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    Why Use Biodiesel

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Why use Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel which replaces fossil diesel fuel advantageously. Its made from any vegetable oil – virgin or used - or from animal fats.

Its specific energy is slightly lower than fossil diesel’s, but its high lubricity more than makes up for that. For this reason the energy performance of both fuels is essentially the same.

Biodiesel can be used in pure form (B100) or mixed in any proportion with fossil diesel fuel (B20, B40, etc), and it does not require any modifications to the vehicle’s engine.

Biodiesel’s lubricity is noteworthy, to the point of duplicating the useful life of diesel engines. This is the reason Biodiesel is the additive of choice for low sulfur fossil fuel, in order to bring back the lost lubricity due to the low levels of sulfur.

Making Biodiesel is easy and does not respond to economies of scale. You start from a vegetable oil or animal grease, which are put under a transesterification process. As a result of this process you obtain Biodiesel and a sub product known as Glycerol. This last sub product is commonly used as a degreasing agent, insect killer, animal feed, soaps, etc.

Transesterification is achieved by mixing vegetable oil, or animal fat, with a Light alcohol and a catalyst. After a resting period, gravity separates Biodiesel from glycerol.

If it was correctly made, the obtained Biodiesel only requires filtration before being used and it can be stores as regular fossil diesel fuel is.

Biodiesel reduces contamination

Net Carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions are reduced by 100%. Soot emissions are reduced by 40 – 60%, and Hydrocarbons (HC) by 10 – 50%. Carbon monoxide emissions are reduced by 10 – 50%.

Aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbon (PAHs) emissions are reduced. Specially the following cancer causing agents: Fenantren 97% reduction, Benzofluorantren 56% reduction, Benzopirenos 71% reduction.

Finally aromatic compounds and aldehydes are reduced by 13%, nitrous oxide can be reduced or increased by 2-5% according to the engines wear and the fuel pump calibration.

Biodiesel is 100% biodegradable and its toxicity is less than table salt’s. Its combustion generates, depending on the stock used, an odor similar to donuts or french-fries.

The amount of Biodiesel obtained per hectare will depend on the crop generating the oil to produce it. The following examples provide an idea of the potential of each crop.

• Cotton (Gossypium Hirsutum) 270 liters
• Soy (Glicine max): 420 liters
• Rice (Oriza sativa): 770 liters
• Tung (Aleurites fordii): 880 liters
• Sunflower (Helianthus annuus): 890 liters
• Peanut (Arachis hipogaea): 990 liters
• Colza (Brassica napus): 1100 litros
• Ricino (Ricinus communis): 1320 litros
• Jatropha (Jatropha curcas): 1590 liters
• Avocado (Persea americana): 2460 liters
• Coconut (Cocos nucifera): 2510 liters
• Palm (Elaeis guineensis): 5550 liters

Alcohol is used in a 15 to 25% proportion and the catalyst’s is less than 1.5% of the processed volume. Its preferable to used methyl or ethyl alcohols and sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

The Glycerol obtained can be sold as is, transformed into other higher added value products or be refined to obtain glycerin. The sale of glycerol generally covers the cost of the alcohol, catalyst and electricity.

Sites on the internet where you can find more information on Biodiesel.


The reduction in production costs for agriculture, have to do in part with the reduction of the cost of energy. Locally produced Biodiesel, from local stock is key to achieving this objective. A farmer can satisfy his fuel needs by dedicating 3% or less of his land to Biodiesel production.

Biodiesel does not require large projects, government hand outs or credits. It can be produced and used locally.

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