The term bio refers to life as a whole. The biofuel is obtained from dead and decomposed plants and animal waste which are found in all states of matter.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to biofuels when using them as energy sources. The main difference between fossil fuels and bio fuels is the time taken to replenish them. Biofuels are renewable resource and can be obtained easily compared to fossil fuels which take over a million years. The burning of biofuels is not as hazardous as fossil fuels.
The biofuels are classified into 4 types based on the generation and are aptly entitled as first, second, third and fourth generation bio fuels.
Vegetable fats, carbohydrates like sugar and starch, food-crops, animal fats etc. contribute in the production of biogas bio-diesel and also vegetable oil. They are typical referred to as first generation biofuels.
Wood is decomposed to form alcohols and diesel which in turn fall under the second generation of bio fuels. In general second generation bio fuels are produced from biomass which offers a better balance in comparison to first generation fuels.
Algae are the floating waste matter over the water which at times causes several problems to aquatic life. These algae when taken on a large scale provide a large amount of biofuels. They fall under the third generation of bio fuels and aren’t harmful to the land.
The bio fuel generated by scientific methods where micro organisms are allowed to breed on plants and carbon dioxide, fall under the fourth generation biofuels.
The main advantages of biofuels are that they offer a better alternative to the fast depleting fossil fuels. They are comparatively less hazardous as their combustion forms lower amount of carbon residues. Since they are prepared from very basic sources, they are cheap and highly beneficial.
However every coin has two sides and bio fuels have some disadvantages as well. The main problem is that they are not entirely environment friendly. This has always been a topic of debate. Another problem is the want of land. Bio fuel generation requires large areas for cultivation and this poses a huge problem. Again the problem is that of consumption as the same plant is used for both fuel generation and human consumption which becomes ironical.