The biodiesel is an ecological fuel that takes the normal diesel’s place. The diesel is made out of petroleum, and this is a non-renewable source. As organic substance, petroleum was made from the biomass, plants, and animals in the past million years. The specialist says that the actual sources of petroleum are going to be enough just for 50-100 years. The burning of fossil fuels determinates in the same time the atmosphere’s pollution with chemical wasted thus resulting the global warming.
Several years ago, in Hong Kong, the biodiesel is created for the first time, from vegetable oils and added methanol or ethanol, NaOH or KOH. An advantage is that you can make biodiesel from kitchen oils, like the fast food oils, but it has to be filtered first and the process is called titration.
Besides biodiesel’s advantages, there are also some questions.
The main issue connected to fuels isn’t about the economical efficiency or about the practical utility, but it’s about the energetic strength. Therefore with the burning of biodiesel you get more energy than the energy you used for making it? The biodiesel is made from vegetable oils thus the plants need to be cultivated and this involves using a very big quantity of petroleum, for the growing processes plus the transport done by big vehicles that consumes fuel.
Beside this, there is the problem of chemical substances that help plants grow faster and better, obtained from the natural gases, and insecticides, obtained from petroleum. In conclusion we can’t have biodiesel without petroleum. From scientific studies we know that for 1 barrel of petroleum invested we obtain 1,5 barrel of biodiesel. In Romania, the Ministry of Economy said that from the second half of 2007, the normal diesel would have to contain 2 % bio-fuel. The quantity of bio-carburetors from diesel will grow up to 3 % (1st January 2008) and on 1st July 2008 up to 4 %. This fuel reduces the CO2 emission in the atmosphere with 80% and the emission of SO2 with 100%. Thus vehicles can use the biodiesel without any motor changing. Comparing it with the usual diesel the price is reduced and the toxic waste are fewer, it doesn’t contain sulfur, allows the using of catalytic substances and it doesn’t affect the consumption of fuel or the motor’s titration. It’s a little less inflammable thus resulting an advantage to the storage and transport, the burning point of biodiesel is 150 degrees and the diesel’s burning point is 70.
They have different utilities, being used in the pharmaceutical, alimentary and chemical industry. There are two important groups:
Prokaryotes: from which we have Cyan-bacteria or blue-green algae. They are old species similar to bacteria. They have an elementary cellular structure, but without a proper nucleus. Thus species might be filamentous, unicellular, isolated in colonies as simple filaments (Nostoc) or helicon (Spirulina).
Eukaryotes: perfect cellular organization, with a nucleus. They contain chlorophyll type A associated or not with type C. There are more than 15.000 of species divided in 6 groups: Pyrrhophtes, Chrysophyte, Bacyllariophyte, Pheophyte, Holophote, Xanthophyte. Another group of algae are the ones that contain chlorophyll type A and B. Through these we can find up to 8.000 of species of green algae that divide into 2 groups:
Euglenophyts – unicellular flagellated algae, of which cells are grouped without any differences and
Clorophytes: green algae very varied and usually big sized, present in the salted and fresh waters. There are about 250 species. The chlorophyll is a green pigment essential in the process of photosynthesis. With it, the sun energy can be transformed into energy.
Micro-algae present a more efficient option for converting solar energy into chemical energy for fuel, because of their simple cell structure and high photosynthetic efficiency compared to most other plants. They grow immersed in water, making the supply of hydrogen plentiful.
1.Comparing the different material in the biodiesel technology.
2.Identifying a method for obtaining biodiesel from algae.
3.Showing this method to the diesel companies.
4.Showing the advantages of replacement the diesel with the biodiesel.
3. Needed material:
•Laboratory equipment: Berzelius glasses, watch glass, filter paper, funnel, dropper, test tubes,tweezers, scales;
•The distillation and heating reflux installations;
•NaOH (97%), hexane, ethylic alcohol (100%).
The biodiesel is made out of vegetable oils. The oils are vegetable fat, liquid, insoluble in water, but soluble in organic solvents, they emulsion with water. Due to their viscous structure you have to esterase it with ethanol or methanol, a process that brings the structure at the same viscosity like diesels.
We obtained biodiesel from 2 types of oil:
1. Sun flower biodiesel
2. Algae biodiesel
The proportions are about 90% oil and 10 % methanol or ethanol, and the NaOH around a few grams for 1 L of mixture. At first we tried to obtain biodiesel from sunflower oils for learning the obtaining process. One of the biodiesel’s properties is that it has no color – the less colored and more viscous it is the better it is as a fuel. We tested the biodiesel’s flammability: we put few drops in a watch glass and we burned it. We observed that it burns with a blue flame and when it ends there are no wasted on the walls of the watch glass thus resulting that our biodiesel can be used as a fuel.
The algae biodiesel was harder to obtain because at first we had to obtain the oil out of the algae. After we collected the green algae we extracted the chlorophyll. We kept the algae for 12 days in ethylic alcohol. When the algae loose their color we filter the mixture. We put over the white algae hexane, and we used the heating reflux installation for almost 9 hours (the glass balloon is into a bath of water, the substance from the glass balloon is boiling, it is vaporizing through the refrigerant where it is condensing and the drops get back into the balloon). After this process we distillated the mixture (hexane + algal oil) to separate the two substances. The hexane obtained we can reuse and we distillated the chlorophyll extract so we can reuse the ethanol too.
We left from 15 g of algae and we obtained almost 15 ml of oil. We applied the proportions mentioned above and we obtained the biodiesel from algae.
For obtaining biodiesel we tried to obtain fuel by using phytoplankton. We collected samples from Black Sea and Tabacarie (Tannery) Lake and we started the developing stimulation of the water.
We tried to develop an environment in which the phytoplankton can grow, providing the water with nutrients, resulted from human activities. The nutrients are nitrates, phosphates, and they are essential for the life or organisms that use photosynthesis. The nutrients include SiO2 essential for the algae with siliceous structure and also microelements like Fe and Mg.
For the reproduction of the eutrophication conditions we did the next experiment: in two recipients we put 3 L of seawater. The first recipient was considered a witness and in the second recipient we added 150 g soil, prepared like this: heated for 10 min in 330 ml of water without boiling it, and then filtered. We added some fertilizers too (NPK). We used an oxygen generator with 2 ramifications for the daily mixing. We repeated the process using the lake water. Each experiment lasted two weeks and at the end of the experiments we gathered the algae from the recipients.
We discovered, that in the recipients, two species of plankton had developed: Cyprisand Cyclops.
Cypris: a little crustacean with the body protected by a bivalve shelf. The body with few segments is made out of cephalothoraxes and abdomen curbed to the ventral part with the posterior extremity bifurcated. They have 7 pairs of appendices. Their antennas are developed and hairy, being used to crawling and swimming. In the back of the antennas you can see two eyes. In our waters the Cypris specie is found between 1-3 mm.
Cyclops: is represented by small crustaceans 2,5 mm. it has 2 sacks for their eggs, and they don’t live in salt waters. It’s called Cyclops because it has only one eye.
Both species of plankton are pollution indicators; they are the proof of the eutrophication and demonstrate that the algae can develop into an artificial medium.
Algae Bio Diesel
The race is on for a new form of fuel. With gasoline skyrocketing to more than $4 a gallon, dependence on imported oil and depleting resources worldwide, finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuel and fuel-related products is urgent. Fortunately, scientists have been studying the production of alternative products to make a cleaner, greener fuel for years.
It’s possible now we can use one of these alternative fuels in the near future. Alga (or its plural, algae) may be the miracle element in the search for a more environmentally-friendly, mass-produced product that can be converted into fuel. Algae grow naturally all over the world. Under optimal conditions, it can be grown in massive, almost limitless, amounts. Did you know that half of algae’s composition, by weight, is lipid oil? Scientists have been studying this oil for decades to convert it into algae biodiesel — a fuel that burns cleaner and more efficiently than petroleum.
You may be wondering exactly how this slimy green stuff can be turned into a fuel for cars and airplanes, and even for the heaters that warm our homes and schools. We have found out what makes biodiesel from algae so exciting.
Replacing fossil fuels with algae, a renewable resource, to make biodiesel is an exciting possibility. Before we dive into the subject of algae biodiesel, let’s get to know more about algae. More than 100,000 different species of plantlike organisms belong the algae family. They come in various forms and colors, from tiny protozoa floating in ponds to huge bunches of seaweed inhabiting the ocean. Leafy kelp, grassy moss and fungus growing on rocks are all forms of algae. You may even see algae in different colors such as red, green and brown. Algae are easy to grow and can be manipulated to produce huge amounts without disturbing any natural habitats or food sources. Algae are easy to please — all they need are water, sunlight and carbon dioxide.
So, are algae all the same? Various algae contain different levels of oil. Of all the algae out there, pond scum — algae that sit on top of ponds — is best suited for biodiesel.
During the biodiesel production process, algae consume carbon dioxide. In other words, through photosynthesis, algae pull carbon dioxide from the air, replacing it with oxygen. For this reason, algae biodiesel manufacturers are building biodiesel plants close to energy manufacturing plants that produce lots of carbon dioxide. Recycling carbon dioxide reduces pollution.
How about some leftovers? Pressing algae creates a few more useful byproducts — fertilizer and feedstock — without depleting other food sources.
The most exciting part of algae biodiesel is the numbers game. Biodiesel makers claim they’ll be able to produce more than 100,000 gallons of algae oil per acre per year depending on:
•The type of algae being used.
•The way the algae is grown.
•The method of oil extraction.
Algae production has the potential to outperform other potential biodiesel products such as palm or corn. For example, a 100-acre algae biodiesel plant could potentially produce 10 million gallons of biodiesel in a single year. Experts estimate it will take 140 billion gallons of algae biodiesel to replace petroleum-based products each year. To reach this goal, algae biodiesel companies will only need about 95 million acres of land to build biodiesel plants, compared to billions of acres for other biodiesel products. Since algae can be grown anywhere indoors, it’s a promising element in the race to produce a new fuel.
Extracting oil from algae may seem like a grimy job. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get into algae biodiesel engineering.
Vertical growth/closed loop production has been used by our companies to produce algae faster and more efficiently than open pond growth. With vertical growing, algae are placed in clear plastic bags, so they can be exposed to sunlight on two sides. The bags are stacked high and protected from the rain by a cover. The extra sun exposure increases the productivity rate of the algae, which in turn increases oil production. The algae are also protected from contamination.
Bio Diesel from Waste Oil and Oil
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl (methyl, propyl or ethyl) esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids (e.g., vegetable oil, animal fat (tallow) with an alcohol producing fatty acid esters.
Biodiesel is meant to be used in standard diesel engines and is thus distinct from the vegetable and waste oils used to fuel converted diesel engines. Biodiesel can be used alone, or blended with petrodiesel. Biodiesel can also be used as a low carbon alternative to heating oil.
Blends of biodiesel and conventional hydrocarbon-based diesel are products most commonly distributed for use in the retail diesel fuel marketplace. Much of the world uses a system known as the “B” factor to state the amount of biodiesel in any fuel mix:
•100% biodiesel is referred to as B100, while
•20% biodiesel, 80% petrodiesel is labeled B20
•5% biodiesel, 95% petrodiesel is labeled B5
•2% biodiesel, 98% petrodiesel is labeled B2
Blends of less than 20% biodiesel can be used in diesel equipment with no, or only minor modifications,although certain manufacturers do not extend warranty coverage if equipment is damaged by these blends. The B6 to B20 blends are covered by the ASTM D7467 specification.Biodiesel can also be used in its pure form (B100), but may require certain engine modifications to avoid maintenance and performance problems .Blending B100 with petroleum diesel may be accomplished by:
•Mixing in tanks at manufacturing point prior to delivery to tanker truck
•Splash mixing in the tanker truck (adding specific percentages of biodiesel and petroleum diesel)
•In-line mixing, two components arrive at tanker truck simultaneously.
•Metered pump mixing, petroleum diesel and biodiesel meters are set to X total volume, transfer pump pulls from two points and mix is complete on leaving pump.
From what is Biodiesel section we know that the process of making biodiesel is known as transesterification and is achieved by adding methanol to vegetable oil. The process requires a catalyst to increase the rate of the chemical reaction between the methanol and vegetable oil. The catalyst used in the creation of biodiesel is an alkaline one, either Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide.
When the process is complete the catalyst can be recovered unaffected by the chemical reaction that it accelerated, along with the glycerol separated from the vegetable oil.
If waste vegetable oil is used then we have another situation to deal with. Waste vegetable oil will have been reheated several times during the course of its usage. The reheating will cause some of the fatty acids bonded to the glycerol to break away and float freely in the vegetable oil – hence the name Free Fatty Acid (FFA). There are two ways of dealing with free fatty acids:
1.Esterify the FFAs creating methyl esters then proceeding with the transesterification.
2.Increase the amount of catalyst in the single transesterifaction process so that the additional catalyst neutralises the FFAs creating soap as an additional by-product.
Option 1 is used in the commercial production of biodiesel, but for smaller scale production option 2 is favoured as it reduces the complexity of the process. Following option 2, we would have to perform a titration on a sample of the waste vegetable oil in order to calculate the amount of additional catalyst required to neutralise the FFAs.
The additional catalyst would then react with the FFAs creating soap in the process.
Transesterification is a reversible reaction. This means that the process is working both ways simultaneously until a balance between the vegetable oil and biodiesel is reached. Consequently we need to ensure that the process continues the creation of biodiesel rather than stall once it reaches this point of equilibrium.
In commercial production we would tap off the output as it is created thus ensuring that there is a greater quantity of input vegetable oil to keep the reaction producing the biodiesel. For smaller scale production, however, it is more practical to use an increased volume of methanol to ensure that the reaction continues in the direction of producing biodiesel.
Like the catalyst, this excess methanol will be left over after completion of the reaction.
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