Biorganic fuel or Biofuel - is any combustible plant or animal material that can be used as an energy source. The simplest biofuel is wood; wood-burning as a heat and light source has been popular for millennia. Other common biofuels are made from corn, sugar cane, soybeans, algae, vegetable oils, and even manure.
Today, biofuels are often considered to be a more environmentally responsible type of fuel compared to oil and other fossil fuel products because biofuels have many advantages in terms of ecological sustainability. Different biofuels have more specialized pros and cons, but the general arguments for and against this type of renewable energy resource are applicable to all types of biofuels and biodiesel.
 Biofuel and Its New Developments
Among the most promising replacement for nonrenewable fossil fuel (petroleum, coal, etc) are fuels made from organic materials, the so-called “biofuels”. The two widely used biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel. Each has its own pros and cons. However, the present technologies result in limitation of production for the reason that not all parts of a certain plant can be used.
Due to this drawback, there has been lot of studies that would resolve this problem. This is where the so-called second generation of biofuel enters. This so-called second generation denotes non food crops (cellulosic biofuel) such as waste biomass, wood, etc.
To briefly differentiate second from first generation, First generation biofuel are those fuel derived from vegetable or animal fats/oils, starch or sugar with the use of modern technology. Proponents claims that increasing industrial and political support for this second generation biofuel is a more feasible solution to achieve efficient fuel production utilizing a much greater range of plants and its waste.
Cellulose ethanol production is newly discovered experimental processes which can breakdown cellulose in woody fibers. This would only mean that through this method, ethanol from crop wastes, trees and grasses can be derived. It is significantly better since trees and grasses require small amount of energy in comparison to grains that must be replanted annually. Moreover, there have been techniques to develop fast-growing trees that can grow to size in just 10 years. In addition, grasses can be harvested twice every year.
In cellulosic ethanol, the fuel is derived from the stems and stalks of plants rather than only using the sugars and starches from corns, as with corn ethanol, This is starting to gain interest in the United States. As a matter of fact, several companies are moving forward having plans to build plants using this method.
This new type of biofuel is gradually gaining popularity because of the feedstock such as wood chips and grasses that is cost effective and very abundant. During the conversion into ethanol, less fossil fuel is required, therefore, having a greater impact than the usual corn ethanol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Moreover, in comparison between the land area of grasses and corn, there is no doubt that an acre of grasses could make twice the number of gallons of ethanol that can be generated with an acre of corn. This is because in cellulose ethanol, the entire plant can be utilized instead of just the grain as in corn ethanol. This is great news for those regions having a short supply of corn-based food that is competing with the corn-ethanol manufacturers.
Based on the report made by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), by year 2050, the increasing productivity of cellulosic sources would in due course allow them to generate as much as 150 billion gallons of ethanol which is comparable to more than two-thirds present gasoline consumption in the United States.At the present time in the United States, none of the ethanol is derived from cellulosic materials. This is according to ethanol industry’s list of producers in the United States.
 Primary Advantages and Disadvantages of Biofuels
No fuel source is completely positive or completely negative. Consumers need to weigh the pros and cons of biofuels to determine whether they feel comfortable with this emerging resource as an alternative to traditional fuels.
Biofuel advocates frequently point out the advantages of these plant- and animal-based fuels, such as:
- Cost: Once the technology is widely available, biofuels can be significantly less expensive than gasoline and other fossil fuels, particularly as worldwide demand for oil increases, therefore increasing oil and gasoline prices to unheard of levels.
- Source Material: Whereas oil is a limited resource that comes from specific materials, biofuels can be manufactured from a wide range of materials including crop waste, manure, and other byproducts, making it a efficient step in recycling.
- Renewability: It takes thousands of years for fossil fuels to be produced, but biofuels are much more easily renewable as new crops are grown and waste material is collected.
- Security: By reducing dependence on foreign fuel sources, countries can protect the integrity of their energy resources and make them safe from outside influences.
- Economic Stimulation: Because biofuels are produced locally, biofuel manufacturing plants can employ hundreds or thousands of workers, creating new jobs in rural areas. Biofuel production will also increase the demand for suitable biofuel crops, providing economic stimulation to the agriculture industry.
- Biodegradability: Biofuels are easily biodegradable and far safer to handle than traditional fuels, making spills less hazardous and much easier and less expensive to clean up.
- Lower Carbon Emissions: When biofuels are burned, they produce significantly less carbon output and fewer toxins, making them a safer alternative to preserve atmospheric quality and lower air pollution.
Despite the many positive characteristics of biofuels, there are also many disadvantages to these energy sources.
- Energy Output: Biofuels have a lower energy output than traditional fuels and therefore require greater quantities to be consumed in order to produce the same energy level.Biofuels aren't all good.
- Production Carbon Emissions: Several studies have been conducted to analyze the carbon footprint of biofuels, and while they may be cleaner to burn, there are strong indications that the process to produce the fuel - including the machinery necessary to cultivate the crops and the plants to produce the fuel - has hefty carbon emissions.
- High Cost: To refine biofuels to more efficient energy outputs and to build the necessary manufacturing plants to increase biofuel quantities will require a high initial investment.
- Food Prices: As demand for food crops such as corn grows for biofuel production, it could also raise prices for necessary staple food crops.
- Water Use: Massive quantities of water are required for proper irrigation of biofuel crops as well as to manufacture the fuel, which could strain local and regional water resources.
- Availability: Biofuels are not widely available for consumer purchase and most vehicles are not equipped to run on biofuel products. Limited availability reduces the desirability of biofuels as alternative energy sources.
- Smell: Biofuel production produces heavy smells depending on the type of materials used, and those smells are generally undesirable near large communities. While manufacturing plants can be isolated, this will add to the carbon emissions necessary to bring fuel to population centers.
 The Future of Biofuels
Biofuels are a reliable alternative energy resource but more development and research is necessary to overcome the advantages and disadvantages of biofuels and make them suitable for widespread consumer use. When the technology is available, many of the disadvantages will be minimized and consumers can begin to enjoy all the benefits of this sustainable, renewable energy source.
Growing crops to make biofuels results in vast amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and does nothing to stop climate change or global warming, according to the first thorough scientific audit of a biofuel's carbon budget.
Scientists have produced damning evidence to suggest that biofuels could be one of the biggest environmental con-tricks because they actually make global warming worse by adding to the man-made emissions of carbon dioxide that they are supposed to curb. Two separate studies published in the journal Science show that a range of biofuel crops now being grown to produce "green" alternatives to oil-based fossil fuels release far more carbon dioxide into the air than can be absorbed by the growing plants.
The scientists found that, in the case of some crops, it would take several centuries of growing them to pay off the "carbon debt" caused by their initial cultivation. Those environmental costs do not take into account any extra destruction to the environment, for instance the loss of biodiversity caused by clearing tracts of pristine rainforest.