Jane Jung Tree Academy 7th Grade
On the surface biofuels may seem environmentally friendly, but the deeper you go, the uglier it gets. Biofuels are fuels made from living matter. This concept has been around since beginning of mankind, since the burning of wood counts as a biofuel. One major breakthrough was the invention of the diesel engine which ran on a biofuel made from peanut oil. The model-T was later created by the Ford company in the early 1900’s, which ran on a biofuel created with hemp. In today’s world north america and Europe blend most of their fuel with different types of biofuel. The basic idea is to use renewable products to make fuel. This sounds great but it’s not always the case.
Biofuels are one of the most debated fuels in today’s current events. One major factor is that it may take more energy to grow the fuel then it expels when running in an engine. For example you have to clear forests in order to grow corn. Which is bad for two reasons one animals loss shelter and food and the trees are no longer soaking up co2. In order for biofuels to become a major source of energy, the equipment and the manufacturing process used to make biofuels has to become more efficient and cheaper. It take a lot more corn or algae to produce the same amount of fuel as it does for fossil fuels and also corn and algae are sensitive to temperature and nutrient levels. This makes it difficult to mass produce biofuels. Also there are unknown problems to removing algae from ponds, like although an algal bloom can be bad due to the block of sunlight, the decrees of nutrients, as well as some algae blooms releasing toxins into the water. Removing it can also have consequences that we are not aware of yet. For example, kelp is a type of brown algae that feeds fish. Since all species no matter how insignificant they may seem play a role in our fragile ecosystems. This is why biofuels have not become our major fuel source.
However individuals still push for biofuels because there are some inherent advantages. First, algae pollutes a lot less then diesel and since corn and algae are both a form of biodiesel, they can run in a diesel engine without any modifications. Also hydroponic systems can be used to make biodiesel. A hydroponic system is more eco friendly and efficient than a tridural garden because it has the benefits of fertilizer but does not pollute because when the fish poop the fertilizer can help grow the plants then the plants clean the water and return it to the fish.
Also a hydroponic garden can grow plants a lot faster so a place with few recourse, and money but has a lot of mouths to feed can use a hydroponic system to grow food. Also wine can be used as a biofuel when heated in a pot still or other still so the leftover food scraps can be used to make fuel instead of wasted
The pros and cons of biofuels are endless but with a little more tweaking, biofuels can bring electricity and fuel to still developing countries. All engines will have to be converted into diesel engines in order for this new source of energy to reach its full potential. Since biodiesel can only run in a diesel engine but is renewable if applied correctly, poor countries will never have to worry about food shortage and fuel shortage. These are the reasons I think biofuels are the future.
<Jane Jung Tree Academy 7th Grade