Hemp Biodiesel vs Diesel

May 6, 2008

Hemp Biodiesel vs Diesel:

Overall ozone (smog) forming potential of biodiesel is less than diesel fuel. The ozone forming potential of the speciated hydrocarbon emissions was nearly 50 percent less than that measured for diesel fuel.

Sulfur emissions are essentially eliminated with pure biodiesel. The exhaust emissions of sulfur oxides and sulfates (major components of acid rain) from biodiesel were essentially eliminated compared to sulfur oxides and sulfates from diesel.

Criteria pollutants are reduced with biodiesel use. The use of biodiesel in an unmodified Cummins N14 diesel engine resulted in substantial reductions of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. Emissions of nitrogen oxides were slightly increased.

Carbon Monoxide: The exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas) from biodiesel were 50 percent lower than carbon monoxide emissions from diesel.

Particulate Matter: Breathing particulate has been shown to be a human health hazard. The exhaust emissions of particulate matter from biodiesel were 30 percent lower than overall particulate matter emissions from diesel.

Hydrocarbons: The exhaust emissions of total hydrocarbons (a contributing factor in the localized formation of smog and ozone) were 93 percent lower for biodiesel than diesel fuel.

Nitrogen Oxides: NOx emissions from biodiesel increase or decrease depending on the engine family and testing procedures. NOx emissions (a contributing factor in the localized formation of smog and ozone) from pure (100%) biodiesel increased in this test by 13 percent. However, biodiesel’s lack of sulfur allows the use of NOx control technologies that cannot be used with conventional diesel. So, biodiesel NOx emissions can be effectively managed and efficiently eliminated as a concern of the fuel’s use.

Biodiesel reduces the health risks associated with petroleum diesel. Biodiesel emissions showed decreased levels of PAH and nitrited PAH compounds which have been identified as potential cancer causing compounds. In the recent testing, PAH compounds were reduced by 75 to 85 percent, with the exception of benzo(a)anthracene, which was reduced by roughly 50 percent. Targeted nPAH compounds were also reduced dramatically with biodiesel fuel, with 2-nitrofluorene and 1-nitropyrene reduced by 90 percent, and the rest of the nPAH compounds reduced to only trace levels.

Environmental & Safety Information:

Acute Oral Toxicity/Rates: Biodiesel is nontoxic. The acute oral LD50 (lethal dose) is greater than 17.4 g/Kg body weight. By comparison, table salt (NaCL) is nearly 10 times more toxic.

Skin Irritation: A 24-hr. human patch test indicated that undiluted biodiesel produced very mild irritation. The irritation was less than the result produced by a 4 percent soap and water solution.

Aquatic Toxicity: A 96-hr. lethal concentration for bluegill of biodiesel grade methyl esters was greater than 1000 mg/L. Lethal concentrations at these levels are generally deemed “insignificant” according to NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) guidelines in its Registry of the Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances.

Biodegradability: Biodiesel degrades about four times faster than petroleum diesel. Within 28 days, pure biodiesel degrades 85 to 88 percent in water. Dextrose (a test sugar used as the positive control when testing biodegradability) degraded at the same rate. Blending biodiesel with diesel fuel accelerates its biodegradability. For example, blends of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel fuel degrade twice as fast as #2 diesel alone.

Flash Point: The flash point of a fuel is defined as the temperature at which it will ignite when exposed to a spark or flame. Biodiesel’s flash point is over 300 deg. Fahrenheit, well above petroleum based diesel fuel’s flash point of around 125 deg. Fahrenheit. Testing has shown the flash point of biodiesel blends increases as the percentage of biodiesel increases. Therefore, biodiesel and blends of biodiesel with petroleum diesel are safer to store, handle, and use than conventional diesel fuel.

References:

National Biodiesel Board, Fuel Fact Sheet

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