The fuels are substances that humans can get to create energy . There are many types of fuels and among them we find biofuel , which can be obtained through a series of processes related to the biological fixation of carbon . It can be said that any type of fuel that is created from living matter can be considered a biofuel.

What is biofuel?

The biofuel or biofuel is a fuel to be formed from the mixture of biomass or organic material of organisms or metabolic wastes thereof in order to produce energy .

  • Biofuel characteristics
  • Story
  • Types of biofuel
  • Composition
  • What is it for
  • Obtaining
  • Performance
  • Environmental impact
  • Cost per country
  • Advantages of biofuel
  • Disadvantages
  • Importance
  • Examples

Biofuel characteristics

Among the main characteristics of biofuels are the following:

  • They represent a very important source of renewable energy .
  • It is a product that derives from the biomass of organic matter .
  • They produce fewer greenhouse gases .
  • They have the ability to burn just like fossil fuels .
  • They have less amounts of energy so large amounts of material are needed to produce them.


The first experience on the use of biofuels in public transport dates from the year 1938 when a type of biodiesel was used during World War II and in fact it was widely used by the war troops to be able to take heavy vehicles to the north. of the African continent.

The history of the production of biofuels has its beginnings in the 19th century during the first decade when the need arose, mainly on the part of the North American government and some European countries to be able to manufacture biofuels as a type of alternative energy in order to achieve eliminate or reduce the use of hydrocarbons . In 1895 , the idea of ​​using vegetable oils as a type of fuel for engines that worked with internal combustion arose and that was how Rudolf Diesel managed to develop the first diesel engine ready to work with these types of oil.

Types of biofuel

There are several types of biofuel:

  • First generation biofuels: they are obtained from agricultural crops or animal fats . Their production systems are simple but they can also cause some problems in obtaining resources and raw materials, especially those of an animal nature.
  • Second-generation biofuels: these are obtained by means of natural biomass considered fibrous, which is known as lignocellulosic biomass. It can be obtained from stems, peels, wood and vegetable oil.
  • Third generation biofuels: it is obtained from organic or non-organic waste and edible vegetables , including algae. To obtain it, several molecular biology techniques are needed .


The main components of biofuel are generally derived from oil seeds , sugar cane , wheat , cassava , soybeans , palm trees , sunflower , seaweed oil and others, therefore natural lipids can be found in its composition.

What is it for

Biofuels are an important source of energy that is widely used for different industrial , domestic and human activities . They are used to produce electricity and heat, but above all, they are used for transportation because, in addition to being cheaper than other types of fuels, they also improve the performance of automobiles.


The way of obtaining biofuels depends mainly on the type of fuel that you want to create. For example, biogas can be obtained from the mixture of gases which are decomposed by bacteria . The biodiesel in turn, requires a series of chemical processes for obtaining such as transesterification from methanol. In the case of the ethanol , it requires a process of fermentation of monosaccharides noncrystallizable coming from sugar beet or sugar cane. TheHydrolysis is another means of obtaining biofuels as well as fermentation .


The performance of biofuels is quite positive since they have the ability to be cheaper , to be manufactured easily and to avoid the pollution that can occur in the environment. This yield will always depend on the amount of crops that can be harvested for its manufacture.

Environmental impact

Biofuels are beneficial for the environment as they produce less amounts of carbon monoxide , hydrocarbons and particles that can also be harmful to humans. They are able to reduce gas effect emissions and are also an important source of renewable energy that makes possible a reduction of waste, also reducing deforestation.

It is important to mention that all these benefits with the environment will depend to a great extent on the type of industrial production with which biofuels are obtained because when incorrect techniques are used, greenhouse gas emissions can also be generated, which counteracts all the benefits of biofuels.

Cost per country

  • Spain : in this country for example, you can obtain biodiesel at a price of around 1,206 euros.
  • Mexico : the approximate cost of production per liter of biofuels ranges between 14.22 and 18.22 pesos.
  • Colombia : in this country it has an approximate cost of between 12 and 14 Colombian pesos.

Advantages of biofuel

There are several advantages that can be obtained thanks to biofuels, firstly, its cost is much lower than that of other types of fuels such as gasoline . The processes used for its production are more efficient as they consume less and also produce less pollution in the environment. They are an excellent source of energy and reduce emissions of sulfur and carbon .

With the creation of biofuels it is even possible to reduce the amount of garbage as part of it can be used in the manufacture of biofuel. Lastly, it is a safer type of fuel to use even in terms of handling compared to fossil fuels. In addition, the production of biofuels generate good sources of employment . When there is not adequate control, the production of these fuels can lead to the loss of tropical forests and at the same time the diversity of the area, the natural sources of water and wetlands can dry up due to this .

The high demand for biofuels can cause the burning of forests to establish plantations which releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and also gives more power to monocultures using pesticides and herbicides that pollute water, harm humans and the environment.


Biofuels also have some disadvantages. Due to the large amount of nitrogen fertilizers used in the fields, biofuels that come from vegetables can lead to an increase in nitrogen oxide emissions, which causes damage to the environment.

They are fuels that provide less energy and therefore, large amounts of raw material are needed In addition, on many occasions to be able to produce it, it is necessary to make use of larger cultivation areas and this causes the forests to be lost, which are necessary for the consumption of carbon dioxide . Studies have also caused that, during the production of biofuel, fossils are used and this causes carbon dioxide emissions to increase.


Biofuels, when they are manufactured correctly, are very important since they are considered a type of renewable energy . As it is a totally ecological fuel , it is friendly to the environment and they are less expensive . It has the ability to reduce the emission of gases that cause the greenhouse effect by almost 80% and generates significant savings in the use of fuels. All of the aforementioned represents the importance of biofuels when the correct agricultural techniques and the necessary strategies are applied to avoid damage to nature.


Some examples of biofuels are mentioned below:

  • Biodiesel : this type of biofuel is produced from canola or oils. The process to obtain it is known as transesterification .
  • Bioethanol : it is known by the name of biomass ethanol and it is obtained from corn , sugar cane and beet plantations . It is used in some places as a type of motor vehicle fuel.
  • Biogas : it is obtained through the fermentation of organic waste that occurs when there are fewer amounts of oxygen, a process known as biodegradation. This process occurs in swamps and the composition of the biogas includes methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen and other gases.
  • Bioethanol : it is obtained by means of a process of alcoholic fermentation in the sugars of the cane and other vegetable products.
  • Biobutanol : also known as biopropanol . It is the least used but can be used as a type of fuel for gasoline engines.

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