With fossil fuels increasingly becoming hazardous to the environment, there has always been a need to look for a perfect replacement. Biofuels have been introduced in the energy sector to offer renewable fuels from various feedstocks. Besides being renewable, biofuels release less carbon when burned, thus considered environmentally friendly. But before we dive deeper into how biofuel feedstock is made or materials nornally used for feedstock, let’s first understand what biofuel feedstock is.
What is Biofuel Feedstock?
Biofuel feedstock is any biomass such as trees and crops that can be used to produce renewable fuels or energy products. Biofuel feedstock is used as source material for producing fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. The different types of biomass materials used in the production of biofuels are classified into three generations. These two generations will help understand some of the basic feedstocks used in the production of biofuels.
What are the Basic Feedstocks?
Feedstocks are classified according to the types of biofuels they produce. To better understand these feedstocks or what people keep on asking, what are the basic feedstocks? Let’s classify them according to the three generations of biofuels. These generations will help us understand the materials normally used for feedstock.
- First-generation biofuel.
The materials used as feedstock in the production of first-generation biofuel include vegetable oils, food like sugar, soy, rapeseed, palm, beets, and cereals like wheat and corn.
- Second-generation biofuel.
The feedstock materials used to produce second-generation biofuels don’t compete directly with food & feed crops. The feedstock here comes as byproducts of the main crops. Some of these feedstocks include straw, waste vegetable oil, agricultural residue, and municipal solid waste.
- Third-generation biofuel.
This type of biofuel is produced from microalgae. Algal fuels are produced from algae found in ponds, tanks, or seas with freshwater or wastewater. These fuels are biodegradable thus harmless to the environment.
These basic feedstock materials will go along in the process of making biofuel feedstock.
How is Biofuel Feedstock Made?
Now that we know feedstock used in biofuel production, we can now learn how biofuel feedstock is made. There are several processes involved in the production of biofuels. They include filtration, water removal, titration, Sodium methoxide preparation, heating/mixing, settling/separation. Ethanol and other types of alcohol are also used in the production of common biofuels. Alcohol is combined with recycled cooking grease, vegetable oil, and animal fat.