Bio-diesel WWW Encyclopedia
Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia provides comprehensive resources for
bio-diesel. It provides inputs and info on various aspects of biodiesel,
and over a thousand relevant web links on biodiesel related topics. It
is intended to be a one-stop biodiesel resource, and is expected to be of use
to beginners and experts alike.
The objective of the Biodiesel Encyclopedia is to provide resources in an impartial manner such that one is able to get information on all aspects of bio-diesel. While it is indeed true that bio-diesel has many virtues, it is still in its initial phase of application, and there are many aspects to be considered before complete endorsement can be provided for these fuels. This section attempts to provide resources so that a researcher is able to find content that can give her/him good understanding of all the relevant aspects, and about ongoing research and explorations in many areas of this exciting field.
The Biodiesel Encylcopedia will be of use to the following audience
1. A beginner wishing to know the basics of biodiesel
2. An industry professional looking for web resources for specific aspects of biodiesel
3. Those wanting to know how to produce biodiesel
4. Those looking for resources for research and future trends in biodiesel
5. Those wanting to know the usage of biodiesel in their respective geographies.
Comprising over twenty sections, The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia provides information and resources for over two hundred different aspects of biodiesel.
We hope you find the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia to be of use.
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Whats New & News in Energy Get the latest from the NewNergy Blog
Get the latest news on oil and biodiesel from algae at the Oilgae Blog
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Some interesting energy-related questions from Billion Dollar Questions
Sections @ Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia
1. What is a Biofuel?
Biofuel definition, basics
2. What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel definition, composition, & bio-diesel chemistry
3. History of Biodiesel?
Where did it start, how did it happen
3. Advantages of Biofuel & Biodiesel
Biodegradability, non-toxicity, fewer emissions, renewability
4. Characteristics of Efficient Biodiesel
Definition of calorific value, cloud point, flash point, melt point, flash point, iodine value, viscosity, cetane number
5. What is Diesel?
Links, differences between diesel & gasoline
6. All about Diesel Engines
Links, differences between gasoline & diesel engines
7. Biodiesel & Gasoline Engines Bio-gasoline?
Inputs on biodiesel in the context of gasoline engines, biogasoline
8. How is Biodiesel Produced from Plant Oils?
About transesterification, dilution, microemulsion, thermal decomposition, catalytic cracking
9. Plant Oils as Biodiesel
Plant oils discussed: Rapeseed, palm oil, castor oil, sunflower, safflower, hemp, mustard, soybean, jatropha, algae, radish, artichoke, canola oil, corn oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil, coconut oil, tung oil, milk bush, karanj
10. Ethanol as Diesel Fuel
Ethanol links, Ethanol & Biodiesel compare & contrast
11. The Economics & Sustainability of Biodiesel
Links for biodiesel economics, cost-benefits and sustainability
11. Biodiesel Case Studies
Biodiesel in various countries: North America (USA, Canada, Mexico), Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain ), South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile ), Asia (India, China, Japan ), Australia
13. Biodiesel Forums & Blogs
Links to biodiesel forums, discussion groups and bio-diesel blogs
14. Biodiesel Research & Future Trends
Research links for biodiesel technology, bio-diesel production & applications
15. Biodiesel Links & Directory Pages
Links to web sites that in turn provide links and directories for various aspects of biodiesel
16. Biodiesel Articles & Opinions
News articles, editorials and op-eds on biodiesel and biofuels
17. Biodiesel Questions & More Questions
Answers & links to questions such as: How long would petrol last? What are the key disadvantages of bio-diesel?...and more
18. More Biodiesel Web Links
Biodiesel Links A-Z
19. Biodiesel Data & Stats
Oilseed yields, diesel fuel standards, viscosity data
20. Biofuel Reference
Classes of biofiels, energy content for biofuels
21. Fossil Fuel Energy Limitations & Crises
Peak oil & more
Section 1. What is a biofuel?
Biofuel is any fuel that derives from biomass recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts. Thus it could be oils from plants, manure from cows, wood from trees and so on. It is a renewable energy source (NREL, Renewable Energy.com), unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels. (see: Biomass Energy Home Page, Dept of Energy, Govt of USA, Biomass Research Home Page - NREL, Bio-mass Introduction from TERI, India, Biomass Energy The Energy Story, Govt of Canada, Biomass - from Wikipedia)
Agricultural products specifically grown for use as biofuels include corn and soybeans, primarily in the United States, and flaxseed and rapeseed, primarily in Europe. Waste from industry, agriculture, forestry, and households can also be used to produce bioenergy; examples include straw, lumber, manure, sewage, garbage and food leftovers. Most biofuel is burned to release its stored chemical energy (Is it Easy to Store Energy?), though research is active into more efficient methods of converting biofuels and other fuels into electricity (see Biomass 101 Apollo Alliance) utilizing fuel cells (see: Fuel Cells .org, How Fuel Cells Work from How Stuff Works).
The production of biofuels to replace petroleum-based oil and natural gas is in active development. The carbon in biofuels was recently extracted from atmospheric carbon dioxide by growing plants, so burning it does not result in a net increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere (see: Atmospheric Carbon-dioxide). As a result, biofuels are seen by many as a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by using them to replace non-renewable sources of energy.
Section 2. What is bio-diesel?
Biodiesel refers to any diesel-equivalent biofuel made from renewable biological materials such as vegetable oils (Vegetable Oil from Wikipedia) or animal fats (Animal Fats fro Wikipedia). While there are numerous interpretations being applied to the term biodiesel, the term biodiesel usually refers to an ester, or an oxygenate, made from the oil and methanol (in other words, the name biodiesel can be applied to any transesterified vegetable oil that makes it suitable for use as a diesel fuel).
Technically, as mentioned earlier, biodiesel is vegetable oil methyl ester (Esters & Fatty Acid Methyl Esters from Wikipedia), or in general one could say that biodiesel consists what are called mono alkyl-esters (Alkyl Esters Specs & Specification Charts from Rohm Hass). It is usually produced by a transesterification and esterification (Esters & Esterification from Aus-Tute) reaction of vegetable or waste oil respectively with a low molecular weight alcohol, such as ethanol (Ethanol from Journey to Forever) and methanol (Methanol from UCC, Ireland). During this process, the triglyceride (Triglyceride from Wikipedia) molecule from vegetable oil is removed in the form of glycerin (soap). Once the glycerin is removed from the oil, the remaining molecules are, to a diesel engine, somewhat similar to those of petroleum diesel fuel. There are some notable differences though. While the petroleum and other fossil fuels contain sulfur, ring molecules & aromatics (Aromatics Online), the biodiesel molecules are very simple hydrocarbon chains, containing no sulfur, ring molecules or aromatics. Biodiesel is thus essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. Biodiesel is made up of almost 10% oxygen, making it a naturally "oxygenated" fuel.
The concept of using vegetable oil as a fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel (Rudolf Diesel from Hemp Car) developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel.
Bio-diesel can be used in diesel engines either as a standalone or blended with petro diesel. Much of the world uses a system known as the "B" factor to state the amount of biodiesel in any fuel mix. For example, fuel containing 20 % biodiesel is labeled B20. Pure biodiesel is referred to as B100.
Section 3. Advantages of Biofuels & Biodiesel
Primary Advantages & Benefits
· Biodiesels are biodegradable (What is Biodegradability? from Ecomall)
· They are non-toxic (Toxicity, Bioddegradabilty & Environmental Benefirs of Biodiesel - PDF)
· They have significantly fewer noxious emissions than petroleum-based diesel, when burned (Biodiesel Emissions Data - PDF)
· They are renewable
· With a much higher flash point (Flash Point from Univ of Arizona) than it is for petro-diesel (biodiesels have a flash point of about 160 °C), biodiesel is classified as a non-flammable liquid by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This property makes a vehicle fueled by pure biodiesel far safer in an accident than one powered by petroleum diesel or the explosively combustible gasoline.
· Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. (How Diesel Engines Work from How Stuff Works)
· Biodiesel can be used alone or mixed in any ratio with petroleum diesel fuel. The most common blend however is a mix of 20% biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel, or "B20."
· Biodiesel is about 10% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur. The lifecycle production and use of biodiesel produces approximately 80% less carbon dioxide emissions, and almost 100% less sulfur dioxide.
· Combustion of biodiesel alone provides over 90% reduction in total unburned hydrocarbons, and a 75-90% reduction in aromatic hydrocarbons. When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of popcorn or french fries. Biodiesel further provides significant reductions in particulates and carbon monoxide than petroleum diesel fuel. Thus, biodiesel provides a 90% reduction in cancer risks. In sum, the use of biodiesel will also reduce the following emissions:
- carbon monoxide (Carbon Monoxide Emissions from Carbon Monoxide Kills)
- hazardous diesel particulates of solid combustion products
- acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide (Info about Acid Rain, from EPA)
- lifecycle carbon dioxide
· The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel (Biodiesel Lubricity from University of Idaho PDF), while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.
· Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F. (Biodiesel Chemical Safety Data Oxford Univ)
· Biodiesel readily blends and stays blended with petrodiesel.
· Biodiesel has a very high flash point (300°F) making it one of the safest of all alternative fuels, from a combustibility point. (Biodiesel Flash Point from Biodiesel Now Forums)
· Biodiesel boasts of a zero total emissions production facility
· Neat vegetable oils pose some problems when subjected to prolonged usage in CI engine. These problems are attributed to high viscosity, low volatility and polyunsaturated character of the neat vegetable oils, and can be reduced significantly by subjecting the vegetable oils to the process of transesterification.
Useful Links: Biodiesel Factsheet
Section 4. Characteristics of Efficient Bio-fuels and Bio-diesels
Biodiesel is noteworthy for its similarity to petroleum-derived diesel fuel, while at the same time having negligible sulfur and ash content. Bioethanol (Bioethanol from Vogelbusch) has only about 70% the heating value of petroleum distillates such as gasoline, but its sulfur and ash contents are also very low. Both of these liquid fuels have lower vapor pressure (Vapor Pressure from Wikipedia) and flammability (Flammability from Wikipedia) than their petroleum-based competitors an advantage in some cases (e.g. use in confined spaces such as mines) but a disadvantage in others (e.g. engine starting at cold temperatures).
Despite their wide range of possible sources, biomass feedstocks (What is a Feedstock?) are remarkably uniform in many of their fuel properties, compared with feedstocks such as coal or petroleum. For example, there are many kinds of coals whose gross heating value (Heating Value Definition from Taftan.com ) ranges from 20 to 30 GJ/T (giga joules per metric tonne). However, nearly all kinds of biomass feedstocks destined for combustion fall in the range 15-19 GJ/T. For most agricultural residues, the heating values are even more uniform about 15-17 GJ/tonne (6450-7300 Btu/lb); the values for most woody materials are 18-19 GJ/tonne (7750-8200 Btu/lb).
However, in contrast to their fairly uniform physical properties, biomass fuels are rather heterogeneous with respect to their chemical elemental composition.
Most biomass materials are more reactive than coal, with higher ignition stability. This characteristic also makes them easier to process thermochemically into higher-value fuels such as methanol (Methanol as Fuel from Ethanol GEC) or hydrogen (Hydrogen Fuel Clean & Secure Energy White House).
Characteristics of Oils or Fats Affecting their Suitability for Use as Fuel
Calorific Value, Heat of Combustion Heating Value or Heat of Combustion, is the amount of heating energy released by the combustion of a unit value of fuels.
One of the most important determinants of heating value is moisture content. Air-dried biomass typically has about 15-20% moisture, whereas the moisture content for oven-dried biomass is negligible. Moisture content in coals vary in the range 2-30%. However, the bulk density (and hence energy density) of most biomass feedstocks is generally low, even after densification between about 10 and 40% of the bulk density of most fossil fuels. Liquid biofuels however have bulk densities comparable to those for fossil fuels.
Melt Point or Pour Point - Melt or pour point refers to the temperature at which the oil in solid form starts to melt or pour. In cases where the temperatures fall below the melt point, the entire fuel system including all fuel lines and fuel tank will need to be heated.
Cloud Point - The temperature at which an oil starts to solidify is known as the cloud point. While operating an engine at temperatures below an oils cloud point, heating will be necessary in order to avoid waxing of the fuel. (Cloud Point Definition from Engineers Edge)
Flash Point (FP) - The flash point temperature of diesel fuel is the minimum temperature at which the fuel will ignite (flash) on application of an ignition source. Flash point varies inversely with the fuels volatility. Minimum flash point temperatures are required for proper safety and handling of diesel fuel. (Flash Point from the MSDS Hyper Glossary, Flash Point from Wikipedia)
Iodine Value (IV) - Iodine Value (IV) is a value of the amount of iodine, measured in grams, absorbed by 100ml of a given oil. The higher the IV the greater potential the oil has to polymerise. (Determination of Iodine Value from Bruker Optics, Determination of the Iodine Value of Oils & Fats IUPAC (PDF), How Relevant is the Iodine Value USDA ARS (PDF), Iodine Value & Biodiesel USDA ARS Research Abstract )
Viscosity Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil, and is determined by measuring the amount of time taken for a given measure of oil to pass through an orifice of a specified size. Viscosity affects injector lubrication and fuel atomization. Fuels with low viscosity may not provide sufficient lubrication for the precision fit of fuel injection pumps, resulting in leakage or increased wear. Fuel atomization (Atomization from Wikipedia) is also affected by fuel viscosity. Diesel fuels with high viscosity tend to form larger droplets on injection which can cause poor combustion, increased exhaust smoke and emissions.
Aniline Point/Cetane Number (CN) - Is a relative measure of the interval between the beginning of injection and autoignition of the fuel. The higher the cetane number, the shorter the delay interval and the greater its combustibility. Fuels with low Cetane Numbers will result in difficult starting, noise and exhaust smoke. In general, diesel engines will operate better on fuels with Cetane Numbers above 50.
Cetane tests provide information on the ignition quality of a diesel fuel. Research using cetane tests will provide information on potential tailoring of vegetable oil-derived compounds and additives to enhance their fuel properties. (References Cetane Number Testing of Bio-diesel from Biodiesel.org (PDF), Cetane Number from Sizes.com, How Does Cetane Number Affect Diesel Engine Operation? ).
Density Is the weight per unit volume. Oils that are denser contain more energy. For example, petrol and diesel fuels give comparable energy by weight, but diesel is denser and hence gives more energy per litre. (Fuel Density)
The aspects listed above are the key aspects that determine the efficiency of a fuel for diesel engines. There are other aspects/characteristics which do not have a direct bearing on the performance, but are important for reasons such as environmental impact etc. These are:
Ash Percentage - Ash is a measure of the amount of metals contained in the fuel. High concentrations of these materials can cause injector tip plugging, combustion deposits and injection system wear. The ash content is important for the heating value, as heating value decreases with increasing ash content.
Ash content for bio-fuels is typically lower than for most coals, and sulphur content is much lower than for many fossil fuels. Unlike coal ash, which may contain toxic metals and other trace contaminants, biomass ash may be used as a soil amendment to help replenish nutrients removed by harvest.
Sulfur Percentage - The percentage by weight, of sulfur in the fuel Sulfur content is limited by law to very small percentages for diesel fuel used in on-road applications. (Ultra-low Sulfur Diesel - PDF)
Potassium Percentage - The percentage by weight, of potassium in the fuel
Engine Manufactures Association (EMA) Recommended Guideline on Diesel Fuel
Flash Point, °C min.
Water, ppm max
Sediment, ppm max
D2276 or D5452
Distillation % Vol. Recovery, °C
Kinematic Viscosity, 40 °C
1.3 - 2.4
1.9 - 4.1
Ash, % max.
Sulfur, % max.
Copper Corrosion, max.
Cetane Number, min.
Cetane Index, min.
Rams Carbon, 10% residue max.
API Gravity, max.
Lubricity, g. min.
Accelerated Stability, mg/L max.
Detergency - L10 Injector
% Flow Loss
Low Temperature Flow, °C
D2500 or D4539
Source: Engine Manufacturers Association
More Links on Biodiesel Properties
Section 5. All about Petroleum Diesel
- Diesel from Wikipedia
- Properties of Diesel Emissions (PDF)
- Properties of Diesel Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand
- Diesel Fuel Characteristics & Use
- About Diesel Fuel & Its Place in the Petro Hierarchy
- Difference between Diesel & Gasoline Fuels
Section 6. All about Diesel Engines
- The Basics of Diesel Engines & Diesel Fuels University of Idaho (PDF)
- Diesel Engine Just the Basics (PDF)
- How Diesel Engines Work from How Stuff Works
- How Diesel Engines Work? from LidRock
- Differences between Gasoline & Diesel Engines
- All about Diesel Engines & How they Differ from Gasoline Engines About.com
- Diesel Engines The Diesel Cycle
- Can I Use Diesel Fuel Instead of Gasoline? Straight Dope
- Differences between Diesel & Gasoline Engines
- Diesel Engines vs. Gasoline Engines in Automobiles
- Difference between Gasoline & Diesel Engines Mad Scientist
Section 7. Biodiesel & Gasoline Engines Bio-gasoline?
- Make your Own Biodiesel Journey to Forever (see the Biodiesel in Gasoline Engines section)
- Japan Seeks Better Ways to Introduce Bio-gasoline
- Biodiesel from Environmental Institute (PDF)
- Sangi Develops Biogasoline Synthesis Technology
- Neste Oil to Launch 98-Octane Biogasoline in Finland
Section 8. How is Bio-diesel Produced from Plant Oils?
The major problem associated with the use of pure vegetable oils as fuels for diesel engines is caused by high fuel viscosity (Viscosity from Physics Hypertextbook) in compression ignition. The vegetable oils are all highly viscous, with viscosities ranging 1020 times those of no. 2 Diesel fuel. Amongst vegetable oils in the context of viscosity, castor oil is in a class by itself, with a viscosity more than 100 times that of no. 2 Diesel fuel (MSDS of No.2 Diesel Fuel PetroCard). Due to their high viscosity and low volatility, they do not burn completely and form deposits in the fuel injector of diesel engines. Furthermore, acrolein (a highly toxic substance) ( Acrolein from EPA) is formed through thermal decomposition of glycerol (Glycerol from Info Please).
Dilution, micro-emulsification (Emulsions & Emulsification from Wikipedia), pyrolysis ( Pyrolysis Definition from AFR) and transesterification are the four techniques applied to solve the problems encountered with the high fuel viscosity. Amongst the four techniques, chemical conversion of the oil to its corresponding fatty ester is the most promising solution to the high viscosity problem. This process - chemical conversion of the oil to its corresponding fatty ester, and thus biodiesel - is called transesterification.
What is transesterification?
· The process of converting vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel is called transesterification, and is fortunately much less complex than it sounds.
· Transesterification refers to a reaction between an ester (Ester from Wikipedia) of one alcohol and a second alcohol to form an ester of the second alcohol and an alcohol from the original ester, as that of methyl acetate and ethyl alcohol to form ethyl acetate and methyl alcohol ( see also interesterification Interesterification from Cyber Lipid) . Chemically, transesterification means taking a triglyceride molecule or a complex fatty acid, neutralizing the free fatty acids, removing the glycerin and creating an alcohol ester. This is accomplished by mixing methanol with sodium hydroxide to make sodium methoxide (Sodium Methoxide from Great Vista Chemicals, Sodium Methoxide MSDS JT Baker) . This liquid is then mixed into vegetable oil. The entire mixture then settles. Glycerin is left on the bottom and methyl esters, or biodiesel, is left on top. The glycerin can be used to make soap (or any one of 1600 other products) and the methyl esters is washed and filtered.
· Transesterification is not a new process. Scientists E. Duy and J. Patrick conducted it as early as 1853. One of the first uses of transesterified vegetable oil was powering heavy-duty vehicles in South Africa before World War II.
More Links on Transesterification
- Transesterification of Rapeseed Oil
- Biofuels Library
- Transesterification of Vegetable Oils A Review (PDF)
- Transesterification & Hydrolysis
- Research Notes for Biodiesel Rick Pelletier
- Kinetics of Palm Oil Transesterification from Journey to Forever (PDF)
- Biodiesel - History & Production from Cyberlipid.org
- Transesterification Information from Biodiesel Process
- Transesterification of Rapeseed Oil
- Biodiesel Preparation Info from North Dakota State University
- Understanding Transesterification from Planet Diesel
- Biodiesel Handbook from Cytoculture
- Biodiesel Production from Wikipedia
- Transesterification can be Fun from IndyMedia
- Transesterification the Solution for Biodiesel from Business Line, India
- Transesterification of Crude Rice Bran Oil - from World Energy (PDF)
- Bio-diesel Production Info from Green Trust
- Production & Testing of Ethyl & Methyl Esters
- Biodiesel from Vegetable Oils Via Transesterification in Supercritical Methanol
- Transesterification of Vegetable Oils Employing Ethanol (PDF)
- Transesterification Equipment Info from Petrogas
- Production Process of Biodiesel from Vegetable Oil
Biodiesel Manufacturing Equipment
Other Methods of Producing Bio-diesel
Other than transesterification, the other methods that have been considered to reduce the high viscosity of vegetable oils are:
· dilution of 25 parts of vegetable oil with 75 parts of diesel fuel
· microemulsions with short chain alcohols (e.g. ethanol or methanol)
· thermal decomposition, which produces alkanes, alkenes, carboxylic acids and aromatic compounds
· catalytic cracking, which produces alkanes, cycloalkanes and alkylbenzenes, and
However, when compared with the above, the transesterification process appears to be the best choice, as the physical characteristics of fatty acid esters (biodiesel) are very close to those of diesel fuel, and the process is relatively simple. Furthermore, the methyl or ethyl esters of fatty acids can be burned directly in unmodified diesel engines, with very low deposit
More Bio-diesel Production Links
The following web sites provide more inputs on the various methods to produce bio-diesel, including the transesterification process.
· Biodiesel Basics (PDF)
Section 9. Plant Oils as Bio-diesel
A variety of biolipids (Biolipds are lipids from biological sources. Lipids are a class of organic compounds essential for the structure and function of living cells, fats are a subset of lipids, belonging to a subcategory of lipids called triglycerides) can be used to produce biodiesel. The main plants whose oils have been considered as feedstock for bio-fuel are: soybean oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil & jatropha oil. Others in the contention are mustard, hemp, castor oil, waste vegetable oil, and in some cases, even algae. There is ongoing research into finding more suitable crops and improving oil yield. (Biodiesel A Brief Overview From ATTRA provides a table of oil-bearing plants having potential for biodisel)
A complete list of oils that appear to have the potential for biodiesel is provided below ( in alphabetical order of the plant name)
Algae as Bio-diesel
The production of algae to harvest oil for biodiesel has not been undertaken on a commercial scale, but working feasibility studies have been conducted to arrive at the above yield estimate. In addition to a high yield, this solution does not compete with agriculture for food, requiring neither farmland nor fresh water.
Artichoke & Biodiesel
· Cynara Cardunculus as an Alternative Crop for Biodiesel Production (MS Word Document)
Biomass & Bio-diesel
Canola Oil as Bio-diesel
Castor Oil as Bio-diesel
Coconut Oil as Biodiesel
· Possibility of Using Coconut Oil as Fuel Substitute for Diesel Engines (Microsoft PPT Format)
Corn Oil as Bio-diesel
Cottonseed Oil as Biodiesel
Flax Oil as Biodiesel
· The oil from linseed/flax plant can also be considered for biodiesel. Research is ongoing in this area.
Hemp Oil as Bio-diesel
Jatropha Oil as Bio-diesel
In India and southeast Asia, the Jatropha tree is used as a significant fuel source, and it is also planted for watershed protection and other environmental restoration efforts.
· Case Study for Jatropha (PDF)
Jojoba Oil as Biodiesel
Karanj Plant (Pongamia pinnata) as Biodiesel
Kukui Nut Oil as Biodiesel
Milk Bush/Pencil Bush (Euphorbia tirucalli) as Biodiesel
Specially bred mustard varieties can produce reasonably high oil yields, and have the added benefit that the meal leftover after the oil has been pressed out can act as an effective and biodegradable pesticide.
Palm Oil as Bio-diesel
Malaysia and Indonesia are starting pilot-scale production from palm oil. Palm oil so far proved to be efficient as biodiesel.
Peanut Oil as Biodiesel
Radish Oil as Bio-diesel
Rapeseed Oil as Bio-diesel
In Europe, rapeseed is the most common base oil used in biodiesel production.
Rice Bran Oil as Bio-diesel
Safflower Oil as Bio-diesel
Soybean Oil as Bio-diesel
Soybeans are not a very efficient crop solely for the production of biodiesel, but their common use in the United States for food products has led to soybean biodiesel becoming the primary source for biodiesel in that country. Soybean producers have lobbied to increase awareness of soybean biodiesel, expanding the market for their product.
Sunflower Oil as Bio-diesel
Tung Oil as Biodiesel
Section 10. Ethanol as Diesel-fuel
Ethanol is not plant oil, but is an alcohol that is primarily derived from sugarcane molasses, but is included here for completeness.
Ethanol & Biodiesel Compare & Contrast
Section 11. The Economics & Sustainability of Bio-diesel
No one is questioning whether or not biodiesel is a good idea. It is, without doubt. The real topic that is debated hotly today is whether biodiesel is an economically sustainable idea, given the costs of production, fossil and non-fossil energy spent for producing energy from biodiesel, opportunity costs for the respective plant oils, and the competing fuels (mainly fossil fuels) already available.
The following web resources focus on the economics, cost-benefits & sustainability of bio-fuels in general and biodiesel in particular.
· Ethanol & Methanol as Bio-fuels for ICEs Envocare, UK (see their Alternative Energy & Renewable Energy Sources Page for more resources)
· Interesting Blog Comments on Energy Efficiencies of Biofuel and Bio-diesel Future Pundit (skip the article and see the comments!)
· Biodiesel Experiment (PDF)
· Biodiesel European Overview (PDF)
· Biodiesel Economics in Brazil (PDF)
· Biodiesels Made Easy (MS Word Doc)
Section 12. Biodiesel Case Studies
· The Development of Biodiesel (PDF)
· Biodiesel Fleet Use & Benefits (PDF)
· Study of Biodiesel from Tallow (PDF)
· Biofuels for CHP in Buildings (PDF)
Biodiesel in North America
· Biodiesel for Arkansas (PDF)
· Seattle Biodiesel Set to Expand (PDF)
· Biobus Project, Canada (PDF)
· Biodiesel Made in Manitoba (PDF)
Biodiesel in Europe
Biodiesel in South America
- Biodiesel Uruguay
- Liquid Biofuels for Transportation in Brazil (PDF)
- Biodiesel Initiative from the Govt of Brazil
- Biodiesel in Brazil from Mamona (Castor Bean Plant) (PDF)
- South America Biodiesel Program (PDF)
- South America Plows Biodiesel, Ethanol Crops - MSNBC
- How South American Biofuels are Gaining Steam
Biodiesel Case Studies in Other Geographies
Section 13. Biodiesel Forums, Discussion Boards & Blogs
- · Biodiesel Now Forums
- · Biodiesel & SVO Forums by Groupee Community
- · Boulder Biodiesel Forums
- · Biodiesel America Forums
- · Biodiesel Forums from TDI Club
- · Bio Diesel Forum.com
- · Diesel Technology Forum
- · Biofuels Forum
- · Biodiesel Community
- · Edmonton Biofuels Forum
- · Planet Biodiesel Forums
- · PHS Biodiesel Forum
- · Frybrid Biofuel Forum
- · The Diesel Stop Forums
Section 14. Bio-diesel Research & Future Trends
The following web resources provide inputs on the various research activities happening in the biodiesel front:
Section 15. Bio-diesel Links & Directory Pages
These page provide (similar to ours) links to a large number of biodiesel resources on the web. We hope you find these useful
Section 16. Articles & Opinions
Section 17. Biodiesel - Questions & More Questions
Can animal fat be used as biodiesel?
How long would petro-diesel/gasoline last?
· Long Term World Oil Supply Dept of Energy, Govt of USA ( see also here)
What are the other alternatives to biodiesel?
What are the key disadvantages of biodiesel?
What is the cost of biodiesel vis a vis petro diesel?
Can I make biodiesel at home?
What is the experience of biodiesel made from waste oil?
How much biodiesel would be required to completely replace petro-diesel? What % of this is available currently?
The current world consumption of petro-fuels is about 12 Million Tons per day = about 5 billion T per annum. Since the energy provided by biodiesel is slightly (about 10%) lower than that of petro-fuels, the world would require about 5.5 billion T of bio-diesel to completely replace petro-diesel, at the current levels of consumption. The total world production of vegetable oils was only about 0.06 billion T in 2005. That is, the total production of vegetable oil in the world is just one-hundredth of what will be required for complete replacement. It is easy to see that it very early days for biodiesel. (see also: What is Biodiesel from Becon, Iowa State University)
What are the likely scenarios with regard to biodiesel usage in future?
· Managing Future Fuels Complexity (PDF)
What is the chemical structure of biodiesel?
Can biodiesel be produced at lower costs at much higher capacities economies of scale?
What are the various forms of bio-energy?
Are there any changes I should make to my diesel engine in order to use biodiesel?
Biodiesel can be used without any changes to a diesel engine.
Are there more biodiesel FAQs on the web?
Are there alternative methods of biodiesel processing/manufacture currently being contemplated?
Transesterification is the main process that is used to make biodiesel from plant and vegetable oils. The alternative methods (to transesterification) are:
· dilution of 25 parts of vegetable oil with 75 parts of diesel fuel
· microemulsions with short chain alcohols (e.g. ethanol or methanol)
· thermal decomposition, which produces alkanes, alkenes, carboxylic acids and aromatic compounds
· catalytic cracking, which produces alkanes, cycloalkanes and alkylbenzenes
Tell me more about Biodiesel blends with petro-diesel/gasoline?
What are the legacy petro companies response to biodiesel?
Which are the major companies foraying into biodiesel?
What are the market segments for biodiesel?
Market Segment - Electricity Generation
Market Segment - Farming
Market Segment - Fleets
Market Segment - Heating Oil
Market Segment - Marine
Biodiesel Publications & Magazines
Can Biodiesel help mitigate global warming?
Section 18. Biodiesel Links A-Z
Austrian Biofuels Institute
American Coalition for Ethanol
An Overview of Bio-fuel Technologies, Markets & Policies in Europe (PDF)
Alternative Fuel Choices Growing for Diesel Engine Operators
American Bio-energy Association
Biofuel Based on Non-edible Oils
Bacterial Bio-fuels? from USDA
Biofuels & Sustainable Transport Energy
Bio-fuels & the Future from Biodiesel, UK New
Biofuel Resources from Solar Oil Systems, Netherlands
Biodiesel Association of Australia New
Biodiesel Info from Philadelphia Clean Cities New
Bio-diesel Production Estimates for the UK
Bio-diesel, a Brief Overview from ATTRA
Bio-diesel Properties Analysis from Chancellor College
Bio-diesel from Earth Toys
Biomass Oil Analysis Research Needs & Recommendations from NREL, USA (PDF)
Bio-diesel Strategies for Latin America & Earth (PDF)
Bio-diesel Production from Department of Energy, Government of USA (PDF)
Bio-diesel Economics in Brazil (PDF)
Biofuel & Bio-energy Bibliography Government of USA
Bio-diesel from Rapeseed - Preparation Process & Details from Degussa
Biofuel Resources from Hempcar.org
Biorefineries & Biofuels from Petrobras
British Association for Bio-fuels & Oils
Biomass for Biofuel isnt Worth It from Cornell University
Brief History of Biodiesel Production from Planet Fuels
Building a Modern Bio-economy Queens University, Canada (PDF)
Bio-energy Today? from USDA
Bio-diesel Solutions Homebrew Biodiesel
Biodiesel Farming for the Future
Bio-diesel Summary of Crops, Data & Statistics from GreenHouse, Australia (PDF)
Biofuels FAQs, from Task39.org
Biofuel, some Numbers from Grist
Biofuel Technologies from Government of Oregon
Biofuel Production through Yeast Fermentation Marietta University (PDF)
Biofuel & Bioenergy Bibliography from USDA
Bio-diesel, a Primer from ATTRA (PDF)
Biodiesel.org Reports Database
Biodiesel Resources from Vineyard Conservation Almanac
Biodiesel Articles from DOE/EERE (MS Word Document Format)
Biodiesel A Fuel for the Future
Cars May Get Their Hydrogen from Waste Water Plants
Clean Vehicles & Biodiesel from Union of Concerned Scientists New
Coconut as Biofuel in Philippines Iran Daily
Comparison of Transport Fuels from Australian Greenhouse Office
Costs of Bio-fuels Compared with Conventional Fuels
Cheaper Veggie Diesel May Change the Way we Drive National Geographic
Could We Totally Substitute Oil by Biofuels? Manicore.com
Comparison of Acute Toxicity of Biodiesel, Biodiesel Blends & Diesel on Aquatic Organisms (PDF)
Diesel-like Fuel Obtained by Pyrolysis of Vegetable Oils Government of Brazil (PDF)
EIA Energy Kids Page Biodiesel a Biofuel New
European Biomass Industry Association
Evaluating Physical, Chemical, and Energetic Properties of Perennial Grasses as Biofuels
Evaluation of Process Variables Interaction by Biodiesel Production from Castor Oil Ethanolise
Engine Oil Analysis of Diesel Engines Fuelled by Biodiesel Blends (PDF)
Fuel from Vegetable Oils, from Veggie Power, UK
Frybrid Vegetable Oil Conversion Glossary New
Green Power Conferences New
Governors Ethanol Coalition, America
Gujarat Oleochem Bags 25 Cr Biodiesel Order from IOC
Green Fuel Challenge
Historical Perspectives on Vegetable Oil Based Diesel Fuels (PDF)
How to Make Biodiesel from Vegetable Oil a DIY for Making Bio-diesel
Horticultural Oil Info from OISAT
How to Make Biodiesel from Rapeseed Oil New
Hemp & The New Energy Technologies New
Hybrid Bio-diesel Car
History of the Diesel Engine from YBiofuels.com
Indias Unique Sources of Fuel for Electricity & Transportation (PDF)
Innovations to Overcome Shortcomings of Biodiesel
Jatropha Oil A Promising, Clean Alternative Energy
Kitchen Recipe for Car Fuel
Liquid Biofuels Newsletter from BLT, Austria
Links to Renewable Fuels Resources Green Fuels
Liquid Biofuels from Ademe.fr (PDF)
Making your Own Fuel from JR Whipple
Malaysias National Bio-fuel Policy
National Bio-diesel Board
National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition - USA
National Biofuels Program - Related Links Alternative Fuels Data Center
Oil Production Information from FAO
Optimisation of Biodiesel Production from Castor Oil a Poster Presentation
Production & Testing of Ethyl & Methyl Esters for Bio-fuel
Pre-treatment of Oils & Fats for Bio-diesel Production from Westfalia Separator (PDF)
Production of Biodiesel from Rape-Seed Oil SCEJ, Japan New
Plant Based Chemicals from Carbohydrate Economy New
Palm Oil Biodiesel
Pure Plant Oils Clean Engine Fuels Today & Tomorrow
Students Guide to Alternative Fuel Vehicles, from Energy Quest, Canada
Substituting Bio-fuels & Biomaterials
Successes with Bio-energy the Brazilian Experience (PDF)
Safety of Animal Fats for Biodiesel Production (PDF)
The Methanol Institute
Tapping Plant Power
UFOP, Germany Fuel Oil Bearing Plants
University of Idaho Biodiesel Homepage
USDA Biofuels Information
Veggie Car Takes a Spin
Vegetable Oil Fuel from Alberta Government, Canada
Vegetable Oil the New Fuel? from National Geographic New
Vegetable Oils - from Wikipedia
Vegetable Oil Revival from Chelsea Green (PDF)
Vegetable Oil Yields, Characteristics from Journey to Forever
William Nelsons Bio-diesel - Technology
Waste Vegetable Oil as a Fuel New
What is Biodiesel & What is Not from Iowa State University
What is Biodiesel & What is Not?
Yahoo Group for Biofuels
Section 19. Biodiesel Data & Stats
Typical Extractions of Oil from Oilseeds
(Kg of oil from 100 Kg of oilseed)
Some Gasoline/Petrol & Diesel Facts:
Sulfur Content: 0.05 percent maximum allowed for diesel
Density : 7.076 lb/gal (diesel) 6.15 lb/gal (gasoline)
Diesel: 19300 Btu/lb (136,567 Btu/gal)
Gasoline: 20300 Btu/lb (124,845 Btu/gal)
Approximately 45-47 GJ/T
American standard testing methods (ASTM) tests and limits for Diesel fuels
Test ASTM Test No. ASTM limits for no. 2 Diesel fuel
Carbon residue (wt.%) D 524 0.35 % max.
Cetane no. D 613 40 min.
Distillation range (K) D 86 555611
Flash point (K) D 93 325 min.
Higher heating value (MJ kg_1) D 2015 45.2 min.
Viscosity (mm2 s_1) D 445 1.94.1
Kinematic Viscosity Specs & Standards
Specifications: (viscosities in mm2/s)
Europe Petrodiesel: 2.04.5
Europe Biodiesel : 3.55.0
US specification of viscosity for low-sulfur No.2 diesel fuel: 1.9-4.1 mm2/s (this is the fuel that is biodiesel is most often compared to)
US Specification for No. 1 diesel fuel is 1.32.4 mm2/s.
Most alkyl esters of vegetable oils have kinematic viscosities less than 5.0 mm2/s.
Section 20. Biofuel Reference
Classes of Biofuels
There are many forms of solid biomass that are combustible as a fuel such as:
· Straw and other dried plants
· Animal waste such as poultry droppings or cattle dung
· Crops such as maize, rice, soybean, peanut and cotton (usually just the husks or shells) & sugarcane- or agave-derived bagasse.
There are also a number of liquid forms of biomass that can be used as a fuel:
· Ethanol usually produced from sugarcane, also from corn
· Methanol, which is currently produced from natural gas, can also be produced from biomass. The methanol economy is an interesting alternative to the hydrogen economy
· Butanol, formed by A.B.E. fermentation (Acetone, Butanol Ethanol) and experimental modifications of the ABE process show potentially high net energy gains. Butanol can be burned "straight" in existing gasoline engines (without modification to the engine or car), produces more energy and is less corrosive and less water soluble than ethanol, and can be distributed via existing infrastructures.
· Biologically produced oils (bio-oils) can be used in diesel engines
· Straight vegetable oil (SVO)
· Waste vegetable oil (WVO)
· Biodiesel obtained from transesterification of animal fats and vegetable oil, directly usable in petroleum diesel engines
· Oils produced from various wastes
· Thermal depolymerization from waste materials can extract methane and oil similar to petroleum
· Methane and oils are being extracted from landfill wells and leachate in test sites
· Bio-methane produced by the natural decay of garbage or agricultural manure can be collected for use as fuel
- It is also possible to estimate the number of animals needed for desirable size of biogas driven engine with Biogas Calculator
· Wood gas can be extracted from wood and used in petrol engines.
· Hydrogen can be produced in water electrolysis or, less ecologically, by cracking any hydrocarbon fuel in a reformer, some fermentation processes also produce hydrogen, such as A.B.E. fermentation
· Gasification, that produces carbon monoxide.
The specific energy densities ( in MJ/kg) of various fuels
· Wood Fuel 16-21
· Methanol 20-23
· Ethanol 24-27
· Butanol - 36
· Biodiesel - 38
· Methane 55-56
· Hydrogen 120-140
Fossil Fuels (for comparison)
· Coal 29-34
Section 21. Fossil Fuel Energy Limitations & Crises
- Peak Oil Primer Energy Bulletin
- Energy Crisis Now @ Blog Spot
- The Fossil Fuel Depletion Crisis from Syn Earth
- The End of Fossil Fuel Crisis & Opportunity from Prout World
- The Coming Energy Crisis from Infinite Energy
- Peak Oil Life after the Oil Crash
- Global Oil Crisis
- Peak Oil Action
- Surviving Peak Oil
- Peak Oil Info from Oil Decline
- Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas
- Peak Oil
- Hubbert Peak Theory from Wikipedia
- Peak Oil News from Blog Spot
- Hubbert Peak of Oil Production
- Fossil Fuel Info & Data from University of Michigan
- Source for Renewable Energy from Source Guides - over 10,000 renewable energy businesses
- EIA Petroleum Data, Reports, Analysis & Surveys