Understanding Biodiesel Technology

April 5, 2012

Learn how biodiesel technology works, its advantages, the cars that use it, and the alternative applications of biodiesel fuel.

Adding Biofuel

Biodiesel technology has become increasingly popular over the last few years. But not many people are actually aware of what the fuel actually does. Take a look at this quick update of the benefits of biodiesel fuel in the modern world.

What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a fuel that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Broadly speaking, any fuel that has been created from a biomass is termed as a biofuel. The main aim of the process is to create liquid fuels that can be used to drive transportation engines. Biofuel can be got from plant oils that can run diesel engines, sugar crops that will create ethanol via fermentation, and woods that are converted to woodgas, and ethanol. There are many different types of biofuel present in the market, with the most common one being E10 fuel, that is a mixture of ethanol and petroleum. Over the years, this formula has been improved to produce really great fuel forms.

How Does it Work?

The actual process of how biodiesel is produced can be explained by the simple process as follows:

10 lbs of methanol is combined with 100 lbs of oil to create 100 lbs of biodiesel and 10lbs of glycerol.

That means you can use oils like soybean oil which will combine with methanol to provide methyl oleate, which is considered the biofuel and glycerol, which is a byproduct. Sugar starches can be fermented to produce ethanol that also works as a transportation medium. Woods produce biofuels too that run cars.

Different Applications

  • Biodiesel can be technically used in nearly every kind of engine that runs on diesel. But some manufacturers do not recommend the use of the biodiesel in specialty cars. A few cars like SEAT, Audi and Skoda have already approved the use of the biofuel for their cars. But you can also use the fuel after combining it with regular diesel too to reduce the cost of your fuel expenditure.
  • The fuel also has an unexpected side effect is working as a cleaning agent for shores that have been contaminated by crude oil. It also seems to work really well in recovering crude oil that has contaminated sand beaches.
  • The military has invested about $1 million in using biofuels to generate electricity, but the process is still under research.
  • It’s possible to use the fuel while on camping and for illumination in the form of non-wick lanterns and multi-fuel lanterns.

Advantages of Using Biodiesel Fuel

The main aim of biodiesel is to reduce emissions that will prevent damage to the environment. According to the Life Cycle Analysis Center, biodiesels can actually reduce 60% of the emissions that are given off by ordinary fuels. Anther advantage is that they really reduce the monthly expenditure of the driver. The UK Government has also put in rules that offer a huge amount of incentives to drivers who use biofuels. This also offers a significant amount of advantage to the users who are contributing to saving the environment.