Biodiesel generators present a sustainable source of energy. Every liter of diesel fuel contains 0.73 kg of pure carbon, with 2.6 kg of carbon dioxide emitted per liter – when burned by a diesel generator. Diesel generators produce CO2, NOx, and particulate matter into the environment, which reduces local air quality. To make better use of biofeuls lot of industries are being guided by waste management consultants who expertise in biodiesel.

Based on a 2014 White House report, a switch from petroleum-based fuels toward biodiesel is part of the overall strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

What are these biodiesel generators?

A biodiesel generator is a generator that operates on biodiesel or utilizes biodiesel as a fuel. Biodiesel as a generator fuel alternative, reduces particulate matter, CO, CO2, total hydrocarbon, and SO2 emissions. The triumvirate of CO, THC (total hydrocarbons), and NOx is the key to controlling ground-level ozone and smog in urban areas. The use of alternative fuels for these backup power sources is a cost-effective technique of protecting the environment while also saving money.

How does a biodiesel generator work?

Biodiesel generators are very useful machines that produce electricity by burning biofuel. These machines use a combination of an electric generator and a diesel engine to generate electricity. Electric charges are induced in the wire by moving it through a magnetic field. An industry standard is that a diesel generator consumes 0.4 L of diesel for every kWh of electricity generated. These engines can operate off of many derivatives of crude oil. Biodiesel generators are generally dealing with the use of biodiesel blends as alternative fuels in their operations. In general, diesel engines have the highest thermal efficiency out any internal combustion engine, which allows achieving an approximate percentage of the Carnot efficiency. Fundamentally, this is how biodiesel is used to generate power in a generator set.

Can biodiesel be used in generators efficiently?

Biodiesel can be used in electric generators as an alternative fuel because of its low carbon footprint and high energy density. Using biodiesel instead of diesel lowers fuel consumption, which has a direct impact on the cost factor and efficiency of generators. Biodiesel is a highly oxygenated fuel that can be used in diesel engines to improve combustion efficiency. 

What is biodiesel fuel?

Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly appealing due to the limitations of proven petroleum reserves. Biodiesel refers to a diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived from biological sources. Biodiesel fuels are attracting increasing attention worldwide as a blending component or a direct replacement for diesel fuel in vehicle engines. Biodiesel is described as a combination of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) generated from a renewable lipid feedstock, such as vegetable oil or animal fat. Transesterification of animal or vegetable lipids using methanol or ethanol as a catalyst produces biodiesel. Soybean, rapeseed, and palm oils are the primary raw materials used to make biodiesel these days. It is ideal to use biodiesel as a replacement for diesel fuel in diesel engines.

Types of biodiesel fuel or biodiesel blends:

Types of biodiesel fuel
Types of biodiesel fuel

In particular, biodiesel is prone to blending with mineral diesel fuels to form homogeneous blends, which are used in diesel engines without any modifications. However, the viscosity and density of biodiesel are higher than those of fossil diesel fuels because of the higher molecular mass of biodiesel compared with that of fossil diesel fuel. Because of its high density and viscosity, biodiesel has a severe impact on diesel engines and fuel systems. This is the major reason why biodiesel is usually used in a blended form in generators and other types of engines. The quantity of biodiesel in a fuel mix may be expressed in terms of the “B” factor, which is commonly used across the globe.

Low-Level biodiesel blends:

Many items, including conventional diesel fuel, are regulated by ASTM International (ASTM D975). It is permitted to use biodiesel with B5 concentrations in diesel fuel without the need for additional labeling. Using low-level biodiesel blends including B5 in compression-ignition engines built to run on petroleum diesel is permitted by ASTM. Light-duty and heavy-duty diesel vehicles, tractors, boats, and electricity generators are all examples of this. Here are some of the most often seen low-level biodiesel mixes:

B5: B5 is a biodiesel mix that contains 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum fuel. It is 

the most widely used biodiesel mix in the United States, where it is required 

in several states.

B7: B7 is a biodiesel combination with 7 percent biodiesel in it. B7 fuel is covered by the 

ASTM D7467 standard for blends comprising between 6% and 20% biodiesel. The 

usage of this mixer is required in numerous countries, including Germany for road 

usage and in Malaysia for industrial purposes.

B10: Biodiesel blends with 10% biodiesel content are known as B10. Thailand and 

Malaysia have biodiesel rules that encourage the use of this fuel, therefore it is the 

a most popular place to get it.

B20: B20 biodiesel is a popular mixture because it provides an excellent combination of 

cost, emissions, cold-weather performance, material compatibility, and capacity to 

operate as a solvent. B20 or lower blends are the most commonly purchased biodiesel blends by biodiesel users. In accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 1992, regulated fleets that utilize biodiesel blends of 20% or above are eligible for biodiesel fuel consumption credits.

High-Level biodiesel blends:

A number of considerations must be addressed when employing high-level blends. On a volumetric level, pure biodiesel is less powerful than petroleum diesel. The lower the energy content per gallon, the greater the proportion of biodiesel. These mixtures may also affect engine warranties, gel at low temperatures, and provide unique storage challenges. For instance, the usage of B100, which dramatically decreases other hazardous pollutants, may potentially increase nitrogen oxide emissions. Some high-level biodiesel blends that are available in the market are listed below:

B99: In terms of biodiesel content, B99 is the highest-level mix, with between 1 and 0.1 

percent petroleum diesel. In the United States, this fuel combination is more readily 

available than pure biodiesel (B100).

B100: B100 (pure biodiesel) is a biofuel composed entirely of biomass. High-level biodiesel 

blends like B100 are rarer than B20 and lesser blends owing to a lack of regulatory 

and financial considerations. Because certain hoses and gaskets are 

biodiesel-compatible, B100 may be utilized in engines made after 1994. B100 is 

a solvent that can clean a vehicle’s fuel system and remove deposits from petroleum 

diesel usage. 

Biodiesel Generators in India:

There are many firms in India that are engaged in the provision of such environmentally friendly power generating sets. For instance, India’s 1st 100% biodiesel Genset has been launched by Mahinda Powerol. It was given the name Mahindra Powerol B100 Biodiesel Genset. It features an electronic controller that assures the start and stops of the diesel mode and the changeover to biodiesel mode while the generator set is functioning. Additionally, the generator set has two distinct tanks that allow for a smooth transition between the two modes. 

Biodiesel generators for home usage are also an excellent option for producing sustainable energy. In places where it is difficult or impossible to connect to a power grid, diesel generators are the primary source of electricity. For example, on-site diesel power production is used as a distant power source for oil and gas rigs. Additionally, there are portable biodiesel generators available for use in these types of locations.

Operational challenges with biodiesel:

  • Weather can affect the concentration: The typical blends of biodiesel commercially available today vary greatly due to local legislation and distribution networks. In most markets, biodiesel can be found in blending ratios from B2 (2% biodiesel to B20 (20%). Be aware that the biodiesel concentration ratio can also vary with the season. For example, in the winter months in Minnesota, the biodiesel content is lower to aid with cold starting and resistance to “gelling”.
  • Biodiesel is a natural solvent: Biodiesel can cause fuel filters to clog because of its relatively high cloud and pour points in respect to standard diesel fuel. The cloud point is the temperature when fuel begins to form wax crystals that make the fuel look cloudy. As a rule of thumb, problems begin around 40°F (4°C) with 100% biodiesel.
  • Absorbs water: Biodiesel is hydroscopic, meaning it mixes with water more easily than distillate diesel fuel. Water present in the fuel system can cause issues with lubricities, such as injector nozzle seizure and corrosion of the fuel systems. As the boiling point of water is lower, it can cause deposits within the injectors.
  • Viscosity and density: Because biodiesel has a greater density and viscosity, it is more likely to dilute crankcase lubrication oil. Oil drain intervals should be increased if fuel is present in the lube oil. Distillate diesel dilutes lubricating oil yet has a lower flash point (150°F/149°C) than 100% biodiesel. Normal engine action causes the fuel in the oil to “flash off”.
  • Corrosive properties: Biodiesel tends to degrade hoses, gaskets, seals, glues, and plastics with extended exposure. Copper, bronze, and zinc may accelerate the oxidation process of biodiesel, creating deposits in the fuel and fuel system. This is one of the reasons why an engine should be flushed with distillate diesel fuel after being run on biodiesel.

Conclusions:

Renewable biodiesel can be used in diesel-powered generator sets. Unlike other green power sources, biodiesel is a low-cost, easy-to-adapt solution for generator operators. To maintain the diesel engines and generators working at their peak performance, they must be serviced often. Some biodiesel formulations have the potential to lower the amount of engine damage and consequently engine maintenance by increasing lubricity. For today’s engines to function effectively, it is necessary to provide them with high-quality fuel. The use of biodiesel in this context may have negative repercussions, although there are ways to mitigate them. Typically, these facilities are located in residential zones, where pollution is not desired – and biodiesel is a less polluting fuel than conventional diesel. The development of more environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel for future power generation may make a significant impact.

Vaishali Sharma
Author

Sustainability expert having a strong interest in ecological restoration. She has a master's degree in environmental science and engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. She's dedicated to utilizing her best expertise to look for scientific solutions to global problems like waste minimization and wastewater reclamation. As an environmentalist, she likes researching and writing about environmental issues. Her articles aim to educate readers about various innovative technologies to decrease environmental deterioration.

1 Comment

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    Kavita sharma Reply

    Very informative & good post..
    Keep it up author.. Waiting for your next post..All the best.

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