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    Rights: The Royal Society, TVNZ 7 in partnership with the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology
    Published 15 December 2010 Referencing Hub media

    This is a simple explanation of what biofuels are and how they could help solve our energy needs.


    What is biofuel?

    Fuel produced from renewable biological resources such as plants or organic waste.

    Biofuels have been around longer than cars have. At the start of the 20th century, Henry Ford planned to fuel his Model Ts with ethanol made from grain.

    Today, with rising fuel prices, decreasing oil reserves and concern about global warming - biofuels are gaining popularity.

    Countries around the world are already using different kinds of biofuels. For decades, Brazil has turned sugarcane into ethanol, to help power vehicles. Some see great promise in using algae to create biofuel.

    Biofuels could help solve our energy needs. But the process of growing biofuel crops can use a lot of energy in itself. And if biofuel crops displace food crops, some worry it could create food shortages in developing countries.

    And that’s biofuel.