The fuel demand is on an ever-increasing hike. A new airline jet manufacturing costs hundreds of millions of dollars, but manufacturers are not keen on spending a fortune every time they fly on its fuel. Here comes the need to find a renewable fuel that works with the existing energy supply system to ensure continual supply of energy at an affordable cost.
Researchers and scientists are trying to create new ways to produce drop in fuels from microorganisms and from genetically manipulated plants. This work produced the fourth generation fuels called the biofuels, which are less polluting and are completely biodegradable. It has its own cons or disadvantages however.
The main challenge is to fit the biofuels in the existing system. Petroleum, defense and aviation companies strive hard for fitting these biofuels in the already existing conventional fuel based system. The technology for extracting hydrocarbons from the genetically manipulated organisms and other algae costs a lot.
With such steep costs involved, the price of these biofuels will no doubt be high, unless a less expensive technology is invented. Hence, there is a doubt if a common man can afford to buy these biofuels.
Sustainable production of these biofuels and its impact on the water resources are also challenges which we are forced to solve in order to produce these biofuels commercially in large quantities. One of the greatest challenges is the requirement of land for cultivation of the raw materials.
The biofuels need non food crops like jatropha and hence, there is a need for hundreds of acres of land in order to commercialize the production. Here comes the conflict between the food crops and the fuel crops. With the fear of global starvation mounting day by day, the debate of food verses fuel also poses a threat for biofuels.