Main Difference – Biofuel vs Fossil Fuel
Fuel is very important as an energy source. Fossil fuel is the major source of energy for automobiles and industries. However, the formation of fossil fuels takes millions of years, and the amount of fossil fuel that is available for consumption is very little. Therefore it is very important to invent alternative sources for fuel needs. Biofuel is a good substitution for this purpose, but it needs more improvements and modifications. The main difference between biofuel and fossil fuel is that fossil fuel is formed naturally whereas biofuel can be produced industrially.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Biofuel
– Definition, Types, Pros and Cons
2. What is Fossil Fuel
– Definition, Types, Pros and Cons
3. What is the Difference Between Biofuel and Fossil Fuel
– Comparison of Key Differences
Key Terms: Biodiesel, Bioethanol, Biofuel, Coal, Fermentation, Fossil Fuel, Fuels, Natural Gases, Petroleum Oil, Transesterification, Renewable Energy
What is Biofuel
Biofuel is a fuel produced from living matter. The formation of biofuels takes a short time period compared to fossil fuels. Biofuel is produced mainly through biological processes. The final product of biofuel production can be a solid, liquid or gas.
One major importance of biofuel is that it is a renewable energy source. Renewable fuels are fuel made from renewable resources. Since biofuel is produced from biomass and biomass is a renewable resource, biofuel is a renewable fuel.
The most common types of biofuel are Bioethanol and Biodiesel.
Bioethanol is the fuel obtained by biological processes with the use of microorganisms and enzymes. The final product is a liquid which is flammable. The sources used for the production of biofuel are sugar cane and wheat. The sugars from these sources are fermented to obtain ethanol. The distillation is done to separate Bioethanol from other components included in the final product. Bioethanol can be used as an additive along with gasoline in order to lower the carbon monoxide emission.
Biodiesel is produced using vegetable oil and fat in a procedure called transesterification. The major resources include soy beans, rapeseed, etc. Biodiesel is one of the best additives used in fuel mixtures in order to reduce unfavorable gas emissions. Biodiesel can reduce these emissions up to 60%.
However, burning of biofuels contributes to the air pollution due to the formation of carbon particulates, carbon monoxide, and other unfavorable gas emissions. But as a percentage, this contribution is less than that of fossil fuels.
The advantages of using biofuel include lower emissions, renewability, biodegradability, and safety. Biofuels produce a less amount of greenhouse gases than that of fossil fuels. Biofuel can easily be obtained from organic material. As organic material such as plant biomass can be grown by ourselves, biofuel is considered as a renewable energy source. Since these biofuels are made from organic matter, it is biodegradable, and thus a leakage of fuel spills won’t harm the environment that much. Since biofuel is made simply from plants grow on earth, it is safer than methods that involve mining or other hard diggings.
What is Fossil Fuel
Fossil Fuel is a naturally occurring fuel formed from geological processes. The formation of fossil fuels occurs throughout millions of years. Therefore, it is a very slow process. The major reaction that takes place in the formation of fossil fuel is decomposition. Since it is a natural process, fossil fuels are composed of impurities in considerable amounts. There are 3 major types of fossil fuel that have been discovered.
- Coal – Most abundant fossil fuel. It is in solid form.
- Petroleum Oil – This fuel is in liquid form.
- Natural Gases – These are gases, and the major component is Methane.
Fossil fuels can be either renewable or non-renewable fuel since the resources of the fossil fuel can be either renewable or non-renewable. When burned, fossil fuels release energy. This energy is the energy source for a number of industries, vehicles, and other requirements. Although it is a major advantage, there are many disadvantages of using fossil fuel.
The disadvantages of using fossil fuel include their limited supply, the release of a high amount of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in burning, the release of unfavorable gases such as sulfur dioxide. Therefore, use of fossil fuels causes the release of greenhouse gases and thus cause global warming as well as air pollution.
Difference Between Biofuel and Fossil Fuel
Biofuel: Biofuel is a fuel produced from living matter.
Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuel is a naturally occurring fuel formed from geological processes.
Biofuel: Biofuel is obtained from renewable sources.
Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuel is mainly obtained from non-renewable resources.
Biofuel: Biofuel provides a low amount of energy per unit biomass.
Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuel provides a high amount of energy per unit mass.
Biofuel: Biofuel cause less pollution than fossil fuels.
Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuels play a major role in environmental pollution.
Biofuel: Biofuels emit a lower percentage of unfavorable gases when burnt.
Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuels emit a high amount of unfavorable gases when burnt.
Biofuel: Biofuels can be produced from safer methods.
Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuels are obtained from unsafe methods such as drilling and milling.
Many researchers are attempting to find cheap methods to produce biofuel and to use them directly in vehicle engines and other industrial purposes since the existing amount of fossil fuels is not enough for a long time as the requirement for energy grows day by day. The main difference between biofuel and fossil fuel is their source; biofuel is obtained from renewable sources while fossil fuel is mainly obtained from non-renewable resources. Biofuel is also more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel.
1.”The Advantages of Biofuels over Fossil Fuels.” CarsDirect. N.p., n.d. Web. Available here. 21 July 2017.
2.”Biofuels vs. Fossil Fuels.” HowStuffWorks. N.p., 20 Aug. 2012. Web. Available here. 21 July 2017.
1. “Algae fuel in a beaker” By Honeywell – Provided by Honeywell with permission. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “20051029 Belchatow power station” By Petr Štefek – Own work (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia