Of course, biodiesel isn’t exactly new. Scientists E. Duffy and J. Patrick carried out the process of Transesterification of a vegetable oil in 1853 long before Rudolf Diesel’s first diesel engine ran on its own power using nothing but peanut oil in 1893.
HDRD is what is known as a ‘second-generation biodiesel’ because it refines fats and vegetable oils in a standard oil refinery. It can also use the same pipelines, petrol stations and the road transport system as conventional diesel.
Not only will HDRD drastically reduce CO2 emissions due its ultra-low sulphur content, provided the production process relies on feedstocks, performance and economy should be excellent given the fuel’s high cetane number (diesel’s combustion quality) of between 55-60.
That cetane rating is much higher than today’s low-sulphur diesel fuel and has far better lubricating properties and offers reduced wear on the fuel system.
Clearly, biofuel has some excellent properties, just ask Peter Bethune, who piloted the spectacular earthrace boat around the world running only on 100 percent biodiesel.
It all sounds great, but until our petrol stations can offer a ‘clean fill’ experience for drivers as well as plenty more diesel bowsers in plenty more stations, then I doubt the punters will be all that interested.