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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Carbon emission from bio-fuels:




Carbon emission from bio-fuels:

Bio-fuels are the fuels of solid, liquid or gaseous in nature, which has been derived from bio-mass – recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts. Thus, it could be oils from plants, manure from cows, wood from trees etc. For example, bio-gas (i.e., gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen); bio-ethanol; bio-diesel; straight vegetable oil etc., are the bio-fuels. It is a renewable energy source, mostly have agricultural based, unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels.

It has been seen that certain social and environmental benefits bio-fuels has as compare to use of fossil fuels, such as reduction of greenhouse gas emission, increased national energy security, increased rural earnings and development and above all, reduction of use of fossil fuel.

Bio-fuels and other forms of renewable energy are thought to be ‘carbon neutral’ or ‘carbon negative’. Carbon neutral or carbon negative is the difference of quantum of carbon produced and emitted to the atmosphere when these are used as fuels and the quantum of carbon absorbed in the process of their growth. If both are same, is called carbon neutral or if quantum of carbon absorbed through photo-synthesis is more than the emission is called carbon negative. Both the cases are advantageous towards environment point of view and reduction of global warming.

Strictly speaking, bio-fuels are neither carbon neutral nor carbon negative. This is because extra energy is required to grow crops and process them into fuel. This extra energy releases extra carbon to atmosphere as emission. For example, plants require fertilizer to grow, requires energy for transportation and processing; this extra energy releases carbon to the atmosphere as emission. Therefore, this emission aspect is to be debated, whether we are really gaining in respect of carbon emission, by using bio-fuel. However, the arid lands can be better utilized if people shift towards bio-fuels; so the rural earnings. The poorly irrigated land mass also can be taken up for cultivation.

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