Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Biodiesel - The Way of the Future?

My friend Mick, has cottoned on to a source of bio fuel for his diesel landcruiser...olive oil! Now that makes me think..what is biodiesel, and how can we use it? Biodiesel is a form of fuel created from plant or animal oils, as opposed to regular diesel, which is refined from mineral oil. There are many sources of plant or animal based biodiesel, from vegetable oils such as soybean oil, or from waste vegetable oil (fish and chip shop waste oil). Animal fat sources are typically from fish oil, this has been used as a biodiesel in Canada. Biodiesel is one kind of biofuel, other kinds of biofuels include plant derived ethanol. One commercial example of biofuel is the E10 fuel that is widely available here in Australia. There are claims that using biodiesel can reduce emissions at the engine exhaust, my reading on this suggests these claims should be read with caution. It does appear that the fuel can have some benefit for modern diesel engine protection, provided fuel systems are cleaned regularly (the injectors and filters). As mineral oil is a finite resource, the world does need to look for alternative fuels. Also mineral oil production is controlled by a handful of countries, meaning if non producing countries can reduce their dependence on the producers, they can become more self sufficient. In my book, that has to be a good thing.

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