With the present constraints in the supply line of crude oil through Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), ‘Green fuel’ rather well famous as biofuel has already set a new dimension to world’s fuel mythologies of exhausting fossil fuels by next century. It paved the way to the scientists to divert from the traditional chase behind the carbon cycle to discover the ideal fuel for man kind’s usage amidst preserving globe.
Biofuel is mainly a type which is distilled from plants, crops and animal material. The fuel is much environmental friendly than presently used fossilised fuels and believed to have lesser emissions during burning process. In the desperate search of the ideal alternative for fossil fuel, ‘Green fuel’ as the name denotes has added a green light of pollution free outcome for the future of the mankind.
The human, being the most active and intelligent creature on the earth, is in the search for an environmental friendly option for world’s fuel demands well before 19th century. The transesterification process or simply identified as the conversion of ‘green oil’ extracted from natural sources to glycerin was invented as early as in 1853 by scientists, which was many years before the conventional diesel engine was found. To add to its glory, Rudolf Diesel’s prime model on four stroke diesel engine ran on peanut oil on 10th August 1893 during it’s limelight show to public. Hence, to mark this historical incident and one would highlight as a co-incident of gifting bio fuel, the date 10th August is declared as ‘International Biodiesel Day’ by the Society of Automotive Engineers. It is high time to remind the scientists of present day about the famous words of Rudolf Diesel during his address to German Automobile Engineers Guild in 1912, when a confusion arose to identify the efficiency of thermal cycle. He emphasized that the use of vegetable oils for engine fuels might seem insignificant that day but such oils might become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal products.
Further, the very first account on biofuels was accredited when G Chavanne of the University of Brussels, Belgium was granted a patent certificate on 31st August 1937 for an individual scientific research data collection submitted under the title of ‘Procedure for the transformation of vegetable oils for their uses as fuels’. The transesterification process was introduced as alcoholysis and he had committed that the biofuel was successfully produced by him at his laboratory in Belgium.
The production of biofuel has been evaluated since then and has undergone many improvements in the products chemical structure as well as the emission levels. At present following raw matters are identified as sources of biofuel.
Virgin oils from Soybean, Jatropha, Mustard, Sunflower, Palm and Coconut
Waste Vegetable Oil
Animal fats including tallow lard, yellow grease, fish oil and chicken fat
Oil from Halophytes grown using salt water
The production cycle mainly named as the transesterification process, while several added steps are introduced to enrich the quality of the final product.
The pretreatment process may be used for removal of dirt and foreign matter collected in case of waste vegetable oils. The virgin oils may not need to expose for this process. Further, the water to be removed that it may cause triglycerides to hydrolyse giving fatty acids, in simple terms it may produce soap instead of biofuel.
Deprotonotation / Titration
The treated oil or the extracted virgin oil is mainly consisted with triglycerides, which in duplicate are the tri-hydric alcohol and the glycerol. The selected sample is titrated with a standard base compound (preferably Sodium Hydroxide) to determine the concentration of free fatty acids present esterifies into bound glycerides. This may...
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