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What is Biofuels?
Biofuels are fuels produced by converting plants or animal (Biomass) waste to bio-diesel,
alcohol or gas. In fact big plantations of corn and sugar canes are harvested to
produce alcohol to power autos, trucks and other type of equipment, the country where
this concept has been already carried out economically and in full production is
Brazil. Some enthusiastic green thinkers are using home made distilleries to covert
restaurants disposed cooking oil into diesel to power their own vehicles, just think
in the millions gallons of wasted oils that could be recycled every year.
What is Biomass?
In the most general term Bio Mass is the conjunction of all animals, plants and microorganisms,
live or dead in the earth or in any specific geographic location, from the point
of view of renewal energy is any organic material from plants, animals, city, agricultural
and industrial waste from food and related processing plants suited to produce energy
or new materials and chemicals.
We could classify Bio Mass as primary and secondary, examples of primary Bio Mass
are grains like corn, sea algae, sugar cane, fire wood, etc. Secondary biomass examples
are, farm animals, city and industrial waste, Bio Mass is the source of raw material
to produce Bio Fuels.
Ethanol is an alcohol made from the starch of corn grain, sugar cane, soy beans,
algae and other plants. Ethanol is used in the USA as an additive in gasoline and
diesel in a proportion of 5% to 10% to improve octane and reduce emissions, however
in Brazil ethanol derived from sugar cane is used about 25% mix with gasoline to
drive regular passenger cars, truck and buses adopted to run with this fuel.
Jatropha Curcas, a plant native from Central America and southern parts of Mexico,
rich in oil has been used to produce airplanes turbine fuel and fuel for urban buses,
currently this fuel is in evaluation in commercial flights in Mexico mixing it with
regular airplane fuel in a proportion of about 10 to 30% with very promising results.
Biodiesel is produced by mixing vegetable oils or animal fats with ethanol or methanol
with a catalyst to obtain ethyl or methyl ester, these products can be mixed then
with regular diesel to reduce emissions. If desired the biodiesel can be used 100%
in substitution for regular petroleum derived diesel.
Biodisel industry uses the following codes to design blends percents:
B2 = 2% biodiesel and 98% petroleum based diesel
B5 = 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum based diesel
B25 = 20% biodiesel and 80 petroleum based diesel
BXX = XX % biodiesel and (100-XX)% petroleum based diesel