What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is an EPA-certified, renewable alternative fuel that can be produced from any fat source, including vegetable oil, animal fat and yellow grease. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, though it can be splash blended with petroleum diesel fuel, and it can be used in any diesel engine without modifications. It is biodegradable, nontoxic, and nonvolatile. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that has completed the health effects testing required by the Clean Air Act, and when used in a conventional diesel engine it reduces emissions of carbon dioxide by 78%, carbon monoxide by 40-50%, particulate matter and unburned hydrocarbons by 40-70%, and sulfur by 100%.
The cancer-causing potential and overall ozone forming potential of biodiesel are lower than conventional diesel by 94% and 50% respectively.
Uses of Biodiesel –
Bio Diesel is used for Electricity Generation, Transportation Fuel, Heating Fuel and Fuel filters. This is an amazing renewable substitute for normal Diesel and offers increase in air quality & security.
Can I use biodiesel in my vehicle?
Biodiesel is a direct replacement for petrodiesel. Only vehicles with Diesel engines can burn biodiesel. If you have a Diesel, you can start using biodiesel today. No modifications are necessary (see “Important Information”). Gasoline-powered vehicles cannot burn or be modified to burn biodiesel.
Can I mix biodiesel and petrodiesel in my vehicle?
Yes. Biodiesel and petrodiesel are wholly compatible.
Is biodiesel the same as straight vegetable oil? What about ethanol?
No. Biodiesel is produced by removing glycerine from a fat source and must meet strict industry specifications. Straight vegetable oil cannot meet these fuel specifications, is not registered with the EPA, and is not a legal motor fuel. Ethanol is produced by fermenting plant material, and is different from biodiesel both chemically and in its application.
Interesting Facts about Bio Diesel –
Oil seed crops absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. When we burn the oil from these crops, no more carbon can be released than was originally absorbed. The result is a net-zero carbon dioxide fuel, which helps mitigate global warming.
#1 Biodiesel is a renewable fuel
Because biodiesel is made from agricultural products such as vegetable oil, we can continually produce more, unlike our finite supply of fossil fuels
#2 Biodiesel is a domestic fuel
Biodiesel feedstocks are products of local farmers right here in the United States. This helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
#3 Biodiesel can be a recycled fuel
Biodiesel can be made from waste cooking oil, in a process that recycles this byproduct of food production.
#4 Biodiesel is a safer fuel
Biodiesel is nontoxic and biodegradable, making it safer to use, handle, and transport.
#5 Biodiesel is a cleaner fuel
Biodiesel produces far less toxic emissions. Compared to conventional diesel fuel, biodiesel drastically reduces asthma and cancer related emissions.
#6 Biodiesel is a compatible fuel
Biodiesel is compatible with conventional diesel fuel and it can be used in any diesel-fueled equipment with little or no modification.
#7 Biodiesel is a local fuel
Biodiesel can be easily produced in a small-scale, community oriented way, providing for greater national security and reinforcing local economies and communities.
Doesn’t it take more energy to make biodiesel than the amount of energy that you get out of it?
No. According to an extensive study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, biodiesel made from virgin soybean oil yields 3.2 units of energy for every unit invested in its production. Biodiesel made locally from used cooking oil uses much less energy to produce and therefore yields about 6 units of energy for every unit invested.
How do biodiesel emissions compare with petrodiesel?
Combusted biodiesel has significantly lower carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbon, particulate matter, and hazardous air pollutant emissions than petrodiesel. Exhaust emissions of aromatics and sulfur oxides are essentially eliminated with B100, and biodiesel has significantly lower asthma and cancer-causing emissions than petrodiesel. Furthermore, considering its entire production and use, biodiesel emits 78% less CO2 than petrodiesel, meaning that its contribution to global warming is far less than petrodiesel’s.
What is the difference between B100 and B20?
Biodiesel is commonly sold as a blend with petrodiesel. The percentage of biodiesel in the fuel is indicated in its name. For example, B100 is 100% biodiesel and 0% petrodiesel. B20 is 20% biodiesel and 80% petrodiesel. Other differences are explained in “Important Information”
Andrew is a well seasoned and traveled freelance reporter and editor, covering the the nexus where new energy technology, markets, ecosystems and political economy intersect and overlap.