Archive for the ‘Biofuel’ Category
Smoldering biomass is not the only way to let loose its energy. Biomass can be transformed to other functional forms of energy like methane gas or transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Methane gas forms as the main component of natural gas. Stuffs like decomposing garbage, and agricultural and human waste, discharge methane gas also referred as ” biogas.” Crops like corn and sugar cane can be fermented to manufacture the transportation fuel, ethanol. Biodiesel, another transportation fuel, can be produced from surplus food products like vegetable oils and animal fats.
The most widespread variety of biomass is wood. For many centuries, people have burned wood for heating and cooking. Wood was the main resource of energy in the U.S. and the rest of the world till the mid-18th century. Biomass persists to be a chief resource of energy in the developing world. In United States, wood and waste offer only about 2 percent of the energy used today.
About 84 percent of the total wood and wood waste fuel used in the United States is consumed by the industry, electric power producers, and commercial businesses. The rest, mainly wood, is used in homes for heating and cooking.
Various industrialized plants in the wood and paper products industry make use of wood waste to manufacture their own steam and electricity. This saves these companies financially as they neither have to dispose off their waste nor they have to buy electricity.
Another resource of biomass is the daily waste or garbage. Rubbish that appear from plant or animal products is biomass. Food scraps, lawn clippings, and leaves are all examples of biomass junk. They can be a rich source of energy by either burning them in waste-to-energy plants, or by confining biogas. In the former, waste is burned to generate steam that can be used also to heat buildings and generate electricity as well.
Biomass can contaminate the air when it is burned, though not at the extent of fossil fuels. Burning biomass fuels does not manufacture pollutants like sulfur that lead to acid rain. When burnt, biomass discharges carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. But when biomass crops are developed, a nearly corresponding quantity of carbon dioxide is used up through photosynthesis.
When it comes to biofuels, the current economic crisis should be the siren song to the most plausible and profitable bio-matter available for manufacturing.
Unfortunately, the most common bio-matter tends to be corn-based or sugarcane-based. Though plentiful, these fuels will not be able to sustain a large portion of the fuel market for a variety of reasons.
We will examine the pros and cons of such biofuel sources as corn, sugar, cellulose, cooking oil, and algae; and of such processes as gasification and bioengineering.
We have been asked on several occasions to follow up on our previous discussion about using palm oil for biofuel, as a sustainable alternative energy resource. We didn’t like it then, and we don’t much like it now. So without further ado, here is a second perspective on palm oil as a biofuel.
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is an edible plant oil derived from the fruit of the Arecaceae Elaeis oil palm. It is the world’s second most widely produced vegetable oil, after soybean oil. Apart from consumption, it has also found a new use as a biofuel, a greener alternative to energy sources.