Flammable and Combustible Liquids: Biodiesel on the Summer Job Site
During the summer heat, workers should be aware of the differences in flammable and combustible liquids. By definition, a flammable liquid has a flash point of under 100 degrees Fahrenheit (F), and a combustible liquid is defined as any liquid with a flash point greater than 100 degrees F. Flash point is defined as the lowest temperature of a flammable liquid at which it gives off vapor sufficient to form an ignitable mixture with the air near the surface of the liquid or within the vessel containing it. It is important to note that flammable liquids do not burn; rather, it is the vapors from a flammable liquid that burn.
One growing fix to this potential problem, especially during the summer heat, is the use of biofuels. Green technology can be applied to more than just energy efficient windows or roofing. Conventional diesel fuels are used in various types of machinery and vehicles and can emit harmful toxins into the environment. However, newer products, such as biodiesel, can provide a greener alternative for vehicles, as well as other machinery that normally uses diesel. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, animal fats, or even recycled greases. It can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually used as a diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons from diesel emissions. Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine when mixed with mineral diesel.
A major advantage of biodiesel is that it is also safe to handle and transport. It is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has an extremely high flash point of about 300 degrees F. Not many flammable and combustible liquids can measure up. In the summer months, the heat index can rise to well over 100 degrees F in some cities. The flash point of standard diesel fuel is between 100 and 125 degrees F. This can be a dangerous situation at a job site, potentially endangering the lives of many.