Reduction of Air Pollution Using Bio-Fuels As Form Renewable Energy


Executive Summary 3

Introduction 4

Problem Statement 4

Purpose of study 5

Literature Review 8

Methodology 12

Data Collection 13

Data Analysis 16

References 17

Executive Summary

The paper explored contemporary issue of consumption of energy in detail. As we, all know that despite the increasing intentions towards energy consumption, the energy demand of the planet is also increasing. There is a rapid increase in the industries and vehicles due to the population explosion. The goal of the paper is to see how air pollution can reduce through Bio-fuels because it is best renewable energy sources. There are many contributing agents towards air pollution for example petroleum, natural gas, and hydrocarbons. The petroleum diesel, which is heavily used in the industries and transportation, emits a number of greenhouse gases. Air Pollution depends upon usage of bio-fuel. Therefore, Air pollution is independent Variable and Bio-Fuel is dependent one. Structure interview and public survey is method to be used for data analyses. 


This paper seeks to present the research methodology for a research study investigating reduction of air pollution using bio fuels as form renewable energy. The environmental influences of bio-fuels such as corn ethanol have been cause for much debate in recent years (Lee, Speight & Loyalka, 2014). The debate has largely been informed by the disagreements concerning the research methods employed in assessing the impacts under investigation. Another issue, which has served to compromise previous research studies, is founded on the fact that there are many assumptions incorporated in previous research studies due to the prevalence of incomplete data. 

Problem Statement

There are two main threats faced by our planet today as they are directly influencing the future of humans and animals of the planet. These threats are known as air pollution and global warming. The rising prices and decreasing resources of conventional energy sources are also the threat to economic development and political stability of the planet. The air pollution indoor and outdoor is the sixth largest cause of deaths in the world number over 2.4 million premature deaths in the world (Jacobson, 2009).  Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources contributing significantly to world energy supply. Their usage has created environmental and political concerns. It is estimated that almost 98% of carbon emission results from the fossil fuel combustion. Heat stress, disease, the severity of storms and acidity in oceans is increased as a direct result of the global warming. The global warming and increased emission of carbon shifts viable agriculture and harms the ecosystems. The water supply’s magnitude and timing are also changed as the result of the global warming (Jacobson, 2009). 

The concept of bio-fuels is not a new concept. The first bio-fuel using vegetable oil as the replacement of the conventional diesel was introduced in the year 1911 (Jacobson,  2009). It is estimated that the use of bio-fuels in comparison to the conventional fossil fuels might reduce the carbon and hydrocarbon emissions. For a sustainable future growth, it is necessary to reduce almost 80% of present carbon and hydrocarbon emissions. In this paper, the different sources of bio-fuels are evaluated with their impacts on the hydrocarbon emissions. The review also addresses the issues of social implications of the bio-fuels and controversies associated with the development of the fossil fuels. Costs associated with the use of bio-fuels and their implications are also discussed in the literature of the current paper. 

Purpose of study

The purpose of this particular research study is to contrast bio-ethanol systems with conventional fuels using the life cycle assessment (LCA) criterion. Previous research studies have emphasized on greenhouse gases and net energy and as such, system boundaries and the divergent assumptions applied point out that there are differences in scope of study approaches (Twidell & Weir, 2015). This qualitative research study will involve field studies for the collection of data from different locations and the subsequent lab experiences for analysis. The lab experiments will be of great significance owing to the associated internal validity. As such, it is envisaged that the cause and effect affiliations can be best observed within a laboratory environment since it is a man made and controllable setting.  Different elements will be assessed as the units for analysis. The elements will include soil, ecosystem services, biodiversity, water quality, GHG emission, air quality, water quantity and consumption use. 

As such, this particular research study will also present a general overview of LCA methodology normally employed in the assessment of the environmental impacts associated with the production and use of bio-fuels (Knothe, Krahl & Van Gerpen, 2015). By examining the contemporary breadth of knowledge about significant environmental effects, this outcome of the research endeavor will be further discuss specific environmental impacts. This will be applicable relative to combustion, conversion to bio-fuels, feedstock production, as well as the entire lifecycle of bio-fuel applications as well as production (Janaun & Ellis, 2010). The methods utilized in the assessment of environmental impacts and the observed effects or forecasted results in peer-reviewed literature will be presented (Knothe, Krahl & Van Gerpen, 2015). It is expected that the availability of data and associated deficiencies will present gaps among the prevalent modeling platforms. This implies that a level of uncertainty will exist in the assessment of different environmental aspects. 

This research study will employ regional environmental evaluations concerning bio-fuels production. This is in essence due to the fact that bio-fuel production impacts are basically location specific (Janaun & Ellis, 2010). The resultant findings as well as conclusions sourced from the regional environmental evaluations may tend to vary from an evaluation considering the cumulative impacts across an entire state or country. 

The LCA tool is highly appropriate for the quantification of environmental impacts of bio-fuels as renewable energy (Huo, Wang, Bloyd & Putsche, 2008). In previous research studies, it has been noted that there is generally an extensive misinterpretations of results. This is mainly due to the various assessment methods employed and as such, this has brought about some considerable degrees of confusion regarding this issue. This is especially the case when particular assumptions and frameworks fail to be mentioned or accorded due credit regarding the form of analysis used. 

There are two different but significant approaches towards using the LCA criterion. These two approaches are the consequential and attribution approaches (Huo, Wang, Bloyd & Putsche, 2008). The attribution approach employs a more conventional form and seeks to trace the energy and material flows existing within a typical bio-fuel supply chain. This approach will normally attribute environmental effects to a specific form of bio-fuel as dictated by these flows. On the other hand, the consequential LCA examines environmental effects with regard to the cascading events that arise based on the decision to consider producing or even not producing a particular bio-fuel. The variances witnessed between the two approaches are due to their distinctive applications (Huo, Wang, Bloyd & Putsche, 2008). 

Consequential LCA employs marginal data while attributional LCA employs average or progress specific data (Demirbas, 2009). These differences are important to note since this particular research study seeks to use the consequential LCA for data collection. An example as to which this particular approach is best suited for this research as it considers the effects of market mediation for a specific form of bio-fuel (Demirbas, 2009). For instance, it considers the environmental impacts associated with changes in petroleum or crop prices arising from the production of bio-fuels. The consequential LCA also takes into account all of the associated human activities while assigning a distinct bio-fuel to the total effect change due to a decision and action to implement, contract or expand bio-fuel production or not. Conversely, consequential LCA is critical towards policy and regulation evaluation (Demirbas, 2009). Data will be located from various locations and the subsequent analysis conducted in a controlled laboratory environment. The analysis is expected to avail scientific evidence that will imply that as a form of renewable energy, bio-fuels have the potential to reduce air pollution. 

Literature Review

Production of Bio-fuels 

There are different sources and methods that can be applied to produce the biodiesel. These sources and methods include direct use, blending, microemulsion process, thermal cracking process and the most commonly used technique known transesterification. This method is adopted widely due to the easiness and the process can be carried out in the normal conditions. The quality of the converted fuel is also better as compared to the other methods used for the synthesis of biodiesel (Gashaw, Getachaw,  &Teshita, 2015).

The direct use of vegetable oils as an alternative to the conventional diesel is not favorable. The use of vegetable as a direct fuel is very problematic. The vegetable oils have intrinsic properties which make them similar to the diesel but they require certain chemical modification before they can be used as a direct source of fuel. Some diesel engines can run directly on the fossil fuels but the engines which use turbo charge experience some problems. The vegetable oils in comparison to the conventional diesel have the high viscosity (Teshita, 2015). 

The problems of high-viscosity were resolved by the introduction of micro-emulsions. The solvents such as ethanol, methanol and 1-butanol were used as solvents in order to reduce the viscosity of the fossil fuels. The microemulsions can improve the spray properties of the biodiesel by rapid vaporization of the solvents. Thus, microemulsions result in the low-viscosity and an increase in the cetane number of the biodiesel. The repeated use of the microemulsion fuels in the diesel engines caused problems like injector needle sticking, depositing of the carbon and incomplete combustion (Teshita, 2015). 

The most common and easiest way to produce the biodiesel is the transesterification method. In this method a catalyst is used in the chemical reaction of vegetable oil and alcohol to produce the biodiesel. The common catalyst used is a strong base such sodium or potassium hydroxide. The process results in the changes of viscosity of the vegetable oil. The product has viscosity like fossil fuels. There are several factors, which affect the production of the biodiesel as bio-fuel. Temperature is the most important factor among them. It is required to keep the temperature under normal conditions, which is room temperature 25°C (Teshita, 2015). 

In the world today, a large global campaign is going on to include the different raw materials such as sugar cane, soybeans and sugar beets as raw materials for fossil fuels. The presentation of the bio-fuels as the perfect alternate for petroleum derivatives has been the focus of many studies conducted worldwide. The driving force behind this worldwide exploration is the reduction of environment concerns raised by the use fossil fuels. The use of wood as an alternative source of energy has been studied and its results for the reduction of fossil fuel carbon emissions are studied (Teshita, 2015). 

Emission Reduction from Bio-fuels

There is a significant variation in emission reduction of the fossil fuels using different feedstock and processing alternatives. The production of ethanol from the process of gasification reduced the emission to almost 74% (Lippke, Puettmann, Johnson, Gustafson, Venditti, Steele & Caputo, 2012). When ethanol is prepared by the fermentation of willow the emission was reduced to almost 120%. The reductions greater than 100 percent are achieved when part of woody feedstock is used for the generation of the electricity required for the process. The gasification process requires more quantity of wood to offset fossil fuels for collection and processing submissions. It shows that the amount of reduction is dependent on the amount of wood used rather than the way it is used (Caputo, 2012). 

Production of oil from the process pyrolysis of the whole tree thinning reduced the emission from fossil fuel to almost 70% in the US Southeast (Caputo, 2012). The mechanisms used for the reduction of emissions and production of alternate bio-fuels exceeded the threshold placed by the EPA of 60% (Caputo, 2012).The conversion process from woody feedstocks to ethanol using the process of gasification and fermentation results in less carbon reduction efficiency as compared to bio-fuel produced through pyrolysis. The reduction efficiency of converting the woody feedstocks to bio-oils and then to bio-fuel to be used as a substitute for gasoline may be lower than producing bio-oils (Caputo, 2012). 

Challenges for Bio-fuels

One of the most used justifications which are used for the adoption of bio-fuels as an alternate source of energy is the anticipated benefits to the environment from the replacement of fossil fuels. The combustion of fossil fuels results in the emission of carbon dioxide and gases known as Green House Gases (GHG) (German, Schoneveld,  & Pacheco, 2011). The promise made by the use of bio-fuels is a greener energy for the transportation. This promise has resulted in the inclusion of bio-fuels as alternative sources of energy targets in many industrial countries like the United States. Along with the US other interesting parties include EU and several developing countries including Brazil. Some of the researches in the area suggest that the land usage directly or indirectly for the use of bio-fuels can negate the emission of GHG and estimated climatic benefits (Pacheco, 2011). 

Considering the above-mentioned factors there is an increase in the recognizing the climatic effects of bio-fuels must include the full life cycle. The full life cycle includes the production, distribution and consumption of the bio-fuels. The lifecycle also includes the direct and indirect land usage for the production of the bio-fuels. The environmental debate mainly focuses on the issue of the climatic change. The other environmental factor associated with the use of bio-fuels must be taken into consideration. Some people claim that the cultivation of bio-fuel feedstocks on the land which could not be cultivated can make these lands productive and thus increase the forest conversion (Pacheco, 2011).

In the 1990’s it was estimated that almost 500 million hectares of uncultivated land are available for cultivation. Out of this 100 million hectares of land was in Latin America, 100 million in Asia and 300 million hectares were in Africa. In Indonesia, 27 million hectares of deforested land has been identified for the cultivation of palm oils (Pacheco, 2011). In Indonesia however, many papers and pulp companies have managed to deforest large areas of forest under the guise of palm oil cultivation. Some of this development used timber finances to make it happen, however, there was no plantation of palm oil in some of the cases or any rural development in the areas. Some of the researchers have focused on quantifying the impacts of bio-fuel feed stock expansion on the forest already present. According to a research, it was estimated that between 1995 and 2005 55% to 59% of palm oil cultivation in Malaysia and almost 59% of the palm oil cultivation in Indonesia was at the expense of the forests (Pacheco, 2011). 

Social and Economic Impacts

The debate on the social and economic impacts of bio-fuels focuses on the two key issues. These issues are the ability of bio-fuels acting as a stimulus to the rural and secondly its effect on access and control of land, and food security. A number of multiple purpose feedstocks have been identified as beneficial for the rural economic development. Under the correct conditions, the bio-fuels can generate financial profits, increase in the value of land, employment, improvement in the infrastructure and income from smallholder cultivation. Soybean cultivation has proved to be beneficial for the landowners and produced several critical economic multipliers in the downstream food industry. One of the primary benefits yielded from the cultivation of feedstocks is the employment of the people. The oil palm industry in Indonesia and Malaysia employs 0.08 to 0.5 persons per hector (Pacheco, 2011).

The bio-fuels have a place in the strategy for renewable energy sources at a global level. Currently, they supply over 10% of the total energy use at a global level. The liquid bio-fuels only contribute 0.4% of global energy. Most of the time as in past the bio-fuels’ usage is dominated by direct combustion as it is in the case of wood. In recent times, much of the concentration is given to the production of the liquid bio-fuels (booksSekaran and Bougie, 2013).. The government of United Kingdom concluded in a report that by the end of the year 2020 will meet only 2% of global energy needs. Using ethanol as an alternative fuel for transportation is not a smart idea as other bio-fuels show greater efficiency. From a realistic, prospective the using of bio-fuels for transportation is not the best choice. However, it can be seen that bio-fuels reduce emission of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases considerably as compared to fossil fuels. The bio-fuels can play their part in the energy future of the world but they can never be a replacement for the fossil fuels (Zhang, 2012).


The methodology discussed here ultimately considered by study. The relation between variables can be represented as below:

Independent Variable                                                                     Dependent Variable

Figure 1: theoretical framework

Air Pollution depends upon the usage of Bio-Fuels. 

Data Collection

We will collect data through the use of questionnaires and interviews. We will ensure that we use structured interview and questionnaires. Our questionnaires will be developed in a manner that they have both open and closed ended questions so that the respondents will have the opportunity to provide all the relevant information they have about the reduction of pollution using bio-fuel as a form of a renewable source of energy (Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999). We will also use oral interviews so that we will be able to get direct information from the respondents.

In our research, we will also collect some data using secondary data collection methods by searching some relevant information from the internet and also going through different.It will be convenient enough to also use secondary sources of data because there is some documentation on the effect of air pollution. To increase the efficiency and accuracy of data collection, we need to collect a well structured data. For this research we will collect data from 300 respondents when 95% levelconfidence is used. This will require us to use large sample which is always ≥30. The research book highlights that in any case there is a need to increase the level of confidence, it is important to use large sample larger than 30 (Sekaran&Bougie, 2013). In addition, he also added that it is important to use large sample more than 30  and less than 500 population parameters is usually more appropriate and able to increase research accuracy. He further highlighted that only one hypothesis testing is usually important for the research when a binomial distribution is applied.

It is also important to test null and alternative hypothesis where our null hypothesis will be Bio-fuels reduces air pollution and alternative hypothesis: bio-fuel does not reduce air pollution. Since we will use large sample where n≥30≤500 sample population, we will compare the result of our analysis with z test with the result of our hypothesis testing (Sekaran & Bougie, 2013). When we use binomial distribution, we will have abbreviations such as n, p and q where n will represent number of observations represent probability while q = 1-p. This kind of test is one tail test meaning that alpha will be 0.05 so that we can measure the error margin. We will collect the information about the use of bio-fuels to reduce pollution from different households and industries (Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999). In this research, it is very simple to collect data because it is collected from different households. We can also collect data concerning the use of bio-fuels to reduce pollution from different books and journals since there are many publications which have such kind of information.

Concerning this study, we will be able to use both primary and secondary research methods to collect data. This is because the use of bio-fuel is clearly indicated in different books, online and journals how it is being applied to reduce air pollution. This method of data collection will ensure that we get adequate and reliable source of information which we will use to understand the truth about the use of bio-fuel to control pollution(Sekaran & Bougie, 2013). We can also use the format of questions and answers. This is because it can easily be understood by the system since it will be easy to accept the key word used in the question and finally generate answer based on the question given. It is also indicated in some recent articles written by students at Purdue that most student use IBM computer to understand firsthand on how the computer uses natural language (Sekaran & Bougie, 2013). The research done by Purdue students contained Indiana state code law that had been evaluated using the version of Watson. Those who have used the bio-fuel to reduce air pollution confirmed that it is able to reduce air pollution only when it is used appropriately. Through this, we realize that we can use Watson’s knowledge in research to determine the application of bio-fuel in the reduction of air pollution. In this our research, we have previous result is a question-answer format (Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999). This will make it easy to use them when using Watson version. This will help us get a more accurate and correct result for our analysis.

Assuming that Watson already has the information pertaining to questions stored in its cloud system. The important areas, which need to be focused on during the analysis process, will include the accuracy and precision of results generated by machine (Sekaran & Bougie, 2013). Based on the generation of results by the system one can make a comparison on what the treatments were proposed by human in the book versus machine. 

We will also use an extremely scalable proposal and hybrid cloud computing will be of great importance to retrieve data from the system and since that kind of systems are commonly available in shops, we will easily get one for our analysis (Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999). In the final stage, we will use binomial distribution, level of significance and hypothesis testing to assess the accuracy and reliability of data.

Data Analysis

Immediately, the data have been collected and cleaned, they will be analyzed through feeding all the reliable and correct data in the version Watson. The feeding of these data is done in a question answer format. The performance is then observed until the result is produced. In the process, we must ensure that we have the version of Watson so that we can compare the result of the machine and human based results. The best example is when the outcome of the use of Bio-fuel to reduce air pollution can be inputted in this program where it will explore through numerous algorithms to produce three different possible outcomes with the corresponding level of significant. In this software, we can enter such questions such as (IBM Watson Developer Cloud, n.d.): 


Demirbas, A. (2009). Bio-fuels securing the planet’s future energy needs. Energy Conversion and Management, 50(9), 2239-2249.  

Gashaw, A., Getachaw, T., &Teshita, A. (2015). A Review on Biodiesel Production as Alternative Fuel. Journal of Forest Products and Industries, 4(2). 

German, L., Schoneveld, G. C., & Pacheco, P. (2011). The Social and Environmental Impacts of Bio-fuel Feedstock Cultivation: Evidence from Multi-Site Research in the Forest Frontier. Ecology and Society, 16(3). doi:10.5751/es-04309-160324

Huo, H., Wang, M., Bloyd, C. & Putsche, V. (2008). Life-cycle assessment of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of soybean-derived biodiesel and renewable fuels. Environmental science & technology, 43(3), 750-756.   

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Janaun, J. & Ellis, N. (2010). Perspectives on biodiesel as a sustainable fuel. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 14(4), 1312-1320.   

Knothe, G., Krahl, J.& Van Gerpen, J. (Eds.). (2015). The biodiesel handbook. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.  

Lee, S., Speight, J. G. & Loyalka, S. K. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of alternative fuel technologies. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.  

Lippke, B., Puettmann, M. E., Johnson, L., Gustafson, R., Venditti, R., Steele, P., … Caputo, J. (2012). Carbon Emission Reduction Impacts from Alternative Bio-fuels*. Forest Products Journal, 62(4), 296-304. doi:10.13073/12-00021.1

Mugenda, O and Mugenda, A. (1999). Research Methods: quantitative and qualitative approaches.Acts press, Nairobi.

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Twidell, J., & Weir, T. (2015). Renewable energy resources. London, UK: Routledge.Zhanag, J., & Zhang, W. (2012). Controversies, development and trends of bio-fuel industry in the world. Environment Skeptics and Critics, 1(3), 48-55.

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