Biofuel can be broadly
defined as solid, liquid, or gas fuel consisting of, or derived from biomass.
Biofuels help meet transportation fuel needs. Biofuels
can be used in cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, and
The most common types of
biofuels are biodiesel, ethanol and methanol.
is made by combining alcohol, like methanol
with vegetable oil, animal fat, or recycled cooking greases.
As an additive to gasoline
(typically 20%), biodiesel has successfully reduced
vehicle emissions. In its pure form,
it can be used in diesel engines.
is made by fermenting any biomass high in carbohydrates (starches, sugars,
or celluloses). So, ethanol is an alcohol, the
same as in beer and wine. Just to let you know that the ethanol used
as a fuel is modified to make it undrinkable.
Ethanol is mostly used as blending agent with gasoline to increase octane
and cut down carbon monoxide and other smog-causing emissions.
A new class of vehicles
that can run on a mixture of gasoline and up to 85% ethanol are commercially
Ethanol made from cellulosic
biomass materials instead of traditional feedstocks (starch crops) is called
(H2) is the simplest and lightest fuel. Hydrogen is in a gaseous state at
atmospheric pressure and ambient temperatures. Hydrogen may contain low
levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, depending on the source.
(CH3OH) also known as wood alcohol,
is produced from biomass. Biomass
is converted to methanol
(CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately
9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the
atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted
from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources. Human-influenced
sources include landfills, natural gas and petroleum systems, agricultural
activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater
treatment, and certain industrial process.
Methane is also a primary constituent of
natural gas and an important energy source. As a result, efforts to prevent
or utilize methane emissions can provide significant energy, economic and
environmental benefits. In the United States, many companies are working
with EPA in voluntary efforts to reduce emissions by implementing
cost-effective management methods and technologies.