The pros and cons of biofuels are a matter of hot debate because of the movement to decrease America's dependence on foreign oil. Learning about the benefits and disadvantages of biofuels can help you to understand what is happening with biofuel research, development and application. While environmentalists would have everyone believe that biofuels are a perfect alternative to fossil fuels, the pros and cons of biofuels are worth considering.
Pros For Biofuels
It's well known that biofuels are better for the environment than fossil fuels. What this actually means is that burning biofuels produces fewer greenhouse gases when compared to traditional fuels, like petroleum, coal or natural gas. The carbon created by burning biofuels equals the carbon that the biocrops absorb, creating a carbon neutral situation. Biofuels are also renewable because they come from plants and animals, which can be raised over and over again. National economies can benefit from growing their own alternative fuel crops and reducing expenditures on foreign oils-money goes to their own farmers rather than to world oil organizations.
Cons Of Biofuels
Some concerns about biofuels include the energy that it takes to produce the biofuel, such as corn ethanol or cellulosic ethanol. While the fuels themselves don't emit many greenhouse gases, the process used by a biofuel company to create the fuel does. Land area for biocrops is another concern-many rain forests are being cleared to make way for palm plantations, and farmers are choosing to grow corn for ethanol instead of food, creating a food price increase. This is especially harmful to developing countries where rising food prices often equals economic stress. Biocrops also need certain climates to grow, so countries that don't have warm and wet weather cannot take advantage of some of the most efficient biocrops, like sugar cane.
Performance issues with biofuel are an issue as well. Biofuels such as biodiesel don't work well in extremely cold temperatures, creating limitations as automobile fuel in more northern climates. Many biofuels have a lower fuel economy than fossil fuels, meaning it takes more of it to perform at the same level. In the end, think about what you what you need in terms of alternative energy before you start looking into your biodiesel options.