For many centuries, petroleum has been the world’s most popular source of fuel, whether for heating or for energy generation. However, its unrenewable nature and the undeniable harm that it inflicts to the environment have proven that we needed a better and more sustainable alternative—and this is where biofuel comes in.

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Many researchers have spent years exploring viable sources as a response to the alarming signs of global climate change. When science and technology came together to answer this demand, a list of unexpected and surprising organic materials stepped up and dominated the scene.

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Corn, for instance, currently produces the biggest supply of biofuel in the United States because of its product, ethanol. However, its category as an agricultural product does not make it a top choice for fuel and many debates have pointed out that taking food and putting it into fuel can be problematic.

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Another viable source of biofuel comes from a very popular water-grown plant, algae. Its nature and where it can be found have made it more practical than its land-based counterparts—especially because it grows amazingly fast. Pond scum and seaweed are not scientifically categorized as plants but 50 percent of their weight is composed of fat and can be rendered into oil to finally produce ethanol.

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In the industry of biofuel production, sugar cane has been widely used (second to corn). Usually, it grows in warm countries and its abundance in places like Brazil has made it an essential source of energy, thanks to sugar cane ethanol. Unlike corn and other seed-based fuels, sugar cane utilizes more of the plant.

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There are many other developments happening within the biofuel industry and some of them are showing optimistic signs of success. With the planet’s condition worsening, it is about time for mankind to step up and look for viable solutions to prevent our only home in entire galaxy from deteriorating further.