Biofuel generation review

Biofuels are fuels derived from biological materials. The difference between biofuels and fossil fuels is the length of time they are formed. If fossil fuels take thousands of years to recover, then biofuels can be obtained faster because they are still within the lifespan of humans.

In terms of heat, biofuels have a calorific value that is slightly lower than fossil fuels. However, biofuels have a much smaller emission factor than fossil fuels. This is what makes biofuels suitable as alternative energy as a substitute or a mixture of fossil fuels.

Biofuels have developed over the last few decades. From each development found, biofuels have various variations in terms of raw materials. Following is the development of biofuel generation from the first to the third generation.

Biofuel generation
Biofuel generation review

1st generation biofuels

In the early generations, this biofuel was filled with biodiesel and ethanol. The raw material for first generation biofuels is usually edible biomass such as sugar cane and corn. However, biodiesel is also often made from other materials such as sugar beet waste.

Biodiesel is made chemically by a transesterification process while ethanol is produced by fermentation. The price of biofuel is largely determined by the international market, especially for sugarcane and maize.

The price of ethanol from sugar cane will compete with the price of sugar. This has led to the decline in ethanol production from world sugar producers. Therefore, the best solution is to use used cooking oil whose price is not influenced by the international market.

2nd generation biofuels

This second generation biofuel is not limited to lignocellulosic raw materials. The prices for second generation biofuels are usually cheaper than biofuels made from sugar cane and corn. Because the raw material is not dependent on market prices. The process of making this generation of biofuel has 2 different routes, namely thermo and bio.

The thermal path is based on the temperature treatment of the biomass. Meanwhile, the bio pathway utilizes microorganisms to convert raw materials into biofuels. Bio enhancement is more economical but requires good carbon and lignocellulose content from the raw material.

3rd generation biofuels

The development of third generation biofuels is even wider because it does not depend on lignocellulose and other raw materials which are quite expensive. This biofuel is made from algal fat which is easy to develop.

This generation of biofuels is also used in the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) which we discussed in the previous article. With increasing demands to reduce carbon emissions, the future of this third generation biofuel is in great demand.



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