biofuel ?? Biofuel ! ! !
Before talk about biofuel, we shall talk about photosynthesis first.
Photosynthesis is the most generous, greatest chemical reaction in the world. As the solar energy collector, it builds up the nature we live in. Nearly all the organic compounds in the world come from or has relationships with photosynthesis.
Currently, we are using fossil fuels, the ancient photosynthetic products, to run our daily life. However, it took millions of years to turn trees, phytoplanktons, and zooplanktons into coals, petroleum, and natural gas. Definitely, there will be a day that we use up all fossil fuels. The goal of biofuel research is to accelerate biomass-to-fuels process, realizing the dream of fuels from plants (or other feedstocks, like municipal waste) in a couple of days.
Biofuel is not just an "alternative" to deal with future energy crisis, it can be a solution for environmental issues. Drilling well for oil/gas risks the local water, soil, and ecosystem. What's worse, burning fossil fuel is releasing ancient carbon preserved underground for millions of years, it emits extra CO2 into the atmosphere which overwhelms the nature CO2 absorbing ability. Growing trees conserves the water and soil, brings back the animals, and benefits the ecosystem. More importantly, it absorbs the CO2, alleviates the greenhouse effect potential, and mitigate the global warming*. Based on that, biofuels can have less or even negative CO2 emission, and rebalance the overloaded nature.
For sure, we are not able to alternate all the fossil fuels with renewable energies, since human civilization has been constructed upon fossil fuels for 200+ years. But time has come to take steps to solve the problems and prevent the irrevocable situation.
Imagine, some time in the future, you may drive the vehicles with fuels made from tree branches, fallen leaves, and overgrown weeds in your backyard, at the same time, you are contributing 0 net CO2 emission. Does it sound like magic? Hum, we are developing that magic.
* Climate change: I've met lots of people doubt that, but the extinction of polar bears is the truth.