biofuels - Biofuels What is the definition of a biofuel?...

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Biofuels What is the definition of a biofuel? What criteria are appropriate for judging the potential viability of a biofuel? Can biofuels ever be generated in quantities sufficient to have a major impact on the transportation sector without a major negative impact on the agricultural sector? It may seem prejudicial to start our examination of biofuels with such probing questions, but given the amount of hype and misinformation that surrounds this subject, it is necessary to adopt a skeptical stance. We should note that the concept of using biomaterials as fuel is not new. Wood and dried dung have been used for millennia, and in some respects biofuels could be viewed as a step backwards. We have seen that the carbon valency of carbohydrates is zero, not as negative as carbon in oil (-2) or methane, (-4) and the corresponding hydrogen/carbon ratio and heat content is lower than those fuels. On the plus side, biofuels are, at least in principle, renewable and represent freshly stored carbon, not ancient fossil carbon. Thus, in the ideal case, they represent a closed carbon cycle and their use should not add to the carbon dioxide content of the air. Not too surprisingly, whether or not the positive aspects of biofuels can be realized depends on the details of their chemistry and the means of producing them. Although
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2012 for the course ENVIRON 404 taught by Professor Rasmussen during the Fall '11 term at University of Michigan.

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biofuels - Biofuels What is the definition of a biofuel?...

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