There are a number of different types of biofuels out there at the moment, the majority of which have thus far been derived primarily from food crops – corn or sugarcane, for instance. However, these types of food crop-based biofuels are now considered less efficient, both in terms of cost and utility. There is instead a strong push for development of non-feedstock based fuels, such as methanol or cellulosic ethanol. For instance, cellulosic ethanol is derived from the emulsification and fermentation of cellulose, found in plant matter. The development of these biofuels are now supported by US government mandates – for instance by 2022, the US government has set the requirement that at least 21 billion gallons of US fuel consumption must come from biofuels that are not food-crop based. As for a definitive best option, there doesn’t seem to be a single industry consensus, though cellulosic ethanol and methanol biofuels are pretty close to the top, for now at least.
Any organic material with plant or animal origin can be transformed into biofuel. One of the main biofuels is ethanol, which is derived from corn. Ethanol presents a viable replacement to core fossil fuel based fuels like petroleum and diesel. The greenhouse gas emissions related with biofuels is rather small when compared to the emissions from fossil fuels. Although there is still much to be discovered in the use of biofuels and making them much more efficient in cost, they are becoming a much larger alternative to fossil fuels.
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