Episode 190: What are biofuels and what are they used for?

Have you ever heard the term “biofuels,” and wondered what they are? On this week’s Energy Bite, Daniel Posen, a recent PhD graduate of Carnegie Mellon University has some answers.

Listen

Respond

 
Learn More

Transcript

HOST: Have you ever heard of the term “biofuels,” and wondered what they are? On this week’s Energy Bite, Daniel Posen, a recent PhD graduate of Carnegie Mellon University has some answers. 

DANIEL: Biofuels are liquid transportation fuels made from plant or animal products. The most common biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is made by fermenting sugar—just like the alcohol we drink. The sugar can come from any number of crops like corn, barley, sugar cane or even tree bark and yard clippings. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, fats or greases. In the U.S. these biofuels make up about 5% of all energy used for transportation.

DANIEL: Biofuels are liquid transportation fuels made from plant or animal products. The most common biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is made by fermenting sugar—just like the alcohol we drink. The sugar can come from any number of crops like corn, barley, sugar cane or even tree bark and yard clippings. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, fats or greases. In the U.S. these biofuels make up about 5% of all energy used for transportation.

HOST: And how are these fuels used?

DANIEL: You might be surprised to know that some of the very first cars produced in the 1800s ran on ethanol and biodiesel. Today, bioethanol is typically mixed with gasoline, which is why you will see signs that say “may contain up to 10% ethanol” when you go to a gasoline station. Similarly, you can blend biodiesel with regular diesel or use it directly in your diesel-fueled car in some regions of the country. Biofuel use is on the rise, primarily because countries around the world have adopted policies that require their use. Governments favor increased use in biofuels to support farming communities, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and because of the potential environmental benefits.

HOST: Would you be willing to buy a car that runs on a biofuel? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: