Saturday, 24 January 2009

biofuels for vehicle

If you're gonna go get yourself an alternative fuel vehicle then you better get acquainted with the types of biofuel. It is defined as any type of fuel derived from biological sources. Biofuels are used in households around the world as fuel for heating purposes and in some countries, they are used to propel vehicles. Here are the most common types:

Vegetable oil. It's not only useful in the kitchen but on the road, too. Used vegetable oil usually undergoes treatment (which usually involves heating) before they're ready to be used as fuel. However, there are certain engines available today that are compatible with non-processed vegetable oil.

Biodiesel. Derived from processed organic oils and fats, it is one of the most common types of biofuel and has the least emission level. In the last ten years, most diesel engines are already configured for biodiesel compatibility. Its use has also dramatically increased in the US in the last two years.

Alcohol fuel. Prime examples include ethanol, propanol and butanol. Ethanol is widely popular worldwide, especially in South America where motorists use it in place of gasoline or a mixture of both. However, ethanol can be very corrosive and is often diluted to decrease its corrosive effect.

Biogas. This is produced when biodegradable materials undergo anaerobic digestion (through the help of microorganisms). In compressed form, it can be used to fuel internal combustion engines in cars.

Syn-gas. Synthesis gas is basically combined carbon monoxide and hydrogen. It can be used easily as fuel on internal combustion engines.

New generation biofuels. These are newly discovered bio-derived types which scientists are currently exploring as feasible alternative fuels. These include non-food crops which when subjected to further processing can yield usable fuel. In some countries, algae are being carefully studied as a possible source of fuel.

Of course, the effective use of this type of alternative fuel is still being discussed today. The main issue is how to achieve sustainable production and accordingly, the manner of distribution to consumers. On the upside, if they do become the primary source of fuel for vehicles, it could cause far less damage to the atmosphere compared to fossil fuels. Will biofuels ever replace petroleum fuels? Only time will tell.

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