Fuel is the energy that is emitted when the physical or chemical state of a substance changes. One such type of fuel is fossil fuels. Petroleum products, coal, natural gas, mineral, oil are known as fossil fuels. This fuel is made by burying dead trees or dead bodies under the ground for thousands of years. This process usually takes up to 650 million years. All these fuels contain high amounts of carbon. Fossil fuels store chemical energy and burn it to heat energy, which can later be converted into kinetic energy. But burning of such energy causes huge damage to the environment. 21.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide is being produced by burning fossil fuels every year. Harmful carbon dioxide is released into the air, causing global warming. Combined with the water vapor of the air, it is falling on the soil in the form of organic acid and causing damage to the soil and crops. In many cases, the existence of the organism is under threat. One statistic shows that the number of deaths of workers in the extraction of electricity from coal to thermal power plants is equal to the number of deaths of workers in nuclear reactors. So it goes without saying that fossil fuels are not sustainable fuels.
Biotechnology is the use of technology that can be used economically, socially and environmentally to benefit socio-economically and scientifically without harming the environment. Every element of biotechnology is extracted completely scientifically without causing any harm to the environment and to further accelerate human life. The same amount of heat or kinetic energy that we get through petrol-diesel can be obtained in a scientific way without any harm to the environment through the use of this technology.
Biofuels are a type of environmentally friendly fuel. Ethanol and diesel are combined in biofuels and the main ingredients are rice, pulses, wheat, maize and oilseeds. Currently it is only used in the developed world. Because the preparation of this fuel is a very expensive process which becomes difficult for the third world countries. That is why this fuel has been called the fuel of the developed world.
The amount of food used to produce 25 gallons of biofuels is the annual diet of an adult in Africa. The United States processes about 100 million tons of food grains annually to produce biofuels, and the amount of food used in them is wasting 3 years of food for people in 4 countries like Bangladesh. Britain has confirmed the use of 113 billion tonnes of maize to produce biofuels. For this, a lot of forests and water bodies are being cleared which is more harmful than the pollution of the use of mineral oil. A report on the subject was published in The Science in February 2006. According to the World Bank, from 2004 to 2006, the world produced 51 million tons of maize. Of this, 50 million tons of corn has been used to make ethanol in the United States. It has been decided to produce food grains on 4 million square kilometers of land in South Africa only for use in biofuels. For developing countries like Bangladesh, preparing biofuels will become a serious threat. The source of this fuel is food grains and it is our main food. If this food is used for fuel, there will be an extreme food crisis in the country and the prices of food items and edible oils will go up. Where our country suffers from thousands of tons of food shortages every year, has to import large quantities of food items, the production of fuel from food grains is a lot like a fairy tale.
According to the study, if current energy demand and use of fossil fuels continue at current rates, oil reserves will be depleted by 2050, natural gas by 2060 and coal by 2088. As a result, everyone is forced to look for alternative sources. Bangladesh is not sitting still. Various preparations are going on. Emphasis is being placed on renewable energy sources in the country to meet sustainable energy generation and energy demand.
Biotechnology is a technology where proper application of science has been demonstrated as evidenced by biogas plants or the use of solar panels. As a result, construction of hydroelectric power station in Chittagong in 1956 and its journey through solar home system in Sylhet started in 1960. In 2009, the Government of Bangladesh formulated a Renewable Energy Policy which called for renewable energy to be 10% of the total energy produced in Bangladesh. Bangladesh joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2012 with the establishment of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority Act. Besides, various sustainable energy including biogas, biofuel, bio-fertilizer are being produced from daily waste in rural areas which is almost one hundred percent safe for the environment and people and is very efficient as a fuel. These are undoubtedly conventional and sustainable alternative sources of fossil fuels.
Due to rapid population growth, economic growth and rapid expansion of urbanization and industrialization, solid and liquid wastes are increasing in municipal areas and even across the country. Big cities are struggling with municipal solid waste management. However, these wastes can become one of the sources of energy production.
It is possible to generate 1,86,408 kilowatts of electricity by using municipal waste for power generation. In the absence of various biodegradable organic matter air, biogas is produced in the process of fermentation. Its main byproduct is methane gas. 70-80% methane is available and the residue is applied to the soil as high quality organic fertilizer. Not only methane gas, it is possible to produce ethanol and biodiesel as vehicle fuel using bioenergy. The first biogas plant was built in Bangladesh in 1972. Since then, a total of 76,771 biogas plants have been constructed in the country till June 2020 under various government and private initiatives.
The potential for development in biogas technology in Bangladesh is very strong. At present the total number of cattle in the country is 2,41,90,000 from which it is possible to get about 24,20,000 kg of waste. From this amount of waste, 3,19,00,000,000 cubic meters of biogas can be produced daily and capable of supplying cooking gas and electricity to a family of 7-8 members from a plant with a production capacity of 3 cubic meters. This requires 60-70 kg of dung which is available from 5-6 cows. In addition to gas and electricity supply, animal waste used in biogas production can be used in agriculture as organic manure. It can even be used as a fish meal that is completely safe and free of side effects. According to the government’s announcement, no natural gas connection will be provided to households after 2020. LPG should be used through which the chances of accidents are high. The need is to meet the demand by producing electricity and fuel from biogas plants as a sustainable alternative solution.
The application of various chemical fertilizers on agricultural land results in loss of ecological balance, loss of soil quality, loss of plants as well as loss of biodiversity and water pollution. Eco-friendly and environmentally friendly organic fertilizers can be an alternative to chemical fertilizers. Environmentally friendly agriculture uses organic fertilizers, organic pesticides and organic management instead of chemical fertilizers. Organic matter is called the heart of plants because it increases the water holding capacity of the soil, makes nutrients readily available, and increases the activity of soil microorganisms. So the farmers and cultivators of our country are now very much encouraged to use organic manure. Some more organic fertilizers are readily available in Bangladesh. These are compost fertilizers. There are generally four types of compost fertilizers marketed in our country- General Compost Fertilizer, Vermi Compost Fertilizer, Quick Compost Fertilizer and Tricho Compost Fertilizer. It takes 2-3 months to make ordinary compost manure and quick compost manure can be made in 14-15 days. Such fertilizers are completely environmentally friendly and their use increases the yield of the land.
The outstanding contribution of biotechnology to sustainable energy production is the production of energy from waste which is manifested in the form of biogas, biofuels and biofertilizers. A biogas plant provides gas, fuel, fertilizer and fish feed at the same time and the biggest problem of the present era is the elimination of waste problem. The use of biogas plants in rural areas reduces the pressure on plants for fuel. Many are encouraged to set up livestock farms at home due to low cost of biogas plants and high utilization of animal waste.
Our Bangladesh is a country of immense potential. There are endless possibilities, surprises and strong morale in every nook and cranny of this country. But our lack of opportunities and our own delusions are wasting thousands of fruitful resources- most of which are natural resources and are available for free. Another opportunity that has come before us is biotechnology. It provides a sustainable solution to production. This new technology has come a long way in sustainable energy production. We also need to make sure that sustainable energy production using natural energy is profitable. Only then will we be able to save nature from destruction as our economic growth will be.
ShahrinTabassum is a student of Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University Trishal, Mymensingh