Biofuel is one of the sustainable sources of energy. It is a panacea of hope for this generation and the future world. Unlike coal or natural gas, biofuels can be replenished from time to time and used for many years without any concern of its depletion. As per Ron Ozer thusm it’s a renewable source of energy. Unlike the conventional source of energy, renewable energy is not harmful to the environment. Hence, the use of biofuels does not add carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Thus, the problem of global warming and climate change is curtailed by the use of biofuels. So, the use of biofuel is viable in all aspects.
As the name suggests, “Biofuel” means a fuel created from natural biological sources not decomposed materials of the fossil fuels like petroleum and coal. Biofuel is created from crop wastages and plant wastages. Primarily biofuels are made of sugars and starch found in the waste products of agricultural products like wheat and sugarcane. Other plant molecules like lignin and cellulose are also utilized for the preparation of biofuels. As many of these biomolecules are part of the biosystem of plants hence they can be easily replenished from the food chain and when their use is done, the same biomolecules from biofuel residues can be utilized by bacteria and other micro-organisms. The end product of bacterial metabolism again acts as nutrients for plants. Thus, the energy never goes out of the food chain and hence moves in a cyclic manner in the environment.
However, the huge cost of producing biofuels and the relatively low volume of it is a potential problem. Unlike petroleum, coal and natural gas, biofuels are low in carbon content and hence low in volume. So a large quantity of agricultural waste is required to create biofuels of the same quantity as the petrol or coal. Because of these reasons, researchers are looking for artificial methods of creating biofuels. This method of developing an advanced chemical reaction through which hydrocarbons can be added to normal sugars, creating a high yield biofuels is known as renewable chemistry. As this renewable chemistry is beneficial to the environment, keeps it green, and clean, it is also known as green chemistry. Thus, the process of developing biofuels is called green chemistry.
Now, the working principle of this renewable chemistry is pretty simple. Ron Ozer says the process concentrates on the addition of carbons and the removal of oxygen from biomolecules. Levulinic acid and furfural are the most widely used biomolecules used for this purpose. Both levulinic acid and furfural is produced from the biomass of agricultural waste. While levulinic acid is created from hexose compounds like cellulose found in plants, furfural is made from pentose compounds. Thus, making these 2 biofuel precursors is relatively easy. Moreover, these biofuels drive up the biofuel yield to 70%, making it a viable option replacing fossil fuels. Apart from the use of ethanol and butanol as a source of biofuel production, certain enzymes can be modified so that they can add double bonds to fatty acids. These desaturated fatty acids are great for the purpose of biofuel production.