What is biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a fuel used for cars, buses, trucks, and other vehicles, and sometimes for heating oil. It's a replacement for the petroleum-based diesel fuel that's commonly in use now.
It can be made from vegetable or even animal oils, sometimes from used restaurant frying oil, sometimes from canola oil or other plant oils.
It can be used in most vehicle diesel engines with only minor, if any, modifications to the engines.
What's so great about biodiesel?
- clean burning - Biodiesel yields significantly less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulates, sulfate than petroleum diesel. It can yield slightly more nitrogen oxide, but research is addressing this.
- truly renewable - Biodiesel is made from a variety of plant oils, greases, and even leftover restaurant oil.
- can be produced domestically and locally - The oil needed to make biodiesel can be grown in the United States, or anywhere there's arable land.
- safer to have around - Not only is biodiesel non-toxic, it's not very flammable at storage temperatures. It's also biodegradable, so spills don't pose a threat to water and soil resources.
- good for engines - Biodiesel has greater lubricity than regular diesel fuel, which reduces wear on engine parts. It also acts as a solvent in engines, reducing build-up.
B20, B100, B99 The letter 'B' followed by a number is commonly used to describe diesel fuel that is part biodiesel, part petroleum diesel. The number is the percent biodiesel in the mixture. For example, B20 is 20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel.