Popular Sources of Biofuels

As the world seeks more and more ways to create eco-friendly energy sources, biofuels seem to be the only answer. Over the last few years, biofuels have been praised as being the best alternative to our fossil fuel crazy world. This is because they do not pollute the environment as much as the current fuel sources. Further, they are much cheaper.


Biofuels are produced from the following major sources.

Used cooking oil

This is one of the most popular sources of biofuels. Why?

Cooking oil is much easier to find. This is because it is used in a large number of households and other commercial entities that serve food. As such, biofuel companies can get into arrangements on how to collect the cooking oil.

Once it is delivered to the factory, the cooking oil then goes through a chemical process that cleans it and removes all impurities from it. It then goes through further processing until is suitable to be used as a fuel in vehicles and plant machinery.

Used cooking oil, as an environmentally friendly products is also used to produce other environmentally friendly products such as soap and even animal feed.


Another source of biofuels is corn. Corn is planted in large scale and set aside for the production of fuel. Once harvested and processed, corn produces ethanol.

This corn-ethanol is a popular fuel alternative and one derived from planted crops. Thus, making it the definition of biofuels. As a biofuel, it is clean and has little negative impact on the environment.

However, production of biofuel from corn has been met with a lot of controversy. This is because, the corn used to produce ethanol for fuel, is corn that could have been used as food by someone else. This means that, using corn for biofuel production may lead to large number of populations going without food.


Sugarcane is a popular source of ethanol. Many sugar cane plantations and factories around the world, in addition to the production of sugar also produce ethanol. For a country like Brazil, one of the largest sugar producers in the world, biofuel ethanol produced from sugarcane is also highly popular in the country.

With the large production of ethanol from sugarcane, Brazil has managed to become an energy independent country. Due to this successful experiment in the country, sugarcane is considered as one of the leading sources of biofuel.


This is a crop that grows largely in Canada. It produces highly popular cooking oil known as canola oil. Canola oil as a food is popular for its low levels of cholesterol and thus considered among the healthy oils to use in cooking.

Besides cooking, canola is also a popular source of biofuel. It is easily and cheaply converted into a fuel. As a fuel, it has little emissions, thus it is friendly to the environment. It burns more efficiently than common fossil fuels used every day.

Challenges facing the production of biofuels

Availability of land

Biofuels are produced from sources that must be planted in fertile arable land that is also used for food production. As such, many food producers may be unwilling to use the land they use for food production for biofuel production lest they go hungry.

Made from food sources

Another challenge faced by biofuel production is that it is made from food. Corn which is a popular food product for both human and animals is also a popular source of biofuel.

This in turn leads to an increase in food prices as supply reduces due to the use of corn in the production of biofuels.


There are several sources of biofuel. These sources, as the term bio suggests, are also food products. With some chemical manipulation, they will produce high quality ethanol that is an efficient and clean burning fuel.

Used cooking oil is one of the alternative sources of biofuel that is not also a food source. It produces high quality biofuels that save the environment from the impact of fossil fuels.

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com

One Response to Popular Sources of Biofuels

  1. Adin Stewart says:

    I have land to plant for biofuel and access to more. The one problem I have is finding information on where I may be able to sell the crop once harvested. My name is Adin Stewart and I live in the Northwest panhandle of Florida. I’ve been doing some research on the subject and I am thinking Switchgrass or Miscanthis. Can you help give me some direction? Thank you

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