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.
Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) from the National Biodiesel Board. (http://www.biodiesel.org).
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.
- 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 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)
Particulate Matter (linked to respiratory disease)
Unburned Hydrocarbons (smog/ozone)
||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.
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