How Are Biofuels Used?
Jun 02 2021
Biofuels are an emerging and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional sources of fuel, such as oil, coal and gas. Derived from organic matter, biofuels bring with them a raft of benefits, such as renewability, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller impact upon the planet. While biofuels are generally synonymous with transportation, they’re used for a variety of other applications, as well. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common uses to which they are put:
Transportation is undoubtedly the biggest consumer of biofuels, which a whopping 60% of all oils produced on the planet going towards this sector. Of course, much of that derives from the oil drilled from underground and offshore reserves, but biofuels are playing an ever-increasing role as an alternative fuel source. Green energy such as the hydrogen made from biofuels is driving forward in places like Germany, for example, while uptake of biofuels for car owners in the UK is also on the rise.
Biofuels can also be used to power fuel cells and create electricity. Although this application is not practiced widely at the present time, it can be an excellent method of backing up existing systems when failure occurs or demand exceeds supply. The most common locations for such systems are in public buildings like schools and hospitals, while Britain is actually home to the biggest market for energy-related biofuels at the moment, with potential for over a third of a million homes in the country to be powered via this method.
Heating and cooking
Biofuels have become an increasingly popular method of heating homes around the world. Of course, the practice of burning wood or other organic matter has been commonplace for centuries and remains a source upon which much of the developing world still relies, but the emissions associated with the combustion of such raw materials are not ideal. It’s for that reason that stove manufacturers have been forced to prepare themselves for new legislation aimed at reducing their carbon footprint. Biofuels can pick up some of that slack by providing a low-carbon alternative for home heating and cooking.
Did you know that as well as serving as a useful alternative to traditional sources of fuel, biofuel can also act as an effective cleaning agent for oil and grease spillages? It has shown encouraging results in early trials of treating shorelines where crude oil spillages have contaminated the waters, maximising recovery areas and allowing emergency management teams to remove as many of the pollutants from the water as possible. It has also been proven to effectively clean metals used in industrial applications and carries no toxic properties, making it preferable to certain synthetic alternatives.
Speaking of toxic properties, much of the chemical agents which are associated with paint or adhesive removal are among the most hazardous to human health of all substances commonly used around the home. They have been linked with skin diseases, respiratory difficulties, damage to internal organs and other health complaints. By contrast, biofuels can offer a toxic-free method of paint or adhesive removal which won’t interfere with the body’s wellbeing.
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