Liquid biofuels are transportation or heating fuels made from the conversion of solid biomass into liquids through chemical, enzymatic, or thermochemical conversion processes. Liquid biofuels are important because they represent a renewable energy source that can be used to supplement our existing liquid fuel transportation system and vehicles. No other renewable fuel can be converted to a liquid for our current vehicles! Liquid biofuels also can be used to displace fossil heating oil in boilers (residential, commercial and industrial applications) in suburban and rural areas where natural gas for heating is not available. There are several types of liquid biofuels. Some are commercially available today and others are only in the research and development stage of commercialization. Two liquid biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) are in widespread commercial use as blends with petroleum fuels. Biodiesel can be mixed with diesel and used in diesel engines. Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline and used in gasoline engines.
We’ll learn to make biodiesel or make sugars from grasses (used for ethanol production) in the workshop labs at most workshop sites. Check with your Site Director to see if one or both of these activities will be presented at your workshop site of interest.