Consequently, their use lowers GHG emissions in the gasoline or diesel powered vehicles, such as cars, trucks and ships. They can also be used as a fuel for airplanes. Another type of biofuel, biogas, can be used in place of natural gas as a heating fuel.
For use in current engines, biodiesel can be blended with regular diesel in small concentrations to reduce GHG emissions. With improvements in engine design, greater percentages of biofuel could be used, reducing GHG emissions further.
For heavy machinery like ships, airplanes and large trucks, use of electric motors is difficult due to the size and weight of the batteries required. Biofuels provide an alternative that may be better suited for these vehicles, at least until battery technology is improved, in the effort to reduce carbon emissions from such vehicles.
Biofuels produced from existing agricultural land are controversial, as the land is removed from food production. Also controversial is the expansion of biofuel-intended farming but cutting down forests, which harms biodiversity and contributes to climate change. Less controversial is the use of waste products from forestry or agriculture. Future tech companies have been experimenting with other sources for biofuel, such as algae, to avoid these negative impacts.
For a detailed discussion of biodiesel production and use in Canada click here.