Oct 25 10
If you love taking long scenic drives through Tennessee wouldn’t you agree that it would be great to know you were doing it without leaving a negative environmental impact? Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of seeing some natural beauty if you are polluting it at the same time? If you agree, then maybe it’s time to get up to speed on some fuel alternatives so future outings won’t be as detrimental.Here are some commonly asked questions about biodiesel that should provide you with enough basic information to make an informed decision before you next hit the highway!What is Biodiesel? Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with no major modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.Is biodiesel used as a pure fuel or is it blended with petroleum diesel? Biodiesel can be used as a pure fuel or blended with petroleum in any percentage. B20 (a blend of 20 percent by volume biodiesel with 80 percent by volume petroleum diesel) has demonstrated significant environmental benefits with a minimum increase in cost for fleet operations and other consumers.Can unaltered vegetable oil be used in a diesel engine? Biodiesel is made from a base stock of vegetable oil and requires no alterations to your vehicle. It is possible to run a diesel vehicle on straight, unaltered, vegetable oil, but a few minor alterations are necessary.How do biodiesel emissions compare to petroleum diesel? Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. The use of biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter compared to emissions from diesel fuel. In addition, the exhaust emissions of sulfur oxides and sulfates (major components of acid rain) from biodiesel are essentially eliminated compared to diesel.Can biodiesel help mitigate “global warming”? A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded biodiesel reduces net CO2 emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesel’s closed carbon cycle. The CO2 released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants, which are later processed into fuel.Can I use biodiesel in my existing diesel engine? Biodiesel can be operated in any diesel engine with little or no modification to the engine or the fuel system. Biodiesel has a solvent effect that may release deposits accumulated on tank walls and pipes from previous diesel fuel storage. The release of deposits may clog filters initially and precautions should be taken. Ensure that only fuel meeting the biodiesel specification is used.