The Pros and Cons of Biodiesel Energy

Biodiesel is a kind of clean-burning alternative fuel. It is derived from domestic, renewable sources such as vegetable oils or animal fats. It contains no petroleum, but it’s possible to create a biodiesel blend by mixing it with petroleum diesel. You can use it any all types of diesel engines with little or no modifications. Is this alternative fuel any good? Well, like every other fuel options, there are pros and cons of biodiesel energy too.

The Pros and Cons of Biodiesel Energy

This bioenergy is slowly gaining popularity. It is especially acceptable to people who are serious about reducing their carbon footprints. Let’s find out the pros and cons of biodiesel to see if they can replace the regular fuel options.

The Pros

  • The fuel is completely safe as it does not contain any toxic substance. It is also biodegradable. So, its discharge in the environment in smaller amount won’t have much impact compared to the same amount of petroleum spills. However, discarding larger amount is still harmful to the natural environment.
  • It is inexpensive because its resources are cheap feedstocks. You can turn used fats, cooking oil, and greases into fuel. These items have no other use except for being dumped in landfills.
pros of biodiesel
Biodiesel is less harmful for environment.(photo source: Fotolia)
  • Producing high-oil crops such as Jatropha and palm trees (from which you can extract the vegetable oil for biofuel) on a mass scale could be economically beneficial for low-income countries. It will fulfill their own fuel demand and export them to developed countries for earning foreign currencies.
  • Biodiesel is almost ready to use that further reduces the cost. You can in any type of diesel-powered vehicles because it does not even need any new diesel engine to function!
  • It is a great addition to the list of renewable fuel sources. The oil has improved lubricity and high conductivity, which are good for smooth mechanical functions of vehicles.

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The Cons

  • Biodiesel gets condensed in colder weather and it is more prone to collect sludge and deposits. So, engine breakdowns because of the clogging of filters could be an issue. Besides, the gelling feature makes it viable mostly in places that have a warm climate.
  • Another disadvantage of this fuel alternative is that most of the productions do not meet the ASTM 6751 quality. It is still comparatively a new technology. So, many manufacturers don’t have the equipment for the best washing and refining processes.
cons of biodiesel
B20 variation is less fuel-efficient.
  • It does not have enough power to compete with the regular gasoline and diesel. In fact, it produces nearly 10% less power than the regular fuel options. Also, the use of B20 variation cuts fuel efficiency by 1 to 2%.
  • You can use the biodiesel in any regular diesel engine, but it may not be the best option for that engine since it is designed to be compatible with petroleum diesel, not the bio version.
  • Biodiesel is not also readily available because of limited production. You will find only a handful of filling stations that keep some blend of biodiesel.