BIODIESEL PRODUCTION : A FEASIBILITY STUDY

BIODIESEL A TRUE GREEN FUEL

TECHNICAL ASPECT
iodiesel is an ester derived from plant and/or animal oils that is use to substitute or blend with diesel fuel. Biodiesel can thus be produced from the oils of coconut, peanut, sunflower, palm, jatropha, soya, corn, wheat, canola, algae, chicken, pork, beef, fish and many more. Peanut oil was the first oil use by German Engineer Rudolf Diesel in his 1892 diesel engine invention. To produce biodiesel from these oils, the fatty component called glycerol has to be reacted-out and extracted from the oil component called triglycerides through Transesterification Reaction. This reaction was first done and patented by Swedish scientists Duffy and Patrick wayback 1853 when gasoline and diesel engines were not yet invented ( source : Grosser, Morton (1978), Diesel: The Man and the Engine, New York: Atheneum, ISBN 978-0-689-30652-5; LCCN 78-006196 ). Thus we can see, that biodiesel is older than its fossil fuel counterpart. Biodiesel has physico-chemical attributes more potent than diesel itself. Unlike diesel, it is non-toxic, biodegradable, renewable fuel, environment friendly, has higher cetane number, fuel efficient ( Biofuel Phils, 2008 ) and most of all to produce it, it doesn’t need going into war or invading a country. You don’t need to modify your engine to use it. By using it, you likewise contribute to the reduction of the global warming’s threat to humanity. Biodiesel nomenclature depends on the feedstock used to make it. For instance, a biodiesel made from coconut oil using methanol is called Coco Methyl Ester or CME for short. A biodiesel made from soya oil using ethyl alcohol is therefore called Soya Ethyl Ester or SEE. See biodiesel samples made from different feedstocks below. The coconut oil used by Philippine army during WWII to replace the depleted diesel inventory is not an actual biodiesel, but was called cocodiesel. Because glycerol was not reacted out, these 6 X 6 army trucks all bogged down after 6 months of usage due to glycerol clogged nozzles. This is different than the real biodiesel tested by DOST and DOE in actual cars, vans, trucks and buses starting 1972 which became the basis and foundation why Republic Act 9367 or the BiofuelsAct of 2006 was enacted.

A sample of biodiesel made from coconut, sunflower, jatropha curcas and peanut oils As shown in the figure below, the carbon chain of diesel and biodiesel are similarly structured. Diesel has carbon 8 to carbon 22, while biodiesel depending on the feedstock used fall within these carbon lengths. CME for instance, claimed to be the best biodiesel in the world ( DOE, Biofuels Phils and Biofuels Act of 2006 ) has carbon chain perfectly suited in the lower carbon chain of diesel fuel. Combining different oil, like what is being done by the cooking oil industry, say coconut, palm and soya oils, extend the fit of carbon length to the carbon length of diesel chemical structure. Although chemistry-wise, the lower the carbon chain length, the better the combustibility. Carbon 20 to 22 hydrocarbons are the culprit why diesel burns very soothy.

Waste vegetable oil or WVO can be converted to biodiesel in the same manner as that of virgin oils. Special formulation and chemical techniques are used for these to become successful. Capistrano, R. hasdone rigorous research on this both in the Philippines and Australia ( Making Biodiesel from Used and New Cooking Oils, Anvil Publishing, 2008 ). Using the appropriate methodology, a much better biodiesel con be produced as seen below. The figure shows the clarity of biodiesel made from waste cooking oil in comparison with commercial premium biodiesel and oil giant’s diesel.

Quality chemicals at reasonable price are available here to produce biodiesel. Chemical suppliers like Alyson, Atkimson, Chemsetters and Sytengco offer these chemicals to a would-be biodiesel producer, whether for his own or commercial use. Equipment or reactor set-up is available imported or locally manufactured. Freedom Fueler from the USA ship their set up at a cost of $3,000 for a 200 L reactorto $8,500 for a 568 L complete set up ( excluding freight charges and Tax ). A local fabricator can provide would-be biodiesel producer , 200 L complete set up at a cost of only P80T only. This includes the technology ( 3 powerpoint presentations, professional coaching and provide a list of chemical suppliers with quality but guaranteed lowest price ). He’s the author of the book mentioned above “ Making Biodiesel from Waste and New Cooking Oils “ located in Calamba City and can be contacted at 09214688050. The advantages of biodiesel given above are amplified and given actual implemented experiences by Biofuels Phils. ( website : http://www.biofuels.com.ph) . Along with various government agencies, like DENR, DOST, DOE, PCCARD, PhilForest, they were consulted and has become the foundation why RA 9367 was passed and enacted year 2006. Some of the advantages are summarized below.

Among the notable positive contributions of biodiesel is its combustibility or the much higher cetane number ( octane rating for gasoline). This is clearly shown in the picture of biodiesel flame on page 16. Cetane number of diesel is only 45 while, biodiesel has 68, and the reason for this is, the oxygen part of the chemical structure of biodiesel where diesel doest have. We know that for combustion to kindle, oxygen is necessary and for biodiesel, part of the molecule is providing this and not all anymore coming from the air intake of the engine.

Diesel tailpipe heavy emissions Observing the tailpipe of biodiesel fed engine, one will immediately notice the drastic decrease in black emissions ( see the picture above of diesel muffler and some pictures below under environment aspect ). This definitely is the low cost solution to lots of smoke belching violations in the cities. In a test Mercedes Benz

engine in # 1 Mercedes Ave., Mercedes Estate Pasig City, freshly made biodiesel from waste cooking oil is an SOP Quality Control Actual Usage Test being done for each batch process. With so many batches and tests conducted, this has been proven a convincing factor for Jeepney cooperatives and association to accept categorically biodiesel as a better alternative to the dirty diesel fuel. This engine is pictured below.

Mercedezs Benz Quality Control Actual Test engine as SOP for biodiesel production in Pasig In the above Mercedes benz engine, the muffler was deliberately removed and samples are tested without it. Biodiesel compare to diesel was extra smooth and remarkably silent. This proved that the research conducted by Malhotra ( RK Malhotra, 2001 Devt of Alternative Fuel in India by /ADB May2001 Regional Workshop on Fuel Quality and Alternate Fuels ) was confirmed correct, saying in a 100 pages research report that biodiesel produces “ LESS, NOISE & SMOOTH RUNNING OF ENGINE”. This plus the reduction of ignition vibration during start up, according to him is the best contribution of using this alternative green fuel. Using diesel in the engine without a muffler produces an excrutiating and ear piercing rattle and clanking noise, but using biodiesel the sound was radically improved and the vibration minimized. Doing these two trials before an audience is really very convincing. The reason why the engine runs smoothly and suave was explained by Schumacher and Adams [10th Biennial Bioenergy Conference – Bioenergy 2002,

Boise, Idaho, Sept. 22-26, 2002]. The fine lubricity characteristic was responsible and this was shown in the graph below ;

Lubricating power of biodiesel which can be felt even at 0.5 % additive,

Schumacher & Adams, 2002
Biodiesel Provides Substantial Savings in M&R: Because it also cleans up the engine and the fuel system as well as providing lubricity in moving parts, coco-biodiesel solves many engine problems and will spare the motorist a lot of maintenance expense and potential repair downtime (Biofuels Phils). All these along with the so many drivers of government and private companies prove that biodiesel is technically and positively viable and better alternative fuel to diesel.

FINANCIAL ASPECT

he worldwide acceptance of biodiesel as renewable alternative fuel to diesel is gaining momentous and sharp increase. This is shown in the two succeeding figures below, representing biodiesel demand in the United States and production in Germany. Both showed a sharp increase and continuously growing industry starting 1990s.

In the Philippines, the biodiesel industry started and rigorously tested on vehicles starting 1972 as reported by Biofuels Philippines. Republic Act 9367 mandated its 1 % usage and gradually increasing with every passing years. In 1999, DOE statistics showed that the Philippines is consuming close to 36,000 MMtonsof diesel as shown in the table below.

S ource : DOE 1999 Statistics, Values in MMTons Fuel consumption in the Philippines, where diesel plays a major part in the transport industry

Merely, 1 % of this figure incorporated into commercial diesel is already equivalent to 360 MMtons of B100 biodiesel. This is the current demand for biodiesel from the five major oil players and explains why the current price for it is ranging from P70 /L to P140/L. This price range will therefore soar further when the Act raised its usage to 3 % this 2009. Shown in the next succeeding pages is a Projected Profit and Loss Statement, P&L and following it are the 6 graphical interpretations. The P&L gives the extent of profit per liter and per batch when ; 1. the price of used cooking oil per balde from free and increases to P200 until P500 2. the selling price of biodiesel is competitive with diesel at P32/L, P35/L, P40/L and P50/L 3. the corresponding cost of your biodiesel as the cost of oil and selling price of biodiesel increase. 4. the Gross Product Return or GPR for a daily production output of 1000 L 5. the net income per batch of 200L, 277L, 500 L and 1000L at various conditions When the last row in the P & L Statement is graphed, the figure below showed the projected profit as diesel price increases. If your using your own ( company waste, factory waste, mall grease traps, restaurant’s etc. ) used oil ( light blue line in the graph ), meaning free of charge, your profit range from P27/L to P45/L. This is way too high compare to gasoline station’s profit of P0.50 maximum per liter. If your buying used oil at P500 per balde ( dark blue line ), you will only gain profit if you sell your biodiesel at P35/L with a minimal profit of P0.28/L. It is therefore important to use the brown line as a reference in buying oil at a cost lower than P400 per balde to remain competitively profitable.

The graph below represents the last 4 columns in the P & L Statement. It shows the income per batch if oil is bought at P500 per balde. This again shows profit minimal gain if biodiesel is sold at P35/L but negative profit at the current diesel price of P32/L. This is actually the break even point for the business and will be very useful to use to keep track of your used oil purchases.

The graph below shows the income per batch for used cooking oil bought at P400 per balde or when processed to biodiesel costs P28.77/L. At this point when the current price of diesel is at P32/L, a P3/L margin can only be lucrative and costeffective if either or all of these three will be employed ; 1. sell in large volume like gasoline and diesel stations and/or 2. sell to major oil player at P70/L. In this case your profit will jack up to P41.23/L and/or 3. sell as additive to diesel at P140/L. In this case your profit will be boosted to P111.23/L These three makes your biodiesel business even more profitable, but even without these at minimum production volume per day of 1000 L , huge GPR of 36 % is achievable as shown in the P & L Statement at selling price of P32/L. A GPR of 5% to 10 % is considered progressive and profitable already.

In the two succeeding figures below, at P300 and P200 per balde ( 17 kg can ), the profit margins are evidently augmented and became profitably enhanced. At this point, specially for P200 per balde, the selling price of biodiesel can even be lowered below P32/L diesel price mark and still remain profitable at a tolerance or monetary leniency range of P9/L and P18/L mark up respectively.

Maximum profit and competitive financial leniency is achieved when the oil is free. The total cost per liter of biodiesel inclusive of labor, transport and chemicals,

is less than P5 only, thus you can sell it at P30/L and still achieved a whopping P25/L net profit. Having a GPR of 305 %, this is translated to P550,000 per 22 working-day-month at a production volume of 1000 L per day. This is technically achievable using a 200 L set up at 5 batches per day output.

The basic reason why I extended the Profit and Loss Statement up to P50 /L is simply because of the diesel trendline published worldwide by Finance Manila as shown in the graph below. This study was based on the research and statistics made available by reliable sources like Ibon Foundation, Department of Energy and Technistock. Diesel price is moving bumpy from 1998 to 2008, but observe the trendline, the slope is stable and continuously rising. This means that biodiesel will have a profitable future if this diesel trendline will be the reference basis. Population growth, diminishing arable lands, food and water scarcity, economic instability and oil reserve shelflife ( which according to Klebnikov, Paul and Forbes (2002)in ”When the Oils Runs Out”.Academic Search Elite. Issue 9 will last for only 30 years ) will definitely tip this slope to a higher degrees.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT

B

iodiesel is a renewable and sustainable fuel, meaning by mere planting and growing animals, we will have continuous source of non-toxic and green fuel. This is illustrated by the biodiesel cycle below.

It also emits minimal pollutants because of its physico-chemical properties as explained in the technical aspect above unlike the toxic, non-biodegradable and non-renewable diesel being emitted on the streets everyday.

Source : US EPA, 2007

The series of studies conducted by United States Environmental Protection Agency, EPA showed an interesting positive attributes of biodiesel. Using it even at minimal blend exhibited drastic reduction in particulate matter, PM, the toxic carbon monoxide, CO and hydrocarbons, HC. For soya biodiesel ( having higher protein nitrogen content, a minimal increase of nitrous oxide, NOx was noted. This last characteristic however, is not true for cocobiodiesel, being a saturated biodiesel, emission of oxides of nitrogen is substantially reduced. Foremost, it Helps the Fight Against Global Warming and Climate Change: Every liter of cocobiodiesel consumed generates reduction of 3 kg of CO2.

Emissions of three engines that uses B100, B20 and Diesel was comparatively studied by Sharp, C.A., S.A. Howell, and J. Jobe, in their in-depth research entitled "The Effect of Biodiesel Fuels on Transient Emissions from Modern Diesel Engines, Part I Regulated Emissions and Performance," SAE Paper 2000-01196, 2000.
Test Engine Test Fuel Transient Emissions, g/hp-hr

Cummins N14 Cummins N14 Cummins N14

B100 B20 2-D

HC 0.01 0.19 0.23

CO 0.41 0.64 0.75

NOx 5.17 4.76 4.57

PM 0.076 0.102 0.106

DDC Series 50 DDC Series 50 DDC Series 50 Cummins B5.9 Cummins B5.9 Cummins B5.9

B100 B20 2-D B100 B20 2-D

0.01 0.06 0.06 0.08 0.21 0.31

0.92 1.38 1.49 1.27 1.61 2.05

5.01 4.66 4.50 4.90 4.79 4.70

0.052 0.088 0.102 0.081 0.109 0.128

The above experimental results of US EPA was verified in conformity with this research indicating positive reduction of pollutants when biodiesel is used specifically when used as pure B100. These two results made agencies and private companies to encourage and recommend biodiesel. These are ASTM, US DOE, US EERE ( Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy), AFDC ( Alternative Fuel Data Center ), Boeing ( who made the first biodiesel flight in Chechs Republic ), John Deere, College of Alameda, Berkeley School, Florida Transit Buses, Lake Titicaca Tour Ships, Hawaii National Park Tours, San Francisco Bay Ferry, AOCS ( American Oil Chemist Society ), Austrian Biofuels Institute, Purdue University and many more to name a few. From among the countries that produce biodiesel, it is Germany who is the biggest and the largest consumer as well. Here in the Philippines, environmental and technical related researches done by DOST and PCCARD for more than 20 years has led other government agencies like DENR, PhilForest, PNS, DTI, DOE, EUMB, Congress, Senate and Executive to use and encourage its utilization. Private companies like Prince Shuttles, Chemrez, Biofuels Philippines, Senbel Fine Chemicals, Romtron Phils., Freyvonne Milling, Zafra Rendering, Razsa Agro, Tapa King and more use this on a regular basis continuously. What made these agencies and companies switch over to biodiesel ? I believe, the most convincing factor still, is the saying to see is to believe, as can be seen in the picture below. It shows the comparative flame and sooth residues left by burning diesel, diesel biodiesel blend and pure biodiesel.

One would immediately observe the thick residue left by burning diesel on the rightmost sooty container. Soothy and moderate smoke being emitted on the 50/50 diesel/biodiesel blend at the middle. Very nice clean but bright flame of pure biodiesel on the leftmost ceramic disc.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASPECT

estores the Old Glory of the Coconut Industry: At present, coconut oil consumption is dwindling both locally and abroad, and coconut planting is declining. The coconut industry is not yet “out of the woods” of being on the verge of collapse. The Biofuels Act will give the coconut industry, through coco-biodiesel, a new lease on life, very surely restoring its lost glory as the erstwhile agricultural champion of the country. The Biofuels Law will create a demand for more coconut oil, thus providing coconut farmers the incentive to preserve and replant coconut trees rather than cutting them for coconut lumber ( Biofuels Phils website ). Helps the Philippine economy: By causing significant fuel savings, cocobiodiesel will save us 4 billions dollars annually that normally go to petroleum diesel exports. By mitigating pollution and lowering emissions, cocobiodiesel will help government save on the $450 million it spends yearly on pollution-related health disorders while contributing significantly to slowing down climate change . By reviving the coconut industry, coco-biodiesel will help the livelihood of some 28 million Filipinos and 69 provinces that directly or indirectly depend on the coconut industry ( Biofuels Phils website ).

CONCLUSION

iodiesel production is highly feasible technically, financially, environmentally and socio-economically.

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