July 15, 2021
This blog article continues our discussion on biofuel while extending it to biofuel resources. The main biofuel resources – or transportation fuel – is biomass that must be transformed through specific processing and reactions. You wake up every morning to see biomass resources – for example trees – all around you. While driving on highways, you may even see canola or sugarcane fields as other resources of biomass.
However, it’s a vast industry, and education on biofuel is not complete unless you understand the entire range of biomasses that can be used to make biofuel. Moreover, this industry faces significant challenges because biomass competes directly with food. Therefore, the knowledge of the biomass involving biofuels is not enough, unless biomass is used sustainably, meaning ethical considerations must be taken into account while using this source of energy.
As the use of biofuel increases with each passing day, education in biofuel resources will be pivotal for your future planning. As a high school or college student, you can explore biomass resources sustainable today as well as tomorrow for the biofuel industry for which there exist significant job opportunities.
This blog suggests why you need to understand the sustainable use of biomass that the biofuel industry will continue to use in the foreseeable future. You can always be two steps ahead of others if you want to pursue a professional career in this field. There are online learning courses that you can take from the comfort of your home.
Biofuels are not new, and research is underway to discover and make them become better sources of energy and ensure their availability from a sustainability point of view. The history of biofuel production has undergone several transition periods, from first to third generations. Each generation has certain characteristic features and applications.
Biofuels are thus often classified by these generations. First-generation biofuels are associated with or sourced from biomass obtained from edible crops, like corn, or sugar cane.
Second-generation biofuels have energy sourced from a wide range of feedstock, including lignocellulosic feedstock and municipal solid wastes.
Third-generation biofuels on the other hand extract energy from specially designed, structured, and engineered crops like algae, grown and harvested to extract the oil from algae. The oil obtained from such third-generation biofuel source is then converted to biodiesel (or other kinds of fuel), through a thorough chemical reaction.
Other important feedstock includes animal fat and restaurant wastes, which are rich in highly saturated fat and oily materials that can be transformed into biodiesel through an esterification process. The process yields a renewable diesel fuel, blend-able with petrol diesel to power diesel engines.
The second-generation feedstock is termed cellulosic ethanol because it has high cellulose content. Since this form of biomass is high in cellulose content, it can yield ethanol to produce energy. Nowadays, cellulosic ethanol is mass-produced from a waste product derived from sugar cane processing called sugarcane bagasse. Additionally, cellulosic ethanol can be obtained from certain grasses that can be cultivated on low-quality lands. The conversion rate of cellulosic ethanol is high and so it is often used as a gasoline additive.
Biodiesel is the other type of biofuel, with growing demand. This type is often used to fuel/run diesel engines. Biodiesel can be mixed in various percentages to form a petroleum diesel blend. It is mostly produced from oily plants like soybeans or palm oil. However other feedstocks that are considered for biodiesel are cooking (frying) oil wastes from restaurants or leftover meat from slaughterhouses.
As a high school student, you will most likely learn, at an introductory level, about such feedstock in your biology class. However, as you plan to graduate, you possibly may need more than what is offered in those classes.
As a graduating student, you may be more interested in pursuing a career or finding a job, biofuel-related specialized learning program (for example, www.renewableenergyonline.org/) will give you useful insights about biofuels from the viewpoint of transportation fuel. In fact, you may even explore a large number of job opportunities available in the biofuel industry. As a college or university student, you may have been in the dilemma of choosing the right elective course if you are considering a diploma program. Before taking a plunge, you must be sure that you will like this subject as your career. What you would like to know at this stage is some relevant information that helps you decide whether or not to carry on with this subject.
You may consider renewable energy technologies as your elective course as it will lead you to broaden your career, allowing you to have access to high-paying jobs. But you must consider one aspect: the cost (tuition fees) of the courses. Before deciding, you can enroll in an authentic e-learning program such as www.renewableenergyonline.org/ for further relevant information.