Benefits of Biofuel
Biofuel is a renewable energy source, unlike its counterpart fossil fuel. Being from plants makes biofuel unlimited in supply. The burning of any type of fuel is bound to have some sort of environmental impact. Biofuels can have some of the same emissions problems that standard fossil fuels have. However, the biofuel process usually has a cleaner method of processing and distribution. Also, biofuels are much safer than fossil fuels, and less likely to kill organisms, or contaminate water and soil if spilled in large quantity. Biofuels are less toxic because they are biodegradable biological molecules. Organisms, such as bacteria, that live naturally in the soil and water are able to use biofuel molecules as energy sources and break them down into harmless byproducts. This means that even though concentrated biofuel spills can kill things like plants and smaller animals, they will not persist in the environment and cause damage or make an area uninhabitable for long periods of time (Liska & Perris, 2009).
Another great perk of biofuel, if processed and produced properly, is an extreme reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide. This happens because plants absorb excess carbon dioxide from the air to grow and produce food, so the increase of plants growing food, the decrease of carbon dioxide, lessening global warming. Biofuels, when grown from plants, can thus offset their carbon dioxide emissions because they take up the gas during growth that is produced when the fuel is burned, potentially cancelling out the excess carbon dioxide. All of the mentioned reasons, plus more, has led to the encouragement of the continued development of biofuels as substitutes for petroleum, both to reduce dependence on foreign oil and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Liska & Perrin, 2010).
Relation of Fuel Control and Global Prominence
Since the First World War, countries have fought over oil supplies. In 1965, a sports columnist named Ben Henkey quoted, “He who owns the gold makes the rules.” Looking back at the constant battle for oil-laden land, the new motto for the world could be “He who owns the oil, makes the rules.” Fossil fuels are triggering violent conflicts all over the world. In a fossil-fuel world, control over oil and gas reserves is an essential component of national power (Klare, 2014). As oil becomes scarcer, its vale will rise. As the value rises, the frequency and severity of such conflict is likely to increase. “The close connection between oil and conflict derives from two essential features of petroleum: its vital importance to the economy and military power of nations; and its irregular geographic distribution (Klare, 2004).”
The global biofuels industry has grown significantly in recent years and is making a significant contribution to the individual economies of producing countries and to the global economy as a whole. Key drivers for the global biofuels industry are the desires to develop alternative sources of energy in response to soaring crude oil prices, generate increased revenue for farmers through the production of value added biofuel products, mitigate climate change, and to stimulate agricultural production. Reflecting this, growth in the ethanol and biodiesel industries has been stimulated by national policies in the form of mandates and renewable energy goals and high crude oil and refined petroleum prices. The purpose of this study is to examine global production trends in ethanol and biodiesel, estimate the global economic footprint of the biofuels industry, and to identify new and emerging production markets such as Africa (Urbanchuk, 2012).
To date, petroleum is critical to the global economy because it is the world’s major source of primary energy, accounting for over one-third of the Earth’s energy consumption, to include over nine-five percent of all energy used for transportation. In addition, petroleum is the basic component for most plastics, pesticides, paints, solvents, and other vital products. Because oil plays such a critical role in fueling the world economy, any prolonged shortage in its availability can produce a global economic recession, as occurred in the 1974 Arab oil embargo, the 1979 Iranian revolution, and the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (Klare, 2004). The US military operations in Iraq, following that Iraqi invasion into Kuwait, was one of several recent Middle Eastern wars may also be related to securing petroleum reserves (Liska & Perrin, 2010).
In order to not feel the need to constantly be at war over oil, many countries militaries are currently in the process of substituting portions of their fossil-based jet fuel with biofuel alternatives (Daly, 2012). Scientists and engineers have been hard at work for decades now looking to find a viable substitute for fossil fuels (Marsh, 2008). One example is seeking a controlled transformation of lignin into jet and diesel fuel range hydrocarbons. This successful conversion of synthetic biofuels will meet the technical requirements of conventional jet fuels (Bi, et al., 2015).
Conclusion: The Potential Shift from Fossil to Majority Bio
Currently there is a global energy independence on fossil fuels. Also, fossil fuel induced global warming is creating tighter climate change policies. These two things, among others, show an urgent need for an alternative and renewable energy source like bioenergy. Biofuels in solid form, such as firewood, wood chips, wood pellets, and wood charcoal. Biofuel can also be processed in liquid and gaseous forms. All forms are constantly being researched by scientists and engineers alike. Overall, the global development and utilization of bioenergy and biofuels will continue to increase, particularly in the biopower, lignocellulosic bioethanol, and biogas sectors. It is expected that by 2050 bioenergy will provide thirty percent of the world’s demanded energy (Guo ; Buhain, 2015).
Benefits of Biofuel