Biodiesel emissions shown to contain respiratory disease-linked compounds

Compounds that affect respiratory health have been found in biodiesel exhausts. This might lead to restrictions on the use of this form of biofuel as an alternative to fossil fuel, according to researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

"With fossil fuel reserves dwindling, developing renewable alternative fuels is important," Dr Nicholas Surawski says, "but we should be particularly careful to protect against unwanted respiratory illness when we adopt new ." The team is now looking at ways of cleaning up biofuel exhausts.

Nicolas is one of the 2012 Fresh Scientists, presenting his work for the first time to the public.

The team looked at a range of biodiesels made from soy, tallow and canola.

Using specialised analytical monitoring equipment developed at the University, they discovered that burning diesel fuels with a high percentage of biodiesel (up to 80%) produced higher emissions of compounds linked to respiratory disease. These biologically active compounds are called and form on surface of small in the . Reactive oxygen species can lead to the cell damage called oxidative stress which, over long periods of time, can progress to serious respiratory disease.

"This is a very important discovery," Nicholas says. "Now we've identified a component of the emissions that causes the problem we can start to look for solutions.

The research team, led by Professor Zoran Ristovski, is now focusing on understanding the way the reactive oxygen species in the emissions are generated, and on how to remove them.

This work is aimed at providing the transport industry with fuels that not only have a favourable environmental impact, but also that place a lesser burden on respiratory health.

Images and video footage to support the story are available on request from the research team.

The research was published in .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chicken fat fuel emissions look cleaner, greener

Apr 27, 2011

NASA recently performed emissions testing on alternative, renewable fuels for a greener and less petroleum-dependent future. The search for alternative fuels is driven by environmental concerns as well as ...

Biodiesel can cut greenhouse gas emissions

Jul 19, 2012

Researchers in Spain have discovered that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through the use of biodiesel. The group from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) in Spain investigated the benefits ...

Alternative jet fuels cut particulate matter emissions

Nov 14, 2011

Conventional jet fuel mixed with alternative fuels has been shown to cut particulate matter emissions from a plane's engine by nearly 40 percent, according to a recent study by researchers at Missouri University of Science ...

UC Riverside developing biofuel formulations for California

Aug 29, 2012

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) are working with the state of California to develop diesel formulations with higher ...

Recommended for you

More aging boomers, but fewer doctors to care for them

44 minutes ago

By 2030, the last of the Baby Boomer generation will have turned 65 years old, putting the population of "senior boomers" in the United States at approximately 71 million. Currently, only about 7,000 certified geriatricians – ...

UK study examines communication and end-of-life decisions

1 hour ago

For many people, talking about end-of-life decisions can be very difficult. Although making choices about health care at the end of life is an important outcome of these conversations, recent research suggests that talking ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.