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INDUSTRIAL PUMPS SINCE 1982

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DEBEM E IL BIODIESEL

Biodiesel is the only liquid renewable-energy source currently marketed. Obtained from rapeseed, soya or sunflower vegetable oils, it is a particularly versatile fuel that is ready for immediate use. It can be used as a straight replacement for diesel, either neat or blended with it, and as an automotive or heating fuel without the need to modify engines or boilers. Safe to store and handle, biodiesel is biodegradable, non-toxic and the one and only alternative fuel registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EU has chosen biodiesel as a preferred means of energy supply in order to achieve the objectives laid down by the Kyoto Protocol. CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) defines biodiesel in European standards as FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) distinguishing between automotive fuels (UNI EN 14214-2004) and heating fuels (UNI EN 14213-2004). Italian production of biodiesel is rising continually, now exceeding 400,000 tons per annum as part of total European production of around 3 million tons per annum.

Biodiesel is an integrated approach: Global – reduction of greenhouse gases Local – reduction of environmental pollutant emissions from fuels. Combats the greenhouse effect: when compared with fossil fuels, the use of biodiesel allows a reduction in engine exhaust gas emissions considered hazardous to human health. This means that the overall balance of carbon dioxide emissions is actually zero. Indeed, the CO2 produced during combustion of a certain amount of biodiesel is reused during photosynthesis of the crops grown to replace that amount of biodiesel. Therefore, the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere does not change and this limits the effects caused by the so-called “greenhouse gases”. Independent studies have shown that by comparing the carbon dioxide issued during the biodiesel life cycle with that of diesel, an average overall saving is achieved of 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of diesel replaced. Cuts pollutant emissions: Biodiesel is an energy source that can immediately help to resolve local pollution problems. The presence of oxygen in its molecule (approx. 11%) improves combustion, it contains no polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or sulphur and allows a reduction in pollutants and the degree of hazard of the emissions. A study by the Health and Safety Institute of a diesel engine running on biodiesel shows a 58% reduction in fine particulate (PM10) and a 76% cut in soot that is the most harmful part as it can be absorbed during breathing and cannot be reduced by catalytic filters. Carbon monoxide is reduced by 58% at high loads and aromatic compounds are cut by 68% thus reducing the risk of cancer, whilst no changes have been noted as regards the other unregulated pollutants. These figures are in line with the findings of American studies approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

 

How is it made? It is obtained by the pressing of oleaginous seeds (rape, soya, sunflower) and a reaction known as transesterification resulting in the conversion of the original alcohol component (glycerol) to methyl alcohol (methanol).

 

 

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