How biofuels can help develop a more circular economy

Written by: Jane Marsh

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Residents and business owners are transitioning away from fossil fuels using biofuels. The transition can help individuals achieve global sustainability goals. In 2015, the United Nations (UN) developed a global emission-reduction goal.

The UN plans to shrink the global footprint and prevent adverse climate change effects. Sustainable energy alterations must improve environmental and economic stability. Biofuel is one low-impact power source supporting the circular economy.

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Pushing for a Circular Economy

The circular economy challenges society’s rapid demands for raw materials and natural resources. Relying on new materials increases the carbon footprint and environmental impact of products. Mining for natural resources significantly degrades preserved areas.

Exposing subsurface levels of Earth and destroying rocks can release asbestos, radioactive materials and metallic dust into the environment. Ecologists are pushing the circular economy to target the triple planetary climate crises. A circular economy relies on recycled and recyclable materials in manufacturing.

Keeping natural resources in the production sector for extended periods can reduce environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions. The global economy has a large carbon footprint due to its fossil fuel reliance. Swapping oil and gas for renewable fuels can significantly improve conservation levels.

Renewable Biofuels

One of the most sustainable fossil fuel alternatives is renewable biofuel. There are three major types of renewable hydrocarbon fuels. Renewable diesel is a biomass transportation fuel compatible with most trucks and heavy machinery.

Renewable biodiesel can reduce transportation-related emissions by 75% on average. Another renewable gas option is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The commercial fuel source supports low-impact flights and comes from used oils and algae.

The third renewable biofuel source is green gasoline. Renewable gasoline is compatible with spark-ignition engines. Relying on used materials to support the transportation sector may power the circular economy.

Circular Bioeconomy

The bioeconomy encompasses sustainable production, consumption and transportation. Individuals are using renewable fuel sources to eliminate waste within the economy. Transitioning away from fossil fuels toward biofuels can reduce emissions and improve employment.

Creating a circular economy with biofuels can generate over 20 million new jobs. The fuel sector will need more employees to develop biodiesel and other alternative energy sources. Biodiesel is biodegradable and releases fewer greenhouse gasses.

Individuals can use biodiesel in diesel engines without modifications. It also minimizes particulate matter by nearly 47% on average. Individuals may additionally support the circular economy by improving material recyclability.

Frameworks and Strategies

Creating a circular economy requires raw materials, processing, technological development, manufacturing, recycling and reprocessing. Companies must enhance the recyclability of their products to fuel a sustainable economy. Plastics without pre- and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAs) are easier to repurpose and decrease mining practices.

Individuals are also reducing waste by converting it into biofuel. Americans can produce 47 billion liters of ethanol annually from 468 million tons of garbage. Recycling biomatter into fuel is an effective strategy for shrinking greenhouse gas emissions.

The Pros and Cons of a Bioeconomy

The bioeconomy can reduce environmental degradation from fuel companies. It relies on renewable materials like plants to support the food, transportation, textile and production industries. The most significant advantage of the bioeconomy is preserving the global ecosystem.

Countries can reduce resource exploitation and emissions by turning biomatter into energy. Minimizing mining may protect natural habitats, which improves biodiversity rates. Creating energy and materials from plants also supports restoration projects.

One disadvantage of the bioeconomy is soil erosion. Relying on agriculture for energy production takes a toll on soil fertility levels. Some agricultural professionals use fertilizers on their soil to compensate for nutrient loss. Fertilizers can release emissions and degrade the atmosphere. They may also pollute the ocean, which causes eutrophication. Using multiple energy sources and materials can help regions create successful circular economies.

When Will We Have a Circular Economy?

Economic professionals expect developed countries to establish circular economies in the coming years. Government officials are regulating companies’ fossil fuel and non-renewable resource uses to promote sustainable capitalism. Individuals and businesses must adopt low-impact energy sources and materials to meet global sustainability regulations.

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