Biofuel has been steadily growing in popularity mainly because of the fact that it is very effiecient in terms of environmental conservation, as it offers little to zero contribution to global warming. However, meeting this demand has been a challenge, mainly because of the process that has to be followed before biofuel is actually produced. Biofuel is generated from biomass, which is mainly plants and other biological wastes be it agricultural, domestic or industrial.
The main challenge with this source of energy is that crops have to actually be grown first in before it can be produced, and the process of growing plants is usually a long and tasking one. Biofuel can come in different forms, but either way, the process in which it is obtained is not as straight forward as obtaining fossil fuel such as oil, which just needs to be dug up from the earth.
Types of biofuel
Biofuel is the word that is usually used for fuel that is either in liquid or gaseous form. In most instances, biofuel is a form of renewable energy because it comes from plants that can grow back. A good example of biofuel that comes from plants is ethanol. Ethanol is the most produced form of liquid biofuel, and it comes from a variety of plants such as corn, sugarcane and crop residue.
On the other hand, biodiesel is also a very popular biofuel, and it comes from plants such as oil palm or soybean. However, biodiesel can also be produced from used cooking oil (UCO), which is an indirect way of producing it. The uco industries usually recycle oil that is used in restaurants for deep frying, and refine it to make biodiesel that can be used to fuel diesel engines.
Challenges of manufacturing biofuel
Even though biofuel is clearly a better alternative to fossil fuel, there are quite a number of challenges that are associated with obtaining it. To begin with, plants take a while to grow, whereas the other type of oil can be obtained from the ground. And when it comes to biodiesel made from cooking oil, it either has to be bought or recycled. Either way, alot of money would have to be spent in obtaining it before there can be enough to make fuel.
While restaurants used to pay for their oil to get disposed, most now sell their used cooking oil now that they know its value. And even though it is much better to recycle used cooking oil; as opposed to throwing it out and having it end up in all sorts of places, therefore causing harm to the environment, the fact is that used cooking oil is not in great supply, and not so many people are patient enough to wait through the process of production of biofuel.
Advantages of using biofuel
There are so many reasons why biofuel is the better alternative to fossil fuel. Not only is the fuel environmentally friendly because it is a cleaner form of energy, but it also has the potential of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through a process known as carbon capture and storage.
The fact that there is an alternative way to produce fuel for diesel engines also provides a solution for the ever rising prices of fuel. The best thing though is that the manufacturing of bio diesel from used cooking oil is something that can even be done by individuals, provided that they actually know what they are doing.
Evidently, the demand for biofuel continues to rise for reasons that are quite obvious. Many people now see the benefits that come from using this type of oil; and because we are all involved in the fight to save the planet, alternative methods of doing things which contribute to global warming are constantly being sought. Therefore, using biofuel makes so much sense. However, the question that is yet to be answered is whether enough can ever be produced for everyone who has an engine that needs fueling.