The benefits that can be gained from using biodiesel are many. Apart from guaranteeing a steady supply of fuel in the future, biofuels can be made locally as feedstocks used to produce them are grown locally. Biodiesel utilizes crops and agricultural residues including new and used vegetable oils or animal fats thereby benefitting the agricultural sector. This then leads to the use of new valuable crops and the utilization of existing crops and residues. This strategy is also helpful to the economy as trade deficit will be reduced with less importation of oil and more jobs will be generated.
Biofuel is helpful to the environment as well compared to fossil fuels. For one, it has lesser emissions of harmful elements during the production and combustion process. Secondly, it lessens by as much as 78 percent the life cycle of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere making it quite beneficial in reducing the so-called greenhouse effect. Additionally, it is biodegradable and non-toxic.
While biodiesel is known in many parts of the world today as a fuel ideal for vehicles, it is actually a good alternative fuel as well to the standard
home heating system that uses oil-fired furnace or boiler. It is sometimes called bioheat. A big difference between the fossil fuel and biofuel lies in the length of production. Producing fossil fuel takes millions of years while biodiesel can be made in only a few months.
Heating with biofuel is convenient and worry free. One does not need a new heating appliance or retrofitting. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Center in Maryland projects that if people in the Northeast used biofuel in their oil furnaces, about 50 million gallons of regular heating oil could be saved every year. The Center further confirms that biodiesel is indeed effective in reducing pollution as well as hydrocarbon and particulate emissions.
For people already using biofuel in their heating systems and those planning to use this environment-friendly fuel, there are some precautions that you need to take. Proper storage is very important as biodiesel tends to gel if stored outside in very cold weather. Remember to keep it in an indoor storage tank at a temperature above its pour point or what is known as the temperature in which fuel oil will not pour.
Finally, regularly check your pump seal to avoid leaks. Highly concentrated biodiesel can degrade rubber seals although some manufacturers are now testing the use of new materials to solve this problem in newer burner units.