Diesel vs. Biodiesel

Yesterday I made a photograph visually depicting the difference in particulate output between B100 (100 percent biodiesel) and straight diesel fuel (the kind you would buy at the filling station). I let the B100 burn for about 10 minutes and the glass chimney remained clear and clean. I made the picture and then got ready to light up the straight diesel.

It only took a second to see the black smoke pour from the wick and after a minute or so I was afraid the glass would get so black that I wouldn’t be able to see the flame so I made the picture after it was burning for about two minutes. Certainly not a scientific experiment but an indication of one area of emissions improvement. For more detailed information you can look at a report from Biodiesel.org or a report from the EPA.

Penn State is using biodiesel in all their farm equipment with great success. To read more about how the College of Agricultural Sciences is utilizing biodiesel click HERE. And to read about what kind of ag research is underway in the bio-fuels area check out GOING GREENER in Penn State Agriculture magazine.

Too bad my Vespa scooter won’t burn biodiesel...

Comments

Chuck Pefley said…
An illuminating post, in more ways than one :)

Did trimming the wick make any difference with the straight diesel burn? Turning it down (trimming) certainly makes a difference in my kerosene lamp experience.
Steve Williams said…
Chuck: All the change in the wick height did was change the shape of the flame. I raised the one with the B100 to make the flame larger. No smoke on the B100 regardless of where it was set.

I'm glad I grew up in the electric age...
Sekhar said…
Nice eye-opener.
Grant said…
So can tha lamp keep burning biodiesel? I've been trying to get wick heaters made for kerosene to burn bd, but they won't do it.
Steve Williams said…
grant: That is an interesting question that I don't know the answer to. I only burned the lamps long enough to illustrate the differences between their particulate matter output.

Being a photographer I have no idea whether biodiesel would make a suitable replacement for kerosene as a heating fuel.

I'll send a note to one of the researchers and see what light he might be able to shed on that. In the meantime I would think the safe course is to use those space heaters as the instructions dictate. I wouldn't want to be sleeping with one in the house not knowing for sure what is being gassed out.
Grant said…
Thanks, Steve.

I can tell you that while it burns, the BD is much cleaner than kerosene. It has no smoke or odor at all. If I could get a wick that would work with the BD, I am sure it would be much safer than kero to leave burning at night. The wicks seem unable to feed enough BD to the level of the flame. Eventually the flame goes out.
anuraag said…
sir my biodiesel produced a more sooty flame

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