Biodiesel
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16-06-2012, 09:42 PM
Biodiesel
The idea of legitimate biodiesel fuels has always intrigued me, but, alas, I know little to nothing about it. From what I DO know it sounds like a great idea. Someone educate me please.
Is biodiesel a viable alternative?
If so, why so and what would the drawbacks be? (Because everything has a downside somewhere.)
If not, explain your position as well.
I'm looking for a legitimate factually based discussion for the sole reason of teaching myself more about something I do not know much about, therefore, I am not interested in someone's biased opinion, just facts.

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16-06-2012, 10:19 PM
RE: Biodiesel
(16-06-2012 09:42 PM)HDT Wrote:  The idea of legitimate biodiesel fuels has always intrigued me, but, alas, I know little to nothing about it. From what I DO know it sounds like a great idea. Someone educate me please.
Is biodiesel a viable alternative?
If so, why so and what would the drawbacks be? (Because everything has a downside somewhere.)
If not, explain your position as well.
I'm looking for a legitimate factually based discussion for the sole reason of teaching myself more about something I do not know much about, therefore, I am not interested in someone's biased opinion, just facts.
From my background in the aerospace industry, I know that biodiesel is probably going to be the solution to the demand for a 'green' energy source for civil and military air transport. It may also be a good answer for green surface shipping ie by rail or on the ocean by conventionally powered ships. The primary reason for this is these applications require a great deal of energy, more so than an electric vehicle - battery powered - can provide. The chemical energy available by burning hydrocarbons is as cheap, potent source of power, can be easily, refined, stored, transported and consumed without the expense and difficulties associated with hydrogen fuel.

The advanges to biodiesel is that it is a carbon neutral fuel, meaning that it does not cause a net increase in the supply of atmospheric CO2, so it is not a contributor to global warming. Biodiesel can be processed from a variety of plants, including oceanic algae and is renewable. The downsides are that it is more expensive refine and process than existing geologic petroleum and it does not solve some of the other emission problems associated with burning hydrocarbons like NOX emissions, local smog, and ozone degrading chemicals. These are being addressed by using cleaner burning engines which limit this kind of waste.

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17-06-2012, 11:22 AM
RE: Biodiesel
What about the cliche idea of running a conventional diesel engine on say used vegetable oil? How viable of an option is that? Is it efficient? How could one go about making this conversion and what, if any, modifications are typically required?

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17-06-2012, 01:33 PM
RE: Biodiesel
Great topic! Alternative energy is one of my (many) interests.

Biodisel IS a readily available alternative enegysource. BUT...

First...
In alternative energy scenario's people need to step away from that "silver bullet" concept where thy think there is a simple and readily available solution.

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Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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17-06-2012, 03:09 PM
RE: Biodiesel
As far as I know they use ethanol to run cars in brazil. The only downside I can think of to do with biofuel is you are using up land that could be used for growing food to grow it.

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17-06-2012, 03:22 PM
RE: Biodiesel
(16-06-2012 09:42 PM)HDT Wrote:  The idea of legitimate biodiesel fuels has always intrigued me, but, alas, I know little to nothing about it. From what I DO know it sounds like a great idea. Someone educate me please.
Is biodiesel a viable alternative?
If so, why so and what would the drawbacks be? (Because everything has a downside somewhere.)
If not, explain your position as well.
I'm looking for a legitimate factually based discussion for the sole reason of teaching myself more about something I do not know much about, therefore, I am not interested in someone's biased opinion, just facts.
If I can run my tractor on biodiesel, I could justify deep-frying lots of food. Mmmmm. Thumbsup

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17-06-2012, 07:35 PM
RE: Biodiesel
Recycling used food oil actually is a very effective fuel. It used to be that a restaurant would pay to have their used grease hauled away. Nowadays they charge you for it. That, and the costs involved with refining it are somewhat prohibitive.

Unfortunately, that's my opinion. You'll get used to it. It's what we do.

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17-06-2012, 08:23 PM
RE: Biodiesel
Preparing used oil for internal combustion requires a bit of skill and chemical know how, but the quality of the fuel can exceed that of conventional sources.
As for growing plants for fuel it isn't crazy. You're using the plants as solar panels to directly collect solar energy, but the nature of the land use emphases a point that already exists without biofuel: That there is competition for land between the production of food and of energy.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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18-06-2012, 12:36 AM
RE: Biodiesel
(17-06-2012 08:23 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  Preparing used oil for internal combustion requires a bit of skill and chemical know how, but the quality of the fuel can exceed that of conventional sources.
As for growing plants for fuel it isn't crazy. You're using the plants as solar panels to directly collect solar energy, but the nature of the land use emphases a point that already exists without biofuel: That there is competition for land between the production of food and of energy.
Can't we use other sources of biofuels other than ethanol, which if I'm not mistaken, takes up the majority of our farm land; thus solving the land competition dilemma? The more I learn about biodiesels, the less I understand why there isn't a bigger push for funding and support into this. That's why I come to places like this and people seem to just reinforce my understanding that this is an undervalued technology.

"A man who dares waste an hour of his life has not discovered the value of life." - Charles Darwin
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18-06-2012, 12:51 AM
RE: Biodiesel
It's a great alternative actually. Port of Portland (here in oregon) actually relies on alternative fuels.

Some fun stuff on a show dedicated to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jVDW1qhzhg

This was a really good segment on a local company who makes their own biodiesel and actually runs their machinery off of their biodiesel generated from their own little cafe.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STlonPhXnuI
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