Saturday, April 9, 2011

Biodiesel as an Alternative Fuel

Biodiesel fuel is a fuel made from the oil of certain oilseed crops such as soybean, canola, palm kernel, coconut, sunflower, safflower, corn and a hundreds of other oil producing crops. The oil is extracted by the use of a press. The oil is then mixed in specific proportions with other agents which causes a chemical reaction. The results of this reaction are two products, biodiesel and soap.
After a final filtration, the biodiesel is ready for use. After curing, the glycerin soap which is produced as a by product can be used as is, or can have scented oils added before use.
Biodiesel fuel is not a new development; however it has gotten quite a lot of publicity lately. This is largely due to the rising cost of crude oil which puts a strain on the consumer's wallet at the gas pump. Biodiesel fuel is one alternative to relying on fossil fuels to operate our vehicles.

In 1895 Dr. Rudolph Diesel introduced the first diesel engine intended to run on vegetable oil. In 1900 he presented his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris. This diesel engine used peanut oil as fuel.
In 1912 Dr. Diesel predicted that in the future the use of vegetable oils as a fuel may be as important as the use of petroleum and coal was in his day. With the volatile nature of oil producing countries, and the ever surging cost of crude oil, interest in vegetable oils as fuel has been rekindled, so it seems Dr Diesel may have had a glimpse into the world of today.

Biodiesel fuel has several advantages over fossil fuel. The most celebrated advantage is that biodiesel fuel is less costly to make than gasoline. As an added bonus, biodiesel is environmentally friendly fuel. The use of biodiesel in an unmodified diesel engine will substantially reduce the emissions of harmful unburned hydrocarbons, sulfates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide.

Biodiesel fuel works in almost any diesel engine. Just some of the equipment where these engines can be found is cars, trucks, tractors, planes, trains, boats, buses and almost all agricultural equipment. As you can see this adds up to a lot of potential use for biodiesel, and just as many chances to reduce the harmful emissions created from the use of fossil fuels.
So what makes biodiesel fuel such a promising fossil fuel alternative? Here are a few of the surprising facts pertaining to biodiesel.
Biodiesel fuel can be made from renewable resources such as vegetable oils and animal fats. Biodiesel fuel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 80%. Biodiesel reduces the formation of acid rain because it produces no sulfur dioxide, which is the key element in creating acid rain.
Biodiesel fuel smells better at the tank, so filling up is a more pleasant task than with regular diesel. Biodiesel also smells better on the road, with the exhaust sometimes being described as smelling like French fries or doughnuts. Biodiesel burns much cleaner, so the black smelly smoke one usually sees puffing from vehicles which use diesel engines can be eliminated.

An added advantage over regular fuel is that biodiesel fuel takes considerably less time to degrade in the event of a spill, usually about twenty eight days, which is about four times faster than gasoline or regular diesel fuel. The extra lubrication provided by biodiesel fuel helps improve the longevity of your engine, as well as boosting engine performance, also helping eliminate engine knocks and noise.
Biodiesel fuel can be stored in any type of tank already approved for fuel storage, giving more savings to both businesses and consumers. Biodiesel has a much higher flash point at 300 degrees to be exact, than regular diesel, at 150 degrees. Biodiesel can be mixed with regular diesel fuel to make blends, such as B5 or B20. Most diesel engines can use biodiesel without having to be modified in any way.
With all the advantages biodiesel fuel has over conventional diesel, it makes a smart alternative which not only makes a difference in our wallets, but also to the Earth itself.
Source: Free Articles

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