bio·​fu·​el | \ ˌbi-(ˌ)ō-ˈfyü(-ə)l How to pronounce biofuel (audio) \

Definition of biofuel

: a fuel (such as wood or ethanol) composed of or produced from biological raw materials — compare fossil fuel

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Since the early 19th century, "fossil fuel" has been used to refer to fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas which are formed from the remains of plants and animals which have lain in the earth for millions of years. In the 1970s, a new word, "biofuel," began to be used to describe a different kind of fuel, one taken from more contemporary organic matter. These fuels include ethanol, which can be derived from such products as corn and sugarcane, and biodiesel, which can be formed from vegetable oils. These organic sources are reflected in the prefix, bio-, meaning "life" or "living organisms or tissue." The prefix bio- was borrowed from the Greek bios, meaning "mode of life."

Examples of biofuel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The current biofuel mandate has run into a blend wall at about 10% ethanol in gasoline. Robert Rapier, Forbes, 4 July 2021 In an effort to create carbon-neutral cars, the mad scientists at the boutique Swedish marque have just started experimenting with a new type of biofuel that comes from semi-active volcanoes. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 14 June 2021 Liquid biofuel use grows to 2030 and then slows as transportation is electrified. Robert Rapier, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Meantime, since the blending requirements that Congress set end in 2022, the Biden EPA is now working on new biofuel mandates for subsequent years. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 14 May 2021 Alaska kelp pioneer Nick Mangini of Kodiak Island Sustainable Seaweed (KISS), also is working with the Dept. of Energy on a biofuel project that would eventually need hundreds of millions of pounds of product. Anchorage Daily News, 1 June 2021 By 2025, 10,000 barrels of the algal biofuel could be produced per day for commercial use. Michelle Mcmurry-heath Reprints, STAT, 23 May 2021 Demand for the oil, an increasingly important biofuel, is soaring. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 5 May 2021 The Continental GT3 will be powered by gutsy 4-liter V-8 that, in a first for the company, will run on biofuel. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 14 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biofuel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of biofuel

1974, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of biofuel was in 1974

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Last Updated

13 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Biofuel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on biofuel

Nglish: Translation of biofuel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of biofuel for Arabic Speakers


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