Biofuel: call of the time

HYDROCARBON FUEL is obtained directly or indirectly from living organic matter in a short period of time (days, months or even years) is called biofuel. It is also known as agri-fuel. Types of biofuels are: Bioalcohol, Biodiesel, Bio ethers, Biogas, Syngas, and Bio butanol

Worldwide Status of biofuel:

Biofuel production reached to 105 billion liters in 2010, and biofuels provide huge amount of the worlds fuel for transport purpose, which is made up of ethanol and biodiesel. Globally production of ethanol fuel reached to 86 billion liters in 2010. Brazil produced Ethanol on large scale which accounts for 90% of global production. Maximum biodiesel produced by European Union which accounts for 53% of biodiesel production in 2010. In 2011, the mandates for blending biofuels were found in different countries at the national levels.

Sources of biofuel:

8% of biodiesel obtained from rapeseed in Europe.

Ethanol is obtained from sugarcane in Brazil.

Ethanol is extracted from maize in USA.

In China, India, Kenya and Tanzania fuel is obtained from Jatropha plant (non-edible plant)

In South Africa, sugarcane and sugarbeet are important for the production of bioethanol.

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) obtained biofuel from sweet stem sorghum in Pondoland.

Sunflower, canola and soyabean oil are used for the production of biodiesel.

In South Africa, The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working for the production of biodiesel from algae.

Status of biofuel in Pakistan:

The biofuels are the important segment of renewable energy sector and serve to save foreign exchange and improve environment. Pakistan is producing ethanol from molasses and has potential to increase its production from sugarcane crop. The current government policies mixed the biodiesel with petroleum diesel to get a share of 5% by volume of total diesel usage in the country by the year 2015. Ethanol seems more promising as alternative fuel rather than biodiesel. The government needs to take more serious steps to ensure the blending of ethanol with gasoline as vehicle fuel in the country.

Importance and advantages


Green house emission

Energy Independence


Power generation

Biofuels protect the planet from global warming as it produce less pollution as compared to other fossil fuels.

As the gas prices increase day by day and global warming becomes more common, many people are using biofuels to decrease usage of fossil fuels.

They emit fewer pollutants (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere that help to reduce the chance of heat trapping gases.

They are obtained from energy crops (wheat, corn, soybean, sugarcane) which make them sustainable.

Limitations and disadvantages

General limitations in the promotion of biofuel industry are:


Threat to food supply

Land use

Regional suitability


Monoculture, genetic engineering and biodiversity

Specific disadvantages of biofuel in the industry are as follows:

It is not good to use pure biodiesel in cars because it cause fuel leaks and seal problems, unless the rubber pipes and fuel components have been replaced steel or heavy rubber.

Biodiesel may start to solidify between 4-5 O C depending on soil used leading to cold weather starting problems. A regular mixture of diesel/biodiesel should be used.

Biodiesel has 12.5% less energy than normal diesel per pound. Biodiesel is heavier than diesel, so when measured by volume it contains 8% less energy.

Improved combustion and superior lubricity of biodiesel can cause loss in energy contents.


In the end we concluded that biofuel is the alternative of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels do not meet the requirements of population. Biofuel is eco-friendly, nontoxic and is degradable. However it also has some advantages and disadvantages, but overall it is very useful and safe for the production of energy.

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