Biodiesel is an alkyl esters derived from the reaction of alcohol with animal or plants oil. The reaction is called transesterification reaction. This can be achieved by providing the correct reactants, the proper conditions and necessary catalyst for the reaction to take place. Almost all animal and plants oils or the so called triglycerides can be used as feedstock for making biodiesel. Tallow, canola or rapeseed, jatropha, coconut, palm, avocado, peanut, sunflower, castor, olive, shea, mustard, soya, corn etc. are just some examples where biodiesel has been generated through this reaction. The alcohol used on the otherhand can be any alcohol from methanol, ethanol, propanol, isopropanol, butanol and so on. Although all of these can provide good biodiesel, one thing that should be considered in the selection is the economic viability of the alcohol. Methanol being the cheapest and available is an excellent choice. Unlike ethanol, it doesnt form azeotrope or water binding capability that affects the reaction. Methanol may absorbs water, but it can be prevented by mere tight capping of the container. Like any other chemical reactions, many critical factors and conditions should be considered when performing this process. Knowledge of each raw materials and reactants must be in the agenda, should be given quality focus and posted on the wall for easy references. A good example of this is the boiling point of methanol, which is why the temperature during reaction must be maintained at and should not be exceeded.
Here's a sample of grass methyl ester or talahib biodiesel made from grass cutting's oil sourced on idle land in the neighbourhood, in comparison with commercial diesel with 2 % blend and with commercial B100 biodiesel.
Feedstock of biodiesel are derived from renewable, sustainable and biodegradable materials. The figure below illustrates the biodiesel cycle.
To give a short history,this transesterification reaction was first done and patented by Swedish scientists Duffy and Patrick wayback 1853 when gasoline and diesel engines were not yet invented ( source : Grosser, Morton (1978), Diesel: The Man and the Engine, New York: Atheneum, ISBN 978-0-689-30652-5; LCCN 78-006196 ). Thus we can see, that biodiesel is older than its fossil fuel counterpart.Peanut oil was the first oil use by German Engineer Rudolf Diesel in his 1892 diesel engine invention.
Biodiesel has physico-chemical attributes more potent than diesel itself. Unlike diesel, it is non-toxic, biodegradable, renewable fuel, environment friendly, has higher cetane number, fuel efficient ( Biofuel Phils, 2008 ) and most of all to produce it, it doesn’t need going into war or invading a country. You don’t need to modify your engine to use it. By using it, you likewise contribute to the reduction of the global warming’s threat to humanity. Among the notable positive contributions of biodiesel is its combustibility or the much higher cetane number ( octane rating for gasoline). This is clearly shown in the picture of biodiesel flame as shown in my Flash Flame Test. This is the characteristic zapping, minimal smoke and energy riched flame of talahib biodiesel. Aside from PNS/ASTM specifications, this and actual testing in unmodified diesel engine are part of the quality assurance tests being done to make sure that the final product conforms to standard specifications.
( Ric, our expert, biodiesel author, green fuel advocate and weekend environment hero )
Cetane number of diesel is only 45 while, biodiesel has an average of 68, and the reason for this is, the oxygen part of the chemical structure of biodiesel where diesel doest have. We know that for combustion to kindle, oxygen is necessary and for biodiesel, part of the molecule is providing this and not all anymore coming from the air intake of the engine. Some of the benefits of biodiesel are listed below;
Biodiesel nomenclature depends on the feedstock used to make it. For instance, a biodiesel made from coconut oil using methanol is called Coco Methyl Ester or CME for short. A biodiesel made from soya oil using ethyl alcohol is therefore called Soya Ethyl Ester or SEE. See biodiesel samples made from different feedstocks below. This includes almost all oils from plants and animals whether used or unused. Even oil and fats removed from our belly in the liposuction process can be converted to biodiesel. The coconut oil used by Philippine army during WWII to replace the depleted diesel inventory is not an actual biodiesel, but was called cocodiesel. Because glycerol was not reacted out, these 6 X 6 army trucks all bogged down after 6 months of usage due to glycerol clogged nozzles. This is different than the real biodiesel tested by DOST and DOE in actual cars, vans, trucks and buses starting 1972 which became the basis and foundation why Republic Act 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006 was enacted.
As shown in the figure below, the carbon chain of diesel and biodiesel are similarly structured. Diesel has carbon 8 to carbon 22, while biodiesel depending on the feedstock used fall within these carbon lengths. CME for instance, claimed to be the best biodiesel in the world ( DOE, Biofuels Phils and Biofuels Act of 2006 ) has carbon chain perfectly suited in the lower carbon chain of diesel fuel. Combining different oil, like what is being done by the cooking oil industry, say coconut, palm and soya oils, extend the fit of carbon length to the carbon length of diesel chemical structure. Although chemistry-wise, the lower the carbon chain length, the better the combustibility. Carbon 20 to 22 hydrocarbons are the culprit why diesel burns very soothy.
Observing the tailpipe of biodiesel fed engine, one will immediately notice the drastic decrease in black emissions . This definitely is the low cost solution to lots of smoke belching violations in the cities. In a test Mercedes Benz engine in # 1 Mercedes Ave., Mercedes Estate Pasig City ( courtesy of Mr. Patrick Lee of Tapa King ), freshly made biodiesel from waste cooking oil is an SOP Quality Control Actual Usage Test being done for each batch process. With so many batches and tests conducted, this has been proven a convincing factor for Jeepney cooperatives and association to accept categorically biodiesel as a better alternative to the dirty diesel fuel. This engine is pictured below.
In the above Mercedes benz engine, the muffler was deliberately removed and samples are tested without it. Biodiesel compare to diesel was extra smooth and remarkably silent. This proved that the research conducted by Malhotra ( RK Malhotra, 2001 Devt of Alternative Fuel in India by /ADB May2001 Regional Workshop on Fuel Quality and Alternate Fuels ) was confirmed correct, saying in a 100 pages research report that biodiesel produces “ LESS, NOISE & SMOOTH RUNNING OF ENGINE”. This plus the reduction of ignition vibration during start up, according to him is the best contribution of using this alternative green fuel. Using diesel in the engine without a muffler produces an excrutiating and ear piercing rattle and clanking noise, but using biodiesel the sound was radically improved and the vibration minimized. Doing these two trials before an audience is really very convincing.
The reason why the engine runs smoothly and suave was explained by Schumacher and Adams [10th Biennial Bioenergy Conference – Bioenergy 2002, Boise, Idaho, Sept. 22-26, 2002]. The fine lubricity characteristic was responsible and this was shown in the graph below ;
Lubricating power of biodiesel which can be felt even at 0.5 % additive, Schumacher & Adams, 2002
Biodiesel Provides Substantial Savings in M&R: Because it also cleans up the engine and the fuel system as well as providing lubricity in moving parts, coco-biodiesel solves many engine problems and will spare the motorist a lot of maintenance expense and potential repair downtime (Biofuels Phils).
All these along with the so many drivers of government and private companies prove that biodiesel is technically and positively viable and better alternative fuel to diesel.
Biodiesel is a renewable and sustainable fuel, meaning by mere planting and growing animals, we will have continuous source of non-toxic and green fuel. This is illustrated by the biodiesel cycle previosly shown above.It also emits minimal pollutants because of its physico-chemical properties as explained above unlike the toxic, non-biodegradable and non-renewable diesel being emitted on the streets everyday.
The above series of studies conducted by United States Environmental Protection Agency, EPA showed an interesting positive attributes of biodiesel. Using it even at minimal blend exhibited drastic reduction in particulate matter, PM, the toxic carbon monoxide, CO and hydrocarbons, HC. For soya biodiesel ( having higher protein nitrogen content, a minimal increase of nitrous oxide, NOx was noted. This last characteristic however, is not true for cocobiodiesel, being a saturated biodiesel, emission of oxides of nitrogen is substantially reduced. Foremost, it Helps the Fight Against Global Warming and Climate Change: Every liter of cocobiodiesel consumed generates reduction of 3 kg of CO2.
BIODIESEL FROM OIL USED FROM COOKING POPCORN
I was delighted for having been given the chance to convert the used oil of Chef Tony's Popcorn. Here are some pictures given permision by the Owner/Environmentalist himself Chef Tony Elepano.
Products of enviro - responsible restaurateurs like Chef Tony should be patronized ( available at all SM branches, he also owns Cajun's Restaurants ). By using his popcorn biodiesel in all his delivery vans and trucks like what is shown below, he's one of the few pioneers in recycling wastes and contributing to the abatement of pollution and global warming.
A warm smile of approval from the drivers, clean emmisions, smells like the best popcorn in town and no more smoke belching violations. Of course during the first week of using pure biodiesel, the fuel filter has to be cleaned and the muffler cleaned by pressure building at the tailpipe to facilitate removal of old diesel residues cleaned by biodiesel.
MANILA BULLETIN'S AGRICULTURE MAGAZINE FEATURES TALAHIB BIODIESEL IN ITS MONTH OF JUNE EDITION
Maybe its noteworthy to share a little knowledge on this, but could have a great potential if utilized as a feedstock for biodiesel. The lowly and recalcitrant grass, scientifically known as Saccharum Spontanaeum or Kan's grass can be an alternative low cost source of oil for conversion to biodiesel. This was featured by the author as shown in the pages of the abovementioned magazine and is pictured below. Thanks to the agri-expert and editor Mr. Sac Sarian.
The Mag's cover, June 2009 Issue and the 3 full page article. My sincerest thanks to the Editor Sac Sarian.
Did you know that there was also an Agriculture Issue that showed a biodiesel article that features a very expensive project at Aklan State University. For a 200 liter a day biodiesel processor, the staggering cost of P14.93 M is just too much. Herewith below is that article authored by Melpha M. Abello ( Issue Feb 2009 );
FISH OILS, PORK FATS AND TALLOW CAN BE CONVERTED TO BIODIESEL
Yes, the above feedstock can be reacted to biodiesel. This is what Mr. Fred Zafra who owns a Feedmill and a Rendering plant in Angat Bulacan has recently done for his wastes oils. Now he doesnt have to buy diesel anymore for his 8 plant diesel engines. A big savings of P43K a month according to him. Here's his picture with the author, his son and his biodiesel processor ;
Before, when he's still using diesel, the engine on the right side of the plant used to billows thick diesel smoke and ram the area with noise. Now, that biodiesel is being used, these thick smoke and noise dissappear.CME IN LARGE VOLUME STARTED IN CARMONA
Emulsified Asphalt Phils. has produced biodiesel now in its plant in Carmona, Cavite.
Its tar get is 50K liters daily. The set up and the process has been visited by DOE and tests are going on for a sample taken from the actual production.
The flame characteristics above showed the better combustibility of biodiese versus diesel on the right.
. The proud CEO, Engr. Restituto Aquino doing the actual test of the day's production output. Note the heavy smoke of diesel emanating as seen from his shirt as the background.
BAGUIO GOES BIODIESEL
Mr. Ari Verzosa, the owner of the famous restaurant, Baguio's Forest House, who's always been voted top 5 restaurants in the country made an excellent decision to produce biodiesel out of his used restaurant's oils. With his 2 hotels, Burnham and Subic Park Hotels, his biodiesel processor will definitely be busy and very useful. He will be another contributor to companies with a good heart of eliminating pollution and decreasing the incrementing growth of global warming in the Philippines. Kudos to recycling and congratulation to a good deed indeed. Here's some pictures ;
We have also tested the freshly produced biodiesel from his used cooking oils using his trucks. The diesel was completely replaced with B100, the muffler was depressurized to eliminate the dirty soot of diesel residues, then was driven continuosly through Baguio streets. Here's another picture;
GOOD RECYCLING PROJECT IN MANDALUYONG CITY
Caroline Burns and Uzo Belarmine of Institute for Social Entrepreneurship Education has joined the force in abating global warming in Barangka Ibaba Mandaluyong City. Aside from teaching the local womens various salary augmentation efforts like dressmaking, relief distribution etc. , they're now busy engaged in the collection of used cooking oils and converting it to biodiesel. The biodiesel in turn are being re-distributed to spouse drivers helping them beat the rising cost of diesel and further augmenting their income. Here's some pictures ;
At the background is Capistrano Biodiesel System .
MANDAUE CITY'S LATEST CONTRIBUTION TO RENEWABLE GREEN FUEL
Shipping and trucking magnate Jeffrey Go and his brother Rey has commenced biodiesel not only in Cebu but throughout nearby provinces like Samar and where their ships are regularly doing their sortees. The huge volume of biodiesel demand by their strong fleets of trucks and ships necesitates partnering with big cooking oil users like Mr Tomasino Tiu's Nissin Monde and the instant noodles group . Here's a picture of the environmental conscious group;
Jeff Go and wife at the right made an excellent action not only for their business ( P4.98 / L biodiesel for their fleet transport) but mainly as an advocate of global warming reduction in their area of operation. Jam Transport ( Jam, First Charter ande Philtranco ) joins the band wagon of biodiesel user. Headed by Engr. Gerry Quizon and their CEO Dennis Trajano start to become green and enjoy low cost but efficient sustainable fuel this October 2013. The first trial production run was done successfully at their Pulong Sta Cruz site
WANT TO BUY A GOOD BOOK ON MAKING BIODIESEL
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If for instance you wish to have a business prospect FEASIBILITY STUDY consisting of Technical, Financial, Environmental and Socio Economic aspects of biodiesel production, herewith available for a good price of only P850 per copy.
( all proceeds goes to charity )