Bioenergy is the form of energy that is stored in the biological matter or ‘biomasses. It is available in abundance in our world and it is the world’s most important source of renewable energy. Biomass is a versatile source of energy that is used for the production of heat, power, and transport fuels. Biofuels also have the potential to significantly mitigate global warming, also known as climate change. Bioenergy and biofuels encompass energy products derived from plants or animals or organic materials.
Biodiesel, for example, does not only have a positive impact on the environment, it also improves economic activity. As part of our energy mix, biodiesel is not meant to replace fossil fuel but contributes to energy security and benefits local communities.
Good reasons to use biodiesel:
The ease of use
One of the main reasons to use biofuels is that it can be used in combustion engines of vehicles and that it integrates well into existing infrastructures without the need to make changes. It is the fuel that can be stored, burned and pumped the same way as petroleum diesel fuel. It can also be used in pure forms.
The form of energy is providing security
Energy security of supply as well as affordability rank highest among consumers, as well as in the industry. The economic risks for the biofuel industry are, as for all commodities, energy price hikes, which can disrupt the supply of fossil fuels as fuel becomes an overall limited resource.
Economic development is possible via the use of biofuels
The increase in investment in biofuels will result boosts economic growth, especially for local markets involved in its production and processing. It means that there will be more job opportunities and the developing countries realizing this market opportunity will benefit hugely from the economic growth resulting from global energy demand
Greenhouse gas and emission reduction
Appropriate methods of biofuel production can mitigate significant amounts of greenhouse gases which are currently produced from fossil fuels. It leads to the potential of addressing the important challenges regarding fuel quality and emission. Biodiesel is also the successful alternative to compete with the rigorous emission.
It helps in energy balance
The energy balance refers to the ratio of how much energy is required to produce, manufacture, and distribute of fuel compared to the amount of energy that is released when fuel is burned. Biofuels generally improve the energy security and the energy balance through domestic energy crops.
It is recyclable and biodegradable
Biofuel is less toxic as its attributes make it less likely to harm the environment and cost less damage. It is safer to handle than petroleum fuel due to its low volatility. The recycled oils create multiple benefits to a thriving market and benefit hugely to the growing economies.
But the use of biomass faces criticism due to its costs, both economically and in terms of its energy carbon balance. It is expensive compared to other forms of low carbon energy, for example, natural gas. It drives up the cost of wood in other markets, for example in manufacturing and construction. Finally, it sometimes fails to deliver greenhouse gas savings over meaningful timescales relevant to the climate change targets. When managed sustainably, biomass is an essential part of the portfolio of renewable energy technologies, delivering low-cost carbon heat and power.
Some of the environmental benefits of bioenergy –
- It helps the reduction of pressure on finite natural resources
- The release of greenhouse emissions gets reduced significantly with the use as fossil fuel addition or even substitution
- The removal of the need for specialist food crops
- Reduction of landfill waste and associated issues
- Provision to thermal, electrical, and mechanical energy services
- The handling of contaminated wastes
- The removal of carbon from wastes
- The increase of reservoirs and terrestrial carbon sinks
- The reduction of dryland salinity and protection of ground water supplies
- The maintenance of logging sites
- The return of land into production with enhanced biodiversity
There are also other forms of energy that are being considered sources of energy for future use. For example, hydro-electric energy is used for peak and base-load power production, while nuclear power can deliver base-load power. Each of the technologies faces planning and cost barriers that are likely to stunt the future growth. Biomass is already an affordable form of energy that will meet the energy demands of the future.