The article will deliberate the biodegradability of diesel fuel while also covering topics such as
- Is it organic or inorganic?
- Is it natural or synthetic?
- Is it eco-friendly?
- What are the greener alternatives?
Is diesel fuel biodegradable?
Diesel fuel is biodegradable because of its organic nature. However, diesel fuel can not be termed eco-friendly because it is sourced from non-renewable resources and it causes pollution as well.
Further, the eco-friendly alternatives of diesel fuel will also be explored that include biodiesel, ethanol, electricity, fuel from biomass, and dimethyl ether.
What is diesel fuel in terms of chemistry?
To develop a stance on the biodegradability of diesel fuel, it is essential to probe into the innate chemistry of diesel fuel because it will help us directly create a stance on the biodegradability of diesel fuel.
However, let us slightly discuss what diesel fuel is and also, let us acquaint ourselves with the basics of biodegradation because these introductions will serve as the major edifice to deliver and deliberate the stance on the biodegradability of diesel fuel.
Biodegradability is the breakdown that is caused by the action of microbes. This breakdown is caused when microbes such as bacteria or fungi degrade the inner organic inside of biodegradable waste.
As a result, the organic waste is converted to simpler materials that can be assimilated back to nature. Therefore, it can be said that biodegradation is one good way to ensure that there is no waste buildup because this buildup can link negatively with the environment.
For something to be given the status of being biodegradable, it is essential that the material must have certain qualities such as it should be sourced from nature, it should be organic in nature and also, it should be parallel with nature in terms of the effect on nature.
If we explore the case of diesel fuel against these parameters, it can be said that diesel fuel is actually organic in nature and therefore, it can be given the status of being biodegradable.
However, it is not just about the subjective stance. There are many objective research studies that also advocate in favour of diesel fuel being biodegradable. This means that microbes can degrade the inner content of diesel fuel in a short span of time.
Is diesel fuel organic or inorganic?
Yes, diesel fuel is organic because its chemistry says so. A material is termed organic if there are three essential elements (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) present in that particular material.
Let us also discuss a bit more on the nature of diesel fuel. To be able to decide that, we need to know what makes or constitutes diesel fuel. As it turns out, diesel fuel contains elements such as
- Hydrocarbons of the aromatic class
- Hydrocarbons of the paraffinic class
- Hydrocarbons of the naphthenic class
- Organic compounds of sulphur
- Organic compounds of nitrogen
- Organic compounds of oxygen
These elements advocate that indeed, diesel fuel is organic in nature because of the presence of hydrocarbons of organic compounds.
This also means that the inside of diesel fuel actually belongs to nature and there are no synthetic chemicals. This can prognosticate that the return back to nature can also be advantageous.
Is diesel fuel natural or synthetic?
It is made from crude oil and biomass. Both are present in nature and are not fabricated. Therefore, diesel fuel is natural.
Another common dubiety that is associated with diesel fuel is what is the status of diesel fuel? Is it natural or is it synthetic? The reason why this question exists is that there are general trends that dictate consumer behaviour.
When something is natural, it is more likely to be eco-friendly as well whereas, when something is non-natural, it is less likely to be eco-friendly. However, this is not applicable in all cases.
When it comes to diesel fuel, it is made from crude oil and biomass. Both crude oil and biomass are present in nature and are not fabricated. Therefore, diesel fuel is natural.
However, the catch here is that crude oil is a non-renewable resource and therefore, this means that when diesel fuel is made or consumed, there is a reduction in the non-renewable resources and this is made analogous to unsustainability.
Is diesel fuel eco-friendly too?
It has been established that diesel fuel is made from natural and also is biodegradable. However, the question that still needs to be targeted is that is diesel fuel eco-friendly too.
When it comes to that, there is a defiance of the rule of thumb that was mentioned in the last section. Diesel fuel is considered non-eco-friendly because of the following reasons
- It is made from non-renewable resources
- It causes pollution
- There are greener alternatives available
Let us now delve into slight details of all these points so that our stance on the sustainability of diesel fuel may be made sharper.
It is made from non-renewable resources
The most common source of diesel fuel is crude oil which is present in nature. However, the catch here is that diesel fuel is made from something which is not infinite. It is limited and therefore, it is said to be a non-renewable resource.
Non-renewable resources are rather sensitive because once the sources are exhausted, there will not be other options and this can be unsustainable.
Also, the use of non-renewable resources such as crude oil is linked with pollution and environmental anomalies.
When crude oil is extracted, there is a blatant use of energy and resources. This means that non-renewable energy is used to dig more non-renewable energy.
Also, when non-renewable energy such as fossil fuels and crude oil is burned, there is the emission of harmful fumes. These harmful fumes directly result in the ignition of environmental anomalies such as climate change, pollution, and global warming.
It causes pollution
Another downside that is anchored with diesel fuel is that it contributes to pollution. This can be explored and explained through a variety of frames. For example, when diesel fuel is used, this means that there is a consumption of non-renewable resources.
This means that there is the consumption of resources that once depleted will not be renewed.
Another reason why diesel fuel is anchored with pollution is that there is the use of non-renewable resources in the extraction and processing phases of diesel fuel.
The use of non-renewable resources means that there is an addition of harmful fumes and by-products of the overall processes and this means that there is a direct and indirect contribution to environmental anomalies such as global warming, climate change, greenhouse effect et cetera.
There are greener alternatives available
If we explore the case of diesel fuel through subjective paradigms, this will also preach the non-eco-friendliness of diesel fuel because we now have many greener alternatives that offer equivalent utility but affect the environment a lot less.
Therefore, let us explore some greener alternatives available for diesel fuel to back up the narrative that has been put forward in the previous sections
- Fuel from biomass
- Dimethyl ether
The first in line that we have is biodiesel. It is made from edible oils and may feature animal fats or vegetable oils. It is termed eco-friendly because of where it is sourced from.
Biodiesel is sourced from animal and plant sources and therefore, the level of renewability surges up. Also, the end-of-use assimilation is also greener if we compare biodiesel with conventional diesel fuel.
It is made from a process that is analogous to making beer. This is also termed eco-friendly because of the fact that there is no pollution linked with bioethanol.
Another greener alternative to diesel fuel is electricity. This is a hot topic these days because the hype of electric cars is getting more and more attention with the passing days.
However, what needs to be ensured from the consumer end is that the electricity is sourced from cleaner sources such as solar or wind. However, electricity from non-renewable sources such as fossils will not be an eco-friendly option.
It is concluded that diesel fuel is biodegradable because of its organic nature. However, diesel fuel can not be termed eco-friendly because it is sourced from non-renewable resources and it causes pollution as well.
Further, the eco-friendly alternative of diesel fuel was also explored that included biodiesel, ethanol, electricity, fuel from biomass, and dimethyl ether.
- Sustainable Energy: 5 Eco-friendly alternatives. Retrieved from: https://smartalternativefuels.com/blog/sustainable-energy-5-eco-friendly-types-of-fuel/
- Demirbaş, A. (2008). Biodegradability of biodiesel and petrodiesel fuels. Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilisation, and Environmental Effects, 31(2), 169-174.