Help make manufacturing processes easier and more efficient.
According to Physicists, energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form to another, or transferred from one place to another. Therefore, if you’re a Biofuel Engineer—a type of Renewable Energy Engineer —it’s not your job to create energy, but rather to harness it from biological sources.
Understanding the job of a Biofuel Engineer requires first understanding biofuel: As opposed to fossil fuels—like oil, natural gas, and coal, which are formed by the earth over millions of years using ancient plant and animal matter—biofuels are created from organic matter like algae, corn, or even used vegetable oil from fast food restaurants. While fossil fuels are nonrenewable and polluting, biofuels are renewable, nontoxic, and biodegradable.
As a Biofuel Engineer, you’re typically employed by universities, research labs, government agencies, and private energy companies, and it’s your job to design and devise tools, processes, and procedures with which to generate biofuel — for example, ethanol and biodiesel — for the purpose of powering automobiles, heating homes, and even generating electricity.
Like all Engineers, you’re a problem solver who channels old scientific principles into new technological solutions. As a result, your typical day is spent analyzing existing biofuel systems and developing new and/or improved ones. For example, you might fine-tune a piece of equipment to turn corn into ethanol more quickly, or you might create a new, more efficient process for growing the algae that’s used to make some types of biodiesel. Regardless, your objectives are part environmental, part business: You create new business opportunities for energy companies and new environmental solutions for the earth!