The Chemistry of Production Biodiesel


For a long time, petroleum products have become the heart of commercialization. Most prices depend on the cost of petroleum products and this is because of the transportation cost. We all know that if transportation was not there, business would have been almost impossible or too slow to catch up with the speed of the world. Today, it has become impossible to carry on business or routine work without fuel.

Since fuel tends to emit a lot of hazardous chemicals or gas, the work on biofuel to save the environment is fast developing.

Diesel and Biodiesel:

Petroleum diesel, commonly called diesel, is manufactured through the fractional distillation of crude oil. Products will contain molecules of hydrocarbon mixture ranging from 8 to 21 carbon atoms. In petroleum products only pure hydrogen and carbon atoms exist and no oxygen. Oxygen is 21% of the available gas in the air, and with burning, hydrocarbon releases CO2 and H2O. While burning, petroleum products react with other gases in the air like sulfur and nitrogen and result in contaminated air which is not an ideal condition.


Existence of oxygen in Biofuels:

The chemistry of biodiesel production is different from that of petroleum products. Petroleum production is performed under anaerobic conditions over a long period of time. Due to this, the oxygen gets eliminated leaving behind only hydrogen and carbon.

On the other hand, biofuels are produced with the process called transesterification. During this process, oils and fats from living organisms are broken and result in very long molecules that contain oxygen. Though biodiesel and petroleum diesel are much similar in structure, biodiesel will have an upper hand because of the slightly different qualities and presence of oxygen. For example, in essence, triglyceride with methanol gives a mixture of fatty acids esters that can be used as biodiesel and also as glycerine that can be used in food processing, chemical applications, and other processes.

Difference between Biodiesel and Petrodiesel:

This way synthesis of biodiesel fuel gives you multiple options of usage. Oxygen makes the difference in these molecules. Biofuel is more convenient than fuel because it contains oxygen which provides more efficient burn and less CO emission. Thus though Petrodiesel gives more efficient knock protection (cetane number), biodiesel helps us to protect the most important environment by reducing combustion.

When it comes to the protection of the environment, we must understand the chemistry of biofuels. Biofuels are the future and if we learn them sooner the better for us.