What is the biofuel production process?
Biofuel production is the process in which biofuels or fossil fuel alternatives are created. This recent innovation has effectively spurred on a completely new technology, which may eliminate or significantly reduce our dependence on the finite supplies of traditional petroleum-based derivatives of fossil fuels. The essence of biofuel production is that it is primarily a sustainable form of fuel production. Research has gone into depths to discover the best ways to develop a fuel or gas, which has almost limitless supply. As a result, there now exists real alternatives to fossil fuels and biofuel production is a reality.
Existing research into biofuel production has been focused on technology that converts crops directly into biofuels, normally consuming the whole crop in the process. Recent research has proven that whilst it may be effective, long term this is an environmentally unfriendly process due to the sheer production quantities needed to remove fossil fuel dependencies.
Second-generation biofuel production technology looks set to take advantage of advanced developments in enzymes to break down waste products more aggressively either through the process of fermentation to create bio-ethanol or the trapping of gas to create methane.
A wide variety of biomass feedstocks are available and biomass can be produced anywhere that plants or animals can live. Most feedstocks can be made into liquid fuels, heat, electric power or biobased products. This makes biomass a flexible resource that can be adapted locally to meet local needs. Some of the most common biomass feedstocks are:
- Grains and starch crops – sugar cane, corn, wheat, sugar beets, industrial sweet potatoes
- Food waste – waste products, food processing waste
- Animal byproducts – Tallow, fish oil, manure
- Energy crops – Switchgrass, hybrid poplar, willow, algae
- Urban and suburban wastes – municipal solid wastes, wastewater treatment sludge, waste cooking oil