Biofuels are transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel that are made from biomass materials. Biomass materials are organic materials used as renewable energy sources such as crops, wood, and waste. To reduce harmful gases from being released into the environment, biofuels are now being blended with the traditional fossil fuels we use, gasoline and diesel.
Biodiesel is a fuel made with vegetable oils, fats, or even grease. Biodiesel, a renewable fuel, is safe, biodegradable, and cuts back on the emissions of most air pollutants. Biodiesel is the fastest growing alternative fuel in the United States (biofuelguide.net).
Ethanol is an alcohol fuel made from the sugars found in grains, such as corn, sorghum, and wheat, as well as potato skins, rice, sugar cane, sugar beets, and yard clippings (American Coalition for Ethanol). Unlike gasoline, ethanol is nontoxic and biodegradable, and the more ethanol we use in gasoline, the less oil (a nonrenewable fuel) we use.
While there are no degree programs at major colleges or universities for biofuels, judging by the expansion in renewable energy departments and sustainable agriculture departments, there will be in the near future.
Many universities do, however, have developed programs for biofuel education. The National Collegiate Biodiesel Consortium (ncbc.highlyrefined.net) is a site where student groups from around the nation can join together to share ask questions and share information. Some of the participating schools are:
- University of California at Santa Cruz
- Duke (proposal for biodiesel implementation)
- University of New Hampshire
- James Madison University
- University of Idaho
- University of Missouri
- University of Montana
- University of Vermont
Biofuel Development Careers
While Americans are reeling from high gas prices, the desire for alternative, and American produced, transportation fuel is approaching an all time high.
A majority of individuals employed by the biofuel industry are engineers, lab technicians, and chemists. While a degree is enough to get you hired, many companies prefer experience in a related field - chemical, industrial, energy. There is also the need for individuals with management experience to oversee projects and biofuel plants.
- AE Biofuels, California
- Allegro Biodiesel Corporation, Louisiana
- BioFuel Energy Corp., Denver, Colorado
- Earth Biofuels Inc, Dallas, Texas
- GeoBio Energy, Seattle, Washington
- Greenleaf Biofuels, Connecticut
- Kreido Biofuels, California
- NexGen Biofuels, Florida
- Orion Ethanol, Kansas
- Pacific Ethanol, Sacramento, California
- Piedmont Biofuels, North Carolina
Biofuel Information Resources
- Renewable Fuels Association
- The Collaborative Biodiesel Tutorial
- National Biodiesel Board
- Harvesting Clean Energy
- Biofuel Resources
- American Coalition for Ethanol
- Ethanol Fuel Information