With the extension of human history, natural resources will only decrease and not increase. Seeing the rising world crude oil prices, countries are actively looking for alternative energy sources, especially renewable energy production and manufacturing methods. Following the successive development of solar energy, alcohol and other alternative energy sources, biodiesel has also begun to emerge as an effective alternative energy source to solve the regional energy demand. Because of its advantages of high cleanliness, environmental protection and high efficiency, it is first welcomed in urban areas with concentrated population in various countries and has become a fuel substitute for urban public transport. The concept of biodiesel was first explored and used by Japan for nearly ten years, and has been recognized worldwide. Although the global use of biodiesel in regions and industries is still limited due to low production, the positive feedback from users shows that the future development of this alternative energy will be unlimited. The following is about the production and use of biodiesel all over the world.
Compared with Japan and Europe, although the United States lags behind slightly in the production and use of biodiesel, the latter ranks first. According to the statistics of 2005, the United States ranks first in the production and use of biodiesel in the world. At present, the main focus is on government schools and military vehicles, in addition, there are urban buses and tourist areas of vehicles, yachts and so on. Agriculturally, there are more self-produced and self-used types.
In Clark Town, Nevada, biodiesel has become the basic fuel for 1200 school buses. In Kentucky, 600 school buses in nine campuses have switched to biodiesel. Evidence shows that the use of biodiesel can prolong engine life and maintenance period, thus saving a lot of maintenance costs. In the United States, government schools, military and other public units all use domestic cars. Because of well-known reasons, the maintenance frequency of these vehicles is higher than that of imported vehicles.
Bus fleets in some U.S. cities have all been converted to biodiesel, such as Hida, Iowa, St. Louis, Missouri, Ohio and Lama, Seattle and Olympia, Washington, Larry, North Carolina, Spring, Iceland, and so on. Passengers’reaction is that biodiesel has no choking odor, and the smoke in the exhaust has been reduced a lot, which is naturally more conducive to health.
The U.S. Army is currently the largest user of biodiesel, consuming more than 20 million litres a year, mostly in non-combat vehicles, usually 20% of the blend (B20). In fact, the use of biodiesel has been greatly increased year by year, and the military’s use has not attracted people’s attention.
In recent years, most American national parks have joined in the use of biodiesel. For example, since 2002, more than 300 park vehicles in Yellowstone Park in the United States have switched to B20 diesel. In Kentucky’s Cave National Park, most vehicles and machinery, including tractors, mowers, lawn mowers, and even yachts carrying tourists, use biodiesel. Two tourist boats in Chanel Island National Park in California use 100% biodiesel (B100). Due to good feedback, the National Park Service has recommended biodiesel to all parks. It is estimated that in the near future, the United States National Park will begin to enjoy the cleaner environment brought about by biodiesel.
Europe was the first country to start producing biodiesel, with hundreds of factories producing millions of tons of biodiesel annually
Germany produces about 650,000 tons of biodiesel every year. Most of them are sold in the form of 100% pure biodiesel (B100). At present, they are mostly sold to high-end taxi companies, such as Mercedes-Benz Taxi Company. In addition, bus companies, tourist cars, yachts and other large fleets are also starting to use.
The current annual production of biodiesel in France is about 360,000 tons. Unlike Germany, French biodiesel is generally used as an oil additive. Petroleum companies add 5% – 30% (B5 – B30) biodiesel to pumps at gas stations, and people unconsciously use the new diesel. Of course, the general gas station will post instructions telling people that there is biodiesel in the diesel, but generally no one will pay attention to it. McDonald’s in France has signed a long-term agreement with local biodiesel producers to produce more than 1,000 tons of biodiesel per year from its waste oil.
In Italy, according to 2004 data, its biodiesel production is about 200,000 tons per year, mostly for household heating. Bus fleets in some cities are also using biodiesel.
In Asia, Japan and India are pioneers in the development and use of biodiesel. China is also actively developing this alternative energy source, but it is limited by raw materials and climatic conditions. Nevertheless, such renewable oil products still have broad market prospects.
India is also a populous country, and lacks energy resources, so the developers of alternative energy are reluctant to leave behind. In recent years, India has made great efforts in the development of biodiesel. Unlike other countries, India’s main oil plants are maple trees, which are suitable for its climate and soil conditions, and so on. These plants do not require high living conditions and can grow in some soil conditions that are not suitable for crops.
With the strong encouragement of the government, many remote agricultural areas have greatly improved their lives by planting maple trees and so on. For example, in some extremely poor areas of southern India, where water and electricity were scarce, life has been improving since 2002, when maple trees, which grow all year round, were used. The diesel oil produced by maple trees makes it possible to generate electricity on its own, and the supply of tap water has been solved. Maple trees have become a good way for farmers there to get rid of poverty and become rich. For example, the Kagnahari region in southern India is arid, and agricultural development is extremely backward. Since the beginning of planting maple trees, now began to develop deep wells, irrigation farmland, planting watermelon, sugar cane and other crops, began to lift off poverty, towards self-sufficiency.
Since 2002, some high-speed railway locomotives in India have begun to use biodiesel, which is now being promoted to more railway locomotives. It is worth mentioning that the Indian automotive industry has begun to support the use of biodiesel, including Ashek, Mahondra and other automobile manufacturers have begun car transformation. In November 2003, Chrysler, an American multinational company there, announced its involvement in biodiesel production from maple trees grown in poor areas of southern India.
Japan basically relies on imports for its energy. This, of course, will prompt it to look for more energy sources. Japan’s use of biodiesel dates back to 1998. The 1998 Winter Olympics were held in Japan, where buses used biodiesel to reduce pollution and gasoline odor. In Kyoto, about 500 City trucks have switched to biodiesel of 20% to 100%. In 2001, a large fleet of more than 1,400 trucks began using biodiesel blends. Biodiesel is also being used in some small power plants.