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  • Published on: 15th October 2019
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1. Take a look at the data you collected on fuel toxicity from the seed assay. Based only on this data, which fuel would be the best to use? Why?

Max Words = 150

109 Words in your response (Go to Review Tab--Word Count with text highlighted)

According to the data collected from the Toxicity Assay, Commercial Biodiesel is the best fuel to use. This is because amongst all the biofuels, Commercial Biodiesel is the least toxic which means it has the highest percentage of germination across the various concentrations (%w/v and M). Toxicity of a fuel is measured in terms of its Lethal Dose (LD50) for the given population. It is the dose at which 50% of the population remains alive. Since, Commercial Biodiesel has a higher LD50 value which is evident from the fact that in both the graphs there is no steep decline in percentage of germination, it is considered the best fuel.

2. Now consider the data you collected from your viscosity experiment. Which fuel is the best to use, based on this data? Why?

Max Words = 150

117 Words in your response

According to the data collected from the viscosity experiments, Commercial Biodiesel is the best fuel to use. This is because it has low viscosity as compared to other biofuels. Keeping the correct measurement of viscosity is important in cars to ensure that the engine does not lock. If it is highly viscous, it can clog the engine vessels. Opposed to that, if it has considerably low viscosity, it might lose its lubrication properties. For a biofuel to be characterized the best fuel, it should not take much time to process when the brakes are applied in a car. For less time, we would prefer a fluid having optimum (low) viscosity which, in this case, is commercial biodiesel.

3. Finally, recall what you learned about biofuels from the combustion experiment. Which fuel is the best to use according to this data? Why?

Max Words = 150

118 Words in your response

According to the data collected from the combustion experiment, Commercial Biodiesel is the best fuel to use. This is because it has the highest heat of combustion (according to the lab manual and internet sources) as compared to that of our own synthesized biofuel and vegetable oil. Heat of combustion refers to the heat energy released or generated when a substance is completely burnt or oxidized. Higher the heat of combustion, higher is the energy released and hence higher is the work done. Some studies have also found that when pure commercial biodiesel is burnt, there is almost negligible percentage of carbon monoxide and particulate matter in the emission which means that it is a somewhat cleaner fuel.

4. You did some additional reading on biofuels as you completed this module. Did you find anything in those documents that might help you determine which biofuel is the “best” to use? List that information here.

Max Words = 150

150 Words in your response

After reading several articles, research papers and websites, I have come to the consensus that Biofuel is considered to be a cheap, alternative form of energy which is essentially renewable in nature. The properties which characterize a good fuel is low viscosity, low toxicity, low emissions and high heat of combustion. But at the same time, we also need to consider the harmful impact a biofuel has on the environment. While reading an article by National Geographic (, I learnt that processing the crops, making fertilizers and ultimately processing it into fuel utilizes a lot of energy. This energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels which means that biofuels do not replace as much oil as they consume. Therefore, the best biofuel to be used should be a good mix of all the above-mentioned characteristics, in accordance with green chemistry, but at the same time doesn’t harm the environment. 

Part 2. Argument Construction

5. Taking into account all the data you interpreted in Part 1, make an argument for the usage of the biofuel that you consider to be the “best.” Remember that there is not a right or wrong answer here. You must construct the most compelling argument you can by making claims based on the evidence you gathered.

Max Words = 200

176 Words in your response

As can be seen from the observations of Part 1, commercial biodiesel is the best fuel to use in vehicles. A good fuel is one which satisfies the following conditions:

1. It should be a clean fuel which means that it should have low or almost no emissions when it is burnt. These emissions should not be deadly.

2. It should have a low toxicity level. This means that when it is used, its components should not be so dangerous that they produce high toxicity levels.

3. It should not involve the use of fossil fuels since they are limited and non renewable.

4. It should have an optimum viscosity. Viscosity essentially refers to the resistance offered by a fluid to its path of flow. If it is more viscous, it won’t be able to flow easily and might get stuck in the engine. Hence, it may not be able to get processed.

Since, Commercial Biodiesel is a good combination of the above mentioned conditions, it is considered the best fuel to be used in vehicles.

6. Constructing a compelling argument requires more than just a list of positive claims in favor of your position. You must also consider opposing views in order to strengthen your side. Suppose your lab partner were to disagree with your assessment. What might be some objections they could raise to your choice of fuel?

Max Words = 200

150 Words in your response

Some of the arguments which can be posed by my opponent against the use of Commercial Biodiesel are as follows:

1. It produces a lot of unburnt hydrocarbons (ppm) when it is combusted. These unburnt particles may appear as soot particles in the atmosphere. Also, if they are continuously inhaled by somebody, it might lead to respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis.

2. It leads to high emission of NOx (ppm). This means that there will be high level of NOx in the atmosphere which may lead to global warming and acid rain thereby polluting the water bodies and damaging buildings.

3. It has a low viscosity. It means that there is no internal friction amongst the molecules. Low viscosity also refers to easy flow of fluid, without any resistance. This may lead to higher fuel consumption in the vehicles, low efficiency and easy wear & tear of the engine.

7. How could you respond to the points made by your partner? Do you still consider your fuel choice the best? Why or why not?

Max Words = 150

143 Words in your response

I would still say that Commercial Biodiesel is the best fuel even after considering the above factors. In response to the arguments posed by my opponent, I would tell him that even though commercial biodiesel produces unburnt hydrocarbons, these can still be collected and burnt completely so as to decrease the level of pollutants and the associated risk of respiratory diseases. Although, it does have some amount of NOx emissions but they can be prevented by removing these oxides after combustion. As far as viscosity is concerned, commercial biodiesel can be mixed with diesel if its viscosity is considerably low to optimize the viscosity but that’s generally not required because the engine works well with that viscosity. In all, as commercial biodiesel has low toxicity level, high heat of combustion and is a renewable source of energy, it is considered the best fuel.

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