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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Impact of San Joaquin Valley Produced Western Biodiesel on Air Emissions and Farm Engines Using Law NOx Blends

item Dusault, Allen
item Asgill, Ladi
item Banuelos, Gary

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2007
Publication Date: 12/31/2007
Citation: Dusault, A. L. Agsill, G.S. Banuelos.Environmental Protection Agency-Final Report. Region 9, West Coast Collaborative. EPA #122104-001.

Interpretive Summary: Canola is a multi-faceted crop that has been primarily used by the WMRU for the phytoremediation of Se in the SJV. Worldwide, the crop is generally grown for its high oil content. Preliminary research and field tests have supported converting low-value vegetable oils into high-value fuel for use in diesel engines. For this purpose, canola as one of highest yielding oil crops lends itself well. Canola plants produce seeds that have a raw oil content between 35-40%. Canola biofuels used as a mixture with diesel, e.g., 20-50%, not only avoid the release of carbon monoxide, and reduce the emission of nitrogen oxide, but their use in diesel engines may contribute to a cleaner environment and reduce the American farmers dependence on diesel or foreign oil products. We evaluated operating a John Deere engine irrigation booster pump under laboratory and field conditions using diesel fuel as a baseline and a B20 canola oil. After running both engines for 100 hrs with B20 fuel and special lubricant the emission parameters evaluated included; PM, NOx, hydrocarbons, CO, and CO2, and fuel economy. Generally, PM were higher, NOx, CO emissions were lower, and no differences were observed in CO2 emissions or in calculated fuel consumption. The preliminary data indicate that reductions in specific air pollutants associated with operating the diesel engine with a B20 blend may improve the air quality of some components in the Central Valley and reduce its potential negative effect on sensitive populations.

Technical Abstract: Research by the USDA-ARS for the last decade has shown that canola plants are effective in removing Se from the soil by plant uptake in the SJV. Because canola seed has a high oil conent 35-40%, its oil can be seriously considered for use in biodiesel production, which if used, may have a positive effect on poor air quality in California's San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Diesel usage in agricultural equipment is also a major source of carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM). We evaluated emission quality and fuel consumption on laboratory and field-placed diesel engines that were operated on canola derived from B20 blends and a special amendment for 100 hrs. Under laboratory conditions the 1999 4.5 L John Deere off-road engine released slight increases in NOx, CO2, decreases in PM and CO, and had slightly higher fuel consumption compared to B20 biofuel without amendment. We evaluated a 2003 Cummins 5.9L turbo charged diesel engine with 173 HP by a RAVEM portable emission measurement system under irrigated field conditions. After adding the special amendment to the B20 biofuel, measurements were made 100 hrs later on the irrigation booster pump operating at 94 HP for powering sprinkler irrigation on 12 acres. The PM were 33% higher, NOx and CO emissions were 9% and 35% lower, respectively, and no differences were observed in CO2 emissions or calculated fuel consumption compared to untreated B20 biofuel. These preliminary lab and field data demonstrate that a variety of diesel engines operating under a variety of conditions must be individually evaluated for the specific performance load. Generalizations should not be made for all expected emission parameters when operating on B20 canola biofuels with or without special amendments. Clearly more research is needed to understand the true impact of combusting B20 biofuels on air quality under field conditions.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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