The G’s of Bio Fuels
The types of Bio fuel described above are categorised as “First generation Bio fuels”. These are derived from sources like vegetable oils, animal fats, sugar or starch. The present technologies use only the starch or sugar from the plant; say from the corn plant, for the ethanol production. Also, huge areas of farmland are needed to grow the crops. Here arise the production limitations. What if the stems, stalks of plants can also be used rather than only the starch or sugar?? This possibility opens up the doors for the “Second generation Bio fuels”.
The second generation represents non food crops i.e. cellulosic bio fuel. These are far more efficient and utilize much greater ranges of plants and even the wastes.
Fisher-tropsch diesels, bio methanol, DMF, wood diesels, bio hydrogen diesel are some second generation bio fuels which are being developed.
The new methods of production convert cellulose to woody fibers. It implies that ethanol can be derived from grasses, trees, crop wastes, which are more readily available at very lower costs. We no longer need to grow new crops every year for bio fuel production. Grasses can be harvested at much less energy and time. Moreover, the grass produced in same area of land as crop can yield much larger amounts of output, as not all parts of crop are utilized.
The second generation fuels derived from cost effective and abundant sources are gaining much popularity. These are also more efficient than first generation fuels in reducing harmful emissions.
The third generation bio fuels, even smarter, are derived from algae. These are also called as “Oilgae”. Unlike first generation ethanol which caused side effects like corrosion, these are free from such problems and are far more efficient too. Algae can be harvested in just 5-6 days and using fermentation can be converted to ‘Butanol’, which is far superior to ethanol.
One healthier aspect of the algae derived bio fuels is that, in the process they are making lakes and rivers safer for marine flora and fauna, as algae uses the extra nitrogen and phosphorus. Currently, microbes are also being utilized for bio fuel production.
Check this out before using Bio fuel:
· Vehicle models (pre 1992), having rubber fuel lines are not compatible with bio fuels. Hosepipes and pump seals may get spongy and will degrade gradually. So do not forget to replace the fuel lines with bio fuel resistant synthetic.
· Your vehicle may not start on a colder day as bio fuel crystallizes at around 32 F. Pouring hot water can help.
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