Essay about Biofuels: Biofuel and Carbon Dioxide

Submitted By NikkiGonzalez1
Words: 3304
Pages: 14

Truly biofuels are the future of personal energy production. Biofuel in and of itself is a very generic term that encompasses numerous branches of study. In this study many of such branches will be explored. Biofuels is a term meaning anything from crops grown specifically for fuel production, all the way to recycled trash. Primarily when one speaks of biofuels, they are referring to fuels that are derived from organic matter. However, it is also feasible to refer to fuels that are renewable, have a smaller net impact on the environment, or in the best case have a positive net impact on the environment. It is important in this case to define what fuel is, and show some points on fuels being used today that are not environmentally friendly. Fuel as it is defined today is an energy source that stores said energy in chemical form. According to the law of conservation of energy, energy cannot be destroyed. Energy simply is transferred from one form to another. Fossil fuels are fuels that are chemicals that have stored their energy millions of years ago. These fuels are very efficient, and until recently, were believed to be nearly limitless. The most abundantly used form of fossil fuel is crude oil. Oil is a mass of stored hydrocarbon chains that are found very deep underground. It is believed that the source of crude oil is plant matter that long ago stored energy from the sun, soil, and atmosphere in the form of carbon based life. As millennia pass the plants decay and become organic mush. As more millennia pass the matter decays until only simple hydrocarbon chains are left. This principle can be seen every year in the fall as pine needles and leaves fall. Without human interference, the plant matter that collects on the ground piles up. If one goes deep into forest that is not frequented by humans, one can see the large mass of matter on the soil, sometimes several inches
Clayton 2 thick. If this occurs over millions of years without being cleared out, the result will be crude oil stored very deep underground. The problem with crude oil is obvious: it is a finite source of chemical energy due to the fact that we use it billions of times faster than it is produced. Because this production – reproduction ratio is so off balance, at some point all of the crude oil on the planet will eventually be nonexistent. One of the fossil fuels widely used today is coal. Coal is a solid matter that is found deep underground. Coal is a form of carbon chains, much like crude oil. Coal is most often used in cases where a longer lasting burn is needed. Coal is generally used to cooking, and steam engines. There are coal power plants, but they are becoming obsolete as the evidence for their environmental harm becomes more apparent. Energy is extracted from these fuels by burning them. When heat is applied to hydrocarbon chains, a chemical reaction takes place. The splitting of hydrocarbon chains is what is known as an exothermic reaction. What this means is: as the reaction takes place, namely splitting carbon-carbon and carbon-hydrogen bonds, energy is released. In this case the energy is released as heat, and in the case of the combustion engine; expansion force in addition. One problem associated with fossil fuels is their emissions. As these hydrocarbon chains are broken apart to release their energy, they are required by the laws of nature to reform new compounds. The most abundant newly formed compound produced in this method is called carbon dioxide, or CO2. Carbon dioxide is easily formed, and hard to get rid of. The problem with carbon dioxide is that it is known as a greenhouse gas. There are many forms of greenhouse gases, but by far the most abundant in our atmosphere today is carbon dioxide. What this means is as heat energy from the sun enters our atmosphere is warms the planet’s surface.
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What carbon dioxide does is it traps some of that heat and keeps it from being