Print version ISSN 0103-8478
SILVA, Paulo Regis Ferreira da and FREITAS, Thais Fernanda Stella de. Biodiesel: the charge and the bond of the fuel producing. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2008, vol.38, n.3, pp. 843-851. ISSN 0103-8478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-84782008000300044.
The petroleum dependence and the pollution generated by its use are the big disadvantages of this fuel, which demand look for another source of energy. Biodiesel is the fuel obtained from vegetables oils or animal fat, which can substitute petroleum diesel, total or partially. Three processes are possible to obtain biodiesel: cracking, tranesterfication or esterification, having glycerin as a derivate. The Brazilian National Program for Production and Use of Biodiesel stimulates the transesterification process, which is the chemical reaction of the triglycerides with alcohols (methanol or ethanol) using a catalyst (NaOH). The goal of this revision was to discuss the advantages and disadvantages that biodiesel production can bring for agriculture and environmental and the competition that could occur for natural resources between food and fuel production. The biodiesel obtained from renewable sources has as advantages the lower pollutant it gases emission and lower persistence in the soil. However, it has a higher cost production than petroleum diesel and the energy balance is less favourable, although it can vary with the system production used. The higher demand for oleaginous grains will increase the number of species used in crop production. In the south of Brazil, the species more stimulated are soybean, sunflower, canola and castor plant. Castor, that is an alternative for drought regions, is being genetically modified for fuel production, but it has the big disadvantage of ricin production, which is very poisonous for human and environment. Sunflower produces a very healthy oil for human use, with high levels of fat poliinsaturated acids. Biodiesel is a good alternative to substitute partial or totally petroleum diesel, but the environmental and agricultural advantages depend on studies in every link of its production chain.
Keywords : biofuel; renewable energy; oil crops; energy cost.