by the Primedia Editors
The benefits that can be derived from biodiesel fuel are truly extraordinary and it is a fuel source that is changing the face of the fuel industry. Imagine the day when fuel manufacturers can be released from their dependence on foreign oil sources; imagine the day when the world will not be repeatedly abused from oil drilling, spills, and other sources of environmental damages often associated with the distribution of fossil fuels. That day has come: biodiesel is the fuel source that people can use in automobiles and other machines that currently run on diesel fuel. Further, the use of biodiesel fuel reduces carbon monoxide emissions, hyrdrocarbons, and the formation of acid rain.
Biodiesel is engineered from waste products, particularly vegetable oil, and it is an effective waste management process. While many businesses find it difficult to dispose of the waste vegetable oil they use, biodiesel offers and effective recycling process: the vegetable oil is converted into a fuel that can be used in automobiles and other machines. Biodiesel is essentially a clean burning fuel source: it eliminates approximately 90 percent of the damaging pollutants now created by oil use. Plus, biodiesel is a fuel that can minimize the maintenance of your used car: the cleaner fuel is less destructive on engine parts and thereby increases the longevity of the automobile’s motor.
If Biodiesel fuel is made correctly it can be used in any machine that makes use of a diesel fuel with absolutely no complications. From furnaces, to trucks, from small heaters to cars, biodiesel fuel saves users a considerable amount of money. Further, diesel can be blended with biodiesel fuel to increase the overall efficiency of the machines being operated: from a diesel fuel/ biodiesel fuel mixture based on a ratio of 1:5, 1 being biodiesel use and 5 representing diesel fuel mix, consumers can reduce destructive tail pipe emissions as much as 50 to 60 percent! The benefits to the environment are truly extraordinary, especially when one considers the damaging effects of global warming.
Biodiesel fuel can be used for a number of different purposes. Since the fuel is created from an oil mix, it works as a first-rate lubricant for tools and helps to keep tools free from rust. Some biodiesel mixtures are excellent for stain removal in clothing, and biodiesel fuel can be used for wood treatment. Certain oil lanterns that have thick wicks with loosely woven material can be operated with biodiesel fuel. Further, some stoves can even be operated with biodiesel as a fuel source. In addition, there are states using biodiesel in generators, commercial diesel equipment, and marine vessels.
The making of biodiesel fuel is fairly simple but it is not a task that should be taken on until the consumer is 100 percent certain about the entire process. Consumers have to use a number of different chemicals to make biodiesel fuel and they should fully understand how to properly handle the chemicals before they used them. The utmost safety must be used when making the fuel. Basically, biodiesel fuel is made with vegetable oil, methanol, and lye. The ingredients are mixed together, heated, and stirred together to ensure a good mix. After the ingredients have been mixed together the mixture is left sitting for a period of time. The mixture will have to be skimmed and cleared from the excess glycerin and acids that rise to the surface and the pH of the mixture is balanced, the washing process is referred to as transesterification.
Biodiesel fuel has a shelf life from 4 to 6 years if stored properly. If the biodiesel is left out without a lid, the fuel will oxidize and will not last for very long. However, if the fuel is stored in a drum an appropriately covered, the fuel will last for a considerably long period of time. In fact, biodiesel fuel can be stored in a variety of different containers including containers made out of aluminum, fiberglass, fluorinated plastic, fluorinated polyethylene, fluorinated polypropylene, nylon, polyethylene, silicone, steel, Teflon and Viton. In addition, biodiesel fuel is not flammable, making storing the product a safe endeavor.
New cars can be operated with biodiesel fuel with no modification of the vehicles. Nevertheless, once a vehicle is operated using biodiesel fuel, the vehicle will need to get checked out six months after the fuel’s use begins to insure that the hoses are working correctly. If not, the hoses can be inexpensively replaced. For those individuals that have no desire to make their own biodiesel fuel, fuel manufacturers are beginning to make biodiesel fuel accessible at the pump. In fact, an Oahu plant in Hawaii opened a plant offering biodiesel fuel in December 2006 and with the benefits that can be derived from the use of the fuel, consumers are bound to witness easy access of biodiesel fuel at the pump in the future.
This article was written exclusively for Ask Patty by the Editors of Motor Trend, Truck Trend, Diesel Power Magazine and Internet Auto Guide.