The burning of biomass has an overall impact on the atmospheric chemistry as well as the climate. Biomass fuel is also known as Biofuel. It can be used both for generating power and also for heating purposes. Biomass fuels can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time can increase energy security by being an alternative to fossil fuels. They can be produced from any source containing carbon like plants. Biomass is mostly derived from living organisms, which includes animals, plants, and their by-products. Crop residues and garden waste are some of the different sources of biomass.
Some of the most popular agricultural products that are grown for the purpose of creating biofuel are soybeans and corn in the US and wheat, rapeseed and sugar beet in Europe. Sugar cane is grown in Brazil. Jatropha is grown in India and palm oil in South-East Asia.
There are a wide variety of scientific experiments being conducted globally to produce a viable biofuel that will be efficient and environmentally friendly. Scientists have started to look beyond the biofuels and started to work on various byproducts of biofuel that can even be consumed as food.
Biofuels offer quite a few advantages over other fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. They have the ability to recycle carbon dioxide by getting it from the air and converting it into biomass. Biomass in a way traps all the carbon that is in the air, which is an important aspect from a global warming view because it doesn’t release any carbon components into the air. The biggest advantage is the fact that it’s renewable and it will not deplete the limited natural resources of our planet.
Some of the most common first generation Biomass fuels are vegetable oil, bioethanol and biodiesel.
Vegetable oil is used for cooking and also as a fuel. In most of the cases, vegetable oil is used for manufacturing biodiesel that is compatible with most of the diesel engines.
Ethanol is one of the most common biofuels across the world. It is also known as an alcohol fuel and is produced by fermenting sugars, which are derived from corn, wheat, sugarcane and sugar beet. The use of Ethanol has been widely seen in petrol engines where it replaces gasoline. Almost all the petrol engines can run on 15% blends of bioethanol with gasoline.
Biodiesel is one of the most common biofuels in Europe. It’s produced mainly from fats or oils using the process of transesterification. Biodiesel is extensively used in diesel engines after it is blended with mineral diesel. Some countries have manufacturers who give warranty for 100% biodiesel use. One example is the German Volkswagen. But the majority of vehicle manufacturers still limit to use of 15% biodiesel blended with mineral diesel and some European countries use 5% biodiesel blend.
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