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Bio diesel is a term mostly used to refer to straight vegetable oil SVO i.e. unused rape seed or corn oil, and WVO meaning waste vegetable oil that can come from used vegetable oil from restaurants and other food joints. When planning to use vegetable oil for your car, several modifications need to be done, whereby Mercedes and Volvo cars not included. Therefore on planning to use waste vegetable oil, modification is always necessary and you will need to process your fuel first before using it.
Bio diesel is a much stronger solvent compared to the standard mineral diesel hence all the accumulated grunge in the tank and pipes from years of driving dissolves into the new fuel. On pumping the bio diesel through to the fuel filter these particles are deposited potentially blocking the filter. Therefore after a short time it starts to use bio diesel. It usually is important and virtually necessary to replace the fuel filter at least once in a while especially when after the pipes tanks are clean. Fuel filters will only need replacing at standard service intervals and you will have a much cleaner car.
Moreover, bio diesel’s solvent powers also make it hard on any old style rubber piping. All rubber piping and other rubber parts most likely to come in contact with fuel should be immediately replaced with modern hard-hard wearing long life nylon pipes to prevent problems. Luckily, most modern cars no longer have rubber parts hence this may not be an issue.
The recipe for making bio diesel is very simple. Vegetable oil is too thick to use directly in a diesel car engine. Therefore, its viscosity must be reduced using a chemical process which strips the glycerine from the esters (vegetable molecules). By replacing the glycerine with an alcohol (methanol or ethanol) by the process of transestrification we obtain a useful fuel- bio diesel. As vegetable oil is acidic, an alkaline (sodium hydroxide NaOH also known as lye or caustic soda) is used to break the molecules.
To make a simple amount of bio diesel like 1litre you need the following:
This is done by dissolving the sodium hydroxide in the methanol to generate sodium methoxide using a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. The solution is then added to the vegetable oil which has been pre-heated to 60degrees C. Pour the warm oil to a plastic drink bottle through a funnel and add the mothoxide. This is done in a well ventilated area. Remove the funnel and tighten the bottle with its cap and vigorously shake the mixture for 30seconds. The mixture is left to settle and after a few hours the bio diesel appears on top and glycerine at the bottom. Pour off the bio diesel to use as fuel and glycerine can be used to make soap.
It makes perfect sense to use because its an excellent way to use the vegetable oil and animal fats produced today, in return solving the hugely potential problem of waste used products which are otherwise on a usual basis disposed off badly making it hazardous to not only humans but also animals and plants not withstanding.
Bio diesel is not harmful to the environment. Unlike its counterparts i.e. other forms of diesel, bio diesel used in a car produces emissions. If a vehicle uses traditional diesel, the vehicle emits black, stinky smoke. On using bio diesel, the smoke becomes very clean.
The use of bio diesel may not require engine modification. Some cars, without the need to undergo engine alterations, take advantage of bio diesel. Others mix 20% bio diesel with regular diesel. This in turn enables the car to benefit from the good points of bio diesel without the hassle. Bio diesel also helps the car perform much better. There is significant evidence that bio diesel has a cetane number of over 100. Cetane number is used to measure quality of the fuel’s ignition. If your fuel has a high cetane number, you can be sure that what you get is a very easy cold starting coupled with a low idle noise.
Bio diesel can make your car last longer. This is because of the clarity and purity of bio diesel. You can be sure it will not have too many impurities to harm your cars. It burns clean; it’s safe and relatively cheap. Due to the fact that its made from vegetable oil using renewable source to get bio diesel means that it will greatly diminish the increased dependency on foreign oil. Subsequently, the profits for this country’s farmers will considerably increase. Therefore the use of bio diesel means a gain for the country’s economy. Additionally, it is safer for the environment as it does not produce harmful emissions or by-products.
The widespread usage of bio diesel faces a number of challenges. There are feedstock challenges. The cost of feedstock currently is high because it can be used to make many things besides being an energy source. Its primary use being food for human nutritional needs. There is only a fraction of vegetable oil production available for non-food use.
There are also quality challenges. Cold flow properties in winter and oxidation stability in both summer and winter are major issues in quality control. These properties slightly differ based on the feedstock in which the fuel was produced. The rate at which the oxidation occurs increases with high temperatures. Therefore storage during summer months will cause bio diesel to deteriorate rapidly. The chemical composition in bio diesel also contributes to its oxidation.
There is also the challenges facing the biodiesel industry which are similar to the ones facing the ethanol industry. The transportation of ethanol yields yet another dilemma. It cannot be shipped through existing gasoline pipeline system because its easily contaminated by water and may corrode the pipelines. Therefore it needs to be shipped by truck or rail both of which are expensive and slower than pipeline transport and in turn adds to the product cost. In order for ethanol to become a mainstream energy source, transport vehicles will have to be retrofitted to run on ethanol, or governments will have to build or fund pipelines explicitly for ethanol.