Why You Should Give Biodiesel A Try?
by Graydon Blair of Utah Biodiesel Supply
One of the questions we get asked on a regular basis is why people should use Biodiesel. We think there's several
reasons to use this great renewable resource! Here's a few that we think stand out.
Biodiesel can be produced by individuals on a small scale relatively inexpensively when compared to Petrodiesel.
Figures range anywhere from $0.40 a gallon to about $1.25 a gallon depending on the cost of materials required
to make it. With prices that low, most people are able to save hundreds of dollars on their fuel bills. In some cases
it even goes into the thousands of dollars. With savings like that, most people are able to recoup their initial
investment on the equipment needed to make biodiesel within a matter of months.
Biodiesel has been touted far and wide for it's renewable properties. Instead of making a fuel from a finite resource
such as crude oil, Biodiesel can be produced from renewable resources such as organic oils, fats, and tallows. This means
that it can be made from things that can be regrown, reproduced, and reused. So, if you need more, you can just grow
another crop of seeds for the oil.
It's Good For The Environment
When Biodiesel is used to power diesel engines, the emissions at the tailpipe are significantly reduced. Studies by the
US National Renewable Energy Lab indicate drops in several key area's that help the environment. Carbon Dioxide, Hydrocarbons,
and Particulate Matter (the black smoke from diesels) all are significantly reduced when Biodiesel is used. When used in
older diesel engines such as indirect combustion diesels, the results are astounding.
We personally saw a reduction in our tailpipe emissions of nearly 90%.
It's one of the many reasons we exist. We were incredibly impressed by our results.
It also has a positive energy balance.
It Supports Farmers
When Biodiesel is made from organic oils such as Canola, Soy, Peanut, or other domestically grown seed crops, it helps
the farming community out. Because the oil used to make Biodiesel is "domestically grown", it keeps the money flowing
to those that "grow" the feedstock. This continues to help out the renewable aspect of Biodiesel because this means
more seed crops can be grown by local farmers.
It Reduces Dependence On Crude Oil
When Biodiesel is used in place of petro-diesel, it reduces the amount of crude oil used up. This means that it helps
to reduce our dependence on a limited resource and increases our use of renewable resources. We think that's a great
step toward reducing our dependence on a fuel that may not be around forever.
It's Enjoyable To Make
We think that making Biodiesel is one of the funnest things in the world to do. With a little practice and know-how
it can easily be made and is extremely simple to do. We've found it to be an incredibly fulfilling experience.
There's just something to be said for being able to make your own fuel and drive past a gas station and wave instead
of pulling up for a fill-up. Words just don't describe the incredible feeling we get each time we make a batch.
It's Good For The Engine
Biodiesel, unlike Petro-diesel, has a much higher "lubricity" to it. This means that it's essentially "slipperier" than
normal diesel fuel. With the added "lubricity" of Biodiesel, engines have been shown to experience less wear and tear
when used on a regular basis. Also, because Biodiesel is less polluting, it means that it's easier on the engine.
US Government Studies have shown that in some cases large fleets using Biodiesel have been able to go longer between oil
changes because the oil stay's cleaner when Biodiesel is used.
It's The Perfect Alternative Fuel
When compared to several other Alternative Fuels available, Biodiesel comes out way ahead. Most alternative fuels require
changes to a vehicle to be used. Natural Gas & Propane require special tanks to be installed and changes to the fuel
injection system must be made as well. Ethanol also requires specialized changes to the fuel injection system. Electricity requires
a completely different engine. In most cases, once a vehicle undergoes the conversion necessary to run the alternative fuel,
there's no going back. You either run the alternative fuel or you don't run the vehicle. No propane? No go!
Biodiesel is different. Unlike other alternative fuels, Biodiesel can be used in most any diesel vehicle UNMODIFIED! Yes,
you read right. In most cases, you just pour the Biodiesel in and go. No fancy tanks, no special injection equipment, no
switches to throw. Just pour it in and drive away. And, unlike the other alternative fuels, if you need to switch back to
Petrodiesel you can. Just fill it back up with diesel! In fact, Biodiesel will even blend with regular diesel fuel in any
mixture; from 1% to 99%. It's really that easy!
Another benefit Biodiesel has over other alternative fuels is fuel mileage. In most cases, when alternative fuels are used
the fuel mileage per gallon drops significantly. In some cases it's even as high as a 60% drop! With drops that significant
any benefit derived from using the alternative fuel quickly diminishes. However, this isn't the case with Biodiesel.
Biodiesel has been shown to only have about an 8% to 10% drop in power when measured over petroleum based diesel. With that said, most people using Biodiesel
don't even notice the drop and if they do, they report that it's only a "slight" drop in power. Most report seeing a decrease
of only 2-3 miles per gallon reduction in fuel mileage.
It Just Makes Sense
So, as you can see, there's several reasons why Biodiesel is an ideal alternative fuel to diesel fuel. It's good for the
environment, it can help you keep more of your hard-earned money, it's better for your engine, and it's fun to make! We believe
that when you compare Biodiesel to all of the other alternatives out there, it just makes sense!
Give It A Try!
If you'd like to see if Biodiesel is right for you, we encourage you to give it a try! Biodiesel can be purchased
commercially from several Commercial Biodiesel Retailers. Once you've tried it
and are sure it's right for you, you can even begin making it yourself!
Diesel Power Magazine published a great article called
Living With Biodiesel.
The article details their experience with using this great renewable fuel.