Biofuels and Biomass

Biofuels and Biomass

by Sophie S.

We cannot use fossil fuels like gasoline and coal to power cars and make electricity forever. They pollute the Earth and send poisonous gases to the atmosphere. We may need to resort to different forms of energy that are reusable like biomass.

Biomass is garbage that originally came from the Earth. It can make biofuels. Biofuels are renewable fuels that can be used to make electricity and gasoline for cars. Using biofuels can cut down on global warming. This is how biofuels are made: educible garbage from factories and manure from farms are put into large trucks. The trucks bring the trash to a biomass power plant. The biomass is then dumped into huge hoppers and fed into a furnace. After it is burned, the heat from the furnace boils water in a boiler, and the energy in the steam is used to power turbines and generators to make electricity.

The fuel that can be made from this is called ethanol. It is the most common biofuel. It is made from fermentation, which works like this: microbes absorb sugars and starches in plants. They produce alcohol by doing this. The alcohol is purified and mixed in gasoline. The problem with ethanol is that it is not as powerful as fossil fuels, and it can’t run for, as long so you would need to fill up your gas tank more often.

Another way to make biofuels is to use cow manure. A certain farm in Vermont does this. In the farmhouse, a squeegee-like machine sweeps the manure into a machine called a digester. The methane rises to the top of the digester and is sucked to a generator and the energy is used to support nearby homes.

One way I would fix the problem of weak ethanol is to try to find a plant that creates a better ethanol so that biofuels can run for a longer time and make cars go faster.

References:

http://energyquest.ca.gov/story/index.html
http://www.ndep.us/Biofuel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaRDUatrLMg
 

Posted December 13, 2011 by sciencesavestheworld