Biomass was the major source of energy up to the middle of the nineteenth century. Things have dramatically changed with the beginning of the industrial revolution. New sources of energy significantly contributed not only to technological development but also to serious environmental problems such as climate change.
Right now, humanity tries to overcome these issues by inventing and improving different alternative sources of energy. Their main aim is to change the fossil resources with renewable ones. Considering it, biofuel and biomass may stand humanity in good stead.
What Do We Know about Biomass and Biofuel?
Nonetheless, what is biomass? It’s a renewable organic raw material produced by plants and animals. It can be used to generate heat or produce biofuel, which can be solid, liquid, or gaseous.
At the same time, what is biofuel? Consider that it’s a fuel that is produced from different organic matters through contemporary processes.
The great examples of the materials suitable for the creation of biofuel are:
- Wood biomass and by-products of wood processing;
- Agricultural wastes;
- Thatch, algae, food-industry wastes;
- Solid household wastages that include biogenic material;
- Muck, excrements, and sewage.
As a rule, these materials are processed at a biomass generation station before they are turned into fuel. Additionally, take into account that biodiesel produced from algae is extremely notable. The experts from the University of Michigan suppose that this material can generate in up to 300 times more fuel per acre than other known crops.
The developing countries use biomass for house heating and food preparation. At the same time, developed countries use it for the generation of heat and electricity as well as for the production of liquid biofuel. It also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, last year 5% of the energy consumed by the residents of the USA was generated by biomass.
What is more, due to the successful development of renewable energy sources, the European Union stands a good chance to reach its mandatory renewable energy targets. According to them, 20% of the energy must be generated by renewable energy sources. And 64% of this energy should be produced from biomass.
The percentage of biomass energy varies in different European countries. For example, these figures are nearly 15% in Malta. At the same time, 90% of green energy in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Latvia is generated by biomass. The absolute leader is Estonia with its impressive 100%.
All in all, the statistics show that biomass generally generates 64% of green energy in the EU. Another interesting fact is that 75% of this energy is consumed as heat energy, 13% as electricity, and 12% as a vehicle fuel.
What Do We Know about Liquid Biofuel?
Liquid biofuel, for example, ethanol, biodiesel, biogasoline, and others, are produced from wood-based materials including sawdust, charcoal, fuel pellets, and loppings. Also, other suitable products include sugar-cane, corn, rape plants, industrial, household, and agricultural wastes.
Right now, the USA and Brazil are leaders in this industry. Together they produce 90% of the liquid biodiesel in the world. Also, it’s possible to notice the growth of this industry on a global scale. For instance, in 2000 the produced biofuel could change only 187 barrels of oil. In 2019 more than 1.8 million barrels could be replaced.
Usually, liquid biofuel is used as a gasoline additive. The US army is one of the major consumers of biofuel within the country. The majority of military vehicles may be fueled by the mix of refined products and 10% of bioethanol. Besides, the legendary car of the last century, the Ford T, was also filled up by eco-friendly bioethanol fuel.
The interesting fact is that the usage of B20, a general biodiesel blend in the USA, can decrease greenhouse emissions by 15% in comparison to the usage of petroleum diesel. At the same time new B100, which consists of 100% of biodiesel, will reduce these emissions by an impressive 74%.
Countries that Use Biofuel
Right now, you’ll get acquainted with the countries that successfully use biofuel to supply the needs of their residents and support various industries. Consider that it’s only a shortlist of such states.
The US is the leader in the production of liquid biofuel. In 2019 it delivered 15.78 billion gallons of ethanol and 1.72 billion gallons of biodiesel. The critical raw materials in the production of biofuel in the US are corn (for ethanol) and soybeans (for biodiesel). The report provided by the USDA informs that nearly 151 million tons of corn have been used to produce 61 billion liters of ethanol. In addition, there were 200 bioethanol production plants in the US at the beginning of 2019.
Currently, biodiesel and ethanol are the most consumed biofuels in the USA. What is more, recently the USDA has announced that it’s ready to spend $100 million to start offering grants for activities related to the popularization and sale of biofuel.
Brazil’s total 2019 biofuel production is estimated at 992 petajoules. In 2018 this Latin-American country was second in the production of the world’s bioethanol (27%), biodiesel (32%), and biogasoline (14%).
Such impressive results were reached due to the massive production of sugar-cane and soybeans. Sugar-cane trash is widely used by sugar plants and associated manufacturing institutions in order to increase their own energy self-sufficiency. Further, there is enough energy not only to support these plants but also to start exporting it.
According to the USDA, in 2019 Brazil produced 34.45 million liters of ethanol, an increase of four percent compared to the figure in 2018. At the same time, the total domestic demand for bioethanol was only 33.93 billion liters.
Furthermore, in 2016 RenovaBio program was launched to achieve the countries’ COP21 goals. It calls for the certification of biofuel in order to reduce GHG emissions.
Germany is one of the European leaders in the development of green energy. In 2019 it produced 143.4 petajoules of biofuel, which was 3.5% of global biofuel production. The critical raw materials are rape plants and exhausted sunflower seed oil.
What is more, Germany exports a sizable portion of the produced biodiesel. According to the official information provided by UFOeP, its main importer is the neighboring Netherlands. Also, the counties that buy bioethanol fuel include such states as Belgium, Poland, Austria, and the USA.
A subsidiary of American group Archer Daniels Midland Company, ADM Ölmühle Hamburg, is one of the largest German biodiesel producers. The company not only reprocesses the rape plants but also supports the local farmers and their associations.
Also, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has prepared a report, which includes information and statistics related to bioenergy in this country. It states that in 2050 biomass will cover up to 26% of the needs for heat, electricity, and fuels in Germany.
This country also occupies the leading position in the world’s bioenergy industry. Argentina mainly produces ethanol and biodiesel. At the beginning of 2018, there were 20 bioethanol production plants providing 1.4 billion liters of this biofuel per year. The USDA informs that the majority of these structures use sugar-cane, while others utilize corn.
An important factor, which contributed to the development of the bioindustry in Argentina, was the passage of the law related to biofuel in 2006. According to the document, diesel and petrol had to include at least 5% of biodiesel and bioethanol after the beginning of 2010. Since 2016 the ratio has been increased by 12% for bioethanol and 10% for biodiesel. Another law implemented in 2008 also significantly stimulated the production of bioethanol from sugar-cane.
Of course, it’s impossible to imagine this list without China. During the last several years, The Celestial Empire has impressively increased the production of bioethanol. The main reason for such rampant development is the unsatisfactory quality of the air in the country. Due to it, the government is constantly looking for ways to decrease the level of polluting emissions. It has already focused on the usage of biomass energy sources.
The official sources have informed that the country aims to implement the usage of the mix of petrol and 10% of ethanol within China. In addition, it plans to maximize the production of green fuel using cellulose by 2025.
This country can boast about the development and implementation of the newest biogas technologies. For example, in 2019 a modern biogas complex Biogas Ladyzhyn was opened. It uses chicken manure to produce green gas as well as top-quality organics.
Right now there are several companies that work on the improvement of the Ukrainian bioindustry. They conclude the cooperation agreements with local farmers hoping that it’ll bring about the opportunity for the production of other types of biofuel.
Although right now there are a lot of challenges related to the biofuel industry, it still continues its development. The constantly growing greenhouse emissions and human demands require the creation of alternative energy sources, which will help to solve the current ecological problems. Biofuel may become such a solution.
Thanks to it, there are a lot of different countries that actively try to broaden biomass use. Such an attitude helps to implement new green technologies and reduce the human impact on the Earth. It also accelerates the state’s development, supports the agricultural industry, and contributes to the countries’ budgets.