Biofuel’s pros and cons are extensive and easy to understand as the trend of biofuel are becoming more familiar with each passing day with the depletion of traditional energy sources (fossil fuels, petrol, diesel, etc.).
Biofuels are the new and alternative sources of energy. They are considered to be the greener alternative to fossil fuels. Since the term biofuel is first known to the users, there are steady advancements in the technology.
The concept of biofuels is not as easy as it may seem at first. But before going further, it is essential to see the list of its pros and cons. But wait let first understand biofuel a little.
What Are Biofuels?
Biofuels are the plant-based fuels which are derived from living or recently living organism. These are the organic materials of energy, commonly known as Biomass.
Most biofuels are used for cooking and heating. Primary sources of biofuels are wood chips, pallets, fuelwood, ethanol, and biodiesel. It is estimated that 10% of the total world’s energy is biofuel.
Read More About Biofuels: Biofuels Ultimate Guide 2020
The most significant use of biofuel is found in third world countries who don’t have excess to energy sources, or they don’t have the means to obtain energy from fossil fuels. About 80% of the biofuel is used in homes, approximately 10% is used in industrial processes, and less than 2% is used in vehicles.
|Pros of Biofuels||Cons of Biofuels|
|Biofuels are cheaper than fossil fuels.||Biofuels require high investment.|
|Biofuels are a renewable energy source.||Biofuels require conserved land.|
|Biofuels are environmentally friendly.||Food Shortage and high prices linked to the biofuels.|
|Biofuels boost economy.|
|Biofuels considered carbon neutral.|
Pros of Biofuels
The popularity of biofuels is increasing, and the main reason is the advantages of biofuels. With the advancement in technology, it is easy to obtain, produce, use, and distribute this type of fuel. Biofuels contain all the advantages of plant-based and animal-based fuels. These are
1. Biofuels are cheaper than fossil fuels
The most significant advantage of biofuel is its prices. They are very cheap and inexpensive. The demand for traditional fuels is increasing continuously, but their supply dwindles and does not match the demand. Which causes the increase in the prices of fuels?
Whereas biofuels can be produced locally due to which they are much cheaper as compared to fossil fuels. Another reason is biofuels can be produced again and again whereas fossil fuels cannot be produced.
Are biofuels cost-effective?
We all know that biofuels are the alternative to fossil fuels. However, they are not very expensive, and the prices have been falling.
Biofuels are cheaper than gasoline and other fossil fuels. If you’re going to the market and check the prices of ethanol, then it is less expensive than diesel and petrol.
If we compare the prices of biofuels and fossil fuels, it becomes clearer why biofuels are called cheap as compared to fossil fuels. Ethanol is much less than diesel or gasoline. And the difference is continuously increasing as fossil fuels become expensive because they are a scarce source.
2. Biofuels are a renewable energy source
Another biofuel advantage over fossil fuel is its renewability. It requires thousands and millions of years for fossil fuels to produce like petrol and gas.
Whereas biofuels are a renewable source of energy, which means they can be produced again and again, as new crops are grown and waste material is collected.
As their sources are plant and organic material, they can be replaced continuously. On the other hand, fossil fuels are depleting.
3. Biofuels are environmentally friendly
A list of biofuels benefit goes on as they are an environment-friendly source of energy. They produced much less greenhouse effect gases that cause ozone depletion.
Whereas other fossil fuels emit harmful gases in the atmosphere, which causes the greenhouse effect. They emit much less carbon in the environment, and that carbon dioxide is used by plants which are the source of biofuels.
Studies prove that biofuels can reduce the greenhouse effect by almost 65%.
So, we can say that they are safe to use and lower air pollution. They can play a significant role in reducing atmospheric pollution.
4.Biofuels boost economy
We all know that biofuels are produced locally; it can be a great benefit if used correctly. If the employer starts a biofuel manufacturing plant, it creates thousands of jobs locally that strengthen the economy.
Why are biofuels good for the economy?
Biofuels are suitable for the economy when we replace fossil fuels with biofuels. Biofuels are boosting the economy because of these 5 factors which are mentioned below:
- Biofuel plays a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions relative to conventional fuels.
- When we use biofuels, then it will lead to low fossil fuel imports.
- If we talk about ethanol, then it shows full combustion and also reducing carbon monoxide emission.
- Apart from that, there will be no need to buy fossil fuels like petrol from the foreign market at such a high price.
- It can also boost the agriculture industry. As of now, the demand for suitable biofuel crops also increases.
5. Biofuels considered carbon neutral
Biofuels produce much less carbon as an output as compared to fossil fuels. All the carbon they produced is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide required by the plants.
So, they absorb it all, and there is none in the environment. That is why they are considered environmentally friendly. This is another biofuel benefit.
Cons of Biofuels
Every coin has two sides. Therefore, whenever we are talking about the benefits or advantages of something, it must have some disadvantages or cons in itself. So despite having so many benefits, biofuels have some disadvantages as well.
1. Biofuels require high investment
A significant disadvantage of biofuel is that they require a high initial investment. A large amount of investment is required to set up a biofuels manufacturing plant to increase the biofuel quantities.
Also, money is required to refine biofuels into something that is a more efficient energy source.
2. Biofuels require conserved land
Biofuels are plant-based fuels, so if we want to make them the primary source of energy, we require a large amount of land to grow biofuel crops and plants.
For this, we need to convert all the free land and forests into agricultural land, but it affects diversity. Another con of biofuel is that it also affects the demand and supply of food.
3.Food Shortage and high prices linked to the biofuels
Another biofuel con is that as the demand for biofuel increases, more supply is required as well. This forces the farmers to grow the same kind of crops again and again as it is economically more beneficial for them, but it also leads to monoculture.
Due to the non-crop rotation, the land is deprived of its required nutrients. It also leads to a shortage of food.
As farmers only grow biofuel crops. It will result in food shortages and a rise in prices. Because now their main focus is on biofuel production and not on food production.
Aviation biofuels pros and cons
Pros of Aviation Biofuels:
- Biofuels can be grown on land which is unsuitable for other types of agriculture.
- Biofuels are renewable energy sources.
- Biofuel absorbs carbon dioxide when it grows.
Cons of Aviation Biofuels:
- To draw the biofuels, you should maintain the required temperature conditions.
- To grow the algae, it requires a large amount of land and water.
- You also need phosphorus as a fertilizer for the growth of algae, which is becoming scarce.
Vegetable oil fuel pros and cons:
Pros of vegetable oil fuel:
- Vegetable oil is present in abundance.
- You can get vegetable oil from everywhere and can convert this oil to use in a standard diesel engine.
- The good thing about vegetable oil is that they do not produce the greenhouse gases which the fossil fuel combustion produces.
- It is cheaper.
Cons of vegetable oil fuel:
- As discussed earlier that the vegetable oil fuel does not produce greenhouse gases, but they provide a bad smell when burnt.
- The vehicles which are using vegetable oil fuel are challenging to maintain as these oils work only at the right temperature and viscosity.
- If you grow the crops that give you the vegetable oil fuel, then it requires a large area to develop. Thus, it will lead to deforestation.
Points to Remember
After carefully analyzing all the biofuels’ pros and cons list, certain questions arise. And it is crucial to find the answer to those questions before making any conclusion.
How Do Biofuels Affect Humans?
Biofuel affects humans in different ways. First, it is an alternative source of energy that can be used instead of fossil fuels. They are the cheaper sources of energy which can be produced again and again.
As they require more land to produce on a large scale, they affect the animals and plant life. It can also lead to food shortages and an increase in food prices. As farmers only grow biofuel crops.
It puts the pressure on water resources as well. A large amount of water is required to irrigate a larger area. They affect humans in both good and bad ways.
It is up to them how they can maximize the benefits of biofuels while at the same time limiting biofuel’s cons. It is important to make a decision after careful analysis of all options.
Do Biofuels Cause Pollution?
Biofuels are environmentally friendly, and they do not cause pollution; in fact, they reduce air pollution. Biofuels emit carbon in the atmosphere in meager quantities, which is just the right amount required by plants.
So, the plants absorb that carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is a significant benefit of biofuels. Due to which they are considered as the safer alternative to lower air pollution and preserve atmosphere quality.
Do Biofuels Reduce Global Warming?
Biofuels help to reduce global warming. Carbon dioxide is the leading cause of global warming, which is emitted by the burning of fossil fuels.
But biofuel emits a much lesser amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and all that carbon is then absorbing back by plants from the atmosphere, which means that biofuels can help to reduce global warming.
Should Fossil Fuels Be Replaced by Biofuels?
Both biofuel and fossil fuel have their pros and cons. It is essential to analyze both and then make a decision carefully. Biofuel is cheap and renewal as compared to fossil fuels.
On the other hand, fossil fuels are a more prominent source of energy and provide more energy as compared to the same number of biofuels.
On a large scale, biofuels can affect biodiversity and can affect food production and its prices, whereas fossil fuels result in global warming.
So instead of finding an alternative energy source, the need of the time is to reduce the use of them.
Use both the sources of energy in a balanced way to maximize their benefits and reduce their disadvantages.
Is biofuel toxic?
One biofuel which is biodegradable and non-toxic is pure biodiesel. However, when biodiesel is burnt, then it produces lower levels of air pollutants than other petroleum-based diesel fuels.
Biofuels are the organic sources of energy known as biomass. They are the alternative source to obtain energy instead of fossil fuels.
There are many advantages of biofuels like they are cheap, renewable, and beneficial for the economy. But there are also certain disadvantages of biofuels as they require a substantial initial investment, they affect the food prices, etc. so to decide whether to use them as an alternative source of energy or not is easy.
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