Biodiesel refers to renewable and clean diesel that is used to replace natural diesel. Newly discovered biodiesel may create jobs, provide cleaner breathing air, and improve the sector’s fuel security. On the other hand, diesel is a product that is created from crude oil.
How is biodiesel produced?
Biodiesel is usually produced from vegetable oils such as animal fats and canola oil as well as recycled fat products such as cooking fats and used oils. alcohol and this causes the water molecules to condense to leave behind rich, pure fatty acids.
The process of manufacturing biodiesel is known as transesterification. It is a chemical process that produces a pair of products. The products are methyl esters; As biodiesel is known chemically, so is glycerine, which is a very valuable by-product of this process. Glycerine can be sold and used in many other products, including soap.
There are three known methods for producing methyl esters from oils and fats as listed below:
- Conversion of oils and fatty acids into alkyl esters through acid catalysis.
- Base catalytic esterification with alcohol.
- Direct acid-catalyzed esterification with methanol.
How is fossil diesel produced?
During the refining process, dark, very viscous, thick crude oil is converted into lighter, usable diesel fuel. Before understanding the creation of diesel, one first needs to understand the meaning of crude oil.
Crude oil is a liquid found naturally in the earth as a result of the decomposition of organic matter from organisms and plants and exposure to factors of heat and pressure over millions of years. It can be refined into products and different types of petroleum. Through the distillation process, crude oil turns into different types of fuel, in addition to Other petroleum products.
At the molecular level, different types of hydrocarbons make up crude oil; The hydrocarbon chains present in crude oil are of distinct lengths, and distillation may take advantage of the fact that there are differences in the boiling points of the different distillates that make up crude oil, and as such, it is used to separate distillates, one of which is diesel fuel.
Crude oil refining begins with the global heating of the viscous liquid to more than 400 degrees Celsius, a process that turns the liquid into steam, and the steam is directed to the fractional distillation section, and when the steam begins to rise, it finds cooler parts of the distillation tower and cools down.
As a result, the steam will reach a certain temperature; As its constituent hydrocarbon chains begin to transform back into the liquid state, and due to the presence of different temperatures for distillation of the distillate; Dripping plates that capture various liquids are distributed regularly in the tower to appropriately capture the liquids.
The most elongated hydrocarbon chains in crude oil boil at a temperature of 400 degrees Celsius, and as soon as the chain enters the distillation section, it begins to turn into liquids again, and the longer hydrocarbon will settle to the bottom in the form of bitumen or asphalt, and when the steam is cooled to less than 370 degrees Celsius, oils appear fuel, and diesel begins to form when the temperature of the vapor becomes 350 to 200°C, and it may be seen that the vapor collects on the respective drip plates from which it will be sucked into the holding tank.
Differences between biodiesel and diesel:
There are several differences between biodiesel and diesel, the main differences being:
The main difference between biodiesel and diesel lies in the source that separates them. Petroleum diesel may be produced through the process of partial distillation of crude natural oil. On the other hand, biodiesel is produced from animal fats and vegetable oils.
In terms of pollution, diesel is one of the most important pollutants worldwide, and as such leads to a lot of heart infections as well as lung complications, otherwise, biodiesel is classified as one of the most environmentally friendly fuels that exist so far, and it is a clean fuel source with more than 75%.
3. Release of carbon dioxide:
Another difference between diesel and biodiesel is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by the two fuels, diesel is a fossil fuel that emits a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while biodiesel releases less carbon dioxide into the air by 78%.
4. Presence of Useful Solvents:
Biodiesel contains a useful solvent that is used in the pipes to remove diesel deposits from these pipes, on the other hand, diesel lacks such solvents and thus sticks to the transmission pipes.
5. The cetane number:
Biodiesel is known to have a higher cetane number due to the oxygen it carries, otherwise, diesel again contains less of it, and this makes it difficult for engines to run smoothly.
6. Sulfuric acid:
Diesel releases more sulfuric acid into the atmosphere, while biodiesel releases less of it and other harmful products.
7. Size Usability:
While biodiesel is not widely used in the whole world, diesel is known to almost everyone globally, so diesel is widely used as compared to biodiesel.
In terms of cost, diesel is seen as cost-effective. This is because biodiesel is very expensive. The price of biodiesel is determined by the value of the materials from which it is produced, including soybeans, and is very expensive.
Is biodiesel better than diesel?
The question of whether biodiesel is better than diesel can be answered by giving the benefits of this fuel compared to natural petroleum diesel. People cannot escape the fact that biodiesel is better than diesel. The following reasons can be used to justify this fact:
1. Environmental friendliness:
Biodiesel produces fewer pollutants in the environment than diesel, and as such is environmentally friendly, using biodiesel does not lead to most of the complications that occur when using diesel.
2. Managing Global Warming:
Biodiesel is an ideal fuel that can be used to deal with the escalating problem of global warming these days. On the other hand, diesel increases global warming; So it is correct to say that biodiesel is better than natural diesel.
3. Clean Transport and Storage Tanks:
While diesel contaminates storage tanks and pipes used to transport it, biodiesel fuel is used to clean up the dirty sediment, so this means that biodiesel is cleaner and more efficient to transport than diesel, and this makes it better to use.
4. Run and manage engines smoothly:
Biodiesel engines are easier to operate and manage than diesel engines, due to the higher amount of cetane in biodiesel that diesel lacks.
For these reasons, it is proven beyond any doubt that the newly discovered biodiesel is the best fuel that everyone needs to use.
Cons of biodiesel:
Looking at the benefits of biodiesel, you may wonder why anyone would still use diesel fuel, but diesel remains the standard choice for many consumers and offers some of its advantages over biodiesel. Some of the factors to consider with biodiesel include the following: :
1. Necessary storage conditions:
Consider biodiesel’s more specific needs when it comes to storage conditions. Biodiesel must remain within the appropriate temperature range at all times. If it is too warm, mold may grow; This is because this fuel is made of biological material, and if the weather is very cold, it can freeze, and this means that biodiesel does not perform well in cold conditions, as biodiesel can also turn into a gel if exposed to oxygen for a long time.
2. Deposits in engines:
We mentioned that biodiesel offers a higher degree of lubrication, which is a hugely positive trait. This is because it reduces wear, but it has been noted that high lubrication can also lead to the accumulation of more sediment in the fuel tank and pipes, and this may lead to blockages. Fortunately, you can combat this problem by replacing the fuel filters frequently when using biodiesel.
In this article, we have talked about the difference between fossil diesel fuel and biodiesel in terms of pollution, source, emissions, etc., and we got to know how each is formed and produced, in addition to determining whether biodiesel is better than fossil fuel, while mentioning some of the negatives, hoping to achieve the desired benefit.