Biofuels are fuel sources that are derived from living things, or from biological processes carried out by living things. In addition to fossil fuels, this includes bioethanol products produced by way of alcoholic fermentation, biomass, and biodiesel, produced by the transesterification of oils. Fungal, bacterial, and algae-based applications of biofuels continue to comprise important areas of research in this field.
Biofuels are a prominent societal issue in part because large-scale use of them may help alleviate reliance on foreign oil. However, the use (combustion) of biofuels does result in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, namely carbon dioxide.
The study of biofuels, as well as their production, lies at the confluence of several areas of science and technology, including biological and chemical engineering, biotechnology, microbiology, and biochemistry.
Analysis from the US EIA (full report)
Genomic/Systems Biology perspective in Biofuels (US DOE site with links to current publications)