- Environmentally beneficial. Biodiesel meets rigorous EPA Clean Air Act standards. Because it is derived from renewable resources biodiesel is an environmentally-conscious fuel choice. Biodiesel significantly reduces the harmful emissions associated with global warming while enhancing lubricity of conventional diesel fuel.
- Versatile and Reliable. Pure biodiesel (also called B100 or neat biodiesel) is a clean-burning alternative fuel with a range of applications. It is most often blended with petroleum diesel or with home heating oil.
- Easy to use. Biodiesel operates like petroleum diesel—no need for engine modifications. Its high cetane rating helps assure efficient ignition. Further, blending biodiesel with heating oil—for use as Bioheat® fuel¹ —requires no change to oil-burning furnaces. In addition, Bioheat® fuel oil cleanses heating systems.
- Growing market. The US will produce record amounts of biodiesel in the coming years. Biodiesel production amounted to just 25 million gallons as recently as 2004 (according to figures from the National Biodiesel Board). Production climbed to 250 million gallons in 2006, and it is expected to dramatically increase in the next few years.
Replacing oil with biofuels like Biodiesel has a host
of Ecological benefits:
- Biofuels are inherently renewable. Because they are derived from agricultural crops that are produced by domestic farmers, biofuels reduce our dependence on foreign oil producers.
- Biodiesel creates a lower degree of dangerous particle pollution than petroleum-based gasoline and diesel fuels. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles, which have the potential to cause serious health problems.
- Biofuels do not contribute to global warming, since they only emit back to the environment the carbon dioxide (CO2) that their source plants absorbed out of the atmosphere in the first place. We recognize that clearing of land and the production of biofuels require energy input as well, but HERO BX works to be a good steward of the environment in all areas of manufacturing. Further, our research and development teams are dedicated to uncovering advancements both to improve our processes AND to reduce our process’ carbon footprint.
Changing to Biodiesels Is Easy
Transitioning to biodiesels can be done simply and easily. Unlike changing to solar, wind, or other renewable sources of energy, no special equipment or adaptations are needed to use biodiesels in vehicles or for home heating use.
Existing cars, trucks, and home heating oil tanks can simply be switched directly to biodiesel. In standard diesel engines, biodiesel can be readily substituted for regular diesel fuel.
How is Biodiesel made?
Biodiesel is a mixture of fatty acid alkyl esters made from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled greases. Biodiesel can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually used as a petroleum diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and air toxics from diesel-powered vehicles.
In the United States, most biodiesel is made from soybean oil or recycled cooking oils. Animals fats, other vegetable oils, and other recycled oils can also be used to produce biodiesel, depending on their costs and availability. In the future, blends of all kinds of fats and oils may be used to produce biodiesel.
Some feedstocks must be pretreated before they can go through the biodiesel reaction process. Feedstocks with less than 1% free fatty acids, which include vegetable oils and some food-grade animal fats, do not require pretreatment. Feedstocks with more than 1% free fatty acids, which include inedible animal fats and recycled greases, must be pretreated in either a direct esterification process, chemical refining process or physical refining process. In each step undesirable metals, free fatty acids, moisture and impurities are removed from the oils.
Key Reaction. The main reaction for converting oil to biodiesel is called transesterification. The transesterification process reacts an alcohol (like methanol) with the triglyceride oils contained in vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled greases, forming fatty acid alkyl esters (biodiesel) and glycerin. The reaction requires heat and a strong base catalyst, such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. The simplified transesterification reaction is shown below.