Due to the constant increase in greenhouse gas emissions, alternative and renewable energies are being investigated and developed, with the aim of progressively replacing the use of fossil fuels. Among these “new” energies are solar, wind, hydro, geothermal or energy obtained from biofuel.
What are biofuels and their origin
The origin of biofuels is older than we think, and is located almost at the same time as that of fossil fuels and combustion engines, although their development was slower. It has been more than 100 years since Rudolf Diesel developed an engine that ran on peanut or groundnut oil, in what was the origin of diesel. However, as oil was easier and cheaper to obtain, much more began to be used.
In 1908, Henry Ford developed a model that used ethanol as a principle. Later, between 1920 and 1924, a gasoline containing 25% ethanol was sold, although the high costs of corn at the time made it unfeasible to market this product. This project was resumed during the 1930s, when Ford and others took up biofuel manufacturing with a biofuel plant located in Kansas that produced about 38,000 liters of ethanol per day using corn as a raw material . This product was sold in up to 2,000 service stations. However, because it could not compete against oil prices, the plant was closed during the 1940s.
It was during the 1970s and due to the oil crisis , gasoline and ethanol began to be combined in the US , in what would be the beginning of the biofuel boom in the US and Europe, and since then its development has continued to grow. . Until the mid-1980s, experiments were made with first and second generation biofuels, which used food products as raw materials, but soon various sectors warned of the danger of using food to develop fuels and switched to third generation biofuels , which used algae. and other non-edible vegetables as raw material.
Since the industrial revolution, the use of energy based on the use of fossil fuels , which are oil, coal and natural gas , has been promoted . These fuels have great energy efficiency and power, but they are limited and running out. In addition, they generate large emissions of greenhouse gases , which contributes to global warming and climate change .
As an alternative to these fuels, biofuels emerge . These are a type of renewable energy , since they are produced from plant biomass , and cleaner than fossil fuels. Unlike oil and other fossil fuels, plant biomass does not take millions of years to produce and can be replanted.
The best known biofuel in the world is ethanol . This biofuel is produced from corn. Most commonly, ethanol is combined with gasoline to produce an efficient and cleaner fuel than is currently used in vehicles. Thus, we have the E-10 fuels, which are 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline and are the most widely used. There are also the E-85, with 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline and is used for more flexible fuel vehicles.
Since this ethanol is produced from corn, it is a renewable energy , so it is not depleted like oil or coal. In addition, with the use of ethanol, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced , since corn, by photosynthesis, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere.
Instead, biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils , both new and used, and from some animal fats. Biodiesel is a well-known biofuel that experienced strong growth, as some people started making biodiesel at home .
Furthermore, an advantage of biodiesel is that it can be used in diesel engines without the need for many modifications, especially in newer diesel engines. Currently, a small biodiesel industry has already developed, which is why it is already available at some service stations.