Biodiesel can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually used as a diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons from diesel-powered vehicles. Biodiesel is produced from oils or fats using a transesterification process and is the most common biofuel in Europe.
Biofuels are categorized as first generation and second-generation biofuels on the basis of different conversion technologies from various biomass types.
Biodiesel derived from animal fat and oil seed crops comprise the first generation and the most common biofuels. The biomass conversion technologies used in their production are well established. First generation biofuels have also long been commercialized and have been produced on a large scale for many years.
The second category of biofuels is the second-generation biofuels produced using more advanced technologies. Second generation biofuel production process focuses on the increasing quantity of biofuel generated from residual, non-food components of crops and waste vegetable oil.
Eslinger Biodiesel’s multi feedstock bio-refinery processes any and all of the new, lower carbon feedstocks, such as waste greases, animal fats, used cooking oil, and distillers corn oil.
Biodiesel is chemically known as the mono alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from renewable sources. The term “biodiesel” was coined in the US in 1992 by the National Biodiesel Board, which initiated the commercialization of biodiesel in the US.
Biodiesel is an environment-friendly alternative fuel, which is produced from the naturally occurring renewable sources, including soybeans, canola, sunflowers, animal fats, and waste cooking oil. The fuel is biodegradable, eco- friendly, non-toxic, and does not release harmful emissions, such as sulfur or hydrocarbons.
Biodiesel is ester-based fuel oxygenate, and is produced through transesterification process, which results in two products, namely alkyl esters, commonly called biodiesel, and crude glycerol (refined by distillation to glycerin). It is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel in commercial-scale production across the United States and the first to reach 1 billion gallons of annual production. Meeting strict technical fuel quality and engine performance specifications, it can be used in existing diesel engines without modification and is covered by all major engine manufacturers’ warranties, most often in blends of up to 5% or 20% biodiesel.
Benefits of Biodiesel
- Biodiesels are domestically produced and thus reduce a country’s dependence on imported petroleum. The growth of biodiesel industry also supports the economy, in particular the rural and agricultural economy.
- Since this is a renewable fuel manufactured using waste agricultural crops and/or other feedstock, it assists in preserving resources and utilizing materials having little or negative value.
- Biodiesel is readily biodegradable and non-toxic. Its handling and transportation is safe as against conventional diesel fuels. Biodiesel is generally consumed by microorganims within 28 days. The degradation time of biodiesel is comparable to that of sugar. When mixed with conventional diesel, biodiesel degradation is accelerated. Moreover, biodiesel and biodiesel blends considerably lessen harmful tail pipe emissions.
- Its usage in automobiles offers efficiency and effectiveness that is similar to conventional diesel fuels. Biodiesel can be used effectively in any conventional diesel engine and requires little to no modifications to the engine.
- Production process and usage of biodiesel involves lesser atmospheric pollution. When compared to conventional petroleum diesel, biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 80% and Sulphur dioxide by 100%. Biodiesel usage also reduces unburned hydrocarbons and aromatic hydrocarbons by 80-90% as compared to conventional diesel fuel.
- As biodiesel is CO2 neutral, the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is same as that absorbed by the biomass. Hence they do not add to the CO2 level in the atmosphere. By minimizing pollution during consumption, biodiesel successfully meets the requirements of Kyoto Protocol.
- Biodiesel also reduces dependence on foreign oil, which for countries such as the US is a serious concern.
Essentially all biodiesel in the U.S. is consumed in blends with petroleum diesel (as transportation fuel, heating oil, and for other uses), at biodiesel percentages between 2% and 20% by volume, i.e., as B2 to B20 blends.
Diesel fuel, including biodiesel blends, is consumed primarily by the transportation sector for on-highway applications, and predominantly in long-distance trucking.