Palm Oil BioDiesel

Published: 22nd June 2006
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Palm Oil Biodiesel is produced by a reaction of a palm oil or animal fat with an alcohol such as methanol or ethanol in the presence of a catalyst to yield mono-alkyl esters and glycerin, which is removed.

With the increase in awareness and importance attached to environmental issues such as global warming, more environment-friendly fuels are being developed as alternatives to fossil fuel. One such fuel, which has been gaining prominence in recent years, is biodiesel. Clean and renewable, biofuel has been touted as the answer to the issue of the diminishing of energy reserves.

The advantages of palm oil biodiesel, drawn from the field trials are no modification of the engines is required, good engine performance, cleaner exhaust emission and comparable fuel consumption in comparison with the petroleum diesel.

(i) Abundantly available and stable supply.
(ii) Crude Palm Oil can be broken down into many more useful fractions.
(iii) Cheaper than all oils especially Soybean Oil Did I mention, CHEAPER!
(iv) Already being used domestically
(v) Reduces our dependency on petroleum diesel
(vi) Biodegradable Eliminates harmful emissions

What is Palm Oil biodiesel?
Palm Oil Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from Palm Oil. Palm Oil Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Palm Oil Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.

How is Palm Oil Biodiesel made?
Palm Oil Biodiesel is made through a chemical process called transesterification whereby the glycerin is separated from the Palm oil. The process leaves behind two products -- methyl esters (the chemical name for palm oil biodiesel) and glycerin (a valuable byproduct usually sold to be used in soaps and other products).

Is Palm Oil Biodiesel the same thing as raw vegetable palm oil?
No! Fuel-grade palm oil biodiesel must be produced to strict industry specifications (ASTM D6751) in order to insure proper performance. Palm Oil Biodiesel is one of the few biodiesels to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Biodiesel that meets ASTM D6751 and is legally registered with the Environmental Protection Agency is a legal motor fuel for sale and distribution. Raw Palm Oil cannot meet biodiesel fuel specifications, it is not registered with the EPA, and it is not a legal motor fuel.

For entities seeking to adopt a definition of biodiesel for purposes such as federal or state statute, state or national divisions of weights and measures, or for any other purpose, the official definition consistent with other federal and state laws and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) guidelines is as follows:

Palm Oil Biodiesel is defined as mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from Palm Oil vegetable oils which conform to ASTM D6751 specifications for use in diesel engines. Biodiesel refers to the pure fuel before blending with diesel fuel. Biodiesel blends are denoted as, "BXX" with "XX" representing the percentage of biodiesel contained in the blend (ie: B20 is 20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel).

Why should I use palm oil biodiesel?
Palm Oil Biodiesel is better for the environment because it is made from renewable resources, i.e. Palm Oil and has lower emissions compared to petroleum diesel. It is less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar. Since it is made from renewable resources i.e. Palm Oil, its use decreases our dependence on foreign oil and contributes to our own economy.

Where do I get Palm oil biodiesel?
It can be purchased directly from biodiesel producers and marketers, petroleum distributors.

What is biodiesel?

Very often, a broad, general description is used to define biodiesel in a way that is easy to understand by the general public. However, when these broad descriptions are adopted by an authoritative body as a formal definition, they can include a wide range of experimental fuels that are not biodiesel. The term "biodiesel" has a specific, technical definition that has been agreed to through a painstaking process by members of industry and government which has received full approval by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), the premier standard setting organization for fuels and fuel additives. That definition is used for purposes such as alternative fuel designation, EPA registration, or other regulatory purposes. Nonetheless, this specific technical definition can be confusing to the general public.

General Definition of Biodiesel:
Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable fuel for diesel engines derived from natural oils like soybean oil, palm oil and which meets the specifications of ASTM D 6751.

Clarifying language to general definition:
Biodiesel can be used in any concentration with petroleum based diesel fuel in existing diesel engines with little or no modification. Biodiesel is not the same thing as raw vegetable oil. It is produced by a chemical process which removes the glycerin from the oil.

Technical Definition for Biodiesel (ASTM D 6751) and Biodiesel Blend:
Biodiesel, na fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D 6751.

Biodiesel Blend, na blend of biodiesel fuel meeting ASTM D 6751 with petroleum-based diesel fuel, designated BXX, where XX represents the volume percentage of biodiesel fuel in the blend.

Clarifying language to technical definition:
Biodiesel, as defined in D 6751, is registered with the US EPA as a fuel and a fuel additive under Section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act.

Shana's expertise is in renewable raw materials such as oleochemicals, and here she features a topic on biodiesel from Palm Oil as a renewable energy source. Further information may be obtained from:

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