Bio-diesel 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.” It is easy to use, biodegradable, and almost free of sulfur and aromatics and non toxic.
The official definition, according to federal and state laws and the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) it is “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 (i.e.: B20 is 20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel).”
Biodiesel can be used as either a pure fuel source and will be designated as B100 or it can be blended with petroleum in any percentage.
What is bio-diesel fuel made of?
The basic ingredients used to produce bio-diesel fuel are: oils or fats (most commonly obtained from soy beans), alcohol (most commonly methanol) and a hydrogen catalyst. The oils used are not the same as raw vegetable oil. The oil is derived through a chemical process called transesterification, a method that separates glycerin from the oil and the remaining oil product is used. The glycerin is not a waste product though; it has been used for cosmetics, soaps and other products.
The University of Idaho has explored using Mustard Seed Oil, Rapeseed oil, Canola oil, Soybean oil, Hydrogenated Soybean oil, and Tallow. Other experiments in bio-diesel fuel production include the use of coffee grounds or algae.
Who uses bio-diesel fuels?
Commercial truckers, farm equipment, race cars, military vehicles, school buses, NASA and the city of Boulder Colorado as well as many other cities across the United States have gone green with its fleet of city cars using bio-diesel fuel. Don’t think bio-diesel fuel is for you? Even every day motorists who own diesel cars and trucks can use bio-diesel fuel. Bio-diesel fuel that is not blended with petroleum (B100) may be used in any diesel engine.
What are the advantages to using bio-diesel fuels?
-it is an easily renewable resource
-use of can lessen dependency on foreign fuels
-it produces less soot, carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and sulfur dioxide according to the EPA
-reduces carbon emissions by 78% according to the US Dept. of Energy and US Dept. of Agriculture
-healthier- school buses that use bio-diesel fuel expose children to less chance of aggravating asthma and allergy symptoms
-good use of the surplus soybean crop
-can reduce the need for costly repairs as it burns cleaner and more efficiently
-could extend the life of catalytic converters and engines
-can also be used to heat buildings
-can be stored and used in most existing diesel fuel containers, engines and parts
What are the disadvantages of using bio-diesel fuels?
-currently more expensive to produce, however as it is used more that should change
-could clog fuel filters – replacements will be needed frequently when you first switch to bio-diesel fuels
-not as widely distributed as regular petroleum fuel
Where can I find bio-diesel fuels?
Visit the Map Muse to locate bio-diesel fuel stations across the United States. The NBB (National Bio-diesel board also offers a guide online for consumers and assistance finding retailers, distributors, and producers in your area. Getting ready to travel? Print their list of bio-diesel refueling stations.
More resources available regarding bio-diesel fuel
The government offers information on bio-diesel fuel through the Office of Transportation Technologies (OTT) of the United States’ Department of Energy (DOE).This website includes information about what biodiesel is, how it is made, the market for biodiesel, and biodiesel research.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is the national trade association representing the biodiesel industry in the United States. Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable fuel for diesel engines derived from natural oils like soybean oil, and which meets the specifications of ASTM D 6751.
Use this map locator to find bio-diesel fuel stations.
You can also find bio-diesel fueling stations here using mapmuse.
The European Biodiesel Board aims to promote the use of biodiesel in the European Union, at the same time, grouping the major EU biodiesel producers.”
Want to be involved in bio-diesel discussions, educations and get the facts when you join the Bio-Diesel Facebook group.
Stay up to date with the latest video news regarding bio-diesel fuel use for automobiles, trucks and commercial trucking at the National Bio-Diesel YouTube channel.