Biofuels are essentially produced from dead biological material, usually plants, and then mixed with fuel in reasonable amounts. Fossil fuels, on the other hand are similar products, buried underground for billions of years and take a long time to get processed. Biofuels are being looked at as an alternative to decrease the current dependence on fossil fuels. Clearly, it is a probable option.
Though biofuels look like the way to go, they have several drawbacks. The production of biofuels requires land, which is not a cheap resource nowadays and one that is under conflict most of the time. It puts several forested lands at risk, for need of plants and land. Setting biofuel dependence targets and subsidies are actually increasing food prices across the world. Food and consumer goods companies like Unilever, are not very keen on biofuels for this reason. They argue that if food prices are increasing and biofuel production also causes increased emissions in certain cases, then it should not be looked as an alternative.
Biofuels can be used as an energy resource but the application doesn’t have to be on a large scale. The solution lies in controlling the extent of dependence on biofuels once it is put into practice, across the globe. Biofuels can and should be used for cooking stoves in households and fueling smaller equipment, especially in rural areas in third world countries, since pollution from these areas also contribute to global emissions, sometimes more than most of the urban areas. Sustainable use is the key to reducing emissions from any source of pollution. Biofuels are no exception. Giving up an alternative source of energy in this day and age will not be a prudent decision.