Biodiesel is used to fuel compression-ignition engines such as diesel requiring cars and trucks.
Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from different vegetable oils and animal fats. Unadulterated Biodiesel or Biodiesel mixed with petroleum diesel can both be used to fuel diesel vehicles, alleviating dependence on foreign fuels, improving emissions and being a generally safer fuel.
It is made from both new or used vegetable oils and animal fats. These oils and fats are combined with alcohol to create a chemical reaction to produce fatty acid methyl esters, which is basically a name given to the compound if it is intended to be used for fuel.
The fatty substances are filtered and processed to get rid of water and contaminants. Once the free fatty acids are found, they can be removed or changed into Biodiesel using pretreatment technologies.
These fatty acids are then combined with alcohol and a catalyst such as sodium hydroxide. Next oil molecules are broken up and changed into methyl esters and glycerin (a by-product) which are then purified further.
This process sounds complicated, but it is simple enough that it can be produced by individuals for individual use.
Biodiesel is made in America. This is important because as much as 60% of America’s petroleum is found in foreign countries, and with foreign relations being shaky in many of these countries, security of supply continuance is a concern.
Biodiesel produces substantially less emissions than petroleum diesel; as much as an 11% carbon monoxide reduction, a 10% particulate matter deduction, and unburned Biodiesel by 75% compared to petroleum diesel, and carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 15%.
Biodiesel is nontoxic and biodegradable, so it is safer for the environment. It causes less damage than petroleum diesel in case of a spill or other exposure; it is also less combustible, meaning that it takes a far higher temperature to ignite and catch on fire compared to petroleum diesel. Due to its non-toxicity, Biodiesel is also safer to process, store, and transport.
Biodiesel provides a very real alternative to the petroleum-based problem facing today’s society.