Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fungus Makes Biodiesel Indian Researcher's Finding

Ravichandra Potumarthi, a researcher in India, has demonstrated and presented his findings at a conference (the International Conference on Bioengineering and Nanotechnology) that using the enzyme lipase as the catalyst he can convert vegetable oils into biodiesel. The trouble, of course, with that, conceptually, is that lipase is a complex protein, difficult and expensive to synthesize. Naturally it would not be a significant breakthrough if Ravichandra did not start thinking "outside the box", so to speak. He saw no reason to go to the trouble of refining the enzyme to a pure form, he simply found an organism that produces plenty of it, and tossed it into the mix. The main advantage here is that you don't have to heat the oil at all for the process to work as in (many, if not most) of the more conventional methods of using methanol (or ethanol) and sodium hydroxide. The mechanism Ravichandra chose was a simple fungus called Metarhizium anisopliae. Interestingly this particular fungus is not all that difficult to obtain at the moment, because it is being investigated as a means to control malaria carrying mosquitoes.(op.cit. It is also already being used as a means to destroy thrips (nasty little things that curl the leaves of citrus trees -- we have an infestation of these in our own back yard), grasshoppers and termites.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Can You Run Your Car On Biodiesel

Before filling your tank with biodiesel, vegetable oil, or any other biofuel, it is essential to find out whether your car is compatible. Mistakes can be very expensive to rectify - at best your car won't run, at worst you could destroy your engine!The first thing to consider is the fuel your car currently uses.

you car runs on petrol then you do not need to read any further. biodiesel is not a suitable fuel for spark ignition engines and considerable damage is likely to occur if you attempt to run your car on biodiesel.

The green alternative to petrol is Ethanol usually mixed with standard fossil fuel petroleum.

Biodiesel Vegetable Oil
The term biodiesel if often used with reference to true biodiesel, straight vegetable oil SVO (unused rape seed or corn oil usually), and waste vegetable oil WVO (used vegetable oil from restaurants etc).
Diesel Engines (compression ignition engines) can nearly all be run on biodiesel without modification. If you plan to use straight vegetable oil, some modification is usually necessary (Mercedes and Volvo vehicles aside), and if you plan to use waste vegetable oil modification is always necessary and you will need to process your fuel before use.

Biodiesel is a stronger solvent than standard mineral diesel and so all the accumulated gunge in the tank and pipes from years of driving dissolves into the new fuel. When the biodiesel is pumped through to the fuel filter these particles are deposited potentially blocking the filter. Shortly after starting to use biodiesel it is usually necessary to replace the fuel filter at least once. After that the pipes and tank are clean and fuel filters will only need replacing at standard service intervals and you will have a much cleaner car.Biodiesel's solvent powers also make it hard on any old style rubber piping. All rubber piping and other rubber parts in contact with fuel should be immediately replaced with modern hard-wearing long life nylon pipes to prevent problems. Most modern cars no longer have true rubber parts and so this may not be an issue.

Straight Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil is more viscous than mineral diesel - i.e. it is thicker. Particularly on cold days and when the engine is cold you would have difficulties starting a car on vegetable oil. However, once the engine (or fuel) is warm everything should run as it would (or better than it did) on diesel. Therefore there are a few options to consider:

Dual Fuel System
Start the car with diesel/biodiesel and then switching to SVO when everything is warmed up. Before turning off the engine you need to switch back to diesel so that the injectors and fuel lines contain diesel. This means the engine will start next time you use the car, and it will prevent fuel freezing in the fuel lines during cold weather conditions.

Mixed Fuel
Vegtable oil can be mixed with diesel in the main tank at different ratios depending on the weather conditions. The warmer the weather, the higher the percentage of vegetable oil that can be used.

Fit a fuel preheater in the tank, a heat exchanger to warm fuel, and/or a heated fuel filter.A typical straight vegetable oil conversion will have a fuel preheater which warms up the SVO sufficiently to get the engine started, and then a heat exchanger which uses the heat from the water in the radiator to warm the SVO fuel while the engine is running.

Waste Vegetable Oil
Waste vegetable oil is the cheapest fuel to use, but requires the most work on the part of the car owner. If you car runs on straight vegetable oil, then it should run without problem on waste vegetable oil - as long as the oil is correctly processed before use.

An engine will usually run more smoothly on vegetable oil, and be better lubricated than with mineral diesel therefore lasting much longer. However, it is essential that you continue to maintain your engine properly and always keep a spare fuel filter handy in case you suffer from a blockage. In very cold weather you should add some mineral diesel to your fuel to prevent problems with freezing.

Indian Cars that can use Biodiesel
All Indian manufacturers have no clear standing on biodiesel. Most dealerships are unclear about what will happen to ones warranty,when biodiesel is used. This is set to change once Biodiesel becomes more mainstream.

But from the details collected we have come to these conclusions:

Tata, has the most number of passenger cars running in India. The majority of their fuel handling material is different alloys(metal) and the very little piping that is used (the dealerships claims that) is claimed to be made from different plastics.

Maruti claims that their majority piping material is metal alloys and the non metal piping is usually made from different plastics.

Hyundai too claims to be having plastic and metal piping

Ford on the other hand said they where not sure what material they use and believed it to be of some resin source. Thus do extra research before thinking of using Bio diesel in you Ford vehicle.

Benz said their stand on Bio diesel will be released soon to the media

What ever be the case if required changing these pipe to Biodiesel compatible once will be a procedure that will cost less than 2000Rs including labour

The information provided above is only trivial and consult your mechanic before using Bio diesel in your vehicle.

interesting links and news items on Bio Diesel on the right side


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Biodiesel a solution to Sewage.

World over sewage treatment plants are fighting algae bloom, when this algae can be effectively harvested and processed to obtain valuable oil that can be converted into Bio diesel. The equipment and knowledge required for the implementation of this process is available world over and at nominal costs , which is reducing by the day. The complicated part of this process is the separation of algae from water which currently has been made easy to a large extent.

Sewage treatment is done in different steps and the algae problem comes at around the last or the second last steps. Currently treatment plants are spending money to remove the bio particles etc which can be used as fertilizers. These cannot be part of the purified water they let out, thus it needs to be removed. Private companies, individuals or co operative societies have an opportunity here, they could collect this waste and/or extract algae from the treatment plants ponds.
The algae extracted could be directly used for oil production after processing. The Bio particles collected could be used as fertilizers in algae ponds. Thus making the algae oil a lot more Eco friendly than when chemical fertilizers are used. This can be effective waste management methods where land is available, land is required because algae ponds need more surface area than depth for maximised algae growth.

Another method would be to use :-

Thermal depolymerization, this uses hydrous pyrolysis to convert reduced complex organics to oil.

But the problem with this would be environmental and economic issues. The amount of heat used in this process is huge thus making it economically non viable and environmentally ineffective. So Biodiesel would be the better option.

Thus our own waste can power our vehicles.

links and news items on Bio Diesel on the right side


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bio diesel Suppliers Can buy oil from algae now

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - June 26, 2007) - PetroSun, Incorporated (PINKSHEETS: PSUD) announced today that the Company has initiated a program to provide existing biodiesel producers algal oil as an alternative to their present feedstock. The Company anticipates that the initial commercial production of algal oil allocated to this program will be available for delivery during the first quarter of 2008.
The Company plans to locate its initial production plants in Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona, California and Australia.
About PetroSun
PetroSun's current oil and gas operations are concentrated in the Ark-La-Tex region with plans to expand into New Mexico, Arizona and Australia in 2007. Algae BioFuels, a wholly owned subsidiary of PetroSun, is an emerging producer of biodiesel derived from the cultivation of algae. PetroSun is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona with field offices in Shreveport, Louisiana and Opelika, Alabama. For more information about PetroSun visit the company's website at
Except historical matter contained herein, matters discussed in this news release are forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties, which may affect the Company's business and prospects and cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements.

Contact:PetroSun, Inc.Investor RelationsEmail Contact(602)-487-6486

Indian Oil Corporation plans to produce biodiesel

NEW DELHI: Flagship refiner-marketer IndianOil Corporation has initiated steps to begin commercial production of biodiesel. The state-owned company has sought about 30,000 hectares of land from the Madhya Pradesh government for jatropha plantation.

Jatropha seed has been identified as the main source of making biodiesel and the company is talking to other states such as Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan for land to start plantations. "We have expressed our interest in getting land for jatropha plantation. We are waiting for the state's response and also waiting for government policy on biodiesel," said B M Bansal, the man in charge of finding new businesses for IndianOil and spearheading the green fuel initiative. Biodiesel is made by blending oil extracted from seeds like jatropha with diesel refined from crude oil. An internal note prepared by IndianOil Corporation reckons an annual demand of two million tonnes of biodiesel, with a 5% blending ratio.

It says this can eventually go up to 10% without making any modification in the engine. This indicates an annual consumption potential of four million tonnes. The note says popularising the use of biodiesel will increase energy security, protect the environment, create jobs for rural folk and develop wastelands. IndianOil has completed field trials with the fuel. The trial with Haryana Roadways showed a 10-15% reduction in emission from the 40-odd buses that used biodiesel. Trials have also been completed successfully with Tata Motors and Indian Railways which ran locos hauling high-speed Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi trains to check the biofuel's performance regarding power, consumption and pick-up etc. The biodiesel plan may, however, come unstuck due to the government's policy on procurement price. The government has set a procurement price of Rs 26.50 for each litre of biodiesel, whereas each litre made out of imported crude palm oil costs Rs 35-40. Besides, the nature of jatropha plants allow oil extraction from seeds only after three years. That's why despite efforts by several state governments and corporates other than IndianOil, biodiesel will have to wait for sometime before it can rule our roads.

IndianOil is trying to use this time to put in place an integrated plan for the entire value chain of biodiesel — from plantation to blending and marketing. Its R&D Centre has optimised the process of synthesising oil from jatropha seeds to conform to standard fuel specifications.

It has also set up a biodiesel quality lab at the centre.


You will find interesting links and news items on Bio Diesel on the right side

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Indian Standard for 100% Biodiesel Blend

ISO 15607 For Biodiesel





Test Method

Ester Content

% (m/m)


prEN 14103

Density @ 15 °C




EN ISO 3675EN ISO 12185

Viscosity @ 40 °C




EN ISO 310

Flash Point


Above 101

ISO / CD 3679

Sulfur Content



Carbon Residue(10% Bottoms)

% (m/m)


EN ISO 10370

Cetane Number


EN ISO 5165

Sulphated Ash Content

% (m/m)


ISO 3987

Water Content



EN ISO 12937

Total Contamination



EN 12662

Copper Strip Corrosion(3hr @ 50 °C)


Class 1

Class 1

EN ISO 2160

Thermal Stability

Oxidation Stability, 110 °C



pr EN 14112

Acid Value

mg KOH/g


pr EN 14104

Iodine Value


pr EN 14111

Linolenic acid methyl ester

% (m/m)


pr EN 14103

Polyunsaturated (>= 4double bonds) methylesters

% (m/m)


Methanol Content

% (m/m)


pr EN 14110

Monoglyceride Content

% (m/m)


pr EN 14105

Diglyceride Content

% (m/m)


pr EN 14105

Triglyceride Content

% (m/m)


pr EN 14105

Free Gylcerol

% (m/m)


pr EN 14105pr EN 14106

Total Gylcerol

% (m/m)


pr EN 14105

Alkaline Metals (Na + K)



pr EN 14108pr EN 14109

Phosphorus Content



pr EN 14107


ASTM D-6751 standards for biodiesel

Flash point (closed cup) 130°C min. (150°C average)
Water and sediment 0.050% by vol., max.
Kinematic viscosity at 40°C 1.9-6.0 mm2/s
Ramsbottom carbon residue, % mass 0.10
Sulfated ash 0.020% by mass, max.
Sulfur 0.05% by mass, max.
Copper strip corrosion No. 3 max
Cetane 47 min.
Carbon residue 0.050% by mass, max.
Acid number -- mg KOH/g 0.80 max.
Free glycerin 0.020 % mass
Total glycerine 0.240% by mass, max.
Phosphorus content 0.001 max. % mass
Distillation 90% @ 360°C