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Essay Biodiesel vs. Ethanol

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Biodiesel vs. Ethanol

Both biodiesel and ethanol are derivatives of biomass that have been processed to create a liquid biofuel. Both types of biofuels have been touted as secure and environmentally safe alternatives to fossil fuels, however the research verifying these claims is extensive but often contradicting. In the following paper, the efficiency and quality of the two types of biofuel will be discussed. The effects of variables such as source materials and production techniques on efficiency and quality will be considered. Due to the limited scope of this paper however, only generalized net analyses of ethanol and biodiesel production will be considered. The production of ethanol requires one of two source materials, cellulose
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An important similarity between production of biodiesel and production of ethanol is that at some point during processing both systems require an input of either fossil, hydro, electric, solar, or wind energy. Thus, in order to determine if the use of biofuels for mobile transportation purposes is more efficient than using fossil fuels, net energy analyses must be considered (Malca and Freire, 2006).

It is significant to note that net energy analyses of both types of biofuels will differ based on source matter, differential processing technologies, crop production techniques, and the amount of biofuel being utilized. For example, bioethanol that is produced from wheat has a greater energy renewability efficiency value (ERenEF) (48%) than does ethanol produced from corn. ERenEF “measures the fraction of final fuel energy obtained from renewable resources” (Maca and Freire, 2006). This indicates that a greater percentage of the energy from wheat-based ethanol is renewable, as compared to energy from corn-based ethanol.

Similarly, different processing technologies affect the energy renewability efficiency of ethanol. The use of ethyl tertiary butyl ether as a fuel oxygenate will increase an ERenEF when compared with the use of methyl tertiary butyl ether is as a fuel oxygenate. Different crop production techniques (e.g. no- till systems as
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