Summary
Biofuel is a fuel that is produced over a short time span from biomass, rather than by the very slow natural processes involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as oil. Biofuel can be produced from plants or from agricultural, domestic or industrial biowaste. The climate change mitigation potential of biofuel varies considerably, from emission levels comparable to fossil fuels in some scenarios to negative emissions in others. Biofuels are mostly used for transportation, but can also be used for heating and electricity. Biofuels (and bioenergy in general) are regarded as a renewable energy source. The two most common types of biofuel are bioethanol and biodiesel. The U.S. is the largest producer of bioethanol, while the EU is the largest producer of biodiesel. The energy content in the global production of bioethanol and biodiesel is 2.2 and 1.8 EJ per year, respectively. Demand for aviation biofuel is forecast to increase. Bioethanol is an alcohol made by fermentation, mostly from carbohydrates produced in sugar or starch crops such as maize, sugarcane, or sweet sorghum. Cellulosic biomass, derived from non-food sources, such as trees and grasses, is also being developed as a feedstock for ethanol production. Ethanol can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form (E100), but it is usually used as a gasoline additive to increase octane ratings and improve vehicle emissions. Biodiesel is produced from oils or fats using transesterification. It can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form (B100), but it is usually used as a diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons from diesel-powered vehicles. Biomass (energy)#Terminology The term "biofuel" is used in different ways. One definition is "Biofuels are biobased products, in solid, liquid, or gaseous forms. They are produced from crops or natural products, such as wood, or agricultural residues, such as molasses and bagasse." Other publications reserve the term biofuel for liquid or gaseous fuels, used for transportation.
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