Biofuels are renewable energy sources in form of liquids that mostly derive from plant materials though they can be also produced from other sources such as algae. Biofuels belong to renewable energy sources with the best potential because they can be produced almost everywhere on our planet from various plants, algae and even waste.
Biofuels are usually classified into three main categories: first generation biofuels (usually made from sugar, starch, vegetable oil), second generation biofuels (made from non-food crops), and third generation biofuels (biofuels from algae).
Biofuels are still involved into food vs. fuel debate because they are still mostly produced from food crops which could lead to increase in food prices and more hunger in the world. This is the main reason why science is working hard to make production of second and third generation biofuels as commercial as possible.
The most popular biofuel is biodiesel. Biodiesel is environmentally friendlier when compared to standard diesel fuel. The main problem with biodiesel is that it is still predominantly produced from vegetable oils.
Switching to biofuels instead of sticking with fossil fuels would significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions on global scale though there are several other renewable energy sources that are connected with fewer emissions such as solar and wind.
Increased biofuel production could lead to better energy security and would help decrease foreign oil import. However, global biofuel production still needs to reach adequate level of sustainability in order not to lead to higher food prices and deforestation.
The production of biofuels must not interfere with food production because food must always be more important than fuel, regardless of what's more profitable option.
The effects of the biofuel production on food are still being fiercely debated. In order to avoid future controversies science has major task in making production of second and third generation of biofuels much cheaper and more efficient.