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Bio-blending of diesel might impact exhaust toxicity



Biodiesel (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester, FAME) is being blended into fossil diesel as a common strategy for implementing renewable energy into motorized transport, in Europe, US and Canada. From the precautionary principle it follows that knowledge of unintended effects from this strategy should be obtained. We have elucidated a theory for how the blending can increase the exhaust toxicity. It is based on the aggregation of uncombusted FAME and PAH (Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons, from the fossil diesel) into nanoparticles after the time of combustion, during the cooling of the exhaust on its travel through the exhaust pipe and out into the ambient air. These nanoparticles have polar moieties, from the methyl ester head if the FAMEs, thus increase the ability of PAHs to be transported with moisture drops into the lungs and eventually across cell membranes. Molecular Dynamics Simulations on the super computing facilities at the Biomedical Research Centre at Uppsala University have demonstrated that such nanoparticles are likely to be formed, with diameters of less than 10 nm. This work-in-progress will be supplemented with assessment of the toxic properties of these nanoparticles in lung cell exposure studies.
This chapter examines the various unintended consequences of bio- diesel production including loss of biodiversity and shortfalls in GHG reductions. An account of biodiesel impacts in comparison to fossil diesel is followed by a critical review of the common practice of using additives to improve biodiesel performance in the winter. Many of these additives have negative, or unknown effects on human health and the environment. In this respect, biodiesel is an environmentally ‘‘friendly’’ fuel that creates environmental problems. An addi- tional aspect of biodiesel use is the practice of blending the fuel with fossil diesel. Common in Europe, USA, and Canada, blending is done in order to comply with policy targets for increasing the share of transport fuels based on renewable energy sources. Results obtained from advanced modeling, designed to predict future consequences of the blending practice are then presented in this chapter. These include molecular dynamics simulations indicating that new toxic nanoparticles are being formed in the exhaust pipes of vehicles run on bio-blended diesel. This represents a likely mechanism for the increased exhaust mutagenicity of bio- blended diesel observed in other studies.
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