Archive for December, 2007

Dec 15 2007

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The Pros and Cons of Biofuels

There have been studies that prove the many benefits of substituting fossil fuels (petroleum, etc) with biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. In its simplest sense, such biofuels are biodegradable which means they are derived from organic materials. They are naturally renewable. It can create numerous jobs since our own farmers can practically make them domestically. Consequently, our reliance on foreign sources of fossil fuels will be significantly reduced. Moreover, these biofuels emit nontoxic and cleaner emissions in comparison to traditional fuels. These alternative fuels also do not promote global warming, since the carbon they emit is taken back to the environment.

Biofuels are easily utilize but not readily accessible.

The use of biofuel is not complicated. Compared to other forms of renewable energy (solar, wind, etc), biofuel is far more simple and easy to use. It does not require special equipment or a modification in all engines. Any automobile will not need complex changes. The biodiesel can be readily combined with conventional petroleum diesel in your fuel tank at any point in time. In some instances, particularly true for ethanol, you may have to look for flexible fuel car models. If not, biodiesel can run most diesel operated engines.

Despite these benefits, it would take time for biofuels to be readily accessible due to lack of ethanol or biodiesel pumps at existing filling station.

Biofuels are renewable but crops are still not enough.

It is a fact that biofuels are derived from biomass that is renewable and biodegradable. For this reason, it will accordingly cause lasting effects on generations to come.

However, one major concern of wide scale biofuel production is the increased need of growing crops to meet the demand. This leads to some arguments, since it might require extensive land that may involve forests, wild habitats and agricultural lands.

Biofuels uses more energy than they can produce.

This had been an issue in so many years whether producing biofuels would actually need more energy than they can give.

Over the years, technology has significantly improved. A lot of researches and tests had been done to prove that biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel generate energy that is comparable to conventional diesel fuel. Ethanol puts out about 1.5 units of energy for every unit of energy used in processing it. In addition, biodiesel even has an output of 3.2 units of energy to every unit of energy used on its production. The “traditional” fuel like gasoline needs 20% energy based on what it can provide, or leaving you with only 80%.


To reduce the reliance on fossil fuel, conservation is still the primary strategy. There is no instant weaning on conventional petroleum diesel. It is quite impossible to totally replace it but instead the consumption must be decreased. Other sources of energy such as solar, wind, etc. are still needed. But this does not mean that biofuel have no future. As a matter of fact, it has a very promising potential. As an alternative to this “traditional” diesel or gasoline fuel, it is expected to yield significant energy security and environmental advantage to its consumers.

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