As pollution worsens there is a growing need to move to biofuel sources

Biofuel (such as biodiesel and bioethanol) have emerged as a renewable candidate to replace fossil fuels. Biodiesel is produced via the transesterification of long chain fatty acids to an alkyl, in the presence of a catalyst.

As pollution worsens there is a growing need to move to biofuel sources

Pollution and air quality have been a major issue for discussion in various countries.

In Pakistan, urbanisation and industrialisation have led to an increase in vehicle and factory emissions.

Air pollution is strongly linked to health issues and according to (WHO, 2018), it is a major cause of various deadly diseases such as cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular illness, leading to an annual mortality rate of 4 million deaths. With such dreadful consequences, the search for alternative fuels has begun. Biofuel (such as biodiesel and bioethanol) have emerged as a renewable candidate to replace fossil fuels.

Biodiesel is produced via the transesterification of long chain fatty acids to an alkyl, in the presence of a catalyst.

This process was first described by George Chavanne in 1937, when he successfully replaced the glycerol in a triacylglycerol molecule with methanol; producing 3 molecules of fatty acid methyl esters which came to be known as biodiesel.

Both complete biodiesel and biodiesel-petroleum blends can successfully run diesel combustion engines. This makes it suitable to use in cars, buses, and heavy trucks.

Biodiesel is not only efficient for use, but it emits lower levels of PM and SO2 when compared to petroleum.

It is also highly biodegradable as it surpasses 90% biodegradability within less than 1 month making it an attractive alternative fuel for its environmental advantages.

Used cooking oil as raw material to produce Biodiesel (B100)

One of the most important raw material used for biodiesel manufacturing is used cooking oils referred to as (UCO). UCO’s contribution to biodiesel production accounts for 23% total.

Although the US and Malaysia contribute largely to this sector, it is the main raw material for biodiesel production in China and India, it is also widely used in the EU with nearly half of it being acquired from household wastes. Using UCO as a raw material for biodiesel production offers ethical, economic, and environmental benefits.

UCO does not compete with food resources and its collection and treatment creates new jobs contributing to local economy.

Collecting UCO from households prevents inappropriate disposal methods which can corrupt pipes and cause the UCO to end up in the ocean causing marine pollution; thus, protecting marine life and lowering water treatment cost.

Final product and its wide uses

Biodiesel-oil blends are used to operate residential and commercial boilers, residential heating systems, and ordinary diesel engines for transportation vehicles.

Blends ranging up to B20(20% biodiesel) are most prevalent and their use have not resulted any major issues, although higher blends (up to B100, 100% biodiesel) is also used in residential heating systems and as a cleanser for vehicle systems.

Since the 1990’s, the European union (EU) have started developing and utilizing biofuel, and as of 2019, biodiesel has been covering 75% of the EU’s fuel needs for transportations with the largest consumers being France, Germany, and Spain, and due to mandatory increases; the use of biodiesel is spreading wider over Europe.

In 2018, the United States (US) became the largest sole biodiesel producer and consumer around the world, with annual rates of 44 million barrels and 45 million barrels, respectively, with the state of Iowa providing 20% of the nation’s consumption (EIA, 2020). Another major consumer of biodiesel is Brazil, where the use of biofuels has risen more than 40% over the past 10 years as 10% of Brazil’s diesel consumption is attributed to biodiesel.

According to reports from the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN), the use of biodiesel is not limited to these regions but extends to Indonesia, Argentine and Malaysia, while other countries such as Canada, have been implementing rules to support the use of biodiesel.

Used cooking oil and Pakistan market for biodiesel Pakistan’s cooking oil market is estimated at 4 million tonnes per year.

If 10% of the consumption is assumed to be collectable used oil, 400,000 tonnes per annum of used cooking oil can be used for biodiesel production. Some estimates suggest waste vegetable oil generation of 500,000 liters per day (182,000 tonnes per annum) in Punjab alone.

By comparison, diesel consumption in Pakistan is 7 million tonnes. Thus, some 5% biodiesel (B5) can be produced in Pakistan.

Amazingly, diesel and cooking oil prices in Pakistan are somewhat comparable – diesel is at Rs133 per litre and cooking oil sale price in Pakistan is about $1,200 per tonne as opposed to palm oil prices of $60 per tonne. In the US, used cooking oil is sold at $330 per tonne.

For reasons similar to Pakistan, the Indian biodiesel program could not achieve its targets, although its biological program has been on track.
Edible oil is one of the important commodities of everyday use. Pakistan has been constantly and chronically deficient in its production. About 70% of the domestic requirements are met through imports.

Since early 1970s its import increased at the rate of 12.5% annually and the trend will further not only continue but will also get worsen with increase in population.

Use of biodiesel in Pakistan and its benefit.

87% of Pakistan’s energy supply is dependent on fossil fuels, with gas ranking 1st and oil as 2nd while renewable resources contribute to mere 13% of the overall energy production.

Pakistan’s air quality is deteriorating due to the emissions of petroleum fuels and in addition, it must import nearly 135,201barrels a day to cover 24% of its oil requirement; that is why the Economic Coordination Committee and the Pakistan State Oil have confirmed movement to incorporate the use of biodiesel blends with the goal of contributing to 10% of the total diesel consumption by 2025.

Incorporating the use of biomass fuels in transport, industry, power, and energy generation will not only support the nation’s fuel needs but will also reduce dependence on other nations, reduce importation costs, bring down the carbon footprint and harmful gases emitted by the combustion of petroleum derivatives leading to better air quality, and over 100, 000 new job opportunities ranging from bioplants agriculture and biodiesel manufacturing.

Originally published at Biofuels international