How can we make biofuel better for the environment?



  1. 0 Votes

    The biofuels that are currently produced in the United States are  mainly made from corn. This is problematic because corn is a “greedy crop that sucks nutrients from the soil and needs lots of fertilizers”. To add on to the problem, since corn is also a food crop, using it to produce biofuel drives up the cost of corn. And only a tiny fraction of the plant, the kernels, can be used to make the fuel. Biofuel can be made better for the environment if it used whole plants and if it could rely on less greedy plants (like corn) that are not also used as food. Unfortunately, getting biofuel out of plant matter is not easy; it requires a series of complex chemical reactions. Synthetic biologists are working to figure out how to make those reactions happen without using up tons of energy by turning to evolution. You can read more about this in the attached article.

  2. 0 Votes

    In the case of algae fuel, this can be done through a reduced use of sythetic fertilizers and a greater use of recycled water (although I believe these steps would also be good for other biofuels). In the case of biofuels, modifing particular genes on the microbes that that produce biofuels from biomass can help increase the amount of biofuel produced by as much as 70%.  

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