Do you know your everyday food material can drive a drastic change in reducing vehicular emissions?
Yes, you read it right. With the Revolution in Renewable Energy Technology, now the sugar and starch crops such as Corn, Sugarcane, Soybean, and animal fodder – sweet sorghum can be processed to generate Biofuel.
Biodiesel is a fuel made from rapeseed oil that can be used in diesel engines without having to replace or change the engine in any way. Bioethanol is a liquid fuel that is created from fermented sugar cane or wheat. Biofuels can be derived directly from plants (i.e. energy crops), or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes.
In an attempt to curb the Air Pollution from the fossil fuel based vehicular emission, Union minister for road transport and highways Mr.Nitin Gadkari launched the Bioethanol run green bus service called ‘Aapli Bus’ in Nagpur. Which is the first of its kind service in India. With the launch of the Aapli Bus, Nitin Gadkari also promised Nagpur will have all the city buses running on the Biofuel. Rice, wheat straw and Bamboo plants are planned to be used and fermented too along with molasses. Nagpur Municipal Corporation is planning to set up one manufacturing unit in each of the six districts of Nagpur division. This bold move will empower the farmers to boost their income by producing aforementioned energy plants and process it to generate Bioethanol.
NMC launched 20 buses – 5 of them were Green Buses run by Bioethanol. An App is developed to track these buses and check the status of the available seats in them.
Biofuel is Carbon Neutral. Conspiracy or Authenticity?
The definition of Carbon Neutral fuel is energy fuel or energy systems which release no net greenhouse gas emissions or leave any carbon footprint. Many scientists believe the Biofuel is inherently Carbon Neutral as they assume the carbon dioxide (CO2) plants absorb from the air as they grow completely offsets, or “neutralizes,” the CO2 emitted when fuels made from plants burn.
In Late 2016, the academic and journals’ publication house, ‘The Conversation’ came up with the study that the Biofuel might be a big climate mistake.
To hail the energy independence by using the renewable energy and cutting short on oil imports, there have been many subsidies in Biofuel production. This has lead to incremental growth in energy crop plantation in the farmlands. Existing crop growth already takes large amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
The question now remains is whether biofuel production increases the rate of CO2 uptake enough to fully offset CO2 emissions produced when corn is fermented into ethanol and when biofuels are burned?
The production of ethanol involves the conversion of a carbon-based feedstock i.e. Sugarcane, Corn, Woodchips, through the fermentation process to create ethanol. During fermentation, which typically is conducted using batch reactors, the sugars are broken down to create ethanol, and concurrently, CO2 is formed as a byproduct.
Therefore, to properly evaluate biofuels, one must evaluate CO2 uptake on all cropland. After all, crop growth is the CO2 “sponge” that takes carbon out of the atmosphere.