Sep 14 2007 01:33 pm

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Biodiesel: In Depth

A type of biofuel that is now frequently used is biodiesel. Considered to be biodegradable and nontoxic, biodiesel is primarily produced from a chemical reaction of alcohol (commonly methanol) and a wide range of fats which include vegetable or animal oils and plant extracts such as corn, soybean, canola, and sunflowers. This reaction gets rid of the by-product glycerin which is not suitable for the engines through a refinery process termed as transesterification. The glycerin that is removed in turn can be made into soaps. During the transesterification process, other byproducts such as methyl esters are also left behind. Biodiesel is then free from such materials as sulfur and aromatics which are contained in traditional fuels that in turn will substantially facilitate in the reduction of harmful emissions from diesel-fed engines.

It is a renewable, cleaner-burning alternative for petroleum-based diesel fuel. It can be used in unmodified engines – be it a car, bus, truck, boat, construction equipment, generator or oil home heating units. Since it is primarily derived from plants and animals, the supply can be replenished by means of farming and recycling.

In addition, it also one of the most thoroughly tested substitute fuels on the market. Tests have verified that even though it operates in a similar manner to conventional diesel, biodiesel is way better for the environment. Since it does not produce detrimental consequences to the environment, it will accordingly cause lasting effects on generations to come.

Biodiesel can be utilized in pure form however it may necessitate engine modifications to refrain from maintenance and performance troubles. It is most often blended with traditional diesel fuel at any level to lessen automobile emissions. When biodiesel is mixed with petroleum diesel, it yields a fuel which is compatible with diesel engines, shifts imported petroleum and decrease toxic emissions. A combination of 20% bio- and 80%- conventional diesel will considerably lessen carcinogenic emissions and gases which can aggravate global warming. Lower-level biodiesel blends, such as 2% bio- and 98% diesel or 5% bio- and 95% diesel, are turning out to be increasingly common and widely used by drivers as they become more aware of the many advantages. It can be safely utilized in any compression-ignition engine, may it light-duty or heavy-duty engines, designed to be ran on traditional fuel on the condition that it meets the given standards that can be checked on the manufacturer’s recommendations and information.

The ultimate target of the biodiesel industry is not to totally replace conventional diesels such as petroleum diesel. However, its main goal is to broaden its usefulness, efficacy and worth. As one of numerous alternative fuels, biodiesel have a spot in the development and improvement of a balanced energy policy. The contribution to the sustainability and cleanliness of diesel engines has been one of the focuses of biodiesel production. Biodiesel is a ground-breaking fuel that is rapidly becoming more available to the general community. It can be seen around the country in selected areas or it can be purchased directly from manufacturers. It may rate a little more expensive than conventional fuels at the present time due to the demand that is not as great. Nevertheless, as demand increases and as the public realize the advantages of a biodegradable, renewable fuel source, the price will eventually drop.

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