How is Bioenergy/Biofuel made?

BioEnergy or Bioefuel in simple terms means Energy or Fuel created from Biological sources. In most cases this also means Energy/Fuel/Chemical created from Biological sources using a Biological organism(Microorganism)

Biodiesel Generic



Biodiesel is made from waste vegetable oil or oil producing plants by converting Fatty acids to Fatty acids Methyl Etster. As you can see from the name, Fatty acids, means the chemicals/biochemicals that make up Fat or oily materials. As you might have already guessed, you can make Biodiesel from any plant or animal Fats. The reaction to the right shows the chemical reaction of Biodiesel is Formed. Triglycerides are broken down into individual Fatty aids then converted to Fatty Acids Methyl Esters (FAMEs)

Making Biodiesel

Corn Ethanol Process

Biobased Chemical/ BioFuel

There is a wide range of chemicals that Fall under Biofuel/Bio based chemicals category. Alcohols like Ethanol, Butanol, Isobutanol, butanediol, etc are some common ones. In General, most of these chemicals are produced by different types of Fermentation. First, a sugar source is chosen. Corn and Sugarcane sugars are the most common ones. However, advanced research is being done to evaluate the use of different types of grasses, municipal waste, tree/plant material, etc as sugar Source. Next, a microorganism of choice(eg. E.Coli, Clostridium acetobutilcum) is used to Ferment the sugar under the condition that has been optimized for that process. The chemical of interest is then produced by these naturally found or genetically modified microorganisms. Since the chemical will be in water broth,along with other side products, a downstream process will then take this broth and purify into the Chemical/Fuel of Interest.

Biofuel Quiz

Do you think research and development of Biofuel is beneficial?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not for another 50 years
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