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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Biodiesel Demonstration
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Closing The Circle Award

2001 Closing the Circle Award Winner

     An Environmentally Preferable Biobased Fuel for Diesel Engines




ARS Visitor Center Bus
A.R.S. Visitor Center Bus operating with the B20 fuel blend.

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Biodiesel Fuel
Demonstration
Biodiesel Advantages
User Benefits
Energy Benefits
Environmental Benefits
New Initiatives
Biodiesel Demonstration Committee
Articles in Agricultural Research Magazine (ARS link)


Biodiesel Fuel

Biodiesel is an alternative motor fuel produced from renewable resources such as vegetable oil or animal fat which is blended with petroleum diesel.

The BARC Biodiesel Demonstration is using a blend of 20% biodiesel (methyl soyate from soybean oil) and 80% diesel fuel. This blend is referred to as B20.

Demonstration

The BARC Biodiesel Demonstration began as a 1-year program. Today, the Demonstration has become the permanent fuel program. All 150 diesel- powered vehicles at BARC use B20. This includes pickup trucks, tractors, dump trucks, ride-on mowers and the compost turner. The ARS National Visitor Center tour bus is also running on the blended fuel.

Since the BARC facility is the first Federal fleet to use B20, we are currently "splash" blending our underground storage tanks with soybean oil and petroleum diesel from two separate tanker trucks. It is anticipated that the Defense Logistics Agency will become a Federal supplier of blended B20 in the near future. This was one of the goals of the BARC Biodiesel Demonstration.

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Biodiesel Advantages

Biodiesel can be used in existing diesel engines with little or no modification. At BARC, vehicles were "switched" to B20 without any engine modifications. Biodiesel also qualifies for Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT) credits.

User Benefits
• Improved lubricity
• Safer to handle due to higher flashpoint
• Similar to diesel in horsepower
Energy Benefits of Biodiesel

Producing and using biodiesel fuels is energy efficient since less fossil energy is required to produce the final product. Biodiesel fuels yield about 3 units of fuel product energy (FPE) for every unit of fossil fuel energy (FFE) in the production process. This includes energy used for farm production, soybean crushing, soybean oil conversion, and transportation. In comparison, the petroleum fuel production process yields only one unit of fuel product energy per 1.2 units of fossil fuel energy.

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Environmental Benefits

Biodiesel fuel can reduce harmful gas emissions which pose health risks in certain areas of the United States, and are targeted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for reduction.

Replacing petroleum diesel with B20 will reduce:

• carbon dioxide emissions by 16%, (major contributor to global warming)
• carbon monoxide emissions by 20%
• particulate matter by 22%
• sulfates by 20%

100 gallons of B20 means:

• 413 pounds less carbon dioxide
• 0.14 pounds less sulfur
• 0.40 pounds less carbon monoxide
• 0.05 pounds less particulate matter

Tailpipe emissions of unburned hydrocarbon help create smog and ozone. B20 reduces:

• unburned hydrocarbons by 7%
• potential carcinogen - PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) by 13%
• potential carcinogenn - PAH (nitrated PAH) by 50%,

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New Initiatives

• BARC is now using a B5 blend in its boiler plants in an effort to reduce use of #2 home heating oil.

• BARC is also demonstrating the use of B20 in back-up generators at the facility.

Biodiesel Demonstration Committee
Ron Korcak..........................ARS, Beltsville
John Van de Vaarst...............ARS, Beltsville
Christian Obineme.................ARS, Beltsville
Tom Foglia..........................ARS, Wyndmoor
Jim Duffield..........................OCE, Washington
Ben Benedict ......................ARS, Beltsville
Bob Coulson.........................ARS, Beltsville
Sharon Holcombe..................OPPM, Washington
Bill Marmer...........................ARS, Wyndmoor
Tim Badger..........................ARS, Beltsville
Carmela Bailey......................CSREES, Washington
For more information:
Contact Beltsville Area Office at 301-504-5193

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Last Modified: 7/9/2008