Brief History of Biofuels

Since man discovered how to make and control fire, we have been using biofuels.

Wood Whale Oil Focus on Plants
The most primitive biofuel is wood. In the distant past, early man burned wood for light, heat, cooking, and protection from animals. With the development of technology, wood was used to boil water for steam engines that powered machinery and locomotives. More recently, wood has been used as a fuel source for heating homes and for cooking purposes. In developing countries, wood is still used today for heating and cooking. Whale oil was used for centuries and became very valuable for lighting with oil lamps in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the rate at which it was used rendered it non-renewable. Many species of whales were brought to the brink of extinction due to whaling ships that did not account for preservation of the whale population in the world's oceans. Biofuels have historically come from both plants and animals, but animals are no longer harmed for fuel stocks. Whaling is now generally illegal internationally, although some poaching continues, sometimes under the guise of research. Emphasis has moved to plants for efficiency, biodiversity, and humanitarian reasons.

DID YOU KNOW? Animal feces, also known as dung, are still used in many parts of the world as an energy source.

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