WHAT IS BIODIESEL, EXACTLY?
Many different liquids, like cooking oil, can be recycled and turned into biodiesel. But what is biodiesel, exactly? You can find out here.
What if your pizza delivery van could run on leftover olive oil? Would you be interested in heating your home with potato chips? Could you wash your dishes with donuts?
No, this isn’t a strange dream. Fossil fuels currently power vehicles, home heating, and hot water heating. But there is an alternative, a green and clean one. It’s called biodiesel and it can be used wherever diesel is used.
You might ask “what is biodiesel?” The answer is an animal or vegetable-fat based fuel. It’s almost identical to petroleum-based diesel.
It can be made from recycled restaurant grease. It is a substitute for fossil fuels and it diverts grease from the wastewater treatment stream.
Read on to learn more.
Biofuels are made from corn, soy or other agricultural products. They can be domestically produced instead of imported. They are clean-burning, safe and renewable.
Most consumers are familiar with the biofuel ethanol, which is mixed with gasoline. Biodiesel is another fuel directly extracted from plants. Biodiesel can directly replace traditional diesel fuel without any special engine conversion.
Biofuels have a low toxicity compared to petroleum products. Accidental spills or fumes are much less toxic than traditional diesel.
What is Biodiesel Made From?
The most economical way to make biodiesel in the US is with used cooking oil. Instead of simply pouring oil down the drain or into the trash, oil and grease are collected. Some used oil is even worth money!
The collected grease and oil are then filtered to remove impurities. The filtered oil is treated with alcohol, sulfuric acid, and a strong alkaline. This chemical process is called transesterification and it breaks the grease into biodiesel and glycerin.
The mixture is heated to drive off excess water and allowed to settle. The fuel is then drawn off the top and the glycerin is collected from the bottom. The glycerin is then discarded or used for other purposes.
How Do You Use Biodiesel?
The final step of the recycling process is to blend the biodiesel with traditional diesel. Most machinery could run on pure biodiesel, but to preserve manufacturer warranties, the recommended blend is 5%-20% biodiesel. Biodiesel can be blended unnoticeably with petroleum diesel.
Boilers, heaters or any combustion engine designed for diesel can use biodiesel. In terms of emissions standards, biodiesel has a slight edge on traditional petroleum. The original sunflowers, corn or soybeans grown to produce biodiesel give a carbon offset.
How Can I Get Involved?
Now you can answer “What is biodiesel”. The next question is “How do I get in on the benefits?”
Learn how to reduce waste, save money and improve the environment in one step. Contact us about our used cooking oil collection program today. Our experts are ready to assess your needs and provide local, responsive and reliable services.
Let’s save the world together!