Biodiesel facts

Biodiesel is renewable energy source. Read some interesting facts about biodiesel:

  • Biodiesel is a renewable fuel (renewable energy source) that can be manufactured from algae, vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant greases; it can be produced locally in most countries.
  • Biodiesel is distinguished from the straight vegetable oils (SVO) or waste vegetable oils (WVO) used (alone, or blended) as fuels in some diesel vehicles.
  • Biodiesel is made through a chemical process called transesterification whereby the glycerin is separated from the fat or vegetable oil. The process leaves behind two products — methyl esters (the chemical name for biodiesel) and glycerin (a valuable byproduct usually sold to be used in soaps and other products).

Biodiesel can be produced locally in most countries.

  • Biodiesel is biodegradable and non-toxic, and typically produces about 60% less net-lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions, as it is itself produced from atmospheric carbon dioxide via photosynthesis in plants.
  • Biodiesel is generally more expensive to purchase than petroleum diesel but this differential may diminish due to economies of scale, the rising cost of petroleum and government tax subsidies. In Germany, biodiesel is generally cheaper than normal diesel at gas stations that sell both products.
  • Biodiesel is used by millions of car owners in Europe, particularly in Germany. With a market share of nearly 3% of the German diesel fuel market, biodiesel has become the number one alternative fuel – and its use will certainly continue to grow.
  • Biodiesel is free from sulphur (< 0.001 %). Biodiesel is easily biodegradable with no hazard to soil or groundwater in the case of accidents.
Biodiesel - Gas station
Biodiesel – Gas station
  • The energy content of biodiesel is about 90 percent that of petroleum diesel.
  • In the United States, biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have successfully completed the Health Effects Testing requirements (Tier I and Tier II) of the Clean Air Act (1990).
  • If deforestation, and monoculture farming techniques were used to grow biofuel crops, biodiesel is predicted to become a serious threat to the environment.
  • Biodiesel is often mixed with petroleum-based diesel fuel. When 20% biodiesel is blended with 80% diesel fuel, this blend is known as B20. Some people mistakenly believe this blend is biodiesel.
  • Biodiesel is being used in a variety of non-engine applications such as solvents and paint remover.
  • Biodiesel has a flash point that is considerably higher than petroleum-based diesel fuel (above 160 °C). This means that the fire hazard associated with transportation, storage, and utilization of biodiesel is much less than with other commonly used fuels.
  • Biodiesel is designated under federal law as an “alternative fuel” and is registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a fuel and fuel additive.
  • The biodiesel market is expected to grow from a couple hundred million gallons per year today to over one billion gallons per year by 2010.
  • Biofuels are at this moment mostly produced out of the sugar cane, corn, soybean and canola, and in the same time there are about 850 million people that don’t have enough food.
  • Corn is the major source for current mass production of biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. Corn previously earmarked for food production is now being bought by biofuels manufacturers willing to pay a higher price than food consumers.

Biodiesel is easily biodegradable with no hazard to soil or groundwater.

  • Biodiesel has been proven to perform similarly to diesel in more than 50 million successful road miles in virtually all types of diesel engines, countless off-road miles and countless marine hours.
  • Biodiesel emissions have decreased levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrited PAH compounds that have been identified as potential cancer causing compounds.
  • Biodiesel is a much better lubricant than conventional diesel fuel and extends engine life — a German truck won an entry in the Guinness Book of Records by travelling more than 1.25 million km (780,000 miles) on biodiesel with its original engine.

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