You are on page 1of 5

1. Problem Statement 1.

1 Historical Introduction In 1900, Rudolf Diesel demonstrated his internal-combustion, compression-ignition engine which ran on peanut oil, at the World Exposition in Paris, France. However, using expensive vegetable oil as a fuel source was not economical at that time because the widespread availability and low cost of petroleum diesel made it the obvious choice for a fuel source. Today, conflicts in the Middle East, hurricanes, shutdowns on the Alaskan pipeline, and increasing demand have caused the price of petroleum diesel fuel to increase drastically, with prices now hovering around three dollars (U.S.) per gallon. Current petroleum diesel costs create the need for an alternative fuel source such as biodiesel. At this point in time biodiesel cannot be purchased in all areas. Only six fuel stations in Mississippi currently offer biodiesel to the public, therefore many people have begun to make biodiesel in their own backyards using homemade biodiesel processors [2]. Before vegetable oil can safely be burned in a modern diesel engine, the oil must undergo a few changes. The process is called transesterification; the final product is called biodiesel [3]. Most biodiesel processors work using similar production techniques. The oil is processed using methanol and lye as a catalyst. Then the oil is washed and dried. This process requires a great deal of time for the oil to settle out and continuous attention as well. Once the biodiesel process is complete, the finished product is ready to be burned in any modern diesel engine. Biodiesel offers many improvements over petroleum biodiesel. Compared to regular number 2 petroleum diesel fuel, biodiesel is much cleaner [1]. Biodiesel reduces the potential for hydrocarbon smog production by 50 percent compared to petroleum diesel. Sulfur oxide and sulfate emissions, which can form acid rain, are all but eliminated compared to petroleum diesel. Compared to petroleum diesel, biodiesel exhaust gasses contain 48 percent less carbon monoxide. Using biodiesel reduces exhaust gas particulates by 47 percent. Biodiesel is a better lubricant than petroleum diesel fuel, and it also has a higher cetane number than petroleum diesel fuel. Cetane number is similar to octane rating for gasoline. Higher numbers indicate better fuel in both cases. In addition to being clean burning, there are several economic benefits of biodiesel. One benefit is that users are less dependent on foreign oil because biodiesel contains no petroleum products. Decreasing dependency on foreign oil will decrease the demand for oil which should cause the cost of petroleum diesel to decrease. Also, burning domestic fuel supports the local economy by creating more demand for crops and farmers. The economic and environmental benefits of producing and using biodiesel far exceed any costs incurred. The PureFire BD-06 will allow individuals to take advantage of the numerous benefits of biodiesel by producing biodiesel at home. 1.2 Market and Competitive Product Analysis The market for biodiesel has grown exponentially over the last few years. This has led commercial biodiesel production to skyrocket over the last six years. Approximate biodiesel production in 1999 was 500,000 gallons, which increased to around 80,000,000 gallons in 2005 [4]. Furthermore, according to the Mississippi Biomass Council, biodiesel production is projected to triple by the end of this year [4]. This enormous interest, in conjunction with the added benefits over petroleum diesel, has prompted many people to produce biodiesel at home

[3]. Numerous biodiesel kits and automatic biodiesel generators are available today, but the PureFire BD-06 provides a combination of user friendly operation, safety, and high quality fuel production that was previously unmatched. In choosing a biodiesel kit or generator, one must consider many points. Biodiesel kits can be difficult to use, requiring a great deal of time and effort by the operator. This time and effort begins with assembly and continues throughout the process of creating biodiesel. Many biodiesel production kits are available for purchase, but all are quite labor intensive. With each new batch, the steps of measuring, mixing, testing, and monitoring begin again. For example, the Extractor, produced by Extreme Biodiesel, is a kit that requires the user to perform titrations to determine the quantities of lye and methanol needed [5]. These chemicals are then mixed by the user and must be carefully added to the oil. The PureFire BD-06 does not require the user to perform titrations or pour chemical mixtures. These steps are performed by the processor automatically, thus totally removing the user from chemical mixtures. Automatic biodiesel generators are much different than biodiesel kits and require much less work on the part of the user. The PureFire BD-06 is an automatic biodiesel generator, so the remainder of this section focuses on automatic biodiesel generators. The FuelMeister II is one biodiesel generator available, but unlike the PureFire BD-06 it requires the user to perform titrations [6]. The FuelMeister II also requires the user to measure lye on a scale and add it to the generator, neither of which appear to be automatic. The BioPro 190 is another biodiesel generator claiming to be safe fast and easy [7]. This model does not require the user to perform any titrations or deal with chemical mixtures, but the user is required to handle sulfuric acid [7]. Sulfuric acid is extremely dangerous and unsafe for use by untrained personnel. Previously, when choosing an automatic biodiesel generator there was a tradeoff between handling dangerous chemicals and performing extensive measuring and testing. The PureFire BD-06 eliminates both issues by fully automating the entire process. The safest and easiest way to produce high-quality biodiesel is with the PureFire BD-06, unlike the FuelMeister II, which requires the user to perform titrations and measure lye by weight, or the BioPro 190, which requires sulfuric acid. Other generators and kits claim to produce quality fuel but the PureFire BD-06 produces highquality biodiesel which meets standards according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The ASTM specifies minimal requirements and proper techniques for testing various properties of biodiesel such as flash point, viscosity, cetane rating, etc. [8]. This cannot be said for other kits and generators, including the models previously mentioned. Meeting all ASTM standards is very important due to the large quantity of low-quality fuel being produced by other kits and generators. The PureFire BD-06 is the only automatic biodiesel generator that produces high-quality biodiesel which meets all ASTM standards without using acid or requiring extensive work on the part of the user. 1.3 Concise Problem Statement With oil prices reaching an all time high earlier this year, and the price of gasoline and petroleum diesel hovering around three dollars per gallon, an alternative fuel is needed now more than ever [9]. Biodiesel is that alternative fuel. However, limited availability and a high-cost at or above that of petroleum diesel prompts many to begin biodiesel production at home [3]. Making biodiesel for personal use is not a new concept. However, the problem that arises becomes as

difficult as the biodiesel production process itself: one must find the time to process biodiesel and the expertise to accomplish the task safely and correctly. Most of the work incurred in operating a small biodiesel processor is due to turning the circulating pump on and off, opening and closing valves, calculating the correct amount of chemicals, measuring and mixing them, and adding them to the oil. Many people who would like to use biodiesel do not have the time or the inclination to do the work required by this process. This creates the need for a biodiesel processor that is completely automated and produces highquality biodiesel safely, without any work by the user. Other biodiesel generators are not fully automatic, meaning that the user must manually check pH readings or mix chemicals. Some may be fully automatic but utilize extremely harmful chemicals. The PureFire BD-06 completely eliminates the fundamental flaws with other generators by eliminating the hands-on process of mixing chemicals and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals all together. By utilizing automatic valves, monitoring the pH via a digital meter, and monitoring reservoirs using level indicators, the onboard microcontroller will accurately control the entire process of generating high-quality biodiesel. The PureFire BD-06 is powered by a standard 120 volt outlet and occupies less than fifteen square feet, which makes the PureFire BD-06 ideal for use in a shed or garage. The PureFire BD-06 produces 25 gallons of high-quality biodiesel every 48 hours. These qualities, coupled with ease of operation, set the PureFire BD-06 apart from the competition. Yet another problem with all other biodiesel kits and generators is low quality fuel production. Low quality biodiesel production is an enormous problem for the biodiesel market. Any biodiesel that does not meet all ASTM standards is low quality biodiesel and can easily damage engines, which could create a strong opposition to biodiesel [10]. Other products fail to ensure that the fuel generated will meet all ASTM standards. However, each batch produced by the PureFire BD-06 meets all ASTM standards. 1.4 Implications of Success One very important factor with regard to the success of the PureFire BD-06 automated biodiesel generator is that the fuel produced meets all ASTM standards. There are many non-automated models on the market, yet with each model there seems to be no quantitative mention of the quality of fuel that can be expected. This is also true for automatic generators. One of the primary goals of the PureFire biodiesel generator is to produce high quality biodiesel which meets all ASTM standards. The fact that the PureFire BD-06 meets these standards sets it apart from virtually every other biodiesel kit and generator on the market. As the market continues to grow for biodiesel, and the public becomes more educated about biodiesel fuel, any fuel that does not meet all ASTM specifications will be seen as sub par. This will further increase the market for the PureFire BD-06 and the high-quality fuel it produces. A second but equally important factor is ease of use. By automating the production of biodiesel, the need for constant supervision, manual valve operation, and manual mixing of chemicals can be eliminated. This will give everyone the ability to produce high quality biodiesel, including those who want biodiesel but do not have the time to devote to the process. The projected cost for manufacturing the PureFire BD-06 is dependent on the price reduction made possible by mass production. However, it is estimated that the system can be easily built for less than $2000. Currently, non-automated systems have a retail price approaching $3500 [7]. Therefore, due to the relatively low cost of construction and the ever increasing demand for

environmental friendly alternative fuels, the PureFire BD-06 is the easiest and most economical means of small scale biodiesel production currently available. A greatly improved product is now being introduced to the biodiesel production market at a price comparable to non-automated models, virtually eliminating competition from lesser quality, non-automated systems. All of these factors combine to make the future of the PureFire BD-06 very promising.

REFERENCES [1] National Biodiesel Board, Biodiesel Emissions, in Biodiesel Fuel Fact Sheets. [Online]. Available:, [Aug. 30, 2006]. [2] U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuel Station Locator Results, in Alternative Fuels Data Center. [Online]. Available:, [Aug. 30, 2006] [3] J. to Forever, Biodiesel, in Make Your Own Biodiesel. [Online]. Available:, [Aug. 27, 2006]. [4] M. Biomass Council, Biodiesel, in Biodiesel Production. [Online]. Available:, [Aug. 28, 2006]. [5] S. Temple, Biodiesel Bonanza, in Diesel World Magazine, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 52-56, Sept. 2006. [6] Biodiesel Solutions, FuelMeister II, in Products. [Online]. Available:, [Aug. 30, 2006]. [7] B. Warehouse, The BioPro 190, in Biodiesel Warehouse. [Online]. Available:, [Aug. 28, 2006]. [8] ASTM International, Stantard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel Blend Stock (B100) for Middle Distillate Fuels in Document Summary. [Online]. Available:, [August 30, 2006]. [9] MSNBC Associated Press, Oil Prices Rally Again, Top $72 a Barrel in Busines. [Online]. Available:, [Aug 30, 2006]. [10] Dr. Jens Haupt and Dieter Bockey, Effects of Low Grade Fuel, in Blooming Futures. [Online]. Available:, [Aug 30, 2006].