What is Biodiesel?


What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable fuel for diesel engines. Made from agricultural co-products and byproducts such as soybean oil, other natural oils, and greases, it is an advanced biofuel. To be called biodiesel, it must meet the strict quality specifications of ASTM D 6751. Biodiesel can be used in any blend with petroleum diesel fuel.

The technical definitions for Biodiesel and Biodiesel Blend are:

Biodiesel, n – a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D 6751.

Biodiesel Blend, n – a blend of biodiesel fuel meeting ASTM D 6751 with petroleum-based diesel fuel, designated BXX, where XX represents the volume percentage of biodiesel fuel in the blend.

what is biodiesel

Are Biodiesel and vegetable oil the same thing?

No! Fuel-grade biodiesel must be produced to strict industry specifications (ASTM D6751) in order to insure proper performance.

Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Biodiesel that meets ASTM D6751 and is legally registered with the Environmental Protection Agency is a legal motor fuel for sale and distribution. Raw vegetable oil cannot meet biodiesel fuel specifications, it is not registered with the EPA, and it is not a legal motor fuel.

Are Biodiesel and vegetable oil the same thing?

Biodiesel is made through a chemical process called transesterification whereby the glycerin is separated from the fat or vegetable oil. The process leaves behind two products — methyl esters (the chemical name for biodiesel) and glycerin (a valuable byproduct usually sold to be used in soaps, Pharmaceuticals and other products).

Why should I use Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is better for the environment because it is made from renewable resources and has lower emissions compared to petroleum diesel. It is less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar. Since it is made in the USA from renewable resources such as soybeans, animal fats, chicken fats, fish oils, vegetal oil, cooking used oils, its use decreases our dependence on foreign oil and contributes to our own economy.

What are the benefits of Biodiesel?

B10 and B20 blends result in:
– 10% – 20% reduction in harmful ash content and carbon residue
– 5% – 11% reduction in sulfur content of ULSD No. 2
– 8% – 16% reduction in PM, HC and CO emissions
– Nitrous Oxide increase slightly but are eliminated by pollution prevention technology in vehicles.

B10 and B20 Biodiesel blends increase the Cetane
Number by 5% – 6% resulting in:

– Faster Ignition
– Less engine noise
– Smoother starting

A dramatic increase (82%-94%) in lubricity results at B10
and B20 concentrations resulting in:

– Better protection for engine parts
– Longer engine life can be expected
– Improved performance

– Heating value is reduced by 2.5% for a B20 blend = Negligible change in performance
– Change in API Gravity is negligible
– Viscosity of fuel increases 2.5% – 5%


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