Overthe last three decades, the world has been awash with news, researchstudies, and debate on the need for using alternative fuel sources.The high depletion of natural resources and adverse effects ofconventional energy sources to the environment drive the need.Research and innovation have led to the development of multiple powersupplies. Nonetheless, the increasing demand for energy has made itharder to eliminate the utilization of conventional energy sourcesentirely. One of the common alternative fuel sources is biodieselthat is generated from animal and vegetable oils. In 1937, G.Chavanne was granted the patent for creating the formula to turnvegetable oils into fuel. Currently, biodiesel is utilized inautomobiles and industries, although it continues to generate thedebate on its socio-economic and environmental benefits (Hassan &Kalam, 2013). Examining the pros and cons of biodiesel will assist indeveloping a policy framework for utilizing alternative sources. Theadoption of biodiesel as an alternative fuel source will contributeto socio-economic and environmental benefits.
Productionof biodiesel requires a small area that will not cause massivedestruction of the rainforest. With advancement in the technology,the carbon emissions will reduce significantly. Most of the otherforms of energy contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases thatlead to the global warming (Ahmad, Khan, Zafar, & Sultana, 2012).The world requires energy sources that have minimal harmful effectsto the environment. Some studies assert that the high production ofbiodiesel will lead to the destruction of tropical forests.Destroying the natural vegetation would have adverse effects on theenvironment hence, negate the gains made in the conservationefforts. However, the claims have been refuted in the recent studiesand investment in sustainable initiatives in the energy sector(Atabani et al., 2012).
Additionally,biodiesel has economic benefits on creating wealth and jobopportunities. Research by the National Biodiesel Board in 2011revealed that production of this form of energy led to the creationof about 39,000 jobs and revenue of over 2 billion dollars in the U.Salone. The production of biodiesel contributed to 3 billion dollarsin 2011 (Capareda, 2013). As such, increased growth in the sectorwill lead to more economic benefits to the country.
Anothersignificant advantage of using biodiesel is its contribution towardsenergy security. With biodiesel, country’s dependence on oil isreduced considerably. Locally available sources of the energy boost astate’s energy security since a nation will not have to depend onother countries in the supply chain. Its adoption also allows for thediversification of fuel sources thereby, reducing the power balanceand challenges experienced in many nations (Hinrichs-Rahlwes, 2013).Nonetheless, biodiesel is alleged to cause starvation since itrequires vegetables or palm trees in the rice farms. As such, thelands available for food production are reduced, therefore,contributing to the famine. Other studies indicate that themanufacture of biodiesel is capital intensive. High production costsdrive the prices up, hence, making the product inaccessible to mostpeople (Khan, Khan, Khan, & Athar, 2013).
Inconclusion, the adoption of biodiesel has economic and environmentalbenefits. Already, the US and other nations using this form ofalternative energy have benefited from the revenue and job creation.Biodiesel is less harmful to the environment when compared to theconventional energy sources. Nonetheless, slow uptake and inabilityto meet the demand are likely to minimize the realization of optimalbenefits. The few disadvantages such as reduced farmlands and costscan be eliminated through advanced research and innovation. Bottomline, it is necessary to take precaution when using renewable energyto ensure all social, economic, and political factors are consideredappropriately.
Ahmad,M., Khan, M., Zafar, M., & Sultana, S. (2012). Practicalhandbook on biodiesel production and properties.Florida: CRC Press.
Atabani,A., Silitonga, A., Badruddin, I., Mahlia, T., Masjuki, H., &Mekhilef, S. (2012). A comprehensive review on biodiesel as analternative energy resource and its characteristics. Renewableand sustainable energy reviews,16(4),2070-2093.
Capareda,S. (2013). Introductionto biomass energy conversions.Florida: CRC Press.
Hassan,M., & Kalam, M. (2013). An overview of biofuel as a renewableenergy source: development and challenges. ProcediaEngineering,56,39-53.
Hinrichs-Rahlwes,R. (2013). Renewable energy: Paving the way towards sustainableenergy security: Lessons learnt from Germany. RenewableEnergy,49,10-14.
Khan,M., Khan, R., Khan, F., & Athar, M. (2013). Impacts Of BiodieselOn The Environment. IntJ Environ Eng Manag,4,345-350.