Biofuel sounds itself as the natural product and is so too. Plant-based fuel can be produced anywhere and comes from a renewable resource and often produces cleaner emissions than petroleum-based fuels.Pros and Cons of Biofuel

In some regions around the world, some crops could economically produce biofuel. But biofuels comes does come with some other negative aspects.

As the campaign is going on about awareness of fossil fuel’s consumption, the problems of excessive use or production of biofuels have led to increased pollution and decreased access to healthy and nutritious food. Here are some cons and pros of biofuel consumption and production.

Pros Of Biofuels

1. Cheaper In Cost

As the world is trying to decrease the use of fossil fuels or petroleum-based oils, more sources of biofuels become apparent. Biofuels can be made cheaper and affordable if sourced and produced locally.

If the demand and supply increases then it’s going to be even cheaper.  In fact, ethanol is already cheaper than diesel and gasoline. Biofuels prices have been falling and have the potential to be significantly less expensive than gasoline and other fossil fuels.

2. Source Material 

Fuel is a limited resource that comes from specific material which even takes millions of years to form whereas on the other hand biofuel is manufactured from a wide range of materials available in the surrounding like crop waste, manure, and other byproducts.

The materials cost for generating biofuel is far cheaper and feasible and accessible for the people. When the crops are planted and their waste is used for biofuel then it can be replanted again and again to get the raw material.

As well as manure is the widely available material for biofuel consumption and has been practiced worldwide before the introduction of gas cylinder for cooking and fire purpose and it’s still in practice.

3. Renewable Energy Source

Fossil fuel takes thousands of years for production through the process of natural decay, on the other hand, biofuel is a renewable energy source. We can grow new crops and make biofuel by using those crops and their byproducts.

The sources of biofuel are manure, corn, switchgrass, soybeans & waste from crops and plants and are not likely to run out any time soon. These crops can be replanted again and again and biofuel can be efficient to extract and from nature.

4. Stimulates Local Economy

Biofuel is produced with the material that is available in the locality. As we know the crops are used for manufacturing biofuel and it is needed in tons and tons of quantity. So, producing it and utilizing it requires lots of manpower which gives the opportunity of employment.

And even farmers can benefit by selling their crops for biofuel production. This increases the economic status of people living around cause it’s providing employment as well as can stimulate the agriculture industry further boosting the economy.

5. Economic Stimulation

Fossil fuels are only available in specific regions, so nation’s should depend on foreign energy which makes them work under the country that provides them with fuel. Whereas the dependency of foreign powers will be eliminated as well as the welfare and economic balance is maintained by the biofuel production and its selling. 

6. Lowers Level Of Pollution 

The usage of biofuel needs to be encouraged to save our planet and reduce pollution. Biofuel releases less carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, unburned hydrocarbons, and sulfates compared to petroleum diesel fuel and those emitted carbon are used to grow plants that will be converted to fuel.

One of the most important is the presence of oxygen. Neither petroleum diesel nor renewable biodiesel contains oxygen, while biodiesel is roughly 11 percent oxygen by weight.

Biodiesel reduces emissions of carcinogenic compounds by 85% than petrol diesel. This states they are a safer alternative to lower air pollution and to preserve atmospheric quality.

7. Carbon Neutral 

The amount of carbon emitted by the burning of biofuels is equal to the amount of carbon needed for plants. Hence no extra carbon remains in the atmosphere. Cleaner burning properties enables heat exchangers in boilers and warm air furnace to save cleansing cost and tune-up.

It reduces global warming as the emission of harmful chemicals like sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxides are relatively low. The studies show that they can reduce greenhouse gases by about 65%. 

8. Sustainability

Ultimately when the world runs out of fossil fuels, the main sources of energy are gone. But when it comes to biofuel it’s different. As their sources are plants and crops they can be replanted again and again.

Some crops produce more energy than others, for example, rapeseed has higher oil content than other vegetables which means it can generate more energy when burned. The sustainability of biofuel seems to be convincing and relief for humans in the era where the fight between the countries is for fossil fuel.

9. Safety

Biodiesel, on the other hand, has a flashpoint of over 266 F, meaning it cannot form a combustible mixture until it is heated well above the boiling point of water.

It is rare that fuel is subjected to these types of conditions, making biodiesel significantly safer to store, handle, and transport than petroleum diesel. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association classifies biodiesel as a non-flammable liquid.

Cons Of Biofuels

1. Less Energy Output 

The energy produced by biofuels is much low compared with traditional fuels. It requires a larger amount of materials to produce the same energy level.

This has gathered some attention from the energy analyst, according to research it’s maybe only best for domestic purposes as the industrial sector cannot benefit highly from its production and consumption.

2. Loss of Habitat

The land required for the cultivation to produce biofuels needs to be massive which may result in degradation of land affecting the habitat of various species of plants and animals.

The analysis concluded that it may require all the open areas and forest to be converted to agricultural land to produce enough biofuel, that will definitely result against our survival.

The alternate cropping is not favorable for the production as the same materials are needed which will affect the strength of the soil and weakens it. Monoculture absorbs all the vital nutrients which affect its quality.

3. Environmental Pollution

The product seems to be favorable but the production process carries the problem. The plant source required will need a large amount of water if not managed wisely will cause dehydration and may disturb the irrigation system in the region.

Machinery used in the process sometimes may create equally or even more greenhouse gasses than fossil fuels, further increasing the carbon emission. Another main component used during the process is oil which pollutes the environment mixing in water, soil, and air.

As per the research, the production of biofuel is itself harmful rather than the product, so many environmentalists are also opposing its use.

4. High Initial Investment

The proper infrastructure is required for the production of biofuels. The management of the machinery, the land area, crops, and their care as well as protection, water, etc most importantly the dedicated manpower.

This definitely is gonna cost a fortune, the higher initial investment is inevitable. This increases the cost of biofuel than fossil fuels which is its demerit. This could change in the future when technology is more advanced and less expensive.

5. Food Security

The use of crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum are best for biofuel production. Now, when the demands of these crops go high on the market as per its consumption according to the increase in demands.

The consumers of these products have to bear the burden of the hike in the price of the crops. This poses a threat to food security in some regions or access to affordable nutritious food. For the people who survive on a few dollars per day, a small increase in food prices could put on risk the demands of nutritious food. 

6. Excess Fertilizer

The materials required for the biofuel are many food crops. All these plant growths, as well as the requirement of raw materials, depends obviously on the use of better fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide.

They consist of nitrogen and phosphorous like components. The inappropriate and rapid use of these products harms the water stream, soil, lakes and underground aquifers. Once polluted by chemicals water resources are harmful.

7. Genetic Engineering

The genetically engineered crops are produced with some extreme qualities like to fight against insects harmful to crops. This may end up killing the insects that may be useful for the ecosystem and the harmful ones might develop resistance inside them. Hence, the crops might be harmful to the customers to use consume for cooking and eating.

8. Technical Knowledge

The properties of the machinery used with biofuel will be different than the fossil fuel and vice versa so proper knowledge of the installation and properties should be known to the users.

The density of biofuels is high as they are called “grease cars”. The use of these types of fuel often have a heating problem, so they have the grease car conversions to overcome the problem.

But added time and money to the expenses it might be expensive for some potential biofuel users. This type of technical knowledge is required to easily operate the machines.

Pros and Cons of Biofuel

(Last Updated On: March 8, 2020)
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