What is Biodiesel

  • Biodiesel is a clean burning renewable fuel made using natural vegetable oils and fats.
  • Biodiesel is made through a chemical process which converts oils and fats of natural origin into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). Biodiesel IS NOT vegetable oil.
  • Biodiesel is intended to be used as a replacement for petroleum diesel fuel, or can be blended with petroleum diesel fuel in any proportion.
  • Biodiesel does not require modifications to a diesel engine to be used.
  • Biodiesel has reduced exhaust emissions compared to petroleum diesel fuel.
  • Biodiesel has lower toxicity compared to petroleum diesel fuel.
  • Biodiesel is safer to handle compared to petroleum diesel fuel.
  • Biodiesel quality is governed by ASTM D 6751 quality parameters.
  • Biodiesel is biodegradable.

What is NOT Biodiesel

Look Carefully! Many companies and groups improperly use the word biodiesel to describe diesel fuel replacement products they have developed. This creates significant confusion for consumers looking to purchase and use biodiesel. Some of these alternatives have not been properly tested and could lead to damage to vehicles. Below is some information to help distinguish real biodiesel from imposters.
What biodiesel IS NOT:

  • Biodiesel is not vegetable oil.
  • Biodiesel is not vegetable oil diluted with solvents, i.e. diesel fuel or alcohols.
  • Biodiesel is not vegetable oil with “special additives” to make it run better.
  • Biodiesel is not vegetable oil refined through a conventional oil refinery process.
  • Biodiesel is not vegetable oil refined through thermal depolymerization (renewable diesel).
  • Biodiesel is not a fuel that requires costly modifications to your diesel engine (straight vegetable oil).
  • Biodiesel is not crude methyl esters which have not been refined or minimally refined.

Unlike biodiesel, none of the fluids listed above have undergone renewable fuel certification, emissions or toxicity testing, or long-term reliability testing in engines and vehicles.

How to Make Sure You are Getting Biodiesel

In order to be called biodiesel and receive certain tax credits specifically intended for biodiesel:

  • Biodiesel must be produced from naturally occurring fats and oils using transesterification.
  • Biodiesel must be composed of fatty acid methyl esters.
  • Biodiesel must be refined to remove all trace impurities.
  • Biodiesel must meet the ASTM standard D6751-07b “Specification for Biodiesel (B100)”.

If a fuel product does not meet these requirements it IS NOT biodiesel, and does not qualify for tax credits relating to biodiesel. The most important thing to ask your fuel provider is if the biodiesel is ASTM certified.