Exploring Environmentally Effective And Efficient Biofuels - Research Paper

2088 words - 9 pages

Chem 112 Section #13

The main goal of our experiment was to measure the released energy from 6 different biofuels
and their individual properties, such as their viscosity, ecotoxicity, and energy density about its mass. To determine if these biodiesels were efficient sources of alternative fuels, we looked at their
effects on the environment and their efficiency in vehicles. The lab was split into three parts to test the biodiesel's different properties. For each piece, we performed intricate experiments to
determine if these fuels could be an efficient alternative fuel source. Each part was split into additional weeks
, and during the first week, we determined which fuels had the lowest toxicity. According to (Figure 1) the
fuel that had the lowest toxicity was commercial biodiesel. During week 2 we first isolated the biodiesel
by using a liquid to liquid extraction, and by adding a drying reagent to remove the excess water that was
still in the biodiesel. Next, we measured the viscosity of the fuels to find out the effects of the different fuels on engines. According to (Table 1) the biofuel that was the least viscous and most efficient was
Methanol. During week 3 we measured the amount of energy that was released from the biofuels
through a calorimeter (Soda Can), which helped us determine which fuel yields most energy, in
turn, being denser. In (Table 2) Methanol proves to yield the most energy density causing methanol to be
not only the most efficient fuel in energy density but overall. Methanol was still the most efficient. Even though it did not yield
the least toxic, it was still the most efficient because it proves to be the least viscous and deliver the most
energy density.

The United States alone drives a total of 4 trillion miles daily1. We are consuming fossil fuels at
alarming rates. This number is not declining but exponentially rising yearly due to our
dependence on nonrenewable fuels to go about our everyday lives. There are so many effects these
fossil fuels have on our environment, which is very alarming. Some include the byproducts and toxicity of
fossil fuels which are the front runners in the issue of climate change.

This is why we conducted three experiments, each testing ecotoxicity,
viscosity, and the energy yield of biofuels. During the first experiment, we tested the ecotoxicity of the
biofuels. We found biofuel would be the most toxic to our environment through seed germination
and correlated biofuel's effect on seed germination to the toxicity level. This meant that the
petri dish with fewer seeds that germinated was the most toxic fuel. Next, we isolated our
biodiesel through the purification process called liquid-liquid extraction and the addition of magnesium
sulfate to remove extra water from the biodiesel2. Later we tested the viscosity of our biodiesel to see
which biodiesel would be most effective in engines. We found that biodiesel would be the m...

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