Everyone seems to be looking for fuel alternatives to help save the environment and hopefully some money these days. A popular alternative is hybrid cars, which seems to be what most people automatically think of when it comes to the topic of alternative fuel options. Hybrid cars are great fuel efficient cars, but there are other options out there. Biodiesel is another fuel alternative that I honestly hadn’t heard much about and decided to do some research on what exactly it is and find out what the benefits of it are:
Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, made from renewable resources like plant oils, animal fats, used cooking oil and algae. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but can be blended at any level with diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel blends can be used in most compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and free of sulfur. It's basically a clean burning fuel.
Biodiesel can also be self-made, which can save the user even more money. There are various books and how to guides available online that teaches people how to make their own biodiesel and here is a website that teaches the basics of making biodiesel: http://www.biodieselnow.com/blogs/methods/archive/2007/01/27/the-basics-of-biodiesel-production-101.aspx. Although they claim that producing the fuel is cheaper, the cost of the equipment, if not readily available can be quite expensive in the beginning. But in the long run, it evens out because of the money that will be saved on fuel. Here is a link to a savings calculator to see how much you can save with biodiesel: http://www.homebiodieselkits.com/savings-calculator.html.
A common myth about biodiesel is that biodiesel does not perform as well as diesel. In fact, Biodiesel can be used in many existing engines in blends of up to 20% with little impact to the operating performance. In 50 million miles of field testing, blends of 20% biodiesel showed similar fuel consumption, horsepower, torque, and haulage rates as conventional diesel fuel. For more myths and facts visit: http://www.biodiesel.org/pdf_files/fuelfactsheets/Myths_and_Facts.pdf
It seems that biodiesel is a valid fuel alternative that just needs more exposure and more people willing to try it out. Right now, it seems that most people would have to make their own biodiesel in order to have this fuel alternative; hopefully soon biodiesel can be an option at gas stations. Buying a hybrid car seems like an easier alternative to save on fuel, but biodiesel can provide even more benefits because it is all natural and renewable.
By: Rebecca Mark