Canola Oil Biodiesel
Canola-based Biodiesel can help the Environment: A
biodegradable and renewable fuel, biodiesel has impressive human health
and quality of life attributes.
Air Quality and Human Health
Use of biodiesel can help improve urban air quality
by significantly reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide
and particulate matter. Reduced emissions may help offset the health
risk associated with the inhalation of air pollutants found in diesel
exhaust. Using biodiesel will improve air quality by reducing most emissions
- Poisonous carbon monoxide by 50%;
- Ozone forming unburned hydrocarbons by 93%;
- Smog producing particulates by 30% and,
- Acid rain forming sulfates by 100%
According to the Center for Disease Control's Agency
for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) (2), polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAH) are a group of compounds formed during the incomplete
burning of fuels including conventional diesel. PAH's have been linked
to lung, stomach and skin cancers. Biodiesel is essentially free of
Biodiesel is highly biodegradable, making it an environmentally
sound choice for preservation of water quality. Studies show biodiesel
biodegrades four times faster and to a greater extent than conventional
diesel (3). The degradation rate of petroleum diesel is tripled when
blended with biodiesel.
The environmentally favorable quality of biodiesel
is leading to growing interest in its use at port facilities in densely
populated regions. In addition to biodegradation properties, the use
of biodiesel and biodiesel blends results in a reduction in exhaust
odor and easier boat cleanup due to production of less particulate matter
or 'soot'. Washington State Ferries, the largest ferry system in the
US, is committed to using biodiesel as a major tool in its commitment
to reduce air pollution in the Puget Sound (4).
Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction
The transportation sector represents an ever-increasing
source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Canada. One recent study
forecast that, by 2020, emissions from transportation would exceed 1990
levels by 40% (5). The accelerated use of biofuels such as biodiesel
is seen as one way to reduce the GHG emissions of this sector.
Of the six greenhouse gases of most concern, carbon
dioxide is deemed to be the most important one released by human activities
because of the large quantities produced through the burning of fossil
fuels. Canola biodiesel provides a "made-in-Canada" solution that
may help reduce the net amount of carbon dioxide in the biosphere.
In comparison to other fuels, biodiesel is safer to
store and handle. At 260 degrees F, the flash point (the temperature
at which the fuel vapor can ignite) for biodiesel is well above the
flash point for conventional diesel (125 degrees F). The lower the
flash point, the easier it is to ignite the material. Testing indicates
that the flash point of biodiesel blends also increases as the percentage
of biodiesel increases (9).
Biodiesel Information Sources
1. Hogan, NR Canada "Biodiesel Basics" 2005
2. ATSDR "ToxFAQ's for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)"
3. National Biodiesel Board "Environment and Safety Information"
4. Washington State Department of Transportation "Clear Sailing
5. (S&T)2 Consultants Inc "Economic, Financial, Social Analysis
and Public Policies for Biodiesel, 2004
6. http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/bio_benefi ts.html
7. UFOP "Biodiesel Facts, Arguments, Tips" 2003
8. National Biodiesel Board "Study shows NOx emissions reductions
in biodiesel blends with additive" 2004
9. National Biodiesel Board "National Low Blend FAQ" 2006