biofuel

noun
bio·​fu·​el | \ ˌbi-(ˌ)ō-ˈfyü(-ə)l \

Definition of biofuel

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

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

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

Arnold’s methods are now used to produce pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, and enzymes for biofuels. Umair Irfan, Vox, "3 scientists sped up evolution in a lab. Their work just won a Nobel Prize.," 3 Oct. 2018 Strona and his colleagues went with the most conservative estimate for biofuel and combined it with Corley's estimate of 44 million hectares for edible oil. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "African palm oil expansion is bad news for the continent’s primates," 17 Aug. 2018 Since their carbon came from the atmosphere rather than from underground reservoirs, biofuels can in theory be carbon neutral, or close to it. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, explained," 24 Oct. 2018 To really hammer the concept home, the Dunkin’ house is powered by a generator that runs on a biofuel blend of 80 percent coffee oil extracted from coffee grounds. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "You can now stay in a tiny house powered by coffee," 24 Oct. 2018 This research echoes the similar studies of leaf-cutter ants, who are good at breaking down the cellulose in grasses and other potential sources of biofuel. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Gribble Worm Could Hold Secrets for Cheaper Renewable Energy," 5 Dec. 2018 The Renewable Fuels Standard had previously required 26 billion gallons of biofuel to be sold in 2018. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "EPA reconsidering biofuel targets after production goals are missed," 25 Nov. 2018 Her techniques have been recreated with a variety of enzymes with a tremendous number of results, for everything from greener biofuels to neutralizing toxins. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The 2018 Nobels in Chemistry Made Evolution Work For Us," 3 Oct. 2018 While other biofuels can damage motors if they aren’t first blended with fossil fuels, Neste’s product and others like it can be dropped straight into existing engines. Sarah Kent, WSJ, "The Key to Big Profits in Clean Energy: Animal Fats," 14 Aug. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of biofuel

1974, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about biofuel

Listen to Our Podcast about biofuel

Dictionary Entries near biofuel

bioflavonoid

bioflick

biofouling

biofuel

biog

biogas

biogen

Statistics for biofuel

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for biofuel

The first known use of biofuel was in 1974

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on biofuel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with biofuel

Nglish: Translation of biofuel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of biofuel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on biofuel

What made you want to look up biofuel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!