About Biodiesel (2)


Energy security

One of the main drivers for adoption of biodiesel is energy security. This means that a nation’s dependence on oil is reduced, and substituted with use of locally available sources, such as coal, gas, or renewable sources. Thus a country can benefit from adoption of biofuels, without a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. While the total energy balance is debated, it is clear that the dependence on oil is reduced. One example is the energy used to manufacture fertilizers, which could come from a variety of sources other than petroleum. The US NREL says that energy security is the number one driving force behind the US biofuels programme.[66] and the White House "Energy Security for the 21st Century" makes clear that energy security is a major reason for promoting biodiesel.[67] The EU commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, speaking at a recent EU biofuels conference, stressed that properly managed biofuels have the potential to reinforce the EU’s security of supply through diversification of energy sources.[68]

Environmental effects

The surge of interest in biodiesels has highlighted a number of environmental effects associated with its use. These potentially include reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,[69] deforestation, pollution and the rate of biodegradation.

Food, Land and Water vs Fuel

In some poor countries the rising price of vegetable oil is causing problems.[70][71] Some propose that fuel only be made from non-edible vegetable oils like camelina, jatropha or seashore mallow[72] which can thrive on marginal agricultural land where many trees and crops will not grow, or would produce only low yields.

Others argue that the problem is more fundamental. Farmers may switch from producing food crops to producing biofuel crops to make more money, even if the new crops are not edible.[73][74] The law of supply and demand predicts that if fewer farmers are producing food the price of food will rise. It may take some time, as farmers can take some time to change which things they are growing, but increasing demand for first generation biofuels is likely to result in price increases for many kinds of food. Some have pointed out that there are poor farmers and poor countries who are making more money because of the higher price of vegetable oil.[75]

Biodiesel from sea algae would not necessarily displace terrestrial land currently used for food production and new algaculture jobs could be created.

Current research

There is ongoing research into finding more suitable crops and improving oil yield. Using the current yields, vast amounts of land and fresh water would be needed to produce enough oil to completely replace fossil fuel usage. It would require twice the land area of the US to be devoted to soybean production, or two-thirds to be devoted to rapeseed production, to meet current US heating and transportation needs.

Specially bred mustard varieties can produce reasonably high oil yields and are very useful in crop rotation with cereals, and have the added benefit that the meal leftover after the oil has been pressed out can act as an effective and biodegradable pesticide.[76]

The NFESC, with Santa Barbara-based Biodiesel Industries, Inc, is working to develop biodiesel technologies for the US navy and military, one of the largest diesel fuel users in the world. [77]

A group of Spanish developers working for a company called Ecofasa just announced a new biofuel made up from trash. It’s made from general urban waste which is treated by bacteria to produce fatty acids which can be used to make biodiesel. [78].

Algal biodiesel

From 1978 to 1996, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory experimented with using algae as a biodiesel source in the "Aquatic Species Program".[66] A self-published article by Michael Briggs, at the UNH Biodiesel Group, offers estimates for the realistic replacement of all vehicular fuel with biodiesel by utilizing algae that have a natural oil content greater than 50%, which Briggs suggests can be grown on algae ponds at wastewater treatment plants.[50] This oil-rich algae can then be extracted from the system and processed into biodiesel, with the dried remainder further reprocessed to create ethanol.

The production of algae to harvest oil for biodiesel has not yet been undertaken on a commercial scale, but feasibility studies have been conducted to arrive at the above yield estimate. In addition to its projected high yield, algaculture — unlike crop-based biofuels — does not entail a decrease in food production, since it requires neither farmland nor fresh water. Many companies are pursuing algae bio-reactors for various purposes, including scaling up biodiesel production to commercial levels.[79][80]


A group at the Russian academy of Sciences in Moscow published a paper in September 2008, stating that they had could isolate large amounts of lipids from single-celled fungi and turn them into biodiesel in an economically efficient manner. More research on this fungal species; C. japonica, and others, is likely to appear in the near future.[81]

The recent discovery of a variant of the fungus Gliocladium roseum points toward the production of so-called myco-diesel from cellulose. This organism was recently discovered in the rainforests of northern Patagonia and has the unique capability of converting cellulose into medium length hydrocarbons typically found in diesel fuel.[82]

Biodiesel from used coffee grounds

Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, have successfully produced biodiesel from oil derived from used coffee grounds. Their analysis of the used grounds showed a 10% to 15% oil content (by weight). Once the oil was extracted, it underwent conventional processing into biodiesel. It is estimated that finished biodiesel could be produced for about one US dollar per gallon. Further, it was reported that "the technique is not difficult" and that "there is so much coffee around that several hundred million gallons of biodiesel could potentially be made annually."[83]

See also

Biodiesel around the world
  • Biodiesel production
  • Bioenergy
  • Biofuel
  • Earthrace
  • Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008
  • Gasoline gallon equivalent
  • Greasestock
  • National Biodiesel Board
  • Sustainable biofuel
  • Table of biofuel crop yields
  • Tonne of oil equivalent
  • Vegetable oil as fuel
  • Vegetable oil economy
  • Vegetable oil refining
  • NExBTL
  1. "Biodiesel 101 - Biodiesel Definitions" (?). National Biodiesel Board. http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/definitions/default.shtm. Retrieved on 2008-02-16.
  2. "Biodiesel Basics". National Biodiesel Board. http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/biodiesel_basics/. Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  3. Knothe, G.. "Historical Perspectives on Vegetable Oil-Based Diesel Fuels" (PDF). INFORM, Vol. 12(11), p. 1103-1107(2001). http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/reportsdatabase/reports/gen/20011101_gen-346.pdf. Retrieved on 2007-07-11.
  4. McCormick, R.L.. "2006 Biodiesel Handling and Use Guide Third Edition" (PDF). http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/npbf/pdfs/40555.pdf. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
  5. "US EPA Biodiesel Factsheet". http://www.epa.gov/smartway/growandgo/documents/factsheetbiodiesel.htm.
  6. "Twenty In Ten: Strengthening America’s Energy Security". Whitehouse.gov. http://georgewbushwhitehouse.archives.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/initiatives/energy.html. Retrieved on 2008-09-10.
  7. Kemp, William. Biodiesel: Basics and Beyond. Canada: Aztext Press, 2006.
  8.  http://nbb.grassroots.com/07Releases/Incentive/
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  10. "Biodiesel will drive Eastern Wa. train during summerlong test". Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008011135_biodiesel22.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
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  12. Soviet-era training jet flies on biodiesel
  13. Bio-fuel flight demonstration
  14. Virgin Atlantic to Run Bio-diesel Test Flight
  15. Biofuel-powered jet to make test flight
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  17. biodiesel.org report 246
  18. "Lipofuels: Biodiesel and Biokerosene". www.nist.gov. http://www.nist.gov/oiaa/TECHBIO1.pdf. Retrieved on 2009-03-09.
  19. [1] Quote from Tecbio website
  20. [2] O Globo newspaper interview in Portuguese
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  22. [3] Minnesota regulations on biodiesel content
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  25. Lubricity Benefits
  26. Carbon and Energy Balances for a Range of Biofuels Options
  27. National Biodiesel Board (2005-10). "Energy Content" (PDF).: 1. Retrieved on 2007-11-20.
  28. UNH Biodiesel Group
  29. Generic biodiesel material safety data sheet (MSDS)
  30. UFOP - Union zur Förderung von Oel. "Biodiesel FlowerPower: Facts * Arguments * Tips" (PDF). custom?q=cache:OVkS1z7K_jYJ:www.biodiesel.org/resources/reportsdatabase/reports/gen/20040101_gen-331.pdf+hygroscopic&hl=en&ct=clnk&Retrieved on 2007-06-13.
  31. Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report July 2007
  32. "Biofuels and Glycerol". theglycerolchallenge.org. http://www.theglycerolchallenge.org. Retrieved on 2008-07-09.
  33. Chemweek’s Business Daily, Tuesday May 8, 2007
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  38. "Statistics. the EU biodiesel industry". European Biodiesel Board. 2008-03-28. http://www.ebb-eu.org/stats.php#. Retrieved on 2008-04-03.
  39. "Biodiesel to drive up the price of cooking oil". Biopower London. 2006. http://www.biopowerlondon.co.uk/news2.htm. Retrieved on 2008-04-03.
  40. "Major Commodities". FEDIOL (EU Oil and Proteinmeal Industry). http://www.fediol.be/2/index.php. Retrieved on 2008-04-08.
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  42. Errol Kiong (12 May 2006). "NZ firm makes bio-diesel from sewage in world first". The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10381404. Retrieved on 2007-01-10.
  43. Glenn, Edward P.; Brown, J. Jed; O’Leary, James W. (August 1998). "Irrigating Crops with Seawater" (PDF). Scientific American (USA: Scientific American, Inc.) (August 1998): 76–81. http://www.miracosta.edu/home/kmeldahl/writing/..%5Carticles/crops.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-11-17.
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  45. "Biodiesel produced from “tra”, “basa” catfish oil". governemental site. http://www.fistenet.gov.vn/details_e.asp?Object=2111609&news_id=4540732. Retrieved on 2008-05-25.
  46. "Demonstrating the value of a fishy biodiesel blend in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands" (PDF). Biodiesel america. http://www.biodieselamerica.org/files/articles/alaskafishoil_fs_3_18_02.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-05-25.
  47. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_821dst_dcu_nus_a.htm)
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  49. A Promising Oil Alternative: Algae Energy - washingtonpost.com
  50. ^ Michael Briggs (August 2004). "Widescale Biodiesel Production from Algae". UNH Biodiesel Group (University of New Hampshire). http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  51. Herer, Jack, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes", Ah Ha Publishing, 1985.
  52. Klass, Donald, "Biomass for Renewable Energy, Fuels, and Chemicals",page 341. Academic Press, 1998.
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  58. India’s jatropha plant biodiesel yield termed wildly exaggerated 
  59. Jatropha for biodiesel
  60. Weed’s biofuel potential sparks African land grab, Washington Times, February 21, 2007, Karen Palmer
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  70. Biofuel demand makes fried food expensive in Indonesia - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  71. The other oil shock: Vegetable oil prices soar - International Herald Tribune 
  72. http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/sustainability/pdfs/Food%20and%20FuelApril162008.pdf
  73. Food versus fuel debate escalates
  74. How Food and Fuel Compete for Land by Lester Brown - The Globalist > > Global Energy
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  81. Sergeeva YE, Galanina LA, Andrianova DA, Feofilova EP. Lipids of filamentous fungi as a material for producing biodiesel fuel. Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology 2008: 44, 523-527
  82. G. Strobel, et al. (September 2, 2008). ""The production of myco-diesel hydrocarbons and their derivatives by the endophytic fungus Gliocladium roseum (NRRL 50072)"" (PDF). Microbiology. http://plantsciences.montana.edu/facultyorstaff/faculty/strobel/documents/mycodiesel.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-11-04.
  83. Henry Fountain (2008-12-15). "Diesel made Simply From Coffee Grounds". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/science/16objava.html. Retrieved on 2008-12-15.
Other references
  • An Overview of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel Lifecycles, May 1998, Sheehan, et al. NREL (60pp pdf file)
  • Business Management for Biodiesel Producers, January 2004, Jon Von Gerpen, Iowa State University under contract with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) (210pp pdf file)
  • Energy balances in the growth of oilseed rape for biodiesel and of wheat for bioethanol, June 2000, I.R. Richards
  • Life Cycle Inventory of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel for Use in an Urban Bus, 1998, Sheehan, et al. NREL (314pp pdf file)
  • Algae - like a breath mint for smokestacks, January 11, 2006, Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Biodiesel
  • Tyson, R.L.. ""2006 Biodiesel Handling and Use Guide Third Edition"" (PDF). http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/npbf/pdfs/40555.pdf.
  • Biodiesel’s Bright Future from the July-August issue of THE FUTURIST magazine.

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Categories: Alternative propulsion, Biofuels, Diesel substitutes, Direct biofuels, Liquid fuels, Sustainable transport

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