Biodiesel is a clean burning, non-toxic biodegradable alternative fuel that can be combined at any level with petroleum diesel to fuel diesel engines. It is produced from renewable sources such as vegetable oils and animal fats, including low grade recycled cooking oils and trap grease.

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ABOUT BIODIESEL

BIODIESEL

Biodiesel is a clean burning, non-toxic biodegradable alternative fuel that can be combined at any level with petroleum diesel to fuel diesel engines. It is produced from renewable sources such as vegetable oils and animal fats, including low grade recycled cooking oils and trap grease. It is important to note that raw or refined vegetable oils, or recycled greases that have not undergone chemical manufacturing are not biodiesel. The Biodiesel Association of Canada and National Biodiesel Board (United States) state that all biodiesel used should comply with either the ASTM D6751 or EN14214 fuel quality standards.

View Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) from the National Biodiesel Board. (http://www.biodiesel.org).

Watch Intrduction to Biodiesel (WMV) video.

HOW IS BIODIESEL MADE?

Biodiesel is produced from any fat or oil such as canola oil, soybean oil or animal fats through a refinery process called transesterification. This process is a reaction of the oil with an alcohol to remove the glycerin, which is a by-product of biodiesel production. Pure, 100% biodiesel C called B100 C can then be blended in any proportion with petroleum diesel. The most common blends are B2, B5 and B20. As the percentage of the blended biodiesel is raised, reduction of harmful emissions also increases.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF BIODIESEL

Compared to petroleum diesel, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions and harmful tailpipe emissions, including particulate matter (PM). Using biodiesel not only helps mitigate global warming, but also improves air quality and public health. Recycling trap grease and other low grade cooking oils into biodiesel reduces waste in landfills and sewage treatment plants. Biodiesel also increases fuel lubricity, and reduces engine wear and maintenance costs. Developing a biodiesel production industry in BC will potentially benefit both farmers and producers.

USES

Biodiesel can be used in most diesel equipment with little or only minor modifications. Biodiesel can be used in low percentage blends (B1 or B2) as a lubricity additive, which will be especially important for ultra low sulfur diesel fuels (ULSD, less than 15 ppm sulfur) which have poor lubricating properties. Using biodiesel or a biodiesel blend in a higher ratio (B5, B20 or B100) as an alternative fuel will reduce tailpipe and greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiesel can be used in almost any diesel engine from long haul trucks and buses, to off-road vehicles, and marine vessels.
 
Biodiesel can also be used for home heating and back up generators. Little or no modification to the engine or the fuel system is required. Biodiesel has a solvent effect that 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 to replace these filters while using the first few tanks of biodiesel.

BIODIESEL PERFORMANCE vs. PETROLEUM DIESEL

In more than 50 million miles of in-field demonstrations in the US, B20 showed similar fuel consumption, horsepower, torque, and haulage rates as conventional diesel fuel. Biodiesel also has the highest BTU content of any alternative fuel (falling in the range between #1 and #2 diesel fuel).

COLD WEATHER CONSIDERATIONS

Like No. 2 diesel, biodiesel will gel at very cold temperatures. This is more of a concern for B20 than for B5 or B2. This concern can be reduced if fleets use the same cold weather fuel management techniques as used for No. 2 diesel.

View the National Biodiesel Board and Cold Weather Consortium's Cold Weather Blending Study

Natural Resources Canada Biodiesel Performance in Cold Weather

BIODIESEL EMISSIONS vs. PETROLEUM DIESEL

Compared to petroleum diesel, biodiesel reduces both greenhouse gases, and tailpipe emissions.

Biodiesel Emissions Compared to Petroleum Diesel Emission B20

Carbon Dioxide (a key Greenhouse Gas) -16.0%
Particulate Matter (linked to respiratory disease) -18.0%
Unburned Hydrocarbons (smog/ozone) -11.0%
NOx No measurable difference
Note: The exact level of emissions is dependent on type of feedstock.
Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (www.nrel.gov), a division of the U.S. Dept. of Energy
Estimate your fleet's emission reductions from using the biodiesel emissions reduction calculator.

 

BIODIESEL: EXPERIMENTAL OR COMMERCIALLY PROVEN?

Biodiesel has been used commercially on a large scale throughout Europe for many years, and the biodiesel industry is growing rapidly in the United States. Biodiesel is also gaining popularity in Eastern Canada. It has recently been introduced into British Columbia.

View National Biodiesel Board Biodiesel Usage Checklist.



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