Biofuel: Biofuel is a renewable energy source, unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels. It is seen by many as a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by using them to replace non renewable sources of energy. Agricultural products and waste from industry, agriculture, forestry, and households can be used for the production of bio-energy.
Argonne National Laboratory: Researcher Michael Wang addresses energy and environmental impacts of fuel ethanol as a substitute for gasoline in transportation fuels. Wang concludes though that energy balance value alone is not meaningful in evaluating the benefit of ethanol or any other energy product. For proper evaluation, a product’s energy balance must be compared with that of the product it replaces. Compared to gasoline, any type of ethanol fuel substantially helps reduce fossil energy and petroleum use. Ethanol produced from corn can achieve moderate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol produced from “cellulosic” plants, such as grass and weeds, can achieve much greater energy and greenhouse gas benefits.
Germany’s Bio-Energy Accomplishments: Bio-fuels represent the most promising alternative to conventional fuels in Germany, and bio-diesel represents the most popular of biofuels. Bio-ethanol also exists, derived from plants rich in sugar and starch.
During the last few years, the sale of bio-diesel in Germany has doubled. In 2004, a million tons of bio-diesel was produced. The actual annual consumption of 300,000 vehicles is 376 million litres of bio-diesel. With government subsidies through tax exemption until 2009, bio-diesel has become the most important alternative to fossil fuels.