Petroleum Scarcity: Cellulosic Biofuels And Issues Of Biotechnology

2664 words - 11 pages

Faced with petroleum scarcity, it is vital that humans discover more alternative energy resources. Humans to support daily life productivity frequently use petroleum each day. However since petroleum is not a renewable resource some day in the future humans will consume up all the petroleum reserves and it will come to a point that human must alter their ways life. The scarcity of petroleum makes alternative energy a popular and heavily researched subject. Although we do have some alternative resources already in use in many parts of the world, such as solar power and wind power we need more options because these sources are hard to control and transport. Which leads us to focus on Biofuels and how they could help us in this energy crisis. Cellulosic Biofuels is one of the hottest topics in recent years. This paper will address issues surrounding cellulosic biofuels and issues of biotechnology that will support cellulosic biofuels.

Processes required converting source materials to fuels
To understand biofuels, the first step is to understand what biofuels are. The definition of a biofuel is: any fuel whose energy is obtained through a process of biological carbon fixation. So, obviously, to produce biofuels, biological carbon fixation is an important procedure that is required. Biological carbon fixation is a process conducted by living organisms that convert inorganic carbon, mostly carbon dioxides, into organic compounds that can be used as fuel for living organisms. For example, photosynthesis is a process that happens in all kinds of living organisms that have chloroplasts. To make it even clearer and more practical, biofuels are fuels that are converted from or by organic matter (biomass), which include living and once living materials. The production cycle is relatively short compared to the millions of years in which it takes to produce petroleum. For laboratory or industry purposes, biofuels can also be made by chemical reactions. (1, Biofuel)
Biomass that is used to produce biofuels is widely diverse and is made by what kind of materials decide what generations the biofuels belong to. There are three kinds of generations of biofuels that are produced by natural materials. The first and second generations are most common as opposed to the third generation.
First generation biofuels are generally converted from food crops, such as corn, sugar cane, soybeans, and vegetable oil. Second (advanced) generation biofuels are generally converted from materials that are already consumed by humans and become waste, such as waste vegetable oil which is not suitable for human consumption again. Third generation biofuels was recently separated from being categorized as second generation because they are capable of much higher yields with lower resource inputs than other feedstock, so after the suggestion came from many people third generation was separated from second generation. Third generation biofuels are generally converted from algae,...

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