Coal is easily available but it is a nonrenewable source of energy. Natural gas is a relatively better alternative. Solar energy is expensive to generate but is renewable and has almost nonexistent impacts on the environment. Geothermal energy is limited and wave energy is at its nascent phase. Wind energy is viable but it is confined to specific regions. If you consider all the renewable and nonrenewable energies, then there are pros and cons of each one of them. It wouldn’t be any different for petrol or gasoline, kerosene or diesel. Biodiesel too has its share of pros and cons.
List of Pros of Biodiesel
It not only has a positive energy balance (its net energy balance is 2.8) but it can also be produced from fats, greases and used oils. These are rather inexpensive to obtain. The source of most fuels is the concerning reality. When you can use inexpensive sources, the resulting fuel becomes rather economic.
Biodiesel is being hailed for being better for environment as it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases. In a study conducted by the Environment Protection Agency, it has been found that biodiesel can reduce the emission of carbon monoxide by as much as 11%, hydrocarbons encounter a drop of 20% and particulate matter is reduced by 10%. There is a spike in nitrous oxide but that doesn’t nullify the advantages. Biodiesel has been deemed suitable for mining and marine uses for its environmental benefit. It doesn’t pose harm to marine and animal life or the air quality.
Biodiesal is biodegradable. Spilling biodiesel during production, transportation or storage, waste or just accumulation of biodiesel due to some reason will not cause an environmental disaster.
Biodiesel will help many industries that can capitalize on its used fats and greases. Third world countries having abundant growth of jatropha and palm trees have a new industry to procure their produce.
Biodiesel can be used for myriad operations without any changes to existing engines or machines. It can even be used for residential heating.
List of Cons of Biodiesel
1. Impact Machinery
Biodiesel can solidify to an extent forming a gel in cold conditions. It can also lead to clogging of filters and other operational parts of machines or appliances. In effect, biodiesel can lead to breakdown of automobiles or any kind of machinery that has vulnerable filters.
2. Quality Concerns
The quality of biodiesel is still an issue, not from the environmental perspective but according to the ASTM 6751 standards. Presence of water and impurities during the washing and refining processes is still a concern.
3. Impairs Fuel Efficiency
Biodiesel impairs fuel efficiency. It is estimated that biodiesel can reduce fuel efficiency by 2%.
Biodiesel is expensive, it is not abundantly available and it is high combustible.