As things begin to increasingly progress into an energy-conscious future, what this future non-fossil fuel energy system will look like is still something of a mystery. Many different energy sources have been touted as providing a viable alternative to fossil fuels, though some seem to be pulling ahead of the pack. While not technically an original source of energy, advancements in the efficiency of new battery technology has already made it the preferred option for one of the biggest energy revolutions of our times – the move towards electric cars.
Battery production – specifically lithium-ion batteries – is only increasing, and increasing precisely because the demand for it is growing. It is not only more electric vehicles that require the latest battery technology, but it can also be found in many more places it wasn’t before, from products like portable camping battery packs to the USB rechargeable smart batteries (which are fast replacing the traditional AA household batteries).
Pale Blue Earth, specialists in innovative battery technology, say that thanks to the ever-increasing universality of battery devices (powered by new USB technology) many more traditional products could soon become entirely battery powered. Add this to the electric car revolution, and you would be forgiven for thinking the future of energy lies in batteries.
There is something to this prediction, and it seems certain that batteries will play a bigger role in the energy future than they do at present (or ever have in the past). Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to assume that this is a sure thing. Batteries actually have many upcoming challenges to overcome, and the solutions to these challenges are by no means certain to be overcome. To take one example, using battery power might be environmentally friendly, but the production of batteries is not, and neither is the mining for the elements they require in their manufacture. Also, such processes will have to be expanded if battery power is going to run the millions of electric vehicles soon to dominate our roads.
But there is another reason why the dominance of battery power is not a done deal. There are several areas of energy where battery power is far from the most efficient option, and it is in these areas that it has real competition. One of those competitors is biofuels, simply defined as those clean-burning fuels that can be derived from biological produce.
As it happens, it is precisely in those areas where battery power doesn’t yet make the grade and where biofuels are a workable option. Therefore, by challenging it on this level, biofuel stakes a real claim for itself.
What is Biofuel Used For
So, what are these areas? Here follows some of the top applications for biofuels, all of which are a reality right now:
Using organic produce to heat a home is a practice that goes back millennia. However, there are advanced systems today that do so effectively, efficiently and, most importantly, greener.
Yes, there are electric cars, but electric planes? While there are such things as small electric aircraft, for the majority of air travel, battery power has hardly made a mark. Biofuel, on the other hand, can be used to make efficient jet fuel.
Oil Clean Up
This application for biofuel is particularly environmentally friendly, precisely because it is used to clean up the environment! A biofuel-derived solvent has been developed that can effectively clean contaminated shorelines.
In all these areas, biofuel has a real edge. Nobody seriously predicts a biofuel-dominated energy future, but there just could be a few areas within which biofuel can really make its mark.