Advantages of Biodiesel Engines

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Biodiesel - an efficient Renewable Energy Source

Biodiesel is attracting a lot of attention as an excellent, renewable, clean and efficient replacement to fossil fuels. But, biodiesel is not the new fuel. In fact, the first diesel engines invented by Rudolf Diesel in 1900 were meant to run on peanut oil. And they did, until 1920s, when petroleum diesel took over. Diesel's plan was to come up with an engine that farmers could use to do their work and grow fuel themselves. After such a long time, the idea is catching on again.

What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel as we know it today is fuel made of all types of vegetable oils and animals fats. To become viable fuel, oils are processed in refineries by reaction to alcohol in order to remove glycerin. This process is called transesterification. Only biodiesel produced according to exact specifications becomes fuel with performance comparable to petroleum diesel.

Biodiesel production is fairly simple process and biodiesel refineries are much less complex and environmentally clean than petroleum refineries.

Features of a Biodiesel Engine

Biodiesel can be produced from of vegetable oils and animals fats

Properly refined biodiesel can be used in normal, unconverted diesel engines, pure or blended with petroleum diesel. Since most new diesel engines utilize synthetic rubber components, there is no need for the manufacture of special biodiesel engine. Various lab and road tests show that vehicles fueled by biodiesel produce the same torque ad horsepower as those run on petroleum diesel. Department of Environment tests confirmed that using low percentage blends of biodiesel provides significant increase in vehicles fuel economy.

There is a conversion kit which heats cooking vegetable oil to be used in standard diesel engines, with the same performance, power and speed as petroleum diesel.

Biodiesel is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as the legal motor oil. It also passed the health requirements of Clean Air Act Amendments, the only alternative fuel to do that.

Advantages of Biodiesel Engines and Biodiesel Fuel

  1. All types of vehicles that run on petroleum diesel can run on biodiesel instead with no retrofitting and redesign.
  2. Biodiesel fuel has the same performance as petroleum diesel, and it actually offers increase in fuel economy.
  3. Engines running on biodiesel last longer than when running on petrodiesel because they have lower level of engine wear.
  4. Biodiesel engines produce much lower level of sulfur, complying with the new regulations.
  5. Biodiesel engines or diesel engines running on biodiesel run much quieter because of their higher rating of cetane ignition.
  6. Using biodiesel instead of petroleum diesel results in significant reduction of released carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particulates. Burning biodiesel produces no sulfates and sulfur oxides that are part of the acid rain. Nitrogen oxides emission is also reduced and its potential to affect atmospheric ozone is half of that of petroleum diesel.

As the prices of fossil fuels grow, and the environmental laws become stricter, biodiesel will offer an excellent alternative, especially for large fuel users and heavy transportation vehicles such as buses, trucks and farm machines. The research is ongoing in investigating alternative feedstocks for the biodiesel that are not food crops, such as used vegetable oils, algae and halophytes, plants growing in salt water where no conventional crops can grow.

Biodiesel production in the US in 2010 was 315 million gallons. Biodiesel is mostly used by public transportation vehicles such as busses, by trucks and agricultural vehicles.

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Engines running on biodiesel last longer, produce lower levels of sulfur, and much quieter