Bio-fuel and Energy Plants
Fuels are any materials that have potential energy stored in a form that can be easily used as heat energy. Bio-fuel is a fuel that is solely based on organic plant material. The plants usually have a number of characteristic which make them good ‘energy plants’ i.e. fast growing, oil rich seeds and pest resistant.
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Why are bio-fuels so important?
- Mitigation against climate change reducing the reliance on fossil fuels
- Reduce the global greenhouse gas emission.
- Certain bio-fuels i.e. Bio-diesel can reduce individual car C02 emissions by 80%
- Bio-fuels produce fewer additional particles i.e. carbon monoxide therefore less air pollution is created
- Some bio-fuel species are especially suited to growing in impoverished soils and avoid using land that is suitable for food crops.
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What role do plants play?
Plants absorb energy from the sun through photosynthesis and store it in the form of vegetative growth. This growth takes a wide variety of forms from woody to soft tissues, and can be quite chemically complex including sugars, oils and fatty acids. Plants are therefore idea for bio-energy. This energy can be released through burning wood and other forms of biomass, but more recently, plant products such as vegetable oils and sugars can be broken down with the help of enzymes to create bio-ethanol, bio-diesel and bio-gasoline.
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