What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel (methyl esters - the chemical name for biodiesel) is an alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources; it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used diesel engines with few or no modifications.

How is biodiesel produced?
As a result of transesterification, biodiesel is produced as main product and glycerine as by product.

What is transesterification process?
Generally transesterification is the process of exchanging the alkoxy (alkyl group linked to oxygen) group of an ester compound by another alcohol.
In biodiesel production process oil (or waste oil) reacts with methanol in presence of a strong acid or base as a catalyst and high temperature to produce biodiesel and glycerin.
Strong base commonly used in such reaction because it reduces reaction time with high conversion reaches 98%, low temperature and pressure required, no need for Exotic or special materials of construction and using less extra amount of methanol.

Can pure biodiesel be used or should be blended with petroleum diesel?
Pure Biodiesel (B100) can be used as a fuel or blended with petroleum at any level. Like B20 (a blend of 20 percent by volume biodiesel with 80 percent by volume petroleum diesel) and B80 (a blend of 80 percent by volume biodiesel with 20 percent by volume petroleum diesel).

Can biodiesel help to reduce green house gas effect?
The lifecycle production and use of biodiesel produces approximately 80% less carbon dioxide emissions compared to petrol base diesel, this is because the CO2 released into the atmosphere when biodiesel burned is used again by growing plants, which are later enter the process of bidiesel production.

Does biodiesel required special needs for handling and storage?
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 125°C compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 55°C
In general, the standard storage and handling procedures used for petroleum diesel can be used for biodiesel. The fuel should be stored in a clean, dry, dark environment.

How do biodiesel emissions compare to petroleum diesel?
Because Biodiesel contains 11% oxygen by weight, it helps to complete combustion. Besides, it contains no sulphur.
The exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide from biodiesel are 50 percent lower than carbon monoxide emissions from diesel, the exhaust emissions of sulphur oxides and sulfates (major components of acid rain) from biodiesel are essentially eliminated compared to sulphur oxides and sulphates from diesel.
NOx emissions (a contributing factor in the localized formation of smog and ozone) from biodiesel could increase or decrease depending on the engine family and testing procedures. However, biodiesel’s lack of sulphur allows the use of NOx control technologies that cannot be used with conventional diesel. So, biodiesel NOx emissions can be effectively managed and efficiently eliminated as a concern of the fuel’s use.


University of Strathclyde