Since 15 October , most diesel sold in the United States is ULSD, which contains a maximum of 15 ppm sulfur, and all model year diesel vehicles for highway use must use this fuel. Biodiesel does one better, however, because it contains no sulfur. However, McCormick points out that biodiesel emits questionable amounts of nitrogen oxides NO x —air pollutants that mix with sunlight to form smog, a respiratory irritant. But these results were challenged by NREL scientists, who claim the EPA relied too heavily on data for just one engine design—the test-bed engine —thus biasing their results.
Scott Gordon, a chemist and founder of Green Technologies, a small biodiesel producer in Winooski, Vermont, emphasizes that most U. Moreover, catalytic converters that normally remove NO x from gas engines can be used on compression engines that burn ULSD fuel, he says. EPA is currently working with stakeholders to understand all the potential impacts that NO x emissions from biodiesel may have. The proposed ban was scheduled to go into effect on 31 December Three weeks before that deadline, however, the TCEQ granted biodiesel a one-year reprieve.
This extension will allow ongoing studies to reach final conclusions and give the industry a chance to continue testing formulations to comply with the Texas low-emission diesel standards. A product of NBB and other stakeholder lobbying, the credit applies mainly to fuel distributors and blenders. For every percentage of B blended in fuel, a penny gets deducted from the federal excise tax for diesel, which is In , a nationwide NREL survey of 38 blending facilities—meaning facilities that mix biodiesel for distribution—found unacceptably high levels of total glycerin in up to one-third of samples tested, indicating the feedstock fat had not been completely converted.
That meant the samples were therefore out of compliance with quality standards issued by ASTM International, the body that governs standards for industrial materials. Jobe stresses that the NBB is concerned about quality, and suggests that lapses come from an explosive rise in demand. Could that signal a more dramatic competition to come as biodiesel production accelerates? Most experts say no. And Jobe emphasizes that by making soybean oil more valuable, biodiesel production lessens the pressure on solid soy meal the portion with the protein to generate dollars for the industry.
Moreover, experts anticipate that future biodiesel feedstocks will generate higher oil yields than soybeans. Jake Stewart, vice president for strategic development at Organic Fuels, a Houston, Texas—based refinery that made 30 million gallons of biodiesel in making it the largest producer in Texas and the third largest producer in the United States , says the industry has barely scratched the potential when it comes to higher-yield crops. Whereas soybeans generate roughly 50 gallons of biodiesel per acre, algal species can produce up to 8, gallons per acre per year, according to Michael Briggs, a PhD candidate in physics who investigates biodiesel production at the University of New Hampshire.
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This makes them the most promising potential feedstock by far. The trick is to somehow grow algae in systems that allow producers to control production. To make a uniform product, manufacturers need a system that grows just one selected species, without infiltration by others.
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Briggs says the favored approach employs closed bioreactors that keep unwanted species out while allowing for precise control of light, water quality, and nutrient inputs. In one blue-sky scenario, producers could install bioreactors throughout the country and grow algae with nutrients obtained from wastewater treatment facilities, he says.
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A total of 15, square miles, equal to about For another comparison, Briggs notes that 15, square miles works out to about 9. But beyond the United States, land diversions for biodiesel are more problematic. Indonesian rainforests are being burned now to free up acreage for palm trees, a biodiesel feedstock that yields more than gallons of B per acre.
Rampant clearing in the tropics could have disastrous consequences: rainforests absorb carbon dioxide and help mitigate the effects of global warming. Moreover, according to a 5 December article in The Wall Street Journal , forest fires set to clear land for palm trees on Borneo have covered the capital city of Pontianak with smoke and added to the smog that already blankets much of Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, the lure of growing markets for biodiesel fueled by subsidized demand could prove irresistible to developing world distributors willing to slash rainforests for palm oil, even as they claim sustainability in public.
Ultimately, biodiesel could offer a ray of hope for a world squeezed by declining oil supplies, pollution, and global warming. Before long, it could be the fuel of choice for millions.
An Exxon station in Durham, North Carolina, offers a biodiesel mixture made from petroleum and organic feed sources such as soybeans, cooking oil, and animal fats. The Sun Trolley public transportation fleet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is one of the first in the United States to begin using biodiesel for its entire fleet.
Biodiesel made from chemically altered vegetable oil burns more cleanly than traditional diesel fuel. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Environ Health Perspect v. Environ Health Perspect. Charles W. Copyright and License information Disclaimer.
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All text from EHP may be reprinted freely. Use of materials published in EHP should be acknowledged for example,? Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives? Falling swiftly into disfavor, ethanol and soy-based biofuels declined in popularity, and the entire midwest suffered job losses. The same media that hailed biodiesel as as means to energy independence derided it as consuming more energy in its production than it saved, and causing the global poor to head for starvation.
But all biofuels are not made of food stocks. At the 2nd Annual Desert Biofuels Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, I heard about biodiesel companies making fuel from many different non-grain sources.
Many of them are already successful; others are starting in the unique collaborative, open source environment provided by DBI. Arizona Biodiesel , makes B99 biodisel from waste restaurant grease. Its CEO,Dan Rees, believes the biofuels industry was founded to be local and use local waste materials. He believes biodiesel should use local resources to benefit the local economy and benefit the local environment. Amereco Biofuels Corp.
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Its plant is geared for 15 million gallons a year. All its products are made from recycled ingredients. Algae and Jetropha Companies : 3.
The company is producing a wide range of products, of which algae-based biodiesel is a byproduct. Energy Derived is dedicated to the development of energy efficient algae production systems for the creation of algae-based biofuels.. Their goal is to have every farmer grow an acre of algae and produce his own fuel.