As the name implies, biofuels are fuels derived from organic material. Since they can be made in many ways, they are classified as 1st generation, 2nd generation, and 3rd generation.
First generation bio-fuels are the more common fuels that are produced from food crops and animal fats. Some examples include bio-diesel, vegetable oil, and bio-gas.
Second generation bio-fuels are made from waste biomass, making them a more sustainable solution as compared to their 1st gen counterparts. They include various alcohols (such as ethanol) and diesel derived from wood and even human excrement.
Third generation bio-fuels are generally made from algae that are farmed on a massive scale. By way of photosynthesis and the breaking down of carbon dioxide, the carbohydrates extracted from these micro-organisms is used to make various fuels.
So what separates bio-fuels from fossil fuels?
3rd Generation Biofuel
As known as Oilgae as well, is being considered to be the third generation biofuel. Its production is low cost and high yield, almost 30 times more energy production per acre as compared to the land required by other conventional feedstock to produce biofuels.
At present researches are being conducted by Alga culture (farming Algae) to produce different fuels to harvest for making vegetable oil, biodiesel, bioethanol, biomethanol, biobutanol and other biofuels and it seems if the methodology is sustainable than other available biofuels then using algae to produce biodiesel would be the only viable method to replace the need of gasoline used for automotive today.
Biofuels are considered to be the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alternate to the pollutant fossil fuels. But recently, according to Nobel Laureate Paul Cortzen findings, some of the most commonly used biofuels Bioethanol from corn and biodiesel from rapeseed releases Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is contributing much more to the global warming than the fossil fuels are contributing right now. Processing of biofuel form algae has been tested that it captures large amounts of CO2 and N2O available in the atmosphere( 40% in a course of a full day and 80% in sunny days) and an acre of algae can produce enough oil to make 5,000 gallons of biodiesel in a year.
According to my point of view, biodiesel and bioethanol from rapeseed and corn is not only adding to global warming but economically it cannot be sustainable because of its one of the main sources of edible oil. Ethanol demand can threaten food prices. A recent study conducted by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University revealed that considering the high-price crude oil scenario, U.S. ethanol production could reach 30 billion gallons by 2016, consuming more than half of U.S. corn, wheat and other coarse grain production and triggering higher meat prices for consumers, reduced production across-the-board for all segments of the meat sector, and even greater reductions in grain and meat exports. Taking in review the sustainability and economic factor biofuel from Alga culture seems to be the most promising fuel for the future.