What is Biodiesel
Biodiesel is a fuel derived from organic oils, such as vegetable oil, rather than petroleum. Animal fats or recycled restaurant grease are also bases for biodiesel. Biodiesel 's use and production have been increasing in the United States since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Its typical applications include aircraft and vehicle fuel and as heating oil.
Biodiesel filling stations are common throughout Europe, and they are becoming more common in North America.
BREAKING DOWN Biodiesel
Biodiesel is made by combining an alcohol, such as methanol, with vegetable oil, such as that found in soybean, palm oil, animal fat or recycled cooking grease. After converting this biomass into liquid fuel, it satisfies a variety of energy needs.
Ethanol and biodiesel are often blended with hydrocarbon-based gasoline and diesel as an additive to reduce vehicle emissions. Biodiesel may also be used in its pure form as an alternative renewable fuel.
Biodiesel is a type of biofuel. Unlike fuels made with waste vegetable oil (WVO), biodiesel works in diesel engines that are unmodified. WVO fuels find usage in converted diesel engines. Since the conversion of diesel engines is expensive, this makes biodiesel a more economical alternative. Biodiesel is manufactured in the U.S. and is commonly used for fueling conventional diesel engines, either in lieu of or in tandem with traditional petroleum diesel.
The U.S. Department of Energy finds that biodiesel has a positive energy balance; it produces 4.56 units of energy for each unit of fossil energy used to make it. The price gap between traditional diesel and biodiesel is expected to narrow, as petroleum-based products become scarce. Agricultural and environmental subsidies will also help with this.
Benefits of Biodiesel
The use of biodiesel as a fuel for automobiles and other vehicles boosts energy security and reduces the negative impact to air quality caused by fossil fuels. One negative aspect of biodiesel is that it tends to degrade rubber components often found in older vehicles at a quicker rate than traditional diesel does. Owners of older cars can upgrade rubber components with KFM, a non-reactive product, to avoid degradation.
Because biodiesel can dissolve deposits of crude oil, it has also been used to clean up coastal oil spills.
Biodiesel is safer than other fuels; for instance, it is far less combustible than petroleum diesel.