HIGHWAY TO ECOLOGY THROUGH BIOMASS TO BIODIESEL

02/01/2014 - 16:10
Renewable Energy Development Institute - REDI
ДОРОГОЮ ДО ЕКОЛОГІЇ, ВІД БІОМАСИ ДО БIОДИЗЕЛЮ

There are high levels of traffic wherever we look. Cars and other vehicles need fuel supplies, and as a result air pollution is growing. We can slow down this destructive process, but it all depends on individual contributions to an eco-friendly lifestyle. The solution is the use of biodiesel fuels for all kinds of transport.

The way the diesel is produced is based on the chemical processing of vegetable oil like colza oil. During this process it is adjusted to a compression-ignition engine. This name includes both pure biodiesel which is fatty acid methyl esters and fuel mixtures with diesel which allow a better performance of the engine to be obtained. There are two ways in which to produce this fuel: the first includes the technology suitable for small plants that produce 500 tones of biofuel per year. It is then produced at low temperatures of 20-70 degrees Celsius. The second way involves the fuel being produced with hot technology at a temperature of 240 degrees Celsius and a pressure of about 10 MPa.

It should be emphasized that the use of fuel produced from plants brings many advantages. Firstly, it does not pollute the air with sulfur compounds, which leads to the protection of people’s health. Secondly, its biodegradation is faster than traditional oil and it dissolves more easily, which can be used to eliminate oil contamination.

Moreover, biodiesel affects a liquid biofuels economy. Due to the use of plants to produce them, agriculture develops and fallow lands and rural areas are activated. If they are used as fuel additives, they enable a country’s energy independence of oil supplies. This results in reduced dependence of the fuel price on changes in global oil prices and exchange rates. The fact that conventional sources are depleting cannot be omitted because replacements like biodiesel may be the only alternative for efficient working of road transport.

On the other hand this technology has recently entered the broader market, and therefore has several shortcomings. The biodiesel’s ability to self-ignite, which means cetane numbers of fatty acids esters, is higher than in the case of diesel. This is caused by chemical complexity i.e. the oxygen in the ester bond. Moreover, biodiesel can dissolve gaskets and cables made of natural rubber and some plastics. This would force the drivers and producer to alter the construction. In addition, some properties of fatty acids esters vary significantly when the temperature rises. This feature requires additional coolers for biodiesel.

Nevertheless, the most dynamic biodiesel production is in Austria, where this fuel has been implemented and used for thirty years. This country is followed by Germany, France and Italy. Politics contributes to the increase in popularity of biofuel. For example, Ecuador's authorities have imposed a top-down law, according to which biodiesel should be used as a diesel fuel bio-component of at least 5% by volume.

Biodiesel is still an unknown market, but definitely heading in the right direction. Taking into consideration the fact that rapeseed – the plant used to produce it – is sown at more than 80% of the acreage, there is a great chance for biofuels to rapidly develop. It should not be forgotten that, apart from eco-friendly fuel, it has the potential to increase the quality and profitability of agriculture. It also creates many possibilities for modern transportation.

People are forever trying to find new sources of renewable energy, so it isn’t surprising that they are especially interested in water and its versatility. Accordingly, much effort has been directed into obtaining energy from tidal and wave power, which are defined as circular movements of water molecules caused by wind that moves water surface through friction.