Fuels is the
hottest topic in most board rooms and homes today; DGL
Global Ventures LLC has partnered with producers
of TyLar Gas™, Ethanol and Bio-Diesel
for Automotive and Industrial use and
Green Heat for
Home and catering uses.
refers to a diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived
from biological sources (such as vegetable oils), which
can be used in unmodified diesel-engined vehicles. It
is thus distinguished from the straight vegetable oils
(SVO) or waste vegetable oils (WVO) used as fuels in
some modified diesel vehicles.
In this article's
context, biodiesel refers to alkyl esters made from
the transesterification of vegetable oils or animal
fats. Biodiesel is biodegradable and
non-toxic, and produces significantly fewer net emissions
than petroleum-based diesel, as it is itself produced
from atmospheric carbon dioxide via photosynthesis in
plants. Pure biodiesel is available at many gas stations
Some vehicle manufacturers
are positive about the use of biodiesel, citing lower
engine wear as one of the benefits of this fuel. However,
as biodiesel is a better solvent than standard diesel,
it 'cleans' the engine, removing deposits in the fuel
lines, and this may cause blockages in the fuel injectors.
For this reason, car manufacturers recommend that the
fuel filter is changed a few months after switching
to biodiesel (this part is often replaced anyway in
regular servicing). Most manufacturers release lists
of the cars which will run on 100% biodiesel -- for
example, the summary list provided by Volkswagen is
under the title "Use of biodiesel in Volkswagen
cars" further down the right-hand side of this
page (note it is best to consult with your car manufacturer
before using biodiesel for the first time).
vehicle manufacturers remain cautious over use of biodiesel.
In the UK many only maintain their engine warranties
for use with maximum 5% biodiesel — blended in with
95% conventional diesel — although this position is
generally considered to be overly cautious. Peugeot
and Citroen are exceptions in that they have both recently
announced that their HDI diesel engine can run on 30%
biodiesel. Scania and Volkswagen are other exceptions,
allowing most of their engines to operate on 100% biodiesel.
can also be used as a heating fuel in domestic and commercial
boilers. Existing oil boilers may require conversion
to run on biodiesel, but the conversion process is believed
to be relatively simple.
can be distributed using today's infrastructure, and
its use and production are increasing rapidly. Fuel
stations are beginning to make biodiesel available to
consumers, and a growing number of transport fleets
use it as an additive in their fuel. 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 which sell both products.
fuel can be made from new or used vegetable oils and
animal fats, which are nontoxic, biodegradable, renewable
resources. Fats and oils are chemically reacted with
an alcohol (methanol is the usual choice) to produce
chemical compounds known as fatty acid methyl esters.
Biodiesel is the name given to these
esters when they're intended for use as fuel. Glycerol
(used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, among other
markets) is produced as a co-product.
can be produced by a variety of esterification technologies.
The oils and fats are filtered and preprocessed to remove
water and contaminants. If free fatty acids are present,
they can be removed or transformed into biodiesel using
special pretreatment technologies. The pretreated oils
and fats are then mixed with an alcohol (usually methanol)
and a catalyst (usually sodium hydroxide). The oil molecules
(triglycerides) are broken apart and reformed into methyl
esters and glycerol, which are then separated from each
other and purified.
of Biodiesel has grown dramatically
during the last few years. The Energy Policy Act was
amended by the Energy Conservation Reauthorization Act
of 1998 to include biodiesel fuel use as a way for federal,
state, and public utility fleets to meet requirements
for using alternative fuels.
Biodiesel (B100) is considered an alternative
fuel under EPAct. Lower-level biodiesel blends are not
considered alternative fuels, but covered fleets can
earn one EPAct credit for every 450 gallons of B100
purchased for use in blends of 20% or higher. To learn
more, visit the EPAct Alternative Fuels Web page.
started the sharp increase in the number of biodiesel
users, which now include the U. S. Postal Service and
the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture.
Countless school districts, transit authorities, national
parks, public utility companies, and garbage and recycling
companies also use the fuel.
there is a biodiesel tax incentive that is a federal
tax credit. The credit equates to a one penny per percent
of biodiesel in a fuel blend made from agricultural
products like vegetable oils, and one-half penny per
percent for recycled oils. This incentive is taken by
petroleum distributors and passed on to consumers. The
USDA developed a study that estimated this incentive
will increase the demand for biodiesel to at least 124
million gallons per year. And depending on other factors,
including crude oil prices, the industry projects that
demand could be much higher. To learn more about the
biodiesel tax incentive, go to the National Biodiesel
Board's Tax Incentive page
costs account for a large percentage of the direct biodiesel
production costs, including capital cost and return.
It takes about 7.3 pounds of soybean oil, which costs
about 20 cents per pound, to produce a gallon of biodiesel.
Feedstock costs alone, therefore, are at least $1.50
per gallon of soy biodiesel. Fats and greases cost less
and produce less expensive biodiesel, sometimes as low
as $1.00 per gallon. The quality of the fuel is equivalent
to soy biodiesel fuel.
little fossil energy is required to move biodiesel,
it is a substitute or extender for traditional petroleum
diesel, and special pumps or high pressure equipment
for fueling are not needed. In addition, it can be used
in conventional diesel engines, so special vehicles
or engines to run biodiesel do not need to be purchased.
However, users should always consult with the OEM and
engine warranty statement before using biodiesel.
believe carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse
gases contributing to global warming. Neat biodiesel
(100% biodiesel) reduces carbon dioxide emissions by
more than 75% over petroleum diesel. Using a blend of
20% biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 15%.
also produces fewer particulate matter, carbon monoxide,
and sulfur dioxide emissions (all air pollutants under
the Clean Air Act).
can be used in conventional diesel engines, the renewable
fuel can directly replace petroleum products; reducing
the country's dependence on imported oil.
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