Friday, February 04, 2005

All About BioFules

Subject: All about biofuels
Date: 2/4/2005 3:52:21 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: rkoral@CityTech.Cuny.Edu
To: RKoral@CityTech.Cuny.Edu
Sent from the Internet (Details)

The attached is a download forwarded to me by STA VP Gene Marabello. It
is significant because the Supers Club, via Apartment HOuse Institute,
will be working with Cornell University Cooperative Extension and the
Brookhaven National Laboratory, in a program sponsored by NY State
Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) to test using
bioDIESEL, a mixture of vegetable oil and petroleum in multifamily
dwellings. (Brookhaven has already demonstrated its value in single
family dwellings.) More info on the program in the February electronic
edition of "Super!" which will be on our Website in a week. (Note:
easier to type URL:

If you can't wait, please call me at 718 552-1161 or email:

Dick Koral, Director
Apartment House Institute
NYC College of Technology
Superintendents Technical Association
(formerly) Superintendents Club of New York
718-552-1161 fax -1191

Email to Journey to Forever friends, Friday 23 April 1999:

"We turned our kitchen into a sort of illicit still and made a hell of a mess in there brewing biodiesel fuel out of about 60 litres of yukky waste cooking oil we got from behind McDonald's one night (they were happy to give it to us once we told them we didn't want to eat it). We were sure it would work, but we had to make it ourselves first -- we're not chemists, and if we can make it anyone can.
"And it works! Amazing! Last night we put the stuff in Midori's old diesel Land Rover and it ran like a dream and smelt like a bunch of roses! Well, French fried roses anyway. Now it runs clean, on waste Big Mac residues we brewed up in a bucket in the kitchen, and we're very tickled!"
Biodiesel facts
Biodiesel is much cleaner than fossil-fuel diesel ("dinodiesel"). It can be used in any diesel engine with no need for modifications -- in fact diesel engines run better and last longer with biodiesel. And it can easily be made from a common waste product -- used cooking oil.
• Biodiesel fuel burns up to 75% cleaner than conventional diesel fuel made from fossil fuels
• Biodiesel substantially reduces unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter in exhaust fumes
• Sulphur dioxide emissions are eliminated (biodiesel contains no sulphur)
• Biodiesel is plant-based and adds no CO2 to the atmosphere
• The ozone-forming potential of biodiesel emissions is nearly 50% less than conventional diesel fuel
• Nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions may increase or decrease but can be reduced to well below conventional diesel fuel levels by adjusting engine timing
• Biodiesel exhaust is not offensive and doesn't cause eye irritation (it smells like French fries!)
• Biodiesel is environmentally friendly: it is renewable, "more biodegradable than sugar and less toxic than table salt" (US National Biodiesel Board)
• Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine
• Fuel economy is the same as conventional diesel fuel
• Biodiesel is a much better lubricant than conventional diesel fuel and extends engine life -- a German truck won an entry in the Guinness Book of Records by travelling more than 1.25 million km (780,000 miles) on biodiesel with its original engine
• Biodiesel has a high cetane rating, which improves engine performance: 20% biodiesel added to conventional diesel fuel improves the cetane rating 3 points, making it a Premium fuel
• Biodiesel can be mixed with ordinary diesel fuel in any proportion -- even a small amount of biodiesel means cleaner emissions and better engine lubrication: 1% biodiesel will increase lubricity by 65%
• Biodiesel can be produced from any fat or vegetable oil, including waste cooking oil.
See the National Biodiesel Board's complete evaluation of biodiesel emissions and potential health effects, in accordance with the most stringent emissions testing protocols ever required by the US EPA (Acrobat file, 40 kb):

• The overall ozone (smog) forming potential of biodiesel is almost 50% less than diesel fuel.
• Sulfur emissions are eliminated.
• Substantial reductions of unburned hydrocarbons (-93%), carbon monoxide (-50%), and particulate matter (-30%).
• Biodiesel NOx emissions can be efficiently eliminated as a concern.
• Substantial reductions of cancer-causing PAH (-80%) and nitrited PAH compounds (-90%).

Diesel emissions and cancer
According to a U.S. Department of Energy study completed at the University of California at Davis, the use of pure biodiesel instead of petroleum-based diesel fuel could offer a 93.6% reduction in cancer risks from exhaust emissions exposure.

The study, "Chemical and Bioassay Analyses of Diesel and Biodiesel Particulate Matter", 1996, used a 1995 Dodge 3/4 ton pickup truck with a 5.9-litre Cummins B Turbo diesel and tested 100% ethyl ester of rapeseed oil (REE), 100% diesel 2-D low-sulfur fuel and blends of 20% REE and 50% REE with the 2-D diesel fuel. An EPA test cycle was followed throughout. In test after test the study found the highest risk came from 100% diesel fuel, followed by the 20% REE blend, the 50% REE blend and, lowest risk, the pure biodiesel.

"Use of the 100% REE fuel produced the lowest genotoxic (DNA-damaging) activity in the tests. Blended fuels in the non-catalyst-equipped engine produced less emissions than emissions than the 100% diesel fuel... The use of the 100% REE fuel resulted in the lowest emissions compared to the REE blends and 100% diesel fuels.

"The highest relative specific mass mutagenic activity collected during either the hot or cold test cycles was the particulate matter collected from the 100% diesel fuel emissions... The lowest relative specific mass mutagenic activity was from the particulate matter collected from emissions of l00% REE fuel."

NOTE: There's nothing special about ethyl ester of rapeseed oil biodiesel, other types of biodiesel have similar results.

Greenhouse effect
Using vegetable oils or animal fats as fuel for motor vehicles is in effect running them on solar energy. All biofuels, including ethanol, are derived from the conversion of sunlight to energy (carbohydrates) that takes place in the green leaves of plants.

Plants take up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere; burning plant (or animal) products in an engine releases the CO2 uptake back into the atmosphere, to be taken up again by other plants. The CO2 is recycled, atmospheric CO2 levels remain constant. Thus biofuels do not increase the Greenhouse Effect -- unlike fossil fuels, which release large amounts of new (or rather very old) CO2 which has been locked away from the atmosphere for aeons.

In fact biodiesel can actually reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere: growing soybeans consumes nearly four times as much CO2 as the amount of CO2 produced in the exhaust from soybean oil biodiesel.

Energy efficiency
According to a comparative life-cycle study by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, biodiesel requires only 0.31 units of fossil energy to make 1 unit of fuel.
(An Overview of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel Life Cycles)

"By contrast, it takes 1.2 units of fossil resources to produce 1 unit of petroleum diesel," the study says.

We wonder what the energy efficiency figures for biodiesel would be if fossil fuels were eliminated from the equation and the entire production process powered by biofuels, from planting the seeds to filling the tank?

Grow your own
Rapeseed (Brassica Napus), or canola, produces about 2,000 pounds of seed per acre, yielding about 100 gallons of vegetable oil for fuel, and 1,200 pounds of high-protein meal (seedcake) that can be used for livestock feed or as an organic fertilizer.

The seedcake could also be used to make ethanol, and so could the several tons of crop wastes.

Yields from soybeans are about 60 gallons per acre, from coconuts more than 200 gallons per acre, and from oil palms more than 500 gallons per acre. (See Vegetable oil yields.)

For small-timers, one bushel of soybeans produces about 1.5 gallons of biodiesel -- that's about six to one by volume, and three to one for canola (rapeseed).

For a range of oilseed presses, from hand-powered presses you can make yourself to 150-tons per day industrial models, see Oilseed presses at our Biofuels supplies and suppliers page.

The Sunflower Seed Huller and Oil Press -- by Jeff Cox (from Organic Gardening, April 1979, Rodale Press): Vegetable oils used to be one of those items you just HAD to buy. Now here's how to make your own. In 2,500 square feet, a family of four can grow each year enough sunflower seed to produce three gallons of homemade vegetable oil suitable for salads or cooking and 20 pounds of nutritious, dehulled seed -- with enough broken seeds left over to feed a winter's worth of birds. Online at the Journey to Forever Biofuels Library.

"Small-scale Oilseed Processing" by Janet Bachmann, NCAT Agriculture Specialist, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) -- Basic processes involved in small-scale oilseed processing, includes a low-tech method for raw material preparation using sunflower seeds as an example; information on methods and equipment used for oil extraction; notes on clarification, packaging, and storage. Sources for additional information and a list of suitable raw material.

"The Manual Screw Press for Small-Scale Oil Extraction" by Kathryn H. Potts, Keith MacHell, 1993, Intermediate Technology, ISBN 1853391980
Manual oil extraction from peanuts or other soft oilseeds can be a viable enterprise for small businesses. Describes small-scale processes of oil extraction for use in rural areas, as well as ways to market and distribute the oilcake. From IT Publishing:

Biodiesel is recognized by both the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy as an alternative fuel, and qualifies for mandated programs under the Clean Air Act Amendments and the Environmental Protection Act of 1992 (EPAct). In California, biodiesel has been approved for use in remediation of petroleum oil spills.

US Department of Energy approval: "Vehicle fleets currently required to purchase light duty alternative fueled vehicles under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 will be now allowed to purchase biodiesel fuel as an alternative, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham has approved a final rule allowing biodiesel fuel to qualify as an alternative fuel for automobile fleets under the Energy Policy Act." -- U.S. Department of Energy, April 30, 2001. "The continued use of biomass products like biodiesel in our vehicle fleets, for power generation and for other products and materials will help the environment and help diversify our energy resources," said Abraham.

USDA Clears Air with Biodiesel: Buses and other diesel-burning vehicles run cleaner if they mix biodiesel with regular diesel fuel, said the US Department of Agriculture at a biodiesel fuel seminar at a USDA research center. "The program is part of a federal effort to reduce reliance on petroleum and create new markets for US crops," said Floyd P. Horn, administrator of the Agricultural Research Service, USDA's chief scientific agency. "Crop-based diesel burns cleaner, less sooty. One of our goals is to increase the federal government's purchases of bio-based fuel and other products by 10% per year over the next 5 years. We want to encourage the private sector and local governments to do the same." (January 13, 2000)

Biodiesel is widely used in Europe. Germany has more than 1,500 filling stations selling biodiesel at the pump. France is the world's largest producer: all French diesel fuel contains between 2% and 5% biodiesel, and that will soon apply to the whole of Europe.

© Copyright of all original material on this website is the property of Keith Addison, unless otherwise stated, and may be copied and distributed for non-commercial education purposes only as long as the source of the material is stated and a reference to the Journey to Forever website URL is included ( All material is provided “as is” without guarantees or warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.

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