Biodiesel Buyer's Guide
As the price of petrol diesel continues to skyrocket, smart consumers are turning to Biodiesel as the most cost-effective, environmentally-friendly alternative diesel fuel available today. Northern Tools Biodiesel Buyers Guide will give you all the information you need to effectively and affordably process, filter and pump your own Biodiesel fuel at a fraction of the cost of what you're paying for fuel now, without the need for expensive engine conversion.
What is Biodiesel Fuel?
Derived from natural oils, Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable fuel for diesel engines. It is registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is legal for use in any concentration with petroleum-based diesel fuel, for the operation of both highway and non-road diesel vehicles.
Contrary to popular belief, Biodiesel is not simply raw vegetable oil, but motor fuel made from any vegetable oil (such as soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or recycled cooking oils) or animal fats, by means of a chemical process which removes the glycerin from the oil. The refining process, called esterification, employs an industrial alcohol (ethanol or methanol) and a catalyst (a substance which enables a chemical reaction) to convert the oil into a fatty-acid methyl ester fuel.
Biodiesel is a fuel for any diesel engine. It is made from natural oils rather than petroleum. Biodiesel performs similarly to regular diesel fuel and can be used with no modifications to the diesel engine or the vehicle. Biodiesel offers huge advantages, but like any fuel has some limitations. It is affected by cold weather to a greater extent than diesel fuel and typically delivers 2 to 3 percent lower fuel mileage.
Bottom Line: If It Runs On Diesel, It Will Run On Biodiesel.
What are the Advantages of Biodiesel?
Farmers, truck drivers and even everyday commuters are discovering the advantages of Biodiesel.
Smoother Running Engine. Biodiesel has a much higher lubricity (i.e., lubricating quality) than diesel fuel. That means a smoother running engine, cleaner fuel injection components and a longer engine life. And with a cetane rating that is substantially higher than petrol diesel, Biodiesel leaves minimal carbon deposits in your engine.
Dramatic Cost Savings. Biodiesel produced by an individual costs substantially less than petrol diesel fuel—often as little as $0.85 per gallon! What's more, an individual who invests in the necessary equipment to produce their own Biodiesel, can see a return on investment in as little as three months.
Renewable Resource. Unlike fuel made from a finite resource such as crude oil, Biodiesel is made from renewable organic resources that can be re-grown, reproduced and reused. As such, it also reduces our dependency on crude oil.
Decreased Environmental Impact. Across the board, Biodiesel is widely accepted as a superior green alternative fuel. Because it burns significantly cleaner than petrol diesel, it is nearly carbon neutral and non-toxic, reducing carbon lifecycle emissions by 78%. That's equivalent to removing 700,000 cars from the nations highways. Additionally, Biodiesel reduces emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (PM), and sulfates, as well as hydrocarbon and air toxics emissions.
Easy To Make. With the proper equipment, producing Biodiesel fuel is easy--easier by far than watching the sharp increase in costs at the pump every time you need to fill your tank.
What Equipment Do I Need to Make Biodiesel Fuel?
Safety Gear: Because you'll be using chemicals to refine your oil, you should always be sure you're wearing protective safety gear before starting the process. Safety goggles, gloves, protective apron and boots are essential.
Chemicals: The Biodiesel fuel-making process requires methanol, sulfuric acid and catalyst along with air-tight storage containers for each.
Fuel Filter: The fuel filter works to filter and remove water from the fuel. Because initial use of Biodiesel can release deposits previously accumulated on tank walls and pipes, it's recommended that the fuel filter be changed after the first tank of Biodiesel.
Fuel Pump: The fuel pump provides safe, efficient transfer of the fuel to your engine. Consider models that are heavy duty with thermal overload protection, strainer and automatic nozzle for easy fuel transfer.
Fuel Pre-heaters: A Biodiesel fuel can sometimes gel, either due to cold temperatures or because it's been produced from heavily saturated fats such as waste oil from restaurants. Fuel pre-heaters work to effectively keep Biodiesel from solidifying.
Biocides: Biocides are an additive designed to stop the growth of microorganisms in your fuel, thus helping preserve the life of stored Biodiesel.
Synthetic Polymer Fuel Lines: The solvent properties of Biodiesel can result in a slow degradation of rubber fuel lines over the course of months and sometimes years. Therefore, it is beneficial to use Synthetic Polymer Fuel Lines when it comes time for replacement.
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