As the fossil fuels are depleting day by day, there is a need to find out an alternative fuel to fulfill the energy demand of the world. Biodiesel is one of the best available resources that have come to the forefront recently. In this paper, a detailed review has been conducted to highlight different related aspects to biodiesel industry. These aspects include, biodiesel feedstocks, extraction and production methods, properties and qualities of biodiesel, problems and potential solutions of using vegetable oil, advantages and disadvantages of biodiesel, the economical viability and finally the future of biodiesel. The literature reviewed was selective and critical. Highly rated journals in scientific indexes were the preferred choice, although other non-indexed publications, such as Scientific Research and Essays or some internal reports from highly reputed organizations such as International Energy Agency (IEA), Energy Information Administration (EIA) and British Petroleum (BP) have also been cited. Based on the overview presented, it is clear that the search for beneficial biodiesel sources should focus on feedstocks that do not compete with food crops, do not lead to land-clearing and provide greenhouse-gas reductions. These feedstocks include non-edible oils such as Jatropha curcas and Calophyllum inophyllum, and more recently microalgae and genetically engineered plants such as poplar and switchgrass have emerged to be very promising feedstocks for biodiesel production. It has been found that feedstock alone represents more than 75% of the overall biodiesel production cost. Therefore, selecting the best feedstock is vital to ensure low production cost. It has also been found that the continuity in transesterification process is another choice to minimize the production cost. Biodiesel is currently not economically feasible, and more research and technological development are needed. Thus supporting policies are important to promote biodiesel research and make their prices competitive with other conventional sources of energy. Currently, biodiesel can be more effective if used as a complement to other energy sources.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment