7 Critical Pros and Cons of Biodiesel

7 Critical Pros and Cons of Biodiesel

by / Comments Off / 1880 View / Jan 30, 2015

Due to global warming and other environmental issues gaining awareness, many people are looking for alternatives to traditional fuels. Biodiesel is an alternative fuel type that is designed for use in diesel engines alone. It is a fuel that is uniquely made using vegetable oil or animal fats. It is possible for biodiesel to be mixed with petroleum in different percentages, which can range between 1 and 99. The percentage of the petroleum mixture is known by the number that follows the B. An example of a biodiesel that is labeled B^ would mean that it is 96 percent petroleum. The percentage always dictates that amount of petroleum found in the fuel type.

What Are the Pros of Biodiesel

1. Biodegradable
One of the major benefits of biodiesel fuel is that it is biodegradable. It is a non-toxic fuel that does not wreak havoc on the environment if it is spilled. This means that biodiesel spills do not cause the type of harm that other fuel spills can have on the environment as a whole. Even though biodiesel spills still require some type of treatment they cause so much less damage.

2. Less Harmful Emissions
Many people are starting to compare fuel types by the emissions that they cause. Biodiesel is one of the fuels that release the least amount of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide into the air. The environmental benefits that can be seen as a result are immense. The harmful emissions are reduced by about 10 to 12%, which is pretty substantial. In areas where air quality is a concern for the health of animal life, biodiesel fuel is recommended.

3. Ready to Use
It should also be noted that biodiesel fuel is ready to use. This means that no matter what mixture of biodiesel fuel you use, it is designed to be used right away and requires no further engine modifications. One advantage is that it can be used for home heating as an alternative.

What Are the Cons of Biodiesel

1. Gelling
While biodiesel fuel is seen as a great alternative to more harmful fuels, there are a few downsides that are known. Gelling is what often takes place in biodiesel fuel in colder climates. There is a certain temperature where biodiesel fuel begins to gel, which can hinder use. This does not make it the optimal fuel type for all regions and all climates.

2. Breakdown
Another downside to using biodiesel fuel in your automobile is that it can cause damage to your filters and pipes. Deposits from this fuel can be released and lead to clogging of your filters. This is mostly seen in biodiesel mixes that are B20 and over. Gaskets and seals that degrade over time are common when using some types of biodiesel fuels. This automotive breakdown is not ideal and is seen by many as a major flaw.

3. Cost
Cost is always a factor that many people are concerned with. Biodiesel fuel might be a better environmental option, but it is much more costly than other fuel types. It is one of the most pricey fuels for consumers and this is a major downside that attracts a lot of attention. Price is a major factor that is hard to get over.

4. Availability
Another concern involving biodiesel fuel is availability. There are only about 1,000 biodiesel filling stations that offer some blend of biodiesel fuel. This means that it is not as accessible as other fuel types, which can lead to inconvenience for consumers. Most biodiesel filling stations are also found primarily in the Midwest alone. Since this fuel type is also highly combustible, it is not normally used for commercial or residential settings.

Strict Regulations

It is an alternative fuel type, but there are a lot of regulations that biodiesel fuel must comply with. It is under strict accordance and it must be legally registered before it is sold. However, there are a number of environmental enthusiasts that enjoy making their own biodiesel fuel from home.

Environmental Debate

The environment and the harm created by fuels is a debate that continues to rage on. Biodiesel fuel is an alternative that many people are claiming can be more energy efficient and cause less emissions. There will always be a debate surrounding what is best for the environment and how alternative fuel types factor into the mix. The opinion surrounding biodiesel is pretty split with each side focusing on either the positives or the negatives. The only way to get a true understanding of what biodiesel fuel offers is to take a closer look at the pros and cons. After you weigh all the good and the bad side by side it is easier to make an informed decision on the topic of biodiesel fuel.