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Biodiesel- A Cleaner, Greener Alternative Fuel for Motor Vehicles

written by: vishalseafarer•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/13/2010

Planning to go ecofriendly and reduce your ecological footprint? Biodiesel is the best alternative fuel for cars, trucks, and buses available out there and will be for a long time to come.

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    What is Biodiesel?

    Biodiesel is a clean, non-toxic, pollution free (only B100 which is 100% biodiesel) alternative fuel for automobiles and light trucks. It is entirely made from renewable resources and is considered the fuel of the future as it causes no pollution and is very efficient as a fuel. It can be used in cars, boats, and any small truck that uses a diesel engine. Biodiesel should not be confused with green diesel as green diesel is entirely different in its chemical composition from biodiesel. The commercially used biodiesel has 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel.

    Advantages:

    Although the cost is a little more than the conventional petroleum diesel or diesel, it has so many advantages:

    • Biodiesel is totally ecofriendly and threby reduces your ecological footprint.
    • No need for the modification of the engine. A person can use diesel one day and he can switch over to biodiesel the very next day. That is how friendly biodiesel is.
    • Good for the country's economy as the country doesn't have to rely on any other country to the products required to make biodiesel as they are made from vegetables, which is available in almost every country.
    • It can be legally sold and commercially distributed because it has passed all health standards, unlike other fossil fuels.
    • It can be mixed in any proportion with petroleum diesel and still be used.
    • The same storage facility that is used for diesel can be used to store biodiesel.

    Where is it available?

    Biodiesel is gaining popularity and is made available across many cities in the developed and developing countries.

    Biodiesel 

    Image Credit: Flickr Jsbarrie

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    How is Biodiesel Produced?

    It is produced through a refinery process called transesterification. Basically it is the process in which vegetable oils or animal fats are set to react with alcohol to remove glycerin and other methyl esters. Glycerin is a by-product of biodiesel production. There are many variations and methods with which transesterification is carried out. Some of the methods are ultrasonic methods, batch process, and the supercritical process.

    Things to be Taken Care of before Using Biodiesel:

    Before biodiesel is used, there are certain things to be noted. Some engines manufactured before 1992 use rubber gaskets that tend to degrade when biodiesel is used. Fuel filters should be cleaned before one plans to use biodiesel because fuel filters may become clogged with particulates as biodiesel is known to break down deposits of residue in fuel lines. However it doesn't happen the very first time but if one is planning to use biodiesel for a long time to come they should clean the fuel filters soon.

    Clearly, right now, biodiesel is the cleanest fuel that is commercially available. If you want to know more about biodiesel visit the Biodiesel website. If you are a resident of the US and you have some queries email info@nbb.org or call NBB (National Biodiesel Board) (800) 841-5849, which is a toll free number.

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    Sources of Information:

    1) Biodiesel.org

    2) Biodiesel at home

    3) Green fuel vehicles