What is a biofuel and is CNG considered one?

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In an effort to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, an increasing number of people are turning to alternative energy sources, including biofuels.

Compressed natural gas, often referred to as CNG, is often considered an alternative fuel of the future, but can it be considered a biofuel?

Definition of a biofuel

If we combine the different descriptions of what a biofuel is, we can come up with a fairly precise definition. A biofuel is essentially a solid or gaseous fuel obtained from organic matter, also known as biomass. This means that biofuels are not considered to be fossil fuels and are in fact intended to replace them.

There are currently two main biofuel sectors. The first consists of all vegetable or even animal oils that can be used as fuel, while the second is more concerned with alcohols such as bioethanol, which can be obtained from the sugars or cellulose of certain plants.

The rise in popularity of biogas

In recent years, new types of biofuels have also increased in popularity. This is especially the case for biogas, which can be generated by decomposing the residual waste piled up in landfills. These biogases are harvested and then transformed into natural gas. A non-fossil fuel therefore perfectly meets the definition of a biofuel.

What about compressed natural gas (CNG)?

Compressed natural gas is in reality natural gas that is kept under pressure, often stored in a liquid phase. It is increasingly used to supply energy to all types of vehicles.

A cost-effective alternative fuel

CNG is an alternative fuel that owes its growing popularity to certain features. First, its price fluctuates less than that of gasoline and diesel, which has the potential to generate around 30% savings when compared to the use of traditional fossil fuels.

A greener fuel

CNG is also a much cleaner fuel than diesel. Choosing a heavy truck powered by compressed natural gas reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 25% and eliminates a large portion of the fine particles created during diesel combustion. In short, choosing compressed natural gas is perfectly suited to the fight against climate change.

Not all CNGs are necessarily biofuels

In the light of this information, it can be argued that some forms of CNG are biofuels and others are not. If the natural gas under pressure comes from hydrocarbons extracted from the ground by hydraulic fracturing or drilling (such as shale gas for example), it cannot be considered a biofuel.

Of course, natural gas obtained from biogas is more environmentally friendly since it comes from renewable energy sources, unlike fossil fuels.

EBI: a true Quebec pioneer in biofuels

Little by little, thanks to the contribution of certain companies, biofuels are becoming increasingly popular in Quebec. Among these, EBI stands out by producing a renewable natural gas, a product that could soon play a decisive role in energy transition, particularly in transport.

EBI invites you to join the movement and adopt CNG as the main energy source for your vehicles. Do not hesitate to contact our local company to find out how to follow suit and make a real difference for the environment.