Current use of biodiesel no more harmful than regular diesel

Feb 03, 2011

Up to seven per cent biodiesel blended in regular diesel will presumably not cause greater health risks for the population than the use of pure fossil diesel. This is the main conclusion in a memorandum from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Climate and Pollution Control Agency (formerly SFT) to the Ministry of Health and Care Services and the Ministry of the Environment in Norway.

"A higher content of biodiesel (up to 20 per cent) requires more research to assess . This must include different types of biofuels and blending ratios, as well as physical and technical factors that are relevant in Norway," said Per Schwarze from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Effect on emissions of particulates and nitrogen oxide

A number of studies have examined the effects that blending biodiesel in regular diesel has on air emissions, especially for (NOx) and particulates. Most reports show that NOx emissions increase slightly, but this depends on the type of and engine technology. However the particle mass in the emissions seems to decrease. The size distribution and number of particles can be changed by blending in biodiesel, which can affect health.

Little research on the health effects of biodiesel

Knowledge about the possible health effects from the use of biofuels is limited. There have been few studies of biodiesel exhaust on humans and animals. Therefore, much is based on studies of gene and cell damage and inflammatory responses in . Overall, the present studies suggest that there are not very large differences between the effects of biodiesel and diesel.

"However, there have been comprehensive studies in which one compares different types of biodiesel and diesel," said Schwarze

Automotive technology and type of biofuels significant

Studies indicate that the effect of processing equipment, such as particle filters, is as important as the use of diesel type. The results seem to depend on several factors, such as driving cycle, temperature, engine type, fuel mixture and filtering equipment.

More research is needed

For increased blending of biodiesel (up to 20-30 per cent) more research is required. This applies both to the choice of biofuels (including second generation) and different blending ratios between biodiesel and in order to study possible interaction effects on health. It is also important to use engine technology and air temperatures that are relevant for Norwegian conditions in the studies.

Explore further: Five anthropogenic factors that will radically alter northern forests in 50 years

Provided by Norwegian Institute of Public Health

1 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Biodiesel fuel use growing steadily

Jul 03, 2006

Biodiesel fuel, a renewable energy source, is beginning to integrate into the U.S. farming and trucking industries, the San Francisco Chronicle says.

Biodiesel won't drive down global warming

Apr 23, 2007

EU legislation to promote the uptake of biodiesel will not make any difference to global warming, and could potentially result in greater emissions of greenhouse gases than from conventional petroleum derived diesel. This ...

Recommended for you

More, bigger wildfires burning western US, study shows

11 hours ago

Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years – a trend that could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...