Biofuels are «energy carriers that store the energy derived from biomass organic fuels extracted from biomass», designed to replace gasoline, diesel fuel and coal, the so-called fossil fuels, made from millions-year dead animals and plants.
There are a wide range of raw materials that can be used for producing bioenergy in a variety of forms: food, wood process residues from industries and crops wastes, from the agricultural the agriculture sector; they all can be used in order to generate electricity, heat, and other forms of bioenergy.
Biofuels may be referred to as renewable energy because they are able to be replenished easily and quickly as they are used. Moreover, they are considered clean energy, because there is no net increase in carbon dioxide. Since this greenhouse gas is taken up in case new biofuels crops are grown.
Biofuels also produce lower dangerous chemicals like sulfur and ozone, which are the primary components of smog. Biofuels should only be produced in a sustainable way, from wasted materials, avoiding the cultivation of dedicated crops that should be used for food production instead. As mentioned by the European «with minimum competition with food and feed production».
Biofuels can be classiﬁed according to source and type: solid, such as fuelwood, charcoal and wood pellets; liquid, like ethanol, biodiesel and pyrolysis oils; or gaseous, biogas.
Furthermore, biofuels can be distinguished into primary or unprocessed and secondary or processed: primary biofuels are those, which the organic material is used as it is. Those fuels can be directly combusted, usually to supply energy in small and large-scale industrial applications. While secondary biofuels, available in a liquid, solid or gaseous form, can be used for a wider range of applications, including transport and high-temperature industrial processes.
Analysis and debates brought the European Parliament to a review of the Normative 2015/1513 for a redefinition of biofuel production targets set for 2020 and obtained from agricultural processing and urban wastes.
Edited by Annalisa Rossi
Photo by Johann Siemens