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The use of fossil fuels is now globally accepted as being hazardous to the environment and as an unreliable future energy source as they are non-renewable and are being depleted daily. Renewable resources such as wind energy, solar energy, hydro-turbines, and biofuels are becoming ever more popular as the world shifts to a “greener” future. Fuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol are being looked at as the solution to fossil fuel use for all transportation. This gives the U.S. an opportunity to invest billions of dollars into its own economy on renewable resources rather than importing petroleum from overseas.
Biofuels, for instance, would create a higher demand for agricultural products and could even lead to new genetically modified crops specifically enhanced for biofuel production. Biofuels will save the dangerous problem of CO2 emissions, offer greater efficiency for production of fuels, create new jobs locally and nationally, and greatly reduce imported fuels, oils, and petroleum.
Biofuels are made of recycled cooking grease, vegetable oils, animal fats, algae, and feedstocks such as corn or soy beans.
These serve as the main ingredient after additives of methanol and alcohol (such as sodium or potassium hydroxide) are input. Crops that have high levels of oil or “fatty acids” are the most beneficial; the oil can be refined down into transportation fuels. Many people fear that making crops to produce biofuels will take up land that is used to feed the millions of people that live in America. This however is inconclusive when realizing the options for a biomass source.
Algae has the potential to be more productive than other biofuel sources like corn and soybeans and, unlike those, Algae doesn’t require arable land or freshwater. Recent research has also found certain species of algae to contain up to 300% more oil than a general feedstock crop. Furthermore, unlike other biofuel feedstocks, such as corn, algae production at an industrial scale would not stress food production.
CO2 emissions have been long known to be harmful to our environment. Unfortunately, 2018 seen the biggest spike in emissions in 8 years. Why is this? Industries are moving more goods by trucks powered by diesel, while consumers are traveling more by air. In the US this led to a 3% increase in diesel and jet fuel use last year, a similar rate of growth to that seen in the EU in the same period. The current U.S. government is at partial fault for the increase. Current President Donald Trump and his administration have done very little to help the movement to a cleaner environment. In fact, they have repealed laws put in place by the Obama administration to lower and regulate emissions to reach goals of 25% fossil fuel usage by 2025. At the same time Mr. Trump is claiming to have provided thousands of jobs to coal miners while the rest of the U.S. is transitioning to renewable energy sources. As it looks, Trump’s Presidency will end in 2020. The future president will have to have a strong, renewable resource plan, and will eventually end the jobs of coal miners that Trump provided.
As a country, if biofuels were put into mass production, it would open a whole new industry. This would create more jobs for local workers and on a national scale. Jobs in manufacturing, transportation, and sales would all be implemented. A study was done to estimate the economic impact if we produced 21 billion gallons of biofuel by year 2022. Up to 190,000 jobs would be created directly and total job creation could reach 806,000. Cumulatively over 95 billion dollars would be invested in everything from production plants to transportation. All of this could add up to save over 350 billion dollars of spending on imported petroleum fuel over a 12-year span. If biofuel production and use reduce our consumption of imported fossil fuels as planned, we will become less vulnerable to the adverse impacts of supply disruptions globally.
Producing biodiesel from algae is widely regarded as one of the most efficient ways of generating biofuels and appears to represent the only current renewable source of oil that could meet the global demand for transport fuels. The main advantages of second-generation microalgal systems are that they:
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