Promise Of Ethanol And Biodiesel Essay

2510 words - 11 pages

Biofuels, fuels that provide energy using relatively recent organic sources, have been around just as long as cars have. In fact, the first cars ran on peanut oil. Henry Ford, founder of a multimillion dollar American car company, planned to fuel his massively successful Model T’s with ethanol (National Geographic 2013.) However, this revolutionary idea was swept under the rug when the discovery of massive petroleum deposits kept gasoline and diesel cheap and affordable. As 2014 rolls around, consumers are starting see that the amount of petroleum in the Earth is shrinking and the same story goes for their wallets (Avro 2012.) Not only does burning gas and diesel empty out the wallet, it is also slowly covering the Earth with a warm carbon dioxide blanket that causes global warming. Transportation, which is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses (Biofuel Association of Australia 2013), is dependent on finite amounts of gas and diesel for its energy needs so it is very important we move towards a more renewable and sustainable fuel source. Biofuels, both ethanol and biodiesel, have the potential to fuel transportation efficiently and drastically reduce the carbon footprint, thus reducing the warm blanket of carbon dioxide on the Earth.
The topic of global warming has been looming over our guilty shoulders since the early 1900’s. Transportation is the top contributor of greenhouse gas emissions which forms a barrier in the ozone, trapping in heat and heating our planet to unforeseen temperatures, much like a greenhouse. Over 225 billion gallons of gasoline is burned for transportation in the United States alone (CNN 2013.) All the harmful emissions from vehicles are starting to add up and scientists are watching the ice caps melt and our ocean levels rise. Taking a stand, the United States passed the Clean Air Act which requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to protect the Earth from airborne contaminants (Earth Encyclopedia 2013.) The solution is to create an alternative fuel source that is clean and environmentally sound and does not add to the global emissions of greenhouse gases. The most promising answer is biofuels. Biofuels are made of plants, which are two-thirds sugar. That sugar can be extracted and turned into usable fuel that burns clean and offers equal if not more energy than petroleum-based diesel (petrodiesel.) Biofuels have a bright future.
Gas and diesel are derivatives from petroleum or “fossil fuels.” Fossil fuels are in essence ancient biofuels because the organic matter from plants and animals that were buried in the ground millions of years ago were left to “ferment,” creating an energy source (Spiegel 2012.) The only problem is, that source of fossil fuels is draining out quickly and there is only a finite amount on Earth due to the lengthy time period needed to create it. Biofuels are similar, except that the energy is derived from plants grown today. This process is...

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