Biofuel

Bio-fuel is a renewable resource that can be used as an alternative to oil. Bio-fuel ca be used to power vehicles, heat homes, and it can also be used in industry. One major reason people are looking into bio-fuel is because  burning bio-fuels instead of fossil fuels can greatly reduce the amount to greenhouse gasses being emitted all over the world.

Bio-fuel energy can be produces in numerous ways, one way I found to be interesting is through human waste. Our trash is picked up from the house and taken to a landfill.  at the landfill the trash is compacted down so that more can be placed on top. This compaction is not good for decomposition, but is good for the possibility for production of methane gas. Anaerobic digestors takes place here as microorganisms break down the compacted trash. Methane gas is given off through this process. Methane is natural gas, the gas we use for heating as well as running some of the Charlotte Area Transit System buses. The methane can be purified at the landfill and sent to homes nearby as a source of energy. The problem with this is that it is not sustainable, and it might not always be able to produce large amount of methane.

Another bio-fuel is ethanol. It is the most widely used bio-fuel in the entire world. These are all types of bio-alcohols that are produced by the fermentation of wheat, corn, and different types of sugar. In engines that run on diesel, ethanol can be used as a substitute and ethanol can be mixed with gasoline without diluting its power. In some cases, depending on the percentage of each, ethanol can increase the octane, making the fuel burn cleaner and more efficiently.

All of this sounds good, some people are even saying that it is “the cure for oil,” but I think not. How can bio-fuel be the answer when we are facing a global food shortage. People should not be using agriculture to to make fuel when they should be producing food. This just take the problem of using oil and trades it with soil degradation. People that use land to produce bio-fuel do not show as much respect for the land as true farms do, and their practices have proven to be very detrimental to the land. Another major problem with bio-fuel is that it can be over-harvested. Yes it is a renewable resource, but for how long? As more and more people become dependent on bio-fuel, the higher the quantity that needs to be produced. As we have learned from out book “Dirt,” maximizing crop yield without taking proper care of the land can cause civilizations to disappear.

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