Written on: June 22, 2016

7 Questions Answered about Biodiesel

If you’re looking for a greener alternative to diesel for your fleet, construction company, or other industrial business, Biodiesel might be a good fit. But how much do you know about the fuel?

In this post we’ll answer seven basic questions about biodiesel. If you want to learn more, contact us today – we’re happy to explore if biodiesel might be right for you.

  1. What is biodiesel?
    Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources. Although it contains no petroleum, it can be blended with petroleum to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in most diesel engines with little or no modifications.
  2. Is Biodiesel raw vegetable oil?
    No. Fuel-grade biodiesel must be produced to strict specifications to ensure proper performance. In fact, biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to fully meet requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Raw vegetable oil cannot meet biodiesel fuel specifications, is not registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it is not a legal motor fuel.
  3. Is biodiesel approved for use in the US?
    Yes. Biodiesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the EPA and meets clean diesel standards established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) have both designated neat (100 percent) biodiesel as an alternative fuel.
  4. How do biodiesel emissions compare to petroleum diesel?
    The use of biodiesel results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter compared to emissions from diesel fuel. Exhaust emissions of sulfur oxides and sulfates (major components of acid rain) from biodiesel are also virtually eliminated. Emissions of nitrogen oxides are either slightly reduced or slightly increased depending on the duty cycle of the engine and testing methods used. The overall ozone forming potential of emissions from biodiesel is less than half of that measured for diesel fuel.
  5. Can I use biodiesel in my existing diesel engine?
    Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine with little or no modification to the engine or the fuel system. Biodiesel may release deposits accumulated on tank walls and pipes from previous diesel fuel storage. The release of deposits may clog filters initially and precautions should be taken.
  6. Do I need special storage facilities for biodiesel?
    No. The same handling procedures used for petroleum diesel can be used for biodiesel. Fuels should be stored in a clean, dry, dark environment in storage tanks made from aluminum, steel, fluorinated polyethylene, fluorinated polypropylene or teflon. Copper, brass, lead, tin, and zinc should be avoided.
  7. Does biodiesel cost more than other alternative fuels?
    While biodiesel may sometimes cost a bit more than alternative fuels, total cost of ownership for conversion can be significantly lower: Becaause using biodiesel does not require major engine modifications, operators can keep their fleets, their spare parts inventories, their refueling stations and their skilled mechanics.

Want to learn more about biodiesel? Contact us today – we’re happy to help!