Biodiesel Fuel Feedstocks

Biodiesel fuel is one of the easiest alternative fuels to use. A variety of oils as biodiesel fuel feedstocks are used to produce the fuel. Here in this article we will focus on biodiesel feedstocks. Read on to know more.

The main feedstocks for biodiesel fuel are:

Virgin oil feedstock
Rapeseed and soybean oils are most commonly used raw material for biodiesel fuel. Soybean oil alone accounts for about ninety percent of all biodiesel fuel feedstocks in the US. It can also be acquired from field pennycress and jatropha. Many other crops like mustard, flax, sunflower, palm oil, coconut, hemp are good resources of Soybean oil.

Waste vegetable oil (WVO)
The waste vegetable oil (WVO) discarded from a restaurant is getting popular as feedstocks for biodiesel fuel. Many supporters propose that waste vegetable oil is the best raw material for biodiesel fuel production.

Animal fats
Tallow, lard, yellow grease, chicken fat, and the by-products of the production of Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are increasingly used as biodiesel fuel feedstocks.

Algae
Algae can be grown using waste materials such as sewage and without making use of land used for food production. They are also looked upon as a good source of biodiesel feedstocks.

Oil from halophytes
Other feedstocks for biodiesel fuel are Halophytessuch as salicornia bigelovii, which can be grown using saltwater in coastal areas where conventional crops cannot be grown. They produce yields equal to the yields of soybeans and other oilseeds grown using freshwater irrigation.

Animal fats are a by-product of meat production. Although it would not be resourceful to raise animals simply for their fat, the use of the by-product as feedstocks for biodiesel fuel adds value to the livestock industry. However, producing biodiesel fuel with animal fat would substitute only a small percentage of petroleum diesel usage. Today, multi-feedstocks for biodiesel fuel are making animal-fat based biodiesel of high quality. At present, a 5-million dollar plant is being built in the USA, with the intention of making 3 million gallons of biodiesel fuel from some of the estimated 1 billion kg of chicken fat produced annually at the local Tyson poultry plant. Likewise, some small-scale biodiesel factories are using waste fish oil as biodiesel fuel feedstocks. A Vietnamese plant aims to produce 13 tons/day of biodiesel from catfish from 81 tons of fish waste.

At present, the worldwide production of vegetable oil and animal fat as raw material for biodiesel fuel is not enough to substitute for the liquid fossil fuel use. In addition, production of additional vegetable oil would mean extensive amount of farming. This would means more fertilization, pesticide use, and land use conversion.

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