n 1912, Rudolph Diesel had been using peanut oil to operate his new engines. During a demonstration at the World’s Fair, he said, “The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today, but such oils may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time.” His words have taken on added significance today. This manual is acompilation of the experiences of ADM, the biodiesel and petroleum industries, and large-scale users such as the automotive industry, regarding the technical aspects of biodiesel. Its purpose is to serve as a reference manual and to provide interested parties with basic information on biodiesel. Should you have any questions regarding biodiesel or biodiesel blends, please feel free to contact ADMBiodiesel Technical Services at (217) 451-3608 or Biodiesel Sales at (217) 451-2566. You may also send your inquiries to email@example.com.
Biodiesel as a Fuel and as a Blending Component
As a Fuel
Biodiesel (B100) is defined as “a fuel comprised of monoalkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats.” In addition, it must meet all of theparameters as defined within the ASTM specification D6751, “Standard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel Blend Stock (B100) for Middle Distillate Fuels.” Biodiesel has been registered with the U.S. EPA as a fuel and a fuel additive under Section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act. Biodiesel is a fuel designed as a blendstock for use in blending with petroleum diesel fuel. It is not intended for use withgasoline. Biodiesel has been proven to reduce the emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulates when used alone or with blends that include petroleum diesel. Biodiesel has excellent lubricity properties and is typically low in sulfur content, thus meeting the needs of the EPA and new generation fuels.
As a Fuel Additive
Nearly every Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) approves the useof up to 5% biodiesel (B5) when blended with diesel fuel that meets its appropriate specifications as found within ASTM D975. In most cases, the industry believes that blends up to 20% (B20) will cause no detriment to performance. With more than 50 million miles logged, B20 has proven to be a practical fuel that can be used in any diesel engine with few precautions or changes. However, most U.S.auto, engine and fuel injection equipment companies strongly discourage the use of blends over 20%, mainly due to the possible impacts of higher blends on equipment and fuel systems that have not been thoroughly tested. There are additional concerns regarding the influence of the increased biodiesel content greater than 20% on cold flow properties, material compatibility, maintenance intervals,fuel stability, biological growth, energy content, emissions and overall handling.
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Production of Biodiesel
Biodiesel is typically produced by the reaction of a vegetable oil or animal fat with an alcohol such as methanol or ethanol in the presence of a catalyst to yield mono-alkyl esters (biodiesel) and glycerin. This reaction is calledtransesterification. Raw or refined vegetable oil or recycled greases that have not been processed into biodiesel are not biodiesel. Care must be taken to then separate the finished biodiesel from the glycerin, catalysts, soaps and any excess alcohol that may remain.
The conformance of the product to the ASTM specifications is a requirement for any and all tax incentives and credits. Due to the handling...