Bio fuels - Are they good?
As the term suggests, bio-fuels are fuels that are formed
when biological matter decomposes. The bio-fuels are mostly derived from
plants. Bio-fuels exist in all the three states of matter: solid, liquid,
Difference between bio-fuels and fossil fuels
are different from fossil fuels in the following ways:
• Fossil fuels
take a million years to build whereas bio-fuels can be made extremely
fast, in a matter of days.
• Fossil fuels generate huge amounts of
pollution. Bio-fuels are comparatively safer.
• Bio-fuels are renewable
sources of energy unlike fossil fuels.
Different types of
Bio-fuels have been categorized into four types: first
generation, second generation, third generation, and fourth
The first generation bio-fuels are derived from
vegetable fats, starch, and sugar, which are in turn derived from
food-crops. The first generation fuels are also derived from animal fats.
Biogas, bio-diesel, and vegetable oil are some examples of this type of
The second generation of bio-fuels is mainly derived
from waste biomass, thus making it a more balanced option compared to the
first-generation bio-fuels. Different kinds of alcohols and diesel
generated from wood fall into the category of second generation
The third generation comprises of bio-fuels derived from
algae. Algae are farmed on large scales for creating these bio-fuels. The
algae fuels are extremely environment-friendly as they can easily
decompose into the soil without harming it.
The bio-fuels in the
fourth generation are derived by a method in which micro-organisms are
raised to work with carbon dioxide to generate fuel.
Bio-fuels prove advantageous in the following ways:
Bio-fuels lessen the burden on gradually-vanishing fossil fuels.
Bio-fuels are environment-friendly. They help reduce carbon emissions into
• Bio-fuels, especially, bio-diesel prove to be very
cost-effective for consumers.
Bio-fuels are not bereft of criticism. Though beneficial for
the environment, bio-fuels have its disadvantages, paradoxically in the
environmental purview. Bio-fuels have received criticism for many reasons,
a couple of which are stated below:
• Economists have long debated on
the usefulness of first generation bio-fuels when compared to the lack of
food they cause. Generating fuel from food crops makes food crops unworthy
of human consumption. Some people believe that being a higher priority
than fuel, food should not be farmed for making fuels but for human
• Making bio-fuels require acres of farming land, thus
encroaching upon the natural habitat of plants and animals.
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