Why use Biodiesel
Biodiesel is a renewable fuel which replaces fossil
diesel fuel advantageously. Its made from any vegetable oil –
virgin or used - or from animal fats.
Its specific energy is slightly lower than fossil diesel’s,
but its high lubricity more than makes up for that. For this reason
the energy performance of both fuels is essentially the same.
Biodiesel can be used in pure form (B100) or mixed
in any proportion with fossil diesel fuel (B20, B40, etc), and it
does not require any modifications to the vehicle’s engine.
Biodiesel’s lubricity is noteworthy, to the point
of duplicating the useful life of diesel engines. This is the reason
Biodiesel is the additive of choice for low sulfur fossil fuel,
in order to bring back the lost lubricity due to the low levels
Making Biodiesel is easy and does not respond
to economies of scale. You start from a vegetable oil or animal
grease, which are put under a transesterification process. As a
result of this process you obtain Biodiesel and a sub product known
as Glycerol. This last sub product is commonly used as a degreasing
agent, insect killer, animal feed, soaps, etc.
Transesterification is achieved by mixing vegetable oil, or animal
fat, with a Light alcohol and a catalyst. After a resting period,
gravity separates Biodiesel from glycerol.
If it was correctly made, the obtained Biodiesel only requires filtration
before being used and it can be stores as regular fossil diesel
Biodiesel reduces contamination
Net Carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions
are reduced by 100%. Soot emissions are reduced by 40 – 60%,
and Hydrocarbons (HC) by 10 – 50%. Carbon monoxide emissions
are reduced by 10 – 50%.
Aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbon (PAHs) emissions are reduced. Specially
the following cancer causing agents: Fenantren 97% reduction, Benzofluorantren
56% reduction, Benzopirenos 71% reduction.
Finally aromatic compounds and aldehydes are
reduced by 13%, nitrous oxide can be reduced or increased by 2-5%
according to the engines wear and the fuel pump calibration.
Biodiesel is 100% biodegradable and its toxicity
is less than table salt’s. Its combustion generates, depending
on the stock used, an odor similar to donuts or french-fries.
The amount of Biodiesel obtained per hectare
will depend on the crop generating the oil to produce it. The following
examples provide an idea of the potential of each crop.
• Cotton (Gossypium Hirsutum) 270 liters
• Soy (Glicine max): 420 liters
• Rice (Oriza sativa): 770 liters
• Tung (Aleurites fordii): 880 liters
• Sunflower (Helianthus annuus): 890 liters
• Peanut (Arachis hipogaea): 990 liters
• Colza (Brassica napus): 1100 litros
• Ricino (Ricinus communis): 1320 litros
• Jatropha (Jatropha curcas): 1590 liters
• Avocado (Persea americana): 2460 liters
• Coconut (Cocos nucifera): 2510 liters
• Palm (Elaeis guineensis): 5550 liters
Alcohol is used in a 15 to 25% proportion and
the catalyst’s is less than 1.5% of the processed volume.
Its preferable to used methyl or ethyl alcohols and sodium hydroxide
or potassium hydroxide.
The Glycerol obtained can be sold as is, transformed
into other higher added value products or be refined to obtain glycerin.
The sale of glycerol generally covers the cost of the alcohol, catalyst
Sites on the internet where you can find
more information on Biodiesel.
The reduction in production costs for agriculture,
have to do in part with the reduction of the cost of energy. Locally
produced Biodiesel, from local stock is key to achieving this objective.
A farmer can satisfy his fuel needs by dedicating 3% or less of
his land to Biodiesel production.
Biodiesel does not require large projects, government
hand outs or credits. It can be produced and used locally.