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Water + Biodiesel + Emulsifier = Lower Emissions

Water + Biodiesel + Emulsifier = Lower Emissions

engine labeled DYNOmiteResearchers have found a low-cost way to lower hazardous emissions in diesel equipment manufactured before the advent of more stringent emissions regulations. Just add water to biodiesel, plus a little bit more.

Donald M. Johnson and Don W. Edgar, professors of agricultural and extension education, and former graduate assistant Jason A. Davis realized that traditional biodiesel fuel does not decrease nitrogen oxides, which are regulated by the EPA. Nitrogen oxides pollute the atmosphere and pose a threat to human health.

To encourage the switch to biodiesel fuel, which comes from renewable sources such as beef tallow and soybeans, the researchers knew the fuel would have to perform just as well as regular diesel fuel and be inexpensive to use. Reduced nitrogen oxide emissions would be an added bonus.

Adding an emulsifier to biodiesel fuel helps the water and biodiesel mix in much the same way creamer mixes with coffee. They found that using 10 percent water, 86.5 percent biodiesel and 3.5 percent emulsifier not only reduced nitrogen oxide emissions in off-road diesel engines, but the engines also ran better on the biodiesel mixture than on 100 percent biodiesel. Next: they’ll look at different percentages of water to fuel and try different types of engines.

About The Author

University Relations Science and Research Team

University Relations Science and Research Team

Matt McGowan
science and research writer

Robert Whitby
science and research writer

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