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Evaluate the most suitable vegetable oil for conversion into a biodiesel fuel.

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Introduction Vegetable Oils can be manufactured into Biodiesel fuels by combining the fatty acid chains in the oil with alcohol to create alcohol esters and glycerol. An organisation known for producing false and misleading information has made several claims, including the conclusion that linseed oil would be the most suitable for conversion into biodiesel. This report will outline the mistakes in the information provided, and evaluate the most suitable vegetable oil for conversion into a biodiesel fuel. What is a Biodiesel? A Biodiesel is a vegetable oil based fuel, characterised by long methyl ester chains. Biodiesel fuel is considered to be a good alternative to fossil fuel as it can be used in diesel engines without any refinement. A good fuel has the following characteristics; it should have a large amount of chemical energy, be safe to store and use, must be readily available, and must not produce toxic gases. Therefore, Biodiesel is a viable replacement for the current fossil fuels used today, as it has all of the characteristics mentioned. Additionally as biofuels are made from plant and animal matter, they are a renewable source of energy, unlike fossil fuels which take millions of years to form. How are Biodiesels made? Biodiesels are made by combining triglyceride vegetable oils and an alcohol through a process known as transesterification. The reaction is as follows: Vegetable Oil+Methanol?3 Methyl Ester+Glycerol Vegetable Oils consist of 3 Fatty Acid chains linked together by a glycerol molecule. ...read more.


Another error in table 1, is the delta H value provided for the combustion of Methyl oleate. It is given as positive, which is incorrect. Combustion reactions are always exothermic, meaning that energy is released. Therefore, the organisation?s claim that linseed oil is the best vegetable oil cannot be sustained based on the data provided, as it contains errors. The fatty acid compound percentage compositions from table 2 and the figures calculated above were used to determine the vegetable oil which contained the amount highest energy. Using the percentage compositions provided in Table 2, the amount of energy within the vegetable oils was calculated. The results are as follows, ****** Table 2: Vegetable Oil Stored Energy kj/mol Canola -11146.76 Olive -10844.29 Peanut -10285.4599 Sunflower -11091.45 Safflower -11192.04 Linseed -10821.7 Based on the results, Safflower Oil would appear to best choice to be converted to a biodiesel fuel as it has the most stored energy. However, other important properties of vegetable oils such as the longevity, and the chemical composition (type and stability of chemical bonds) are important to consider. Vegetable oils are composed of three types of fats; saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Saturated fats only contain carbon single bonds, and are chemically very stable. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contain double carbon bonds, which are more unstable and volatile than single bonds. Monounsaturated fats contain one carbon double bond, and polyunsaturated fats contain more than two. ...read more.


Conclusion In conclusion, it would appear that Canola is the best oil for conversion into biodiesel fuel. Although it has a higher number of carbon double bonds than olive oil, the cost for canola oil is very low compared to the other oils, which makes it the more economical choice. The organisation?s claim that linseed oil is the best choice for biodiesel fuel conversion is not supported for a number of reasons. Firstly, Linseed oil degrades quickly as the bond structure contains a large amount of carbon double bonds. Furthermore, it does not have the highest enthalpy value of the candidate vegetable oils. Secondly, the delta h value given in table 1 for methyl oleate is incorrect, as exothermic reactions always have a negative change in enthalpy. Overall, the data provided by the organisation could not form the basis of a valid conclusion that linseed oil is the best choice. ________________ Reference List "Why are biofuels better than fossil fuels ? Biofuels, Renewable Energy & Green . Retrieved 28th August 2012. From http://www.biofuelswatch.com/why-are-biofuels-better-than-fossil-fuels ?Bond Enthalpies?, Chemical Education Digital Library, Retrieved 28th August 2012, from http://chemed.chem.wisc.edu/chempaths/GenChem-Textbook/Bond-Enthalpies-718.html "Biodiesel Feedstock Oils Ingredients." How to Make Biodiesel at Home. Retrieved 28th August 2012 from http://www.make-biodiesel.org/Ingredients/biodiesel-feedstock-oils.html "Wolfram|Alpha: Computational Knowledge Engine." Wolfram|Alpha: Computational Knowledge Engine. Retrieved 28th August 2012 from, http://www.wolframalpha.com/ Schuchardt, U. (1998). Transesterification fo Vegetable Oils: A Review. J. Braz, Chem Society, 9(1), 199-210. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=transesterification&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CDwQFjAD&url=http://jbcs.sbq.org.br/jbcs/1998/vol9_n3/30.pdf&ei=vGA9UIXHEezUmAWZhIC4AQ&usg=AFQjCNGBhWy6YZdpN8VZka2p-5ymFQXrfA Index Mundi - Country Facts. (n.d.). Index Mundi - Country Facts. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from http://indexmundi.com ...read more.

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