Answers To Your Common
Our Biodiesel FAQ section is a collection of informative answers to many of your frequently asked questions about biodiesel.
“We haven’t inherited the Earth from our forefathers; rather we have borrowed it from our future generations” - an old Kashmiri saying.
Biodiesel FAQ 1. Why biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a cleaner burning alternative fuel that comes from sustainable sources such as vegetable oils extracted from plants, used cooking oils, animal fat, and algae. It contains no petroleum.
Biodiesel FAQ 2. What is biodiesel?
Biodiesel is an efficient and cleaner burning alternative fuel. It is produced by chemically removing glycerin from vegetable oil and replacing it with alcohol from (usually) methanol in the presence of a catalyst.
The catalytic agent used for the chemical reaction - called “transesterification”, is either lye (sodium hydroxide - NaOH, also known as caustic soda) or potassium hydroxide (KOH). The reaction also produces Glycerin - a by-product that can be used for
or purified to Pharmaceutical grade for other useful applications.
Biodiesel FAQ 3. Biodiesel sources:
Biodiesel is produced using a variety of sustainable feedstocks such as vegetable oils extracted from plants, used cooking oils, animal fat, and even algae. It contains no petroleum.
Major vegetable oils used to make biodiesel today are:
- Soy oil
- Palm oil
- Peanut oil
- Rapeseed oil, and
- Used vegetable oil from restaurants
Another oil gaining popularity is extracted from the seeds of Jatropha plant. These seeds contain the highest percentage of oil content among known seeds.
Jatropha oil is inedible. Therefore, its use for making biodiesel fuel does not compete with other edible oils for human consumption.
Biodiesel FAQ 4. Making biodiesel at home:
With growing environmental concerns and skyrocketing fuel prices at the pump, it has finally started to make sense to make your own biodiesel fuel economically.
If you are currently using diesel fuel and feel concerned about the adverse environmental impacts of using fossil fuel, you may want to learn -
how to make biodiesel fuel.
Making your own biodiesel fuel is easy when you use quality home biodiesel kits for producing biodiesel at home.
Biodiesel FAQ 5. Washing Biodiesel:
After biodiessel is produced, there are several impurities present in the raw fuel that must be removed before it can be used safely. Biodiesel washing can be achieved by several methods, such as water washing or dry washing. Washing biodiesel with water is time consuming. After water wash, the biodiesel fuel still needs to be dried to remove any water that may be present and, therefore, this method is limited to small scale biodiesel production.
A more convenient and faster method of washing biodiesel is dry washing system in which biodiesel is run through filtration towers or vessels containing filter media that either adsorb or absorb impurities present in the raw biodiesel.
Biodiesel FAQ 6. Advantages of Biodiesel:
Some of the benefits of using biodiesel include:
- Biodiesel offers us the best alternative to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions. It is known to achieve net reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by over 75 percent when compared against petroleum diesel.
- Biodiesel is 10x less toxic than common salt
- Biodiesel has a higher flash point (200°C) than Petroleum Diesel (70°C)
- Among transportation fuels, Biodiesel offers the highest energy balance, meaning that, for each unit of fossil energy expended to produce Biodiesel; over 3 units of energy are gained.
- Biodiesel (B100) emissions contain over 45 percent less carbon monoxide (an odorless poisonous gas), and particulate matter (linked to asthma and other conditions). They have also exhibited lower levels of potentially cancer causing compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
- Biodiesel causes substantial reduction in unburned hydrocarbons that are ozone forming precursors.
- Even when blended with petroleum diesel in varying proportions, Biodiesel exhibits significant environmental benefits.
Biodiesel FAQ 7. Byproducts of Biodiesel:
Glycerin is the main byproduct of biodiesel manufacturing. Chemically removed from oil during the transesterification process, biodiesel glycerin, also commonly referred to as biodiesel glycerin, has found many important uses.
Among them, this biodiesel byproduct can be further purified to pharmaceutical grade for use in health and beauty products. Glycerin can also be used for dust suppression, and for soap making. However, before using, Lye should be neutralized and methanol recovered.
Biodiesel FAQ 8. Any special handling or storage requirements?
Guidelines for proper handling and storage of biodiesl fuel can be found at www.biodiesel.org. In general, biodiesel handling and storage requirements are same as for petroleum diesel.
Aluminum, fluorinated PE, fluorinated PP, and steel tanks are suitable for storage. However, tanks made of Brass, Copper, Tin, and Zinc should not be used for biodiesel storage.
The fuel should be stored in an environment that is dry, clean, and away from direct light. Using
biodiesel fuel additives like antigel agent
helps extend the life of your biodiesel fuel. Moreover, it is a good practice to dispense the fuel within 6 months of its production.
Biodiesel FAQ 9. Is it safe to use biodiesel?
Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation have designated biodiesel (B100) as an alternative fuel. It also meets the standards established by the California Air Resources Board to be designated as clean diesel. In addition, it is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Biodiesel FAQ 10. Why Titrate?
Titration testing is important in that the test helps determine the optimal quantity of catalyst to be added to neutralize free fatty acids (FFA) in the waste vegetable oil (WVO). When using virgin oil (VO), the base amount of NaOH to use is 3.5 grams/liter, whereas for WVO, the titration result is added to the base amount.
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