Biodiesel

Topics: Petroleum, Biodiesel, Internal combustion engine Pages: 2 (394 words) Published: September 8, 2008
Biodiesel fuel is made from natural and renewable resources. It can be manufactured from algae, vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant greases. Fresh soybean oil is most commonly used. In general they are made from fats and oils, which are hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are filtered and mixed with an alcohol, such as methanol, and a catalyst, resulting in a chemical reaction whose major products are biodiesel fuel and glycerol.

Biodiesel fuel is light to dark yellow in color as a liquid. It’s insoluble in water, has a high boiling point and low vapor pressure. With such a high boiling point it is rather inflammable. It also has a density that is lower than water with it being around .88g/cm^3. Pure biodiesel fuel is referred to as B100 and is non-toxic.

There are some vehicle manufactures that are positive for the use of biodiesel, because it causes less engine wear in the automobile. However, they do recommend the filter being changed in the car every few months. That is because it causes blockades in the fuel injectors. Other manufactures remain cautious over the use of biodiesel. Some of these manufacturers have a recommended 5% as the maximum biodiesel in and engine.

The production of biodiesel fuel is increasing rapidly, and is becoming more available to consumers at fuel stations. The price is generally more expensive that petroleum fuel. The more costly price of biodiesel is soon to diminish due to the rising cost of petroleum and government tax subsides.

Environmental concerns have arisen in the production of biodiesel however. The prime concern is that countries will clear cut large areas of tropical forests in order to grow such crops. This has already occurred in the Philippines and Indonesia. Both countries plan to increase the production significantly, which will cause deforestation in millions of acres. The loss of habitat on such a large scale could cause many species to be endangered. The goal of the biodiesel industry is...
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