide
6. Biodiesel attracts moisture hence this will create problems in cold weather and also it increases the risk of microbial growth in the engine and this will clog engine filters.

Advantages of Bioethanol:

1. Bioethanol can be blended with other fossil fuel for use, this reduces the emission of green house gases
2. Production of bioethanol starts from photosynthesis hence it is a renewable form of energy.
3. Bioethanol usage reduces greenhouse gases in the environment; hence it is environment friendly compound.
4. Bioethanol is biodegradable, therefore oil spill of this fuel will not cause any form of pollution, because bioethanol spills can be converted into non toxic compound

Disadvantages of Bioethanol:

1. Production of bioethanol requires high amount of energy and also large amount of land to produce biomass
2. Bioethanol fuel with more than 10% ethanol are not compatible with already established engine components and may cause engine corrosion

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