Declining cost of second-generation feedstock and refinery technologies will enable Renewable Diesel to be produced at a cost that can directly compete with fossil diesel.
Pongamia as a true second generation feedstock is one of the best suited feedstock for the production of Renewable Diesel because of the following characteristics:
Perpetual vegetable trees
Nitrogen from root nodes eliminates need to fertile soils
Non-food soil crop
Net sequestering of CO2; 100%+ better than fossil
Cost compatible to fossil
Can be volume produced
Renewable Diesel is produced through hydrocracking vegetable oils.
Hydrocracking is a refinery method that uses elevated temperatures and pressure in the presence of a catalyst to break down larger molecules such as those found in vegetable oils, into shorter hydrocarbon chains used in diesel engines. Renewable Diesel is also called greendiesel, or hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO).
Renewable Diesel has the same chemical properties as fossil based diesel. Renewable Diesel is a “drop-in” fuel that does not require new engines, pipelines or infrastructure for its distribution and use.
Renewable Diesel is being developed and already produced worldwide by Honeywell UOP, CononcoPhilips, Neste Oil, Valero, Dynamic Fuels, REG, UPM Biofuels, Diamond Green, etc.
In practice, Renewable Diesel lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 40-100% depending on the feedstock used. Renewable Diesel has higher energy per content yields than fossil based diesels, and better cold-flow properties to work in colder climates. In addition, Renewable Diesel can be introduced into any diesel engine or infrastructure without many mechanical modifications at any ratio with fossil fuel based diesels. Renewable Diesel can be distributed using the established petroleum pipeline system, while biodiesel requires truck or rail transport.
Renewable Diesel is a true hydrocarbon just like diesel and meets ASTM International’s standard for Diesel Fuel Oils (D-975). Because of this structural difference, Renewable Diesel is a superior product with a higher cetane index than typical ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), and unlike biodiesel, an energy density value equivalent to ULSD.
Renewable Diesel is also by itself more climate friendly than the fossil diesel because it burns more cleanly, emits less carbon dioxide and is made entirely of non-petroleum plant oils.
Renewable Diesel is also more valuable than biodiesel because it has an energy content roughly equivalent to fossil diesel, generating more renewable fuel credits than biodiesel.
In fact, scientists at Boeing discovered that Renewable Diesel packs so much of a punch that it could be used as an aviation biofuel, a so-called “drop-in” fuel, meaning it doesn’t require any modifications to vehicle engines or the pipeline system.
In the light of our use of land and resources, deforestation and fossil fuel combustion are the largest anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere causing climate change.
The most positive impacts on climate change are therefore reforestation and the appropriate use of land for the production of energy and food.
Next generation or sustainable agriculture can be defined as “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term”.
First generation biodiesel, made from the oils of edible crops such as corn, soy, and palm are technically adequate substitutes for fossil diesel.
However, these vegetable oils are not perfect solutions. They compete with the food supply and use expensive agriculture resources such as water and high-quality soil thereby driving up costs.
An additional requirement for second-generation biodiesel is a minimum CO2 emission savings of 60% in comparison to fossil fuels.
World economies such as Europe, the US and Brazil are all pushing the useof biofuels through diesel mixture mandates. Most of these economies strongly promote the production of second generation biofuels applying double counting rules.
Based on these assured future markets and considering the food-versus-fuel debates, there is a tremendous opportunity for “second generation” biofuel crops.
The next generation agriculture must however enable biofuels to be produced on non-food soils from perpetual vegetable crops that reforest and preserve existing cattle land without the use of fossil based fertilizers, pesticides or equipment.
Biofuel is fuel that is produced through contemporary biological processes, such as agriculture and anaerobic digestion, rather than a fuel produced by geological processes such as those involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum, from prehistoric biological matter.
Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils using trans-esterification and is a liquid similar in composition to fossil/mineral diesel. Chemically, it consists mostly of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME).
First-generation biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils by trans esterification with methanol leading to biofuel and glycerol as a side product. The most common feedstocks used to make biodiesel are rapeseed, soybean and palm oils. First generation biodiesel and biofuels in general are made partly responsible for the increased cost of food commodities and indirect land use (ILUC).The original concept of “second-generation biodiesel” and its major advantage in terms of sustainability implied the use of non-alimental feedstocks. An additional requirement for second-generation biodiesel is a minimum Green House Gas (GHG) emission savings of 60% in comparison to fossil fuels.