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Difference Between Biofuel and Fossil Fuel

Main Difference

The main difference between Biofuel and Fossil Fuel is that Biofuel produces from living or newly decayed organic matter, whereas Fossil Fuel produces from the organic matter that has been decayed millions of years ago.

Biofuel vs. Fossil Fuel

Biofuel is a source of energy that is produced from living plants, animals, algae, or recently decayed organic matter, while fossil fuel is a fuel produced from the organic remains of plants and animals that are decayed about millions of years ago. Biofuel generates in a short period, or sometimes one can use it immediately for energy production; on the other side, fossil fuel requires a hundred thousand years of geological changes for their formation.


Biofuel is a cost-effective source of energy and yields less amount of energy comparatively when they are burned, whereas fossil fuel is relatively costly, but it yields a high amount of energy when combusted. Biofuel has renewable sources for its production; they can be replenished whenever needed; on the other hand, fossil fuel has non-renewable sources of production because they are produced naturally from environmental changes, ultimately changing the composition of organic matter.

Biofuel is environment friendly; no toxic gases released in the air when being burned, whereas fossil fuel produces toxic gases when they are burned, thus releasing carbon dioxide as a major byproduct. This is contributing to global warming. Biofuel has non-harmful nature; on the contrast, fossil fuel has harmful nature.


The industry of biofuel is flourishing day by day, and there are unlimited sources of it. The industry of fossil fuel is depleting day by day due to non-renewable resources. Examples of biofuel are biogas, ethyl alcohol, ethanol, biodiesel, animal, and plant manure. Examples of fossil fuel are petroleum, natural gas, crude oil, and coal.

Comparison Chart

BiofuelFossil fuel
Fuel produced from biomass is called biofuelFuel produced from fossil remains is called fossil fuel
From living or recently decayed organic matterFrom geologically decayed organic remains
Produced in a short periodProduced in millions of years
Yields less energyA high amount of energy
Not harmful natureHarmful nature
Non-toxic gases produced as a byproductToxic gases produced as a byproducts
Renewable sourcesNon-renewable source
Share of Energy Fuel
37% share7% share
Present Situation
Growing stateDepleting state
Biogas, manureCrude oil, coal

What is Biofuel?

Biofuel is a kind of fuel that produces from biomass that can be living plants or animals. A particular field area or land is used to grow plants and breed animals, thus ultimately leading to the production of energy resources. Biofuel is somehow considered as a green alternative to fossil fuel. We can replenish biofuel sources; thus they are termed as renewable sources of energy, and we can produce them instantly and constantly.

Now, for example, if we talk about wood, it is a readily available source of energy when combusted in the presence of air. This energy can be used for cooking purpose and to produce electricity. Similarly, ethyl alcohol is a biofuel that is produced in the fermentation process of sugar or starch. Corn or maize is a major source of biofuel when we talk about ethanol, while ethanol produces from sugarcane. So as far as plants are there, ultimately, biofuel has its resources.

Biofuel is less expensive, like when we compare biodiesel to petroleum (fossil fuel); it is affordable. The use of cyanobacteria and algae is turned out to be most effective as a biofuel because they release a high amount of energy.

Biofuel use is favorable to the atmosphere because it does not produce toxic byproducts when burned. Major greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is not produced during biofuel combustion, thus are not participating significantly in global warming. Besides the advantages of biofuel, there are some disadvantages like farming; a vast field with corn does not supply enough energy; furthermore, the low biodiversity of biofuel is also a reminder.

What is Fossil Fuel?

Fossil fuel is the non-renewable source of energy produced from the dead organic matter like plants and animals; it takes millions of years for this process. The fossil fuel came into existence about 300 to 400 million years ago when plants and animals were dead some were replaced with oceans and sea while other have layers of sand and soil covering them up and forming sediments and rocks, this has originally changed the chemical composition of this organic matter and shaped them as a new energy-producing source known as fossil fuel.

Eventually, this process included geographical and climate changes and requires million years to convert a simple plant or animal base organic material into high energy fuel. Commonly these fossils are obtained by drilling or mining. When these fossils burn, they produce high amounts of energy, and this energy is used in cars, factories, machinery, and electricity purposes. Thus we can say coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel; these are the major source of energy.

Through combustion, when fossil fuel burns, it produces a high level of carbon dioxide, which is termed as a greenhouse gas. Ultimately this is rising global warming and being hazardous for the environment. Another important factor that is associated particularly with fossil fuel is that there are limited and non-renewable sources of them; thus, we should have an alternative resource to replace them. According to the world coal institute, there are still enough resources that we can relay up to 130, 42, and 60 more years for coal, oil, and natural gas, respectively.

Key Differences

  1. Biofuel is a fuel produced from the biomass, whereas fossil fuel is a fuel produced from the fossil remains of organisms.
  2. Biofuel is formed from the living or recently decayed organic matte,r while fossil fuel is formed from the anciently decayed organic matter.
  3. Biofuel requires a very short time for their formation, whereas fossil fuel requires millions of years for their formation.
  4. Biofuel supplied less amount of energy when they burned; on the other hand, fossil fuel yields a high amount of energy when they are burned.
  5. Biofuel are not harmful; on the other side, fossil fuel has harmful effects.
  6. Biofuel are environment friendly as they do not produce any toxic gases as a byproduct; conversely, fossil fuel produces toxic gases as byproducts.
  7. Biofuel is a renewable source; on the flip side, fossil fuel is the non-renewable source.
  8. Biofuel has a 37% share of energy; they are available much more and readily, while fossil fuel has a 7% share of energy.
  9. Biofuel has a growing state of the industry due to multiple factors, whereas fossil fuel is depleting day by day because they are formed only due to geological changes.
  10. Examples of biofuel are plant and animal manure; on the other hand, coal and natural gas are examples of fossil fuel.


Biofuel and fossil fuel are sources of energy, but biofuel is a reliable and competitive source currently. Additional features of being economical, environment friendly, and renewable are supporting their existence. In contrast, fossil fuel is holding our system together, as it is a massive unit of energy production. But it unavoidable how they are rising global warming and being toxic to our environment.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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