In the search for more and better resources for fuel, consumers are now becoming more aware and involved in the finding of different available alternatives.
One of the most common choices to replace fuel-based energy sources is biofuels. Biofuels are liquid fuels produced from biomass or the waste of living creatures. The most common forms are ethanol and biodiesel.
Increasing Demand for Biofuels:
Positive support for biofuels has increased because advancements in technology have made it easier to obtain, use, produce, and distribute this type of liquid fuels. Many environmental conservationists say that it is a greener option.
But is it true that biofuels can supply enough fuel, especially whenever there is increasing demand? Are biofuels the best alternative energy source and even the most affordable one?
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These are some of the questions on which debate is never going to last. But as a consumer, you also need to overweigh the pros and cons of using biofuels before determining if you are comfortable with this resource.
Pros of Biofuels:
Here are some of the most cited pros of biofuels:
Biofuels Can Be Produced Locally:
It is important to note that not all countries have large reserves of crude oil, and most of them have to import their supply. Therefore, the source materials for biofuels can be easily produced locally reducing the country dependent on foreign energy sources.
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This usually results in the protection of local fuel resources and brings a significant increase in energy security.
Produced from a Wide Range of Materials:
Gasoline is a refined form of crude oil that is nonrenewable and expected that it would dry up shortly. Fossil fuels require a long time to produce. On the other hand, biofuels are produced from a variety of natural materials that can be easily replaced.
For example, crops are grown especially for obtaining fuel such as corn, soybeans, and switchgrass can be replanted again and again.
Apart from this waste collected from these replanted crops can be used to produce biofuels. Manure is another important source of biofuels and is easily available all over the world.
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Stimulate the Local Economy:
As biofuels can be produced locally, so countries that employ this fuel alternative can easily open more biofuel manufacturing plants. It also increases land development initiatives for source production.
This results in the creation of more employment opportunities, especially in rural areas. So, it promotes the agricultural industry, further boosting the economy.
Less Expensive than Other Energy Resources:
As the worldwide demand for traditional fuels rises, the supply can be halted, and prices for this commodity can significantly increase. When biofuels can be sourced and produced locally, they are the most affordable energy alternative.
Therefore if the demand and supply for this alternative energy source will increase, they can become even cheaper.
Lower Chances of Emitting Greenhouse Gases:
The production of biofuels reduces the chance of emitting a lower amount of greenhouse gases as compared to other conventional sources of fuels. Thus the use of biofuels will reduce the issues of global warming to some extent. But there is still some level of emission of greenhouse gases from biofuels.
Significant for the Energy Transition Process:
Biofuels play a vital role in the business of global energy. They also remain an important alternative source in the transition process from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources.
Scientists claim that we are left with a short time in the transition process to slow down global warming and to avoid ourselves from horrible consequences in global air and water temperature.
Cons of Biofuels:
Now we come towards discussing some cons of biofuels:
Not Easily Available:
The technology needed to produce biofuels has efficient energy outputs that still need to be polished. There are not many filling stations available, and most of them are not easily accessible to the majority.
This means that not everyone can easily get hands on this fuel as in the coming years, the prices of this commodity can be relatively high.
Need High Initial Investment:
Biofuels having more efficient energy outputs need more money and standard equipment to refine them. Also, there is a strong need to invest in more manufacturing plants to increase the available biofuels supply.
Impact on Food Supply and Prices:
Once the demand for biofuels starts increasing, a bigger supply is needed. Apart from this, more crops are now used in the production of biofuels are now used as foods. Corn and soybeans are fine examples.
So, if more crops are converted into fuels, it will decrease the supply of food. This problem will get even worse if farmers start growing single crops for biofuels; it results in a shortage of food. At last, the prices of food also raise.
Require More Land Conversion:
Another concern for the proponents against biofuels is the amount of land required to produce enough supply to meet future energy needs. This argues that the world’s all available open sources and forests need to be transformed into agricultural land. This can influence the habitat and biodiversity of plants and animals.
Produces Industrial Pollution:
Biofuels may emit lower traces of carbon, but the method involved in the production of such fuels is largely dependent on oil and water. Recent studies show that machinery needed to cultivate such crops emit a large amount of carbon.
One major issue is the use of large amounts of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides for the cultivation of crops required for biofuels. These types of agricultural products can cause water pollution and have adverse effects on the environment in which we are living.
Global Starvation and Hunger:
Production of biofuels leads to increasing prices of food. In turn, it leads to serious hunger and starvation for millions of people worldwide who rely on stable food prices to survive the basic needs.
Thus in the worst case, the prices of biofuels increase to such extent that it becomes difficult for people to afford food which leads to the death of many people, especially in poor regions of this planet.
Biofuels need a lot of research and development to overcome these cons. But strong evidence is available that it is a suitable energy source for worldwide usage.
I hope to have more technology in the future to minimize the cons and maximize the pros of biofuels.