What is Ethanol/Biofuel?
Posted on , by Robert Pattison
Car manufacturers have been advertising their cars as the safest and cleanest cars on the market offering the customer the convenience of a conventional automobile whilst caring for the planet.
There has come a point where we are going to have to look elsewhere in order to get the energy we need, considering oil is a finite resource and meaning one day we are going to run out of it. Oil companies and chemical laboratories have been investing heavily in to the search for alternative fuels, and they have found several. One of the most popular ones is Ethanol and Biofuel (biodiesel). You might ask what they are and what the differences are among them. We will try to explain it in short to help you better understand your options.
Ethanol is an alcohol produced from corn, potatoes and other vegetables and agricultural products. It is very clean due to its chemical composition. When ethanol is burned, it produces carbon dioxide and other gases in very small quantities and water. Unfortunately there is no engine that will run on pure ethanol, so it is mixed with gasoline. The mix has a higher octane grade and helps gasoline to burn better, which produces less carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other harmful gases.
Biodiesel is produced from oils of soy and sunflower. It can be typically produced in a domestic environment. Plans and step by step instructions are available for the general public. While it is a better choice than conventional diesel fuel, it is not as clean as ethanol is. It can be hard to sustain, since it requires large numbers of valuable vegetable oil. But we think that it has a future as a fuel for the truck fleets. Almost all of them operate on diesel. If they are converted to biodiesel, the potential benefit for the environment will surpass the costs associated with biodiesel production.
While both of the above fuels are better than the fuels we use today, none of them are perfect; one might be easier to produce but is associated with higher costs. The other is cheaper but requires large amounts of the raw materials that might be hard to get.
In any case, the search has to continue for a source that will allow us to continue our activities but at the same time save the planet that we all share. Over a period of the past 100 years, due to human activity, earth has suffered ozone holes, extinct spices and melting glaciers that threaten to consume the island nations of the world.
There are alternative energy sources like electricity produced by wind and solar, but so far they are too costly and too complicated to be implemented into the auto industry. As of today ethanol and biofuel are one of the best choices we have.