Biodiesel is liquid fuel technically known as "Mono alkyl ester" made of fat, oil and alcohol. It’s a renewable fuel developed in any climate from vegetable oil, animal fat and biomass. In USA soybean oil is major feed stock because of the largest producer of soybean in the world. Dr Rudolph Diesel developed a unique engine in 1895 which runs in peanut oil and vegetable based fuels. After his death in 1913 all the petroleum companies in his honor celebrate March 18th as "Biodiesel action day". The word of a visionary...

"The use of vegetable oil as engine fuels may seem insignificant today but such oils may become in the course of time as important as petroleum and coal tar products of the present time"
- Dr Rudolph diesel (1912)

Biofuels provides market for excess production of vegetable oil and animal fat, decreases country dependence on imported petroleum, reduce global warming due to closed Carbon cycle, reduces substantial amount of carbon monoxide, unborn hydrocarbon emitted from diesel engines.

Feed stocks

Most potential feed stocks for 2nd generation Biofuels production is biomass from crops, non food energy crops and forestry or wood residues. Lignocelluloses feed stocks contain 67% dry mass which is converted to sugar biological and thermo-chemical methods to produce bioethanol from agricultural residues. Largest amount of Biofuels are produced in North America and Asia. The major raw materials are: - Barley Straw - 367 liters, Corn Stover -503liters, Rice straw-392 liters, Soybean straw-199 liters, Wheat straw-410 liters and Sugarcane straw-3133 liters are produced. In 2007 NREL estimated yield of 65 gallons (246 liters) per ton of feed stock from forest resources. The major raw materials were wood like Black locust, Eucalyptus, Pine and Switch grass which are widely grown. It’s been calculated that in 2012-2013 there would be increase of 90-94 gallons (340-356 liters) of ethanol for every ton of cellulosic feed stock. There are Biofuels producing crops which are divided into two categories Herbaceous or Forage and woody crops. Perennial forage crop species are major sources of feedstock for Biofuels. Switch grass (Panicum virgatum L) is most widely mentioned because of low water consumption and positive environmental impact, low quality land and low cost maintenance. Other crops in this species are Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L) reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea L) Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon). Jatropha (Jatropa curcas) oilseed species which generates most excellent production of biodiesel, it’s widely produced in Asia and Africa. In 2005 its been seen that biodiesel meets the requirement in European and American vehicles, about 1800-2800 liters per hectare can be produced. British company D1 (D1 oil 2008) reported 260thousand hectare across India (73%); South Asia (21%) and Africa (6%) are being used for the growth of Biofuels crops.

Environmental benefits and problems faced.

Biofuels reduces Green house gas and reduces local pollution, non toxic and biodegradable, ethanol reduces 20% of worlds gasoline demand, lowers emission of carbon dioxide. The hydrocarbon base fuels produce high amount of carbon monoxide as compared to Biofuels which produces nitrogen oxide which is less dangerous to human and environment. About 2 million hectares of land worldwide are being affected by soil degradation. There are several changes in climate which creates an imbalance in nature that’s melts the arctic ice which in turn increases the sea level. Proper planned plantation and growth of Biofuels crops on degraded soil and waste land can help restore land moisture fix organic matter and restore soil nutrition. Biofuels produced from palm may be more carcinogenic then conventional fuels. Fuels which are produced from biomass can’t be said carbon neutral because production, transportation and processing needs non renewable energy. It’s not yet clear weather energy used in farming production and application of fertilizers pesticides and herbicides and production of Biofuels will cancel a large amount of cost in production of Biofuels. Advanced technology is mostly patented and copyright protected, the rate of investment on the preservation and maintaining is too high.

Global news

Biofuels produced from left over’s of harvested corn plants were worse than gasoline for global warming. This short time study cost $500,000 was funded by US federal government. Biofuels are much efficient for long time but it could not meet the standards set in 2007. There have been assumptions that the study in 2007 was fake and manipulated with the report which was released by the US government stating that Biofuels are 100% safe. Du Pont Company has invested $200 million plus facility in Nevada that produce 30 million gallons of cellulose ethanol. The company even assures that ethanol is 100% better than gasoline. This Biofuels has been tested as a result it’s been reported that ethanol releases 60% less carbon pollution than gasoline. Argonne National Laboratory in 2012 found Biofuels made from corn residues are 95% better than gasoline. It sets a target of 17 million gallons in the end of 2014.

Many of the gasoline in United States are blended with ethanol. The corns residues are majorly used for alcohol production in fermented and the left over are used for the production of Biofuels. Prairie Horizan Agri Energy with WB Services LLC has announced in building a plant which would produce renewable diesel with help of patented diesel production methods which would solve the scarcity and high price on petroleum products worldwide. Corn oil is the fastest growing feedstock for biodiesel production; biodiesel industry maximizes corn oil use for about 85% of dry grind ethanol plants about 4 million pounds of corn oil is used for the extraction process.

Scientists of Edinburgh Napier University have produced a whisky by product which can power cars. It took about 2 dedicated years to develop. It uses two by products from whisky production process 'pot-ale' the liquid formed on the copper stills and 'draff' the spent grain which are the basis of the production of butanol used in fuels. It can reduce 5-10% less oil to produce biodiesel which makes a lot of difference and its environment friendly and sustainable.

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