Biodiesel Basics From Biodiesel.Org:
What is biodiesel?
Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning
alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel
contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum
diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition
(diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to
use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and
How is biodiesel
Biodiesel is made through a chemical process
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 and other products).
Is Biodiesel the
same thing as raw vegetable oil?
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.
For entities seeking
to adopt a definition of biodiesel for purposes such as federal or state
statute, state or national divisions of weights and measures, or for any
other purpose, the official definition consistent with other federal and
state laws and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) guidelines is as
Biodiesel is defined
as mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils
or animal fats which conform to ASTM D6751 specifications for use in
diesel engines. Biodiesel refers to the pure fuel before blending with
diesel fuel. Biodiesel blends are denoted as, "BXX" with "XX" representing
the percentage of biodiesel contained in the blend (ie: B20 is 20%
biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel).
Why should I use
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, its use decreases our
dependence on foreign oil and contributes to our own economy.