You hear about biofuels all the time. Perhaps you’ve noticed them in commercials for items such as ethanol. You might even know a little bit about biofuels already, but you may not know the whole story. Tragar Home Services would like you to know as much as you can about biofuels because it comes from renewable energy sources. It can help your wallet and help the planet since Biofuels are energy efficient. Tragar a long island heating and cooling company uses a type of Biofuel called Bioheat® to heat the homes of our oil customers. It reduces carbon emissions and it cuts down on the amount of oil we consume. We want you to know the history of biofuels so you can understand why they are an important part of your everyday lives.
What is Biofuel?
According to Investopedia, biofuel is a type of energy derived from renewable plant and animal materials. Some biofuel, like ethanol, comes from corn. Others, like biodiesel, come from vegetable oils and liquid animal fats. Biodiesel is the key ingredient in Bioheat, which is also made from plant oil and animal fats, as well as recycled grease and algae oil, according to the website mybioheat.com.
Early Forms of Biofuel
The idea of using organic material for fuel is not new. In fact, it’s been going on for centuries. In America, whale oil was the fuel of choice for lighting house lamps in the 1700s and the early 1800s, according to the Canadian website Réseau BiofuelNet. As the price of whale oil went up, people switched to another biofuel, kerosene in the mid 1800s.
At around this same time, we began to see the first experiments involving biofuels and internal combustion engines. In 1826, American Samuel Morey ran his prototype engine on alcohol, according to the classic-car blog Hemmings. In 1860, Nikolaus Otto, inventor of the Otto-cycle engine, used ethyl alcohol in his engines.
The Dawn of the 20th Century
A post civil war tax on alcohol made it costly to use alcohol as a fuel source, according to Hemmings, limiting it’s use for the remainder of the century. For this reason, early automobiles ran on gasoline. But as the 1900s arrived, Long Islander Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House and he repealed the alcohol tax in hopes that alcohol-based fuel companies would rise up and compete with the behemoth Standard Oil, which had been founded by John D. Rockefeller, who’d retired only a few years earlier. Also, around the turn of the century, Rudolf Diesel, whose invention now bears his name, demonstrated his engine by running it on peanut oil at the 1900 World Exhibition in France, according to the HowStuffWorks website.
One early 20th century businessman who also experimented with biofuel engines was Henry Ford who planned to fuel his legendary Model T with ethanol, according to National Geographic. But huge oil discoveries kept gasoline cheap for decades.
The Rise of Ethanol
Ethanol was used to produce rubber in World War II, according to Hemmings, but it was in the 1970s that people began to take another look at biofuels after the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Jimmy Carter created federal incentives for the US Ethanol industry and by the mid 1980s, more than 595 million gallons of ethanol was being produced.
However, the oil industry rebounded in the late 1980s, and the ethanol industry was on the rocks again. Then, environmental regulations in the 1990s boosted biofuels as ethanol became a popular alternative to lead and other toxins.
Tragar Home Services Will Help You Be More Energy Efficient
Using Bioheat in your home improves energy efficiency because it allows your oil heat system to burn cleaner and more efficiently than it would if you had only traditional oil. All of Tragar’s oil customers receive Bioheat delivery automatically at no additional cost.
If you’d like more information about Bioheat or have questions about Tragar’s oil service, contact us today.