The biomass materials are a great sources of energy. The fuels obtained from the biomass materials are called biofuels. The biofuels can used as the alternate fuel for the vehicles and for many other applications.
What are Biofuels?
The fuels that are obtained from the biomass materials are called as biofuels. The biomass materials are a great source of energy, which can be utilized for various purposes. Some of the biomass materials have the potential to be used as the fuels. The biofuels can be used independently as the fuel to drive the vehicles or they can be blended with the petroleum fuels like gasoline and diesel. To convert the biomass into biofuels there are various conversion technologies.
Various types of Biofuels and their Source
Let us see various biofuels that can be obtained from different biomass materials:
1) Ethanol: Ethanol is also called ethyl alcohol, or the drinking alcohol. It is the colorless, flammable and volatile liquid. Ethanol is made by replacing one atom of hydrogen from ethane with one hydroxyl (-OH) atom.
In the present times ethanol is being used as used as an alternative fuel for the vehicles. E10 fuel is the mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. Another fuel is E85 which is mixture of 85% of ethanol and 15% of gasoline. Both these are used as the fuels for the vehicles. Ethanol is also being used for flavorings, colorings, human consumption and medicines.
Ethanol can be produced by fermentation of sugar. Sugarcane is the source of sugar and it can also be found in various grains like corn, sorghum and wheat. The other sources of sugar are potato skins, rice, sugar beets and yard clippings. All these are also the biomass material and can be used to obtain ethanol.
2) Biodiesel: Biodiesel can be used easily in the engines that use diesel as the fuel. In the present days of escalating oil prices, biodiesel is the fastest growing alternate fuel for the vehicles. Biodiesel is most commonly produced from vegetable oil and animal fat feedstock. Biodiesel is the safe fuel that does not produce environmental pollution.
3) Natural gas: The major component of the natural gas is methane. Natural gas can be used as the fuel for the vehicles and for many other applications. Methane gas is obtained from biomass materials like human waste, and livestock waste.