Biodiesel: is it worth considering?

Essay by leonardtly June 2006

download word file, 11 pages 5.0

In the late 1890's, a man by the name of Rudolph Diesel invented a new fuel for stronger vehicles with the environment in mind. This new fuel was diesel, and originally the engines were designed to run on refined vegetable oils such as soybean oil. Over three-hundred years have passed, and the use of soybean oil is still in use, only it is the kind of a sprouting breed. This new fuel emission is called biodiesel, composed of a 30% diesel to 70% biodiesel mixture.

However, inexpensive petroleum based fuels prevented biodiesel fuels from receiving much consideration until the fuel shortages in the 1970's and again during the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s. Since these two interruptions, coupled with the terrorist attacks today, fossil fuel prices are beginning to climb, and the wide-spread population is turning to hybrid and biodiesel running cars. The American conversion to biofuels did not happen until the late 1990s even though it has been used extensively in Europe for nearly a quarter century.

Biodiesel, by definition, refers to any renewable fuel made from any sort of organic compound. Popular questions such as: will biodiesel become an important renewable fuel across the United States? And what feedstocks (producers and origins) can be used to produce biodiesel? Are asked in order to answer the biggest biodiesel question of them all: Is biodiesel practical and safe? (Jefferson) These questions and other important issues concerning biodiesel are addressed in this paper.

Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine over 100 years ago with vegetable oil as the fuel choice. As petroleum became the dominate low cost energy source, petroleum diesel was developed as the primary fuel for diesel engines. While biodiesel is a biodegradable and cleaner burning diesel replacement fuel made from natural, renewable sources. These fats and oils...