Biofuels are domestically produced derived from 100 percent renewable resources. In comparison to petroleum and gasoline, biofuels reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions and produce equivalent performance. There are two known strategies for producing biofuels. The first is to grow plants that are high in vegetable oil, like algae, palm oil, or soybean oil. The thickness is reduced by heating the oils; thus, they may be burned in a diesel engine, or they may be chemically produced into fuels like biodiesel. The second strategy is to grow corn or high sugar crops such as sugar beet, sugar cane and sweet sorghum. Yeast fermentation can be used for the production of ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol.
About 86 percent of all primary energy production in the world comes from the burning of fossil fuels in 2005. By products of this process are carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases (GHG) allow solar radiation to get into the atmosphere and to reach the surface of the Earth. GHG function like a blanket in that they help retain heat in the lower atmosphere, keeping the Earth warm and habitable. This natural phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect. A problem arises, however, when there is an excess of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which heighten this natural effect and cause global warming.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is considered to be the most prominent greenhouse gas in the Earth's atmosphere. Human activity is the leading cause of its increased production. The main source of carbon dioxide is the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas in power plants and industrial facilities. Such activity has caused a significant rise in carbon dioxide emissions within last 150 years. Thus, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has exceeded the amount of sequestered carbon dioxide in the oceans and biomass. The second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States is found in the transportation sector. Most of the energy consumed in this sector is petroleum-based, including gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel.
Some ecologists suggest another renewable burning energy alternative: hydrogen-powered cars. Right now those cars exist mostly as prototypes and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why spend money alternative fuel cars when you can simply change to renewable burning biofuel?
When renewable fuels are used, it demonstrates a commitment to the environment, safety and health. Biofuels have many advantages over fossil fuels:
- Biofuels are significantly less expensive than fossils fuels and gasoline- Biofuels are environmentally safer than fossils fuels, producing significantly less carbon dioxide and less air pollution.
- Biofuels can be produced from a large range of materials such as manure and crop waste, which is an important step in recycling.
- Biofuels are quickly renewed. Fresh crops can be grown within several months while fossil fuels take thousands of years to renew.
- Biofuels help reduce dependence on foreign fuel sources.
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