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Extraction of  biodiesel

Jatropha Curcas

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Biofuels are fuels derived from living plants, animals or their byproducts which are not more than 20-30 years old.  Biofuels contain stored solar energy and are a renewable source of  energy, since the plants can be grown again. Unlike petroproducts , all biofuels are biodegradable and do not damage the environment when spilled. As demand and prices of crude oil increase, more countries are encouraging the use of biofuels by offering tax incentives.

Wood from trees and manure from cattle (cow dung) are the most widely used biofuels used for cooking and other household applications in poor countries. Biogas for cooking is derived from industrial and household waste by the anaerobic digestion. Biogas contains methane. Chemical processes can also be used to produce biogas from industrial waste. Microalgae may be used as an energy source in future, as their yield per acre is the highest compared to other sources.

Biodiesel is one of  the most popular biofuels , since it can be used as a replacement for diesel in many applications. Biodiesel is derived from different agricultural products depending on the availability in that region. In India, jatropha and pongamia  are used for biodiesel. In South East Asia , palm oil which is a high yiel biofuel is used, but it is an edible oil and is expensive. In Brazil, ethanol from Sugarcane and in USA , corn and soybeans are used. Biodiesel can also be made from waste cooking oil, usually collected from hotel kitchens.

Biodiesel is yellow in color and has a higher boiling point compared to petrodiesel. The "B" factor is used to designate the amount of biofuel in the biodiesel mixture , B20 to indicate fuel containing 20%  biofuel , B100 indicates 100% biofuel. Biodiesel will corrode the rubber linings and gaskets of older diesel engines, so it is should be used only in engines with synthetic rubber lining. Pure biodiesel can be used directly as a fuel in warm weather but may solidify at cold temperatures. Most vehicle manufacturers do not give any warranty for vehicle operation with biofuels. Biodiesel from jatropha is initially used as a fuel for generators and agricultural equipment like pumps.


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