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Benefits of using Biodiesel as Alternate Fuel

written by: Haresh Khemani•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/8/2008

Biodiesel is an alternate fuel that can be used in place of petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is easy to use, and transition from petroleum diesel to biodiesel is smooth. Burning of biodiesel is clean and it is available easily in the market. There are many other benefits of using biodiesel.

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    Benefits of using Biodiesel

    There are number of benefits is using biodiesel as alternate fuel. Some of them have been listed below:

    1) Biodiesel is easy to use: Biodiesel can be used easily in place of the petroleum diesel in the existing engines without carrying out any changes. The power and fuel economy obtained with biodiesel is almost same as the petroleum diesel. Initially biofuels may lead to filter clogging due to release of previously accumulated deposits in the tank, but this stops soon. Biodiesel is also available very easily in all the states of US.

    2) Smooth transition from petroleum diesel to biodiesel: The use of most of the alternate fuels poses lots of challenges due to their effect on the performance of the engine, but no such problems are faced when using biodiesel. The use of biodiesel in the petroleum diesel engine does not change the torque, power output or mileage of the engine. Pure biodiesel has energy content of about 15% less than the petroleum diesel, but petroleum diesel also has varying energy contents depending on the type of supplier. The lower energy content of pure biodiesel has very little effect on the performance of the engine. Small change in performance of engine enables smooth transition from petroleum diesel fuel to blended biodiesel fuel.

    3) Excellent lubrication: With traditional engines the lubrication of fuel injection system relies on the fuel. Biodiesel has excellent lubrication properties that increase the life of fuel injection system.

    4) Lower Emissions and greenhouse gases: When biodiesel is used as the fuel for engine the following emission are reduced: emissions of unburned hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrated aromatic hydrocarbons and particulate matter. As the proportion of biodiesel increases in the blend greater environmental benefits are obtained. The use of biodiesel also reduces release of greenhouse gases.

    5) Biodiesel is biodegradable: Since biodiesel is made from the vegetable oil or animal fats, it easily mixes with the constituents of the nature without harming them in any way. Biodiesel is nontoxic and does not harm the environment in any way when it is split or leaked.

    6) Lesser dependence on imported fossil fuels: The greater use of biodiesel increases our dependence on indigenously produced fuel saving lots of currency. It helps us be self reliant as far as energy resources are concerned. As per the US Department of Agriculture, for meeting the compliance of Energy Policy Act (EPAct), biodiesel is least cost alternative fuel.

    7) Increase in jobs: Use of biodiesel will lead to increase in the jobs used for creating biodiesel resources. Thus jobs will be created for feedstock farming, biodiesel production, and distribution. There will also be income for local feedstock producers and refiners.