Renewable fuels are fuels produced from renewable resources. Examples include: biofuels (e.g. Vegetable oil used as fuel, ethanol, methanol from clean energy and carbon dioxide or biomass, and biodiesel) and Hydrogen fuel (when produced with renewable processes).
Sugarcane-based ethanol has been the major automobile fuel in Brazil for over three decades due to the abundant and renewable production of cane sugar. A 10% blend of corn starch-based ethanol with gasoline, also known as E10 or gasohol, is used in most cars running on US roads today. Starch based ethanol, also known as a first generation biofuel, has been accepted as a commodity in the fuel market, which supplies fuel to almost all of the E10, E15 and E85 vehicles currently on US roads. However, using corn starch for ethanol could potentially compete with food, feed and fiber resources. Thus, lignocellulosic biomass materials have been recognized as alternative feedstocks for ethanol production since the 1970s. Technologies and processes for cellulosic ethanol, known as a second generation biofuel, have been developed and feasibility tests have been successful at pilot plants. The most abundant and renewable lignocellulosic biomass materials contain not only cellulose, but also lignin and hemicelluloses in a complex and recalcitrant structure. Lignocellulosic biomass from agricultural and forestry residues, energy crops, and municipal waste are renewable and sustainable resources. The development of third generation biofuels and bio-based replacements of petroleum products including jet fuel, gasoline, polymers and chemical feedstocks from lignocellulosic materials will widen the biomass to bioenergy field. Evidently more innovative research and technologies are needed to create a sustainable bioenergy industry and to reduce US dependence on imported petroleum.
Last date updated on June, 2014