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 Yet the Crown, now represented by her son, an eco-friendly king who likes to run his Aston Martin on biofuel derived from cheese and white wine, endures. Wsj Books Staff, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 In the near future, higher-cost biofuel could be produced from agricultural waste products, such as plant stems or husks, and residues from wood processing, as well as non-edible plants grown on purpose like miscanthus, similar to bamboo. Jacopo Prisco, CNN, 26 Apr. 2022 Some large refiners such as Marathon Petroleum and Phillips 66 have sought to comply with biofuel mandates by converting refineries to produce renewable diesel from vegetable oil. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 15 June 2022 Even regular gasoline typically has up to a 10% ethanol blend, so E15 is just more biofuel in your gas. Ella Nilsen, CNN, 12 Apr. 2022 Weinberg-Lynn points out that more biofuel units will be built there, towering 10 stories high. Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Probably the key ingredient to reaching at least the best-case scenario for SAF is figuring out how to get swing biofuel capacity — the 20% or so of production capable of turning out either RD or SAF — to switch to SAF. Oliver Wyman, Forbes, 18 Aug. 2022 It is also used in fertilizer, food, biofuel, construction materials and medicinal products. Fox News, 4 Aug. 2022 Casey Norton, a spokesperson for ExxonMobil, did not answer when asked about whether the company was working on integrating processes like wastewater treatment as part of its algae biofuel strategy. Melina Walling, The Arizona Republic, 19 May 2022 See More

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.

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

23 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Biofuel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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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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