What is biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a clean burning fuel which runs in any unmodified diesel engine. This fuel is an environmentally-friendly alternative to the higher emission petroleum diesel used in large transport vehicles and some cars and trucks. In addition, biodiesel can be made from renewable resources such as vegetable oil or animal fat and even from used cooking oil, an abundant waste product.
In the transport sector, it may be effectively used both when blended with fossil diesel fuel and in pure form. Tests undertaken by motor manufacturers in the European Union on blends with diesel oil up to 5-10%, or at 25-30% and 100% pure have resulted in guarantees for each type of use.
Minor modifications (seals, piping) is required for use at 100% pure, unless specifically guaranteed by car manufacturers.
The use of biodiesel as a transport fuel does not require any changes in the distribution system, therefore avoiding expensive infrastructure changes.
Why use biodiesel?
Biodiesel has been demonstrated to have significant environmental benefits in terms of decreased global warming impacts, reduced emissions, greater energy independence and a positive impact on agriculture.
Various studies have estimated that the use of 1 kg of biodiesel leads to the reduction of some 3 kg of CO2. Hence, the use of biodiesel results in a significant reduction in CO2 emission (65%-90% less than conventional diesel), particulate emissions and other harmful emissions. Biodiesel is extremely low in sulphur, and has a high lubricity and fast biodegradability. These are all advantages which have been confirmed by various EC Commission programmes and tests of independent research institutes.
As such, an increased use of biodiesel in Europe represents an important step for the European Union to meet its emission reduction target as agreed under the Kyoto agreement. Additionally reducing pollutant emissions alleviates various human health problems.
In specific cases, used vegetable oils can be recycled as feedstock for biodiesel production. This can reduce the loss of used oils in the environment and provides a competitive and CO² advantageous way of transforming a waste into transport energy.
Biodiesel production also plays a useful role in agriculture. Under the current Common Agricultural Policy, the arable raw materials needed for biodiesel production may be grown on set-aside land, land which would otherwise be taken out of production.
Biodiesel production uses today around 3 million hectares of arable land in the EU.
How will biodiesel be used?
It can be used as a direct replacement for mineral diesels and is an environmentally friendly diesel fuel which can power existing diesel engines used in cars, vans, buses and lorries already on the road today.
The biodiesel will be available from some of the major oil distributors at their forecourts as a 5% blend with mineral diesel. This mixed blend is most favourable to vehicle manufacturers and technicians as it provides the fuel with extra qualities that enhance lubrication, boosting fuel economy in the process. Used in blends of up to 5% does not affect the engine warranty.
What standards apply to biodiesel?
The biodiesel is produced to conform to EN 14214 the European Biodiesel standard.
In a 95 diesel /5 biodiesel blend the fuel also meets the existing EN 590 automotive fuels specification. Numerous engine manufacturers have already endorsed the use of a 95/5 mix. The Green Biofuels quality control laboratory is fully equipped to ensure all production meets the required standard.
Do I need to do any modifications to my car or truck to run biodiesel?
On any vehicle newer than 1995, no modifications are necessary. Some vehicles older than 10 years old have rubber fuel lines, which will be degraded over time by biodiesel. In those vehicles it is necessary to change the fuel lines. Because biodiesel acts as a solvent it will ‘clean’ the fuel injection system. It is important to replace the fuel filter within a week of starting to use biodiesel. Ensure that only fuel meeting the biodiesel specification is used.
What kind of power differences are there between diesel fuel and biodiesel?
Tests have shown biodiesel to provide similar power and performance as diesel fuel. Trials have also shown that 5% blends will improve the fuel efficiency by up to 5%.
What is the difference between biodiesel and pure plant oil / rapeseed oil?
Biodiesel is manufactured from renewable feedstock, which is animal or vegetable based, via a catalytic reaction known as transesterification. It can then be used directly in any diesel engine either as a blend or 100% without any modifications. Pure plant oil / rapeseed oil is oil that is pressed from rape seed and filtered. Because of its high viscosity engines have to be modified to use rapeseed oil.