Ecology

What is bioethanol and what is it for

In the search for alternative energies that help us reduce dependence on fossil fuels, one of these alternatives that has been developed has been bioethanol. Broadly speaking, bioethanol is a type of fuel that is obtained from some types of organic matter, which allows, among other advantages, not to need to depend on oil directly. However, it has uses and benefits that go beyond reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

What is bioethanol

Bioethanol is a type of flammable alcohol obtained from the fermentation of certain types of organic material, mainly plant matter with a high cellulose content. Bioethanol can be obtained by fermenting plants such as:

  • Sugarcane.
  • The cereals.
  • Beets

In this way, these vegetables can be grown with the aim of directing them to this function. However, in addition to producing bioethanol from plantations made on purpose , you can also be obtained by traces of organic matter from other sources, such as remains of forestry or remains cereals for feed .

In this way, we are faced with a source of energy that is renewable , since it is obtained from organic matter that, carrying out a correct use and efficient management, we could take advantage of without an expiration date.

Bioethanol has the same uses as fuels that are burned to obtain another type of energy, be it motive or electrical. In this way, bioethanol can be used for transportation or for electricity generation , as well as heating .

In the case of electricity generation, a bioethanol boiler would be composed of a space where combustion would take place and a circuit (generally hydraulic) that, when heated, would rotate a turbine that would be the one that would produce electricity. In this way, it would work in a similar way to plants that generate electricity by burning other fuels, such as biomass, natural gas, oil derivatives or coal.

In the automotive case, bioethanol can be used in the same way as gasoline or diesel vehicles. In this way, it would be a type of fuel that could replace fuels derived from petroleum or, in a less demanding situation, be combined together, which, consequently, would imply reducing the use of fossil fuels.

The first thing to keep in mind is that bioethanol produces CO2 in its combustion . In this way, one cannot be talking about a purely clean energy. However, it is true that the level of greenhouse gases it emits is considerably lower when compared to other fuels such as gasoline or diesel. In fact, the CO2 that it emits comes ultimately from the CO2 absorbed by the plant when it was growing, so there are those who consider that, if we ignore the emission of CO2 for its production and transport, the footprint of the combustion of this type of Fuel will be neutral by emitting CO2 that has previously been absorbed from the atmosphere.

However, beyond the CO2 that is emitted during combustion, another factor that must be taken into account when using bioethanol is that, both for its production and for its transport, the greenhouse gases that are produced are considerably less than when using fossil fuels. This is due to the bioethanol production process itself and a logistical aspect that oil or coal cannot compete with: bioethanol can be manufactured anywhere. This means that its transport is not so expensive nor does it have such a large CO2 footprint since, if you want, it can be produced locally and used in the same region where it has been produced, since the organic matter necessary for its elaboration it can come from the remains of organic matter in the same space where it is going to be consumed.

On the other hand, the use of bioethanol leads to a reduction in the waste generated in a locality. Through a proper separation and recycling system, many of the remains of organic waste generated by an average household can be used for the production of this fuel, which will reduce the final set of waste produced.

Finally, another aspect that cannot be overlooked is that it carries a lower social impact than the use of fossil fuels. If we take into account that bioethanol can be produced in any physical space, the most efficient way to do it is through local production, which, in turn, leads to the creation of jobs in the same environment.

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